It’s with a broken heart that I write to you today, to let you know that this month is Anxy’s last.
For the past few years, I’ve been running Anxy as an internal project within my consulting practice. It started as something I could take on twice a year, alongside other client work. As the magazine grew in readership and we gained further recognition for our work, I increasingly felt like I was running two very different types of businesses. I downsized my studio and explored what it would take to commit full-time to Anxy. In May, I took a break from the magazine to reflect and recalibrate the possibilities for our brand and our community. I wanted to explore the question, can Anxy be more than a personal passion project? More than a print magazine?
Anxy already gave voice to a global community seeking deeper meaning from our life experiences. What would it take for us to go further, to become a multi-channel brand — the voice of the mental wellness movement? I started envisioning an Anxy that included regular online content, a podcast, and a yearly conference where we could meet IRL. I dreamed of creating an Anxy app that provided another layer of storytelling and psychoeducation. In my wildest ambitions, I imagined Anxy wellness and self-care products, as well as Anxy documentaries and TV.
All of this necessitated significant outside capital, of course. We couldn’t accelerate our momentum without a full-time editorial, product, and design team. Thus far, we’ve been mostly crowdfunded, money that’s helped cover some of the magazine production costs, but hasn’t been enough to support the team behind the magazine. I started conversations with advisors and friends about how to approach VCs, built a pitch deck, and mapped our potential trajectory and growth goals. I got feedback, made revisions, got more feedback, and continued to refine our pitch further.
I did my best to present the untapped potential of Anxy. None of the conversations led to funding. While being a print publication was a strength for us, for investors, it was a limitation. They wanted to see a digital product, with low cost and high profitability, something able to scale exponentially and show deep traction. It made me wonder if, in the end, our truth is more art than commerce.
It’s also no mystery that media is becoming almost impossible to fund. In the last year, we’ve seen the closure or scaling-down of some of our favorite publications. Advertising is no longer a viable revenue source. We are left to witness the real-time restructuring of media business models.
Grief has filled my last few months as I’ve run out of runway to explore Anxy’s future any further. But this ending is bittersweet. In my heart, I know the impact of the work we’ve done and the legacy we leave behind.
We started this project in 2016, before the #metoo movement gained momentum, before the current president took office, before it was so commonplace to share without shame what’s really going on in our lives. Anxy has demonstrated that addressing an audience through vulnerability and creativity is significantly more effective than communication strategies focused on pathology. We’ve become a shining example of the power of storytelling, art, and design as vehicles for meaningful conversations about mental health.
I’m proud that we created a new entry point for thinking about mental wellness through our magazine. Regardless of culture, language, or distance, readers connected with and felt seen through our stories. Anxy was a genuine manifestation of the deeply personal becoming universal. It became a place for expression, for beauty, and for me to better understand myself and release the pain I was carrying. Anxy was the place I wish I could always go to. Anxy is the project I now have to let go.
Officially, we will be closing our operations in November. We won’t be releasing new issues. Our shop will remain open for the foreseeable future, until we’ve run out of inventory. We will continue to activate our social channels, as needed, to share promotions, articles, and help sell our leftover stock.
I’ll be reaching out to those of you with open subscriptions about your options to receive refunds or to use remaining subscription funds in our shop. We will continue to work with our stockists to make our issues available until we run out of copies.
I feel deeply grateful to have been involved in this project. There are so many people I need to thank for their generosity and grace in making Anxy possible.
First of all, a huge thanks to our editorial team, starting with Bobbie Johnson, who has been an advocate and collaborator since I first shared the idea with him. To Jennifer Maerz and Sarah Rich, who advised me early on and provided me with encouragement and wisdom. To Maddie Kahn, Katie MacBride, and Michelle Le, who brought their talent and voices to Anxy and made the magazine richer in return. To Kati Krause, who brought us stories with a global point of view and didn’t care that we were hundreds of miles apart.
To the design and operations staff: Alma Avila, Livia Foldes, Rachel Gepner, Sonja Murphy, Ian Siverstol, Jeannine Ventura, Nicholas Law, who weathered all the storms, bringing their creativity and love for design into this endeavor. And to our advisors, Natalie Harvey, LMFT, and Natasha Vienna, for providing perspective. I owe a deep, special thanks to Natasha for her involvement in the last 6 months, helping me navigate the investor landscape and working closely with me to imagine our possible futures. I’m forever grateful, in that same token to MM, HW, ZB, and CE (you know who you are!), who made themselves available in this process without asking anything in return.
Last, I want to thank every backer, every family member, every friend, every friend of a friend, every online customer, every single person who shared their Anxy with us. We couldn’t exist without your love. It was absolutely a community effort. The awards and accolades are just a signifier of the impact we’ve created together. We see you and acknowledge your contribution to creating this legacy.
I couldn’t close without mentioning my partner, Jason, to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude for his patience, support, and understanding throughout this journey. He has witnessed every struggle, and held my hand through it all. He lent his talent generously, whether it was for the cover design of issue №1, the voiceovers in our videos, or the animation for our Kickstarters — you name it, he was there. Even in the darkest moments, he allowed me to find my own way, without demands. Love is healing, Jason, and you are a testament to that fact. ❤
Our personal truth changes as our story evolves. There’s no doubt that this year has been one of fundamental transition. A shift towards shedding layers. I have yet to fully discover what remains.
People often ask me why I created Anxy. For the past three years, I have answered that I wanted to find other stories like mine. I wanted us to be honest about all the painful experiences we confront in our lives. It felt good to create something real for a cause I care deeply about.
If someone were to ask me again today, I would say I created Anxy because I was longing for relief from a deep sense of loneliness. Loneliness that only a lifetime of feeling invisible can manifest. I created Anxy for the times I wished someone would have been there, would have seen me, would have witnessed my suffering, would have shared their struggle, and would have protected me.
I feel honored to have been held by all of you.