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photo Secret Fear
By Eva Orner and Sarah Stephens

From Oscar-winning producer Eva Orner (Taxi to the Dark Side), this multi-faceted documentary explores the full spectrum of anxiety-related disorders, from panic attacks and phobias to obsessive compulsive disorder. Everyone experiences anxiety at some stage in their lives, but for an estimated ten percent of the population, anxiety will become debilitating to the point of illness. Many may believe that they are on the verge of insanity, while others try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. In many cases anxiety disorders may lead to depression and some victims come to believe that suicide is the only escape. This documentary focuses on the lives of several people who suffer from or have recovered from disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, phobias such as agoraphobia, social phobia, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, compulsive hoarding, cutting or other self-injury, compulsive hair pulling, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

In addition to the firsthand accounts of a thoughtful and appealing group of anxiety “survivors,” the documentary uses expressive imagery and reenactments which bring the trauma of these personal experiences into vivid reality for viewers. In pursuit of recovery, they have explored conventional medical approaches as well as Tai Chi, medication and other alternative approaches. Many have benefited from cognitive behavioral therapy. The film provides no neat answers, but invites understanding of these often underestimated disorders.

52 minutes
© 1997
Purchase $225 DVD
Order No. QA-501
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-501-5

Reviews
“An enthralling film...although there are no neat solutions, there is hope through the stories of people who have found a way through.” Sydney Morning Herald

Awards & Conference Screenings
Certificate of Creative Excellence,
U.S. International Film & Video Festival

Related Films
Drawing From Life: A half-hour film that goes inside a group therapy workshop for people who have attempted suicide more than once.

Panic Attack: The filmmaker uses time-lapse photography, stop-motion animation, and creative sound design to convey the emotions associated with the experience of panic attacks.

Twitch and Shout: People with the sometimes startling symptoms of Tourette Syndrome contend with a society which often sees them as crazy, and with bodies and minds that won't always do what they're told.

Good Days, Bad Days: This intimate documentary profiles several individuals who love and support someone who is struggling with mental illness, examining the profound impact that these disorders can have on other family members.

Meds: People with mental illnesses discuss the positive and negative impact of their psychiatric medications.

Working Like Crazy: Once labeled "unemployable," these psychiatric survivors work and run businesses where they can make a living, rebuild their lives, connect with others, and contribute to society.


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