Documentary By Chris Kam Explores The Silent Struggles Of Anxiety, Touches Hearts  

Chris Cams Film On Anxiety Touches Hearts featured
  • Filmmaker Chris Kam ‘s film on anxiety is making the rounds for its nuanced portrayal of the chronic disorder.
  • Titled “The 30 Project,” the anxiety documentary aims to provide solace to people suffering from anxiety and panic disorders.

In June 2022, young filmmaker Chris Kam experienced his first panic attack while shopping at a camping store in Santa Rosa, California. The sudden disconnection from his surroundings, blurred vision, dizziness, and racing heart marked the beginning of his panic disorder.

At 19 years old, Kam held ambitious dreams of attending film school at Chapman University, but a previous rejection had left him determined to save money by working as a freelance photographer and videographer during the summer months. Unfortunately, the mounting pressure took its toll on him.

Unbeknownst to Kam, his plans for a camping trip turned into a downward spiral of severe panic attacks. Overwhelmed by fear, he found himself unable to leave his family’s home, immobilized by acute anxiety.

For an entire month, Kam’s world shrank to his couch, making even the simplest tasks, like brushing his teeth, a struggle. Seeking help, he sought guidance from multiple therapists until he found one who was a good fit. The road to recovery proved challenging and frightening.

Determined to improve, Kam began therapy sessions and embarked on exposure therapy, gradually exposing himself to anxiety-inducing situations. Starting with small steps, such as taking short walks to the end of his street accompanied by his father, Kam slowly built his confidence over the course of a month.

Chris Kam ‘s Film On Anxiety And Panic Attacks 

Driven by his love for landscape photography, Kam conceived “The 30 Project.” Throughout September, his goal was to visit a new location everyday, capturing a photograph while pushing his boundaries. Chris Kam ‘s film on anxiety eventually came to involve visiting nearby sites and then progressing to venture into more distant destinations each week—facing his anxiety head-on.

In the beginning, Kam lacked motivation and experienced hyperventilation during his initial car rides. However, he persisted, and as time went on, his anxiety gradually diminished.

By the seventh day, Kam drove 40 miles to the Sonoma Coast, experiencing a significant shift in his mindset. Immersed in the beauty of nature, he found solace and inspiration in the landscapes, gaining valuable perspective on his own life.

Despite encountering a setback in the form of a panic attack during one of his excursions, Kam remained resolute in completing the project. Refusing to give up, he adjusted his approach and continued his day trips along the coast.

On the 29th day, he traveled 157 miles to Newman, California, capturing a photo of hilly terrain. For his final destination, he journeyed 508 miles to the Cerro Gordo Mines.

Feeling a sense of lightness and peace, he realized that “The 30 Project” had profoundly transformed his life. Inspired to assist others facing mental health challenges, he created a documentary sharing his journey under the same name. Overcoming the fear of judgment and stigma, Chris Kam ‘s film on panic attacks and mental health issues aimed to provide solace and companionship to those feeling isolated in their struggles.

After a year of overcoming panic attacks and anxiety, Kam has made remarkable progress. While he still experiences anxiety, he has not had a panic attack since September.

On challenging days, Kam watches his documentary to remind himself of his capabilities and find hope in his own journey. He acknowledges the role of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication in his recovery.

As Kam prepares to attend film school, he reflects on his newfound strength and the opportunities he has embraced, including long-distance plane rides and speaking in front of crowds. He also hopes that his film will inspire others to seek the mental health assistance they need.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Kam said: “I didn’t want to open up because the stigma is so bad, [but] being open and vulnerable about my story was freeing … I realized that other people could get something out of this. I’m hoping people can watch the movie and feel less alone.”

Mental Health Topics (A-Z)

  •  Documentary By Chris Kam Explores The Silent Struggles Of Anxiety, Touches Hearts