Anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder and depression are just a few of the most common mental illnesses humans suffer from. UK-based artist Toby Allen is using his artwork to shed light on these illnesses in hopes of making them more manageable.
Allen illustrates mental illnesses as monsters, each complete with a short guide describing what these monsters are capable of. Allen wrote in an email to Huffington Post, “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 idea started as a coping mechanism for Allen, and has since turned into an entire collection of monsters we have all encountered one too many times.
“The project originated from imagining my own anxieties as monsters and finding it to be a cathartic and healing process to draw them. It made them feel weaker and I was able to look at my own anxiety in a comical way.”
Allen hopes his “Real Monsters” series helps others as much as it has helped him. He said, “I hope it helps [people] see their illness in a different light, make it appear more manageable.”
Allen’s Tumblr account has helped him share his collection of Real Monsters with the world, and the response has been hugely positive. “I have received so many wonderful messages from people who live with 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.”