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10+ Haunting Illustrations Of Mental Illnesses And Disorders

Mental illnesses and disorders have long since been undermined by society and even the medical world. Contrarily, art has always been the stead medium of people undergoing mental distress. The brainchild of artist, Toby Allen, he created a series to visualize what mental disorders actually feel like. Illnesses such as depression, anxiety and paranoia are depicted as monsters. The haunting illustrations he creates bring to light what most people suffer on a daily basis yet no one can physically witness.

Haunting Illustrations of Mental Disorders

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Social Anxiety monster spends most of its life underground or in secluded sheltered areas. Because of this their skin appears pale and anemic, apart from hard plates that serve as an unnecessary means of defence. They are from the same biological family as the anxiety and paranoia monsters but due to their extreme way of life they have evolved to look quite different.”

“The monster spends most of its time in hibernation but will project their auras into human hosts in the hope of living out the ordinary lives they can never have. In the process, the monster passes on its own anxieties to its victims so both monster and the human host similar irrational social fears and worries.”


Anxiety mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“Anxiety is small enough to sit on its victim’s shoulder and whisper things in to their unconscious, eliciting fearful thoughts and irrational worries. The anxiety monster is often seen as weak in comparison to others, but it is one of the most common and is very hard to get rid of. They often carry small objects linked to their victim’s anxieties such as clocks which represent a common but irrational fear of things that might never happen. No one has ever seen the face of the anxiety monster for it always wears a skull as a mask.”

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Image result for toby allen mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Avoidant Personality is similar to Social Anxiety but much smaller in size and prefers to be above ground. They spend most of their time hiding in trees, using their leaf-like wings to camouflage and hide from anyone or anything that is around them.”

“They have an unsightly appearance to ward off contact with other monsters, but are in fact gentle and kind creatures, having a delicate beauty about them that even the creature is mostly unaware of. They interact with their victims innocently, only wishing to be friendly, but they unintentionally pass off their own anxieties and fears to the victim, with contagious spores excreted from their tails.”

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder
Source: Toby Allen

“The Borderline Personality monster is one of the most delicate but perhaps the most sinister of monsters. They gather in small swarms around their victims and use pheromones to heighten the emotions of their victim before feeding upon the emotional energies. They feed upon any emotion but tend to favour feelings of depression. The monster is made almost completely of clear ice, rendering it invisible. Only the maple shaped leaf on its tail is visible to the naked eye and looks like a falling leaf. At times when the monster gorges itself too much on any given emotions, it can overwhelm them and they shatter like glass.”


Image result for toby allen mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Depression monster floats around endlessly, always covering his eyes to hide itself from the outside world. Because of this, it always bumps into people or other monsters causing more distress to itself each time. Its only relief is to wrap its fluid tail around a victim and share its depression with them. The victim is unaware of the monster but will register a heaviness and will develop a state of deep depression. Meanwhile the monster absorbs any positive emotions from its host until it has had its fill and moves onto another host.”


Schizophrenia mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Schizophrenia monster is a vile creature that manipulates its victims into doing its bidding. It uses hallucinogenic gases secreted from the pores on its underbelly to control and influence others to do what it wants. Its victims relate to the monster as a powerful and controlling voice inside their subconscious. It is often accompanied by other monsters such as Paranoia, with Schizophrenia taking up an authoritative role much like a mafia gang leader. They are rarely seen and like to hide in the shadows.”


Paranoia mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Paranoia monster uses its tall ears like a radar, scanning the area for any activity. In fact the monsters ears are almost useless due to the tight curled up cartilage and thick fur, so the sounds often get confused and muffled meaning Paranoia almost often hears the wrong thing, which it then passes onto its victim. They feed upon feelings of anxiety of fear that they unintentionally create within their victims and they work with other monsters such as Schizophrenia and Anxiety, of which they share a similar biology.”

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Dissociative Identity Monster (also known as multiple personality disorder) can be characterized by its ability to alter its form into whatever it likes. As well as changing itself physically, the creature also takes on different persons of itself each with their own personality. The Monster’s constantly altering form reflects its victims alternate personalities. If many different personalities exist, the monster and victim can become confused about their original identity and multiple persons can play out in the same form. No “DID” monster looks or acts the same as another.”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Image result for toby allen mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The post traumatic stress monsters were once part of a race of benevolent guardians who became corrupted by a painful and unknown malady. Left a twisted shell of their former selves, the monsters began to crave the intense rush of fear and trauma to dull their own pain much like a drug.”

“The monsters can be found stalking battlefields or lurking near traumatic events and natural disasters, feeding off the collective trauma and fear. They will then seek out individuals involved and stalk them, becoming a constant reminder of that pain. Victims are forced to relive the terrifying moment over and over again while the monster feeds on the destructive energy. The PTSD monster is part of the same family as the anxiety monster.”


Bipolar mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The bipolar monster is in fact two opposing consciousnesses fighting for control over one body. One consciousness expresses a constant state of mania, feeling very excitable and over-active, whole the other is forever in a low and depressive state. Usually, only one personality has control at any given time, while the dormant side fights to take over the body.”

“They use gaseous pheromones to dominate and attempt to take over their shared body, influencing anyone that is in close proximity to the monster and passing the dominant state over to the victim. The victim will then experience alternating states like the monster itself. This monster is extremely quick and agile, making it very difficult to identify.”

Sleep Disorder

Sleep Disorder mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

“The Sleeping Disorder Monster is a playful creature that never rests. It will seek out a playmate, or victim in the middle of the night and keep them awake to satiate its eternal boredom. Most often, the victim will get very little sleep, if any at all, stressing the victim and encouraging other monsters to join in with its games.”

“If the monster finds its playmate already asleep, it will become enraged and will play a variety of nasty or harmful tricks on its victim. It can induce nightmares or night terrors by burning incense from its tail. It can cause sleep apnoea by wrapping its tusk around the victim’s neck. It can even sit on various body parts to temporarily paralyse its unwilling playmates. These are just a few of the many tools at this monsters disposal.”

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

16 Haunting Illustrations Of Mental Illnesses And Disorders
“As a parasitic assassin, Anorexia Nervosa slowly kills its victims from the insdie. This monster is almost invisible, thanks to its translucent body, but it casts its shadow on those it inhabits, causing its victims to see a warped image of themselves. It manipulates and control its victims, convincing them to maintain a minimal body weight by restricting food intake and encouraging excessive exercise to lose what it perceives as extra weight.”

“The ultimate goal of Anorexia Nervosa is to make its victims destroy themselves through starvation and other health complications that arise due to its manipulation. The main powers of this monster are control and secrecy which cause its victims to try and hide their extreme habits. In order to defeat Anorexia Nervosa, its existence must be acknowledged, only then can its powers be rendered useless. It is common for Anorexia and Body Dysmorphia to work together.”

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

16 Haunting Illustrations Of Mental Illnesses And Disorders
“The selective mutism monster isn’t an inherently evil creature and is seen more as a mischievous scavenger. The monsters live in a loud and noisy community of fellow creatures, but are born without the natural ability to speak. To fit into their society, they steal voices and keep them in a hollowed out acorn that they wear around their necks. The monster can then speak by using the acorn much like a whistle.”

“They favour stealing the sweet and high-pitched sounding voices of children but will sometimes seek out more mature voices and try them out. They don’t usually keep hold of a voice for too long and will pass it back to its original owner in favour of a new, fresh sounding one.”


Misophonia mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

16 Haunting Illustrations Of Mental Illnesses And Disorders
“This small and seemingly harmless monster, Misophonia just wants to cause annoyance or feelings of disgust and anger. With its large dome-like ears, it picks up on certain sounds, like slurping, crunching, tapping or even breathing and reflects them into the ears of its victims. These intense, amplified sounds can cause the receiver to react irrationally and cause fight or flight symptoms such as sweating muscle tension and an increased heartbeat. It can also gather visual stimuli with its specially-patterned wings, and then heighten the reaction of its victims by mimicking the movement.

“Misophonia can encourage its victims to become more and more secluded, forcing them to actively avoid places or events where this plethora of sounds or even images can occur.”

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

16 Haunting Illustrations Of Mental Illnesses And Disorders
“The obsessive compulsive monster is a crueal and manipulative puppeteer that uses fear to control its victims. It repeatedly pounds its staff on the ground and uses its patterned feathers and many eyes to hypnotise its victim, creating intense and frightening obsessions often linked to the safety of themselves or people close to the,. Victims develop compulsions to carry out repetitive tasks or mental acts to prevent the obsession from coming true or to attempt to temporarily reduce the fear.”

“The monster is almost never seen but its presence is almost always there. Anxiety and Depression monsters are often used by the OCD monster to keep a hold on its victim.”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder mental illnesses
Source: Toby Allen

16 Haunting Illustrations Of Mental Illnesses And Disorders
“As a master of deception, Body Dysmorphic Disorder loves to work in concert with other monsters such as OCD. Anxiety and Anorexia, amplifying their effects. With Broken glass-like shards on its abdomen, it acts like a distorted mirror, reflecting a flase view of whoever looks into its reflective surface. This mirrored monster then weaves a web to trap its victim like a spider, and slowly eats away at their self-esteem and overall well being.”

“This causes the victim to become increasingly worried or preoccupied about a particular part of their body or overall appearance. They begin to believe that their distorted distorted version is the truth. Victims will often try to conceal what they think is a defect, or worse, actively seek to change it themselves.”

The next time you feel like mental illnesses or disorders are “in someone’s head” only, remember this creative haunting illustration series. There is far more to the world than what can be physically observed and viewed. Reach out to your friends and family who suffer from these disorders and learn to pick on the sign early on. It is never too late to save a friend trapped in the grip of a monster.

About Ghada Ibrahim

Student, blogger, graphic designer and aspiring cook, Ghada enjoys writing and researching in her spare time.