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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 February 18, 2019

                                    Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

                                    Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

                                    The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

                                    If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

                                    The Need for Change

                                    Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

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                                    We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

                                    Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

                                    This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

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                                      Signs It’s Time to Redefine

                                      “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

                                      So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

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                                      In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

                                      “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

                                      The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

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                                      When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

                                      Aronld in Predator

                                        Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

                                        And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

                                        Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

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