Halle Fowler

Traffic Lights

I have been debating with myself about whether I should make this post or not. It felt too personal or too weird to have out in the public, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that sharing this project with you guys would help me get the experience off my chest. I have been consciously open with my audience about my anxiety and the way it affects me and my work, and you guys know how much I care about normalising mental health and self-care for young people.

So… Ever since we went into lockdown my anxiety has been going wild, and I know I’m not alone; there have been more than enough Buzzfeed compilations of funny tweets of people feeling the same way, I don’t even think I’m ready to talk about Tik Tok right now. I was almost getting used to the feeling of sensory sensitivity and panic that settle over me every time my brain starts getting anxious. This felt like the new normal and I was powerless against not only this pandemic but also against my own mental state, which is never a healthy headspace to live in.

Last Tuesday after I logged off from my last zoom meeting for the day about the pre-production of a project that has been shelved for the right now and I could feel my body start to tense up. I know my anxiety well enough at this point that I have a game plan to hold back full-blown panic attacks. I rugged myself up burrito style in my duvet, turned my lights off and just focused on my breathing, and keeping my thoughts in the present. Then this anxiety manifests a new way.

I was looking out my window, my eyes blurring in and out of focus, creating splotches of colour of the lights on my street, when I began to hear voices very faintly. The sensation you sometimes have in dreams of not being to see or hear clearly but knowing with absolute certainty what things are. The street lights spoke to one another in words I couldn’t understand and couldn’t block out with a pillow over my ears. I knew it wasn't a dream, but it felt too real to be anything else.

I still feel uneasy about it but couldn’t help but turn this episode into something to help explain. Describing it in words isn’t enough. I made this short clip to try and articulate the experience in the hopes that sharing with you guys will bring us together.


12:14pm 19/4/2020 | AaliaB94

“A similar thing happened to me at a rave once. I was watching colours sprout out of the speaker in these big waves I guess and I couldn’t stop. I stood there all night. The security guard came over and turned it around because he was worried about me going deaf I think...”

hey what are you doing?

JACKSN2047 | 6:39pm 19/4/2020

“I was watching a movie and there was this scene of a helicopter landing in slow mo tion, but as the movie went on, everything was still in slow motion and I thought it was editing issue or a pro blem with my computer”


elodiewilder4 | 2:04am 20/4/2020

“A frie nd and I once saw the shallow water as the galaxy of space and we were like walking in spa ce but upside down and ea rth was below us...And then I saw the nun face in the darkness...”

6:39pm 21/4/2020 | quiNnE

“The sky look ed like that mesh sky in the hunger games and it was like wow it’s like we’re in a simu lation”

liv.nguyen.934 | 7:26pm 21/4/2020

“I was just watchi ng from across the room and sud denly these two people seem ed to swap features, like their hair?”

4:32am 22/4/2020 | eddiestaffwd96

“sa w a face morp hing into syd the slo th”

c0bycla4 | 12:03pm 22/4/2020

“i got abd ucted by friendly aliens and i w as so certa in that th ey were friendly like we wer e chill mates and the y weren’t gonna probe my ass ha hah”

4:32am 23/4/2020 | Mike.Conley.42u0

“I have PTSD and o ccasionally get fla shbac ks, it’s an out of bo dy expe rience when I do... You see you rself and wh at you were do ing like a bird s eye view of the event and yo u can’t see or he ar anythi ng that’s happ ening in re al life around you. People around you don’t notice u ntil they ask yo u a question or something an d you don’t respond.”

nicol4MNTYA | 1:42pm 23/4/2020

“I sleepwa lked out into the living room and put on ABC 3 at 2 in the morning, I wasn’t looking at it but I sa w in the kitchen a green fl oaty glo wing thing that fad ed into the ro om and travelled arou nd the cor ner”

4:32am24/4/2020 | KiaRobinson

ivy1837u | 11:16am 24/4/2020

“I was ha ving a bad trip and this eastern drag on suddenly appea red ou t of no where. It was ma de fro m smoke and dust and y et it seemed friendly. Fly ing in and out of the wooden beams of the housesta ying with me and pr otecting me that nig ht. Thiswas one of them ost vivid exp erien ces I had!”

4:16pm 24/4/2020 | renae_cantu_

“This hap pened while I was ridi ng a school b us when I wa sa ch ild. Wh enI sat down, my elbo ws hit the metal win dowhard. I clo sed myeyes. The n I opened them. I w ent back tobedro om an d Idid n’t knowhow to enter My brot hercam e into th e roomand told me to get up My eye s wereheavy andIclo sed myeyes Ista rted listening to thechi ldren talki ngand then I ope ned themagain and I bac k on the bus."

rianna0bri4n | 9:35pm 24/4/2020

“When m yfrie nd and I we revery t all, his fac estar ted to mel t, espe cial ly hi seyes, whic hwereso s ure.”

11:24pm 24/4/2020 | maxoneill48

“I am su ffe rin g from de p ress ion and an xie ty, and I am taki ng me dic atio n. I fi nd that so me times I find unsc ent ed sm ells, and ev en wh en peo ple are empty in the ho use, I hear peo ple tal king in o the r ro o ms.”

10:14am 25/4/2020 | lila_ALL3N

“I used tofe el thi ngscra wlin g up m ybac k an d ne ck. Itw aslike bu gscraw ling,scra tc hi ng und er you r skinin pla cesyou c an’t reach. So unp le as ant.”

jon.cohen.james4 | 8:32pm 25/4/2020

“Fee lingthe gro undcollap se at one’sfe et is one ofthe m ostvivid ex pe riences I have”

11:19am 26/4/2020 | IVANFLLW294

“L ik e @rian na0b ri4n saw me lti ng face s I once saw th e walls m elting aro un d me, like the paint was wet and wa s sli din g of f th e wa lls infi ni te ly.”

4eleanor.harris4 | 12:42pm 26/4/2020

“My br oth erhas schizophrenia. Mo st of him su ffer fr om aud i tory ha ll ucin ations.One par ticularthi ng is to he artraf f ic lights / str ee tsta lk ingto hi m.”

7:36pm 26/4/2020 | IVANFLLW294

“when I first experience withdrawals, I would often hear things that weren’t there. I remember hearing ambulance sirens circling around my house, or sometimes I would hear advertisements or jingles playing too.”

maxchoi_12 | 11:15pm 26/4/2020

“On ceu pon a TiMe ther Ewas A mag icAlcha racte r and wHere Iwas 0nt He win g,the re wou lDh av e bE en.”