HEALTHY LIVING
08/26/2015 12:58 pm ET | Updated Sep 16, 2015

If Mental Illnesses Were Monsters, This Is What They'd Look Like

"I want to make people aware of how damaging these illnesses are."

Mental illness is an intangible thing that can be all but impenetrable to those who don't experience it.

That's why the U.K.-based artist Toby Allen decided to draw different mental illnesses as monsters, as a way of helping himself and ultimately others. 

"The project originated from imagining my own anxieties as monsters and finding it to be a cathartic and healing process to draw them," Allen told The Huffington Post in an email. "It made them feel weaker and I was able to look at my own anxiety in a comical way. I wanted to expand upon this idea and draw other representations of mental illnesses that could help people in the same way it helped me."

Allen's "Real Monsters" series is a collection of illustrations that anthropomorphize mental illnesses like depression, schizophreniaand body dysmorphic disorder.

Toby Allen

"I hoped to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren't taken seriously," he said. "I want to make people aware of how damaging these illnesses are and how much of a burden they can be to those who suffer from them. The project also highlights conditions that some people may have never even heard of, so the work aims to raise awareness for these. I hope that people can relate to the work and that it helps them to see their illness in a different light, make it appear more manageable."

Allen said the response to his work has been hugely positive thanks to its presence on Tumblr. He first started sharing the images in 2013. 

"I have received so many wonderful messages from people who live with one or many of the disorders I have drawn," he said, "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."

  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings
  • Toby Allen/zestydoesthings

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