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Artist Suffering From Anxiety Shows What Mental Illnesses Would Look Like as Monsters

Artist Suffering From Anxiety Shows What Mental Illnesses Would Look Like as Monsters

Let’s be honest: mental illness is not a conversation topic people want to address. If someone gets cancer, undergoes a heart transplant, or falls sick with the flu, people see it, understand it, emphasize with it, and are compassionate. Yet when someone has a mental illness, people don’t “get it.”

Illustrator Toby Allen wishes to change that. From anxiety to bipolar disorder, Allen puts a face to these illnesses and shows the world just how tangible—and haunting—they can be.

Allen’s “Real Monsters” series is a collection of illustrations that anthropomorphize mental illnesses like depression, social anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia. He hopes his art will raise awareness to those who are unfamiliar with mental illness, and offer some relief and encouragement to those who are suffering.

“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. “It made them feel weaker and I was able to look at my own anxiety in a comical way.”

Right click on any photo below to view large scale.

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    “I hope to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren’t taken as seriously as they should.”

    —Toby Allen

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          “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.”

          —Toby Allen

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                “The project highlights conditions that some people may have never even heard of, so the work aims to raise awareness for these.”

                —Toby Allen

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                      “Yes, I have Anxiety. It affects me every day of my life and can be a real burden but I have learnt how to keep it mostly at bay.”

                      —Toby Allen

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                            “As for the other mental illnesses in the series, I either know someone who is personally effected by the illness or am very familiar with it because it is something that I find interesting to research.”

                            —Toby Allen

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                                    “I research each illness extensively to be able to create a design that works for most people. I try to research real life case studies and incorporate people’s first hand experience into each designI have a list of illnesses that I would like to tackle.”

                                    —Toby Allen

                                    Check Toby Allen’s page for new “Real Monsters” artwork and help share awareness.

                                    Featured photo credit: Anxiety/Toby Allen 2013 via zestydoesthings.tumblr.com

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                                    Last Updated on October 14, 2019

                                    12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

                                    12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

                                    The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

                                    People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

                                    1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

                                    It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

                                    2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

                                    Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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                                    3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

                                    Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

                                    4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

                                    David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

                                    5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

                                    If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

                                    6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

                                    Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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                                    7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

                                    Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

                                    8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

                                    We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

                                    9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

                                    Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

                                    10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

                                    We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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                                    11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

                                    Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

                                    12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

                                    You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

                                    Final thoughts

                                    Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

                                    All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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                                    If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

                                    You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

                                    At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

                                    Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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