Borderline Personality Disorder,  Emotions,  Other Disorders

The mental illness monsters: Artist visualizes what illnesses would look like if they were mythical creatures

Toby Allen says the monsters are not meant to make light of the conditions. He hopes that by giving them a physical form, he will make them seem more beatable – also hopes they will reduce stigma around mental illness.

The BPD Beast according to Toby Allen
The BPD Beast according to Toby Allen

The mental illness monsters: Artist visualizes what illnesses would look like if they were mythical creatures


PUBLISHED: 11:44 EST, 8 October 2013

Toby Allen, a Cornish artist, has imagined what eight common mental illnesses would look like if they were monsters.

He drew what he believed anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, paranoia and dissociative identity disorder would look like as monsters.

Depression has often been described as the black dog, but now one artist has taken a very different approach in visualizing mental illness.

Mr Allen said: ‘The artwork is not at all intended to make light of these conditions but instead is intended to give these intangible mental illnesses some substance and make them appear more beatable as physical entities.’

He told Suvudo he hopes the drawings will help to reduce the stigma around mental illness and that they will help bring an element of humor and understanding to the conditions.

Mr Allen says he started by designing the Anxiety monster as anxiety is something familiar to him meaning he found the design came naturally.

Read the Article at Daily Mail Site

View Toby Allen’s Visual Blog at Tumblr

Note from Bon: Not sure how the people with borderline personality disorder are going to like the first paragraph in his description! It sort of describes an emotional vampire and speaks to the perceived stigma and notions from those around people with BPD. These are the very notions that I try to unwind in my books and on this blog.




  • Caz

    This is RUBBISH. A BPD’s pain represented by a blue moose with autumn leaves next to it?!! WTH? A BPD’s pain would be pictured as worse than the most grotesque twisted evil icon on earth, with arrows and bullets aimed at it for a clean kill.Don’t people without BPD claim to know how it feels as it is indescribably insufferable. Why do you think most people with BPD kill THEMSELVES?

  • Caz

    And how does visualising one person’s idea of a BPD “image” make BPD beatable??! BPD isn’t a ridiculous mythical creature it’s a real live fuck up. It’s a life curse caused by your childhood abusers and neglecting carers. Looking at your paintings, Toby Allen, does not heal me I’m afraid. You make far too light of what causes at least 1 in ten of every sufferer KILL themselves coz of their pain and aloneness. I take these images as an attention seek from an ignoramous.

  • Coral Giffin

    I am a watercolour and ink artist who is diagnosed with BPD, MDD, PTSD and I have aspergers traits. A tip or two about colour from someone who sees both sides of the coin.
    1. MDD when it is active leaches every colour out of the whole world around me. Out of everything. I can no longer perceive it like fading from sepia, to grey to black. Don’t worry when I am well I paint in glorious colour heightened because of my aspie traits. I see it, feel it and use it because the symptoms of my depression are NOT active. MDD brings no colour into my life. I do when I am well.
    2 BPD is not, has not and never will be a moose ok. When my symptoms peak and a meltdown occurs, a rabid howling banshee crossed with a wolf tears out though my chest and starts slicing into everything and everyone that is important to me. Until I drag it back handful by growling snapping handful and stuff it back into my own chest to feed on my flesh before being crammed back inside my body shuddering and whimpering all the way. OK. The horns blew it. 15yrs of therapy CBT and DBT have no connection to a moose.
    3 PTSD well the colour deep purple is useful but I feel you have not the needed complexity yet to delve into the rapid shift rate, besides you aren’t wearing an alfoil hat and I haven’t seen a potato in three days. Not to mention that anyone drawing or painting PTSD would be required to be qualified in agent orange and other useful traumatic experiences and we would have to kill them to stop the others from coming after us.
    4 Most of us living with mental health diagnosis are very big on black. Black dog, black mood, black hair, black eyeliner and lipstick. And the big black one that is really useful is of course Black humour. Whimsical is fine, colourful is fun but humour should contain black elements. Otherwise what was intended to soothe and distract us has actually invalidated some of what is us. Paint funky pictures and continue to entertain us and brighten spaces around us. But don’t name your pets after what we wrestle with. It demeans and hurts us.

  • Caz

    I mean, what the hell? How is a blue moose head with a tail leading to a red leaf representative of the agony of BPD?Does Toby Allen have BPD? (Because no-one knows how it really feels unless they have it coz the pain is to intensely inexplicable)How is a picture like this gonna relieve pain?How does it help BPD sufferers “beat” it?! How does it make the illness less controversial and “reduce the stigma”?It makes it into a laughable children’s fairy tale.A comic strip idea.

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