A KENDAL woman who has spent years suffering from anxiety has utilised her own experience to create an awareness raising comic.

Nicole Bates, who co-hosts the Comic Art Festival podcast with partner Ian Loxam, is the illustrator and writer of 'Anxiety Me'.

"I think I was born anxious," she said. "I've always been an anxious person. I was bullied a lot when I was young and I think that sets you up as a bit more tentative about life.

"I've always thought you've got to keep going. You may feel really anxious but otherwise you don't experience life, so I've always tried to push myself."

The comic is largely wordless, offering a look through Nicole's watercolour pictures of what anxiety feels like to her.

Her decision to draw it came in part through her work on the podcast, which often involves herself and Ian interviewing comic artists and writers.

"Because we interview so many creators we thought let's try it ourselves and then we can see the whole process from start to finish," she said. "And then we'll have a little bit more insight when we're talking to people.

"I just started painting and it seemed to evolve on the page and I just ran with it."

Nicole said that she hopes the story will help people to empathise with those with anxiety.

"To be more understanding of what goes on when someone is having an anxious moment," she said. "That you feel so lost even though you've got people around you that love you and that it's like a spiral that keeps repeating. But each time, you hopefully get a little bit stronger."

The comic is available as a PDF at www.nikkidraws.pictures and will soon be available as a physical release.