Illustrator Naomi Romero creates 'the Anxiety Fox'

Do you know how, whenever your name is said, your "spidey senses" start tingling and, even if someone is talking about you across the room, your ears perk up?

That's started happening to me with the word "anxiety."

A few weeks ago, I was at my parents' house, watching WXYZ News. There was a story about the anime convention Youmacon.

"What's Youmacon?" my mom asked.

"It's like Comic Con...but for anime," I tried to explain. And then, all of the sudden, the reporter said the word "anxiety." And my head jerked around and my full attention was on the news.

Channel 7 Action News Reporter Jennifer Ann Wilson was interviewing Naomi Romero, an illustrator from Columbus, Ohio who has worked for Facebook, WeLoveFine, Nick Jr, Mass Animation, BOOM! Studios, Spark House, Bark Box, and more.

They were talking specifically about one of Naomi's characters — the Anxiety Fox.

Naomi told WXYZ, "I have really bad chronic anxiety, so, when I'm having an episode, I would doodle this little white fox over and over again on paper, and it would help calm me down. So, I would share these illustrations online, and I noticed that it would resonate with other people."

"It's nice to know that I'm not the only one suffering from this. ... It's not something you should be ashamed about."

And, boy, did people resonate with it! People often asked if she would create more products involving the sad little white fox. So, Naomi began a Kickstarter campaign to fund a stuffed animal version of her doodle. And, within four hours, it was fully funded. The total amount raised was $55,000! Almost seven times more than her original goal!

As someone who also suffers from anxiety attacks — while I would never wish them on anyone, it is comforting to know that so many people relate to what I'm going through. For me, I cope with my anxiety through writing this blog, while Naomi copes through her drawings. I spent so much of my life suffering in silence until I started publicly writing about it. Naomi's story has given me hope that a person can succeed in spite of, and maybe even because of, their anxiety. I always felt ashamed of my anxiety; I thought it held me back. But, the truth is, there are things I wouldn't have accomplished and people I wouldn't have helped if it wasn't for my anxiety. Just like, if it wasn't for Naomi's anxiety, she probably would never have created the "Anxiety Fox."

What I'm trying to say is this: You may have a mental or a physical illness and you may think of it as a weakness. You may be too self conscious to talk about it. But there's a community of people who are going through what you are going through and you are not alone. Maybe if you talk about it, you'll make others feel less alone too. And maybe, what you thought was your weakness may actually be your strength.

For more information about Naomi, visit

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