Toby Allen/Real Monsters

See How This Artist Turned Mental Health 'Monsters' Into Magic

Artist Toby Allen's drawings take on everything from anxiety to anorexia.

Anxiety is... this thing. You can't always explain what it feels like, or describe how it looks inside your head or even understand why it makes you feel the way it does. But for millions of people it's totally real and sometimes really scary.

But what if you could draw what anxiety felt like, or depression or PTSD? English illustrator Toby Allen asked himself that question and his solution was "Real Monsters," a series of 16 amazing illustrations that try to put a face on mental illness by turning a variety of disorders into not-so-terrifying beasts.

"I hope to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren’t taken as seriously as they should," Allen writes on the site. "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."

Allen told MTV News that the descriptions and designs are all based on "intense and thorough" research of case studies or discussions with people he knows who have the conditions. "I try to think what it's like the live with it myself," he said, adding that a number of mental health professionals have complimented his work. "I have anxiety so I already have some idea of what's it's like to live with one of these monsters, and often it's very easy to emphasize with these stories."

He also takes inspiration from mythology and folklore in an attempt to use universal themes that people might recognize. Allen plans to releases another set of 8 monsters in the future and collect all 24 in a book.

Here are a few of Toby's drawings:

Anxiety

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Depression

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Paranoia

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Social Anxiety

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Sleep Disorder

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Anorexia Nervosa

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

Bipolar

Toby Allen/Real Monsters

To see all of Allen's illustrations, click here.