The mental illness monsters: Artist Toby Allen re-visualizes

OCD

Depression, Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia  Disassociative Identity Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Social Anxiety, Paranoia. (And above Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

The following eight mental illnesses bring much suffering to those who have them, as well as their friends, family, and lovers. Personality Disorders can either be cute quirks, or they can be down-right dangerous.

In this day and age, I think it is more than understandable that mental illness does exist. But seldom do we have images of what these disorders actually look like. We have descriptions in books, and of course we have the case-files. However, we don’t have the back stories, the “why?”s that have caused such suffering. Here, artist Tobey Allen has re-visualized what these eight disorders would look like if they were fantastical creatures (but aren’t they already?).

He has done this, not to make light of the situation, that mental illness affects us all, but simply hopes that through this project, he will make them more beatable and hopes that the stigma associated with these illnesses will be reduced.

Toby makes these common disorders more personable, more alive, and more vivid for others who may find it difficult to empathize and understand. He is also working on Sets of other Eight, and can be found on his tumblr page.

If you are struggling with any of these monsters, may you find the way out of their grips and into the arms of someone who loves you. May you break from their chains, and live a life worth living!

Namaste

The following article was written by Emma Innes, of the UK’s Daily Mail.

Depression has often been described as the black dog, but now one artist has taken a very different approach in visualising mental illness.

Toby Allen, a Cornish artist, has imagined what eight common mental illnesses would look like if they were monsters.

He drew what he believed anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, paranoia and dissociative identity disorder would look like as monsters.

Mr Allen's Depression monster is designed as one that floats around endlessly with its eyes covered to hide itself from the world. This monster wraps its liquid tail around its victim to share its depression with themMr Allen’s Depression monster is designed as one that floats around endlessly with its eyes covered to hide itself from the world. This monster wraps its liquid tail around its victim to share its depression with them

Mr Allen said: ‘The artwork is not at all intended to make light of these conditions but instead is intended to give these intangible mental illnesses some substance and make them appear more beatable as physical entities.’

He told Suvudo he hopes the drawings will help to reduce the stigma around mental illness and that they will help bring an element of humour and understanding to the conditions.

Mr Allen says he started by designing the Anxiety monster as anxiety is something familiar to him meaning he found the design came naturally.

He says he designed the monster to be small enough to sit on the victim’s shoulder and whisper things in their ear.

He explained that he made the monster a dark colour to reflect the oppressive feeling he associates with anxiety.

His Social Anxiety monster has pale anaemic-looking skin because it spends most of its life underground.

Mr Allen says he started by designing the Anxiety monster as anxiety is something familiar to him meaning he found the design came naturallyMr Allen says he started by designing the Anxiety monster as anxiety is something familiar to him meaning he found the design came naturally
The Avoidant Personality Disorder monster is similar to the Social Anxiety monster except that it prefers to live above ground, mainly hiding in trees. Mr Allen designed this monster with leaf-like wings to act as camouflage so it can hide from peopleThe Avoidant Personality Disorder monster is similar to the Social Anxiety monster except that it prefers to live above ground, mainly hiding in trees. Mr Allen designed this monster with leaf-like wings to act as camouflage so it can hide from people

Mr Allen also drew the monster with hard plates that act as a means of defence.

He says that the Avoidant Personality Disorder monster is similar to the Social Anxiety monster except that it prefers to live above ground, mainly hiding in trees.

He designed this monster with leaf-like wings to act as camouflage so it can hide from people around it.

The Borderline Personality Disorder monster Mr Allen describes as ‘the most delicate but perhaps the most sinister of monsters’.

Mr Allen's Schizophrenia monster is a 'vile creature' that manipulates its victims - it also uses hallucinogenic gases to control and influence othersMr Allen’s Schizophrenia monster is a ‘vile creature’ that manipulates its victims – it also uses hallucinogenic gases to control and influence others
Mr Allen's Dissociative Identity Disorder monster is able to alter its form into whatever it likes - it can change its physical form as well as taking on different personasMr Allen’s Dissociative Identity Disorder monster is able to alter its form into whatever it likes – it can change its physical form as well as taking on different personas

These creatures, he says, gather in swarms around their victims to heighten their emotions.

He designed this monster as made almost entirely of ice so that it is clear and invisible.

Mr Allen’s Schizophrenia monster is a ‘vile creature’ that manipulates its victims – it also uses hallucinogenic gases to control and influence others.

The Depression monster is designed as one that floats around endlessly with its eyes covered to hide itself from the world.

The Borderline Personality Disorder monster Mr Allen describes as 'the most delicate but perhaps the most sinister of monsters'The Borderline Personality Disorder monster Mr Allen describes as ‘the most delicate but perhaps the most sinister of monsters’
The Social Anxiety monster has pale anaemic-looking skin because it spends most of its life undergroundThe Social Anxiety monster has pale anaemic-looking skin because it spends most of its life underground

This monster wraps its liquid tail around its victim to share its depression with them.

At the same time, it also absorbs the victim’s positive energy.

Mr Allen’s Dissociative Identity Disorder monster is able to alter its form into whatever it likes – it can change its physical form as well as taking on different personas.

Finally, the Paranoia monster has long ears which it can use as radar to look for dangerous activity.

The Paranoia monster has long ears which it can use as radar to look for dangerous activityThe Paranoia monster has long ears which it can use as radar to look for dangerous activity

However, in reality, Mr Allen has designed the ears so that they are actually useless as they have curled cartilage and thick fur that confuses and muffles noise.

Mr Allen told Suvodu: ‘I have received so many wonderful messages from people who have one or many of the disorders I have drawn, each telling me how much the work means to them and how It has helped them to think about their condition in a different or more positive way.

‘It is such a joy to hear from people who really appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the project and I also received many requests from people that want me to draw their own “monster”.’

For more information about mental illness, visit www.mind.org.uk

About these ads

3 thoughts on “The mental illness monsters: Artist Toby Allen re-visualizes

  1. Pingback: Discussing Dissociation, Five Years Later | Trauma and Dissociation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s