10

May

New Anxiety Documentary Digs Deep Into Disorder

anxiety

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety affects over 40 million Americans over the age of 18. Documentary filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz has suffered with anxiety for her entire life. She chose to closely examine the complicated disorder in her latest documentary, It’s “Just” Anxiety.

After humble beginnings as a teacher and social worker, Schutz went on to become a very successful businesswoman after launching a greeting card company called Blue Mountain Arts with her husband a few decades ago. She then launched a digital greeting card business, and in 1999 she sold a piece of the company for a whopping $780 million.

Yet even with all her financial security and success, Schutz has struggled with anxiety her entire life. As she told the San Diego Tribune, when she was child, her anxiety was milder.

“It propelled me to be successful,” she says. “But as I got older, the what-ifs and the worries started to increase. And I realized I had much more severe anxiety than I used to. So I started to research it… I found out that 40 million people suffer from anxiety disorders. My films start with something that I want to learn about, something that I am experiencing in my own life.” Schutz has made six documentaries which were all self-funded.

The Anxiety doc is being aired on public television station KPBS in San Diego, and as their director of programming told the Tribune, “Even if you don’t suffer from [anxiety], you really get a sense of what it’s like. You understand what [these people] are going through.”

Schutz has also made a documentary about depression, The Misunderstood Epidemic, a subject she’s also known all too well. Schutz battled depression for three years but therapy, medication, and the help of her family set her on the path to recovery. She also dyed her hair blue after coming out of her dark tunnel. “I was just feeling different than I ever had felt before,” she said. “I wanted to do something that showed that.”

With It’s “Just” Anxiety, Schutz wants people who see the movie to know “they’re not alone…and how they can overcome it or get better.”