“XIETY” was inspired by my very own journey with generalized anxiety. It’s an internal battle I’ve struggled with for years all while keeping it hidden from 98% of those who know me. It’s been a battle, but I’m grateful to say that I’ve learned to manage it without ever taking any sort of medication. One of the reasons I never used to share my struggles was because I felt like no one could understand or relate. At one point, I just felt like my days were limited and my desperate want for it to go away just made it so much worse.
Back in 2011, it was so bad that it was literally from the second I woke up, to the moment I fell asleep. I would limit my words because it would use up too much energy I couldn’t waste. On some drives home, I had to park my car because I swore at any second I was going to take my last breath. Even then, I did my absolute best to not change up my life routines because of my anxiety. My life changed when I learned to embrace my anxiety rather than fight it.
With the skill sets I’ve developed in filmmaking, the help of Jake Slonecker (Director of Photography), the best production crew I could dream of working with, and my wife (the Co-Director and Lead Actress), I can finally share a visual representation of what I’ve felt on my worst days. The production took place within five days and at five different locations. The production itself was surprisingly therapeutic to see everything from an outside perspective. My wife, Karen Torres, dove in deep to understand the character of Val. She’s supported me at my lowest and, in a way, has done a 7-year character study of myself for this short. What makes her performance impressive is the fact that she has never experienced anxiety herself. Not to Val’s degree at the very least, but she wanted and tried her very best to understand the feelings and fears that come with it. She asked many questions; and I’ve always been open with her in terms of my anxiety, which was very helpful to her. When I’m afraid, I’ve told her I’m scared. When I feel like I'm falling apart, she’s helped put me back together. Being open is what helps me stay balanced as well as helped her understand the role that so many of us feel stuck in.
There are those out there that you would never guess had any sort of mental health issues, but internally they are fighting the biggest fight of their lives. I’m personally a very talkative person. I love to be creative and put myself out there, but I’ll also have my moments where I’ll be the complete opposite because of my anxiety. I’ve taught myself that’s okay. Embrace the moment, don't fight it. It will pass as it always has.
This short film represents those out there. We hope that “XIETY” can be served as a tool to educate those that may not understand the intensity some may endure internally of a panic attack. Power to all of you that are going through the anxiety journey. I’ve been there and every now and then, I still go there.
I decided to share our short film with ADAA because I always knew I needed to make something of my experience with anxiety. If someone out there finds this film useful to their life, XIETY has served its purpose as an educational tool.
Carlos Torres- Director, Writer, Editor, Colorist, and Sound Designer
Karen Torres- Director, Writer, Assistant Editor, Sound Designer, and Lead Actor (Val)
Jake Slonecker- Director of Photography
CutFocus (Production Company)