I Was Diagnosed With Schizophrenia At The Age Of 17, So I Started Drawing My Hallucinations To Cope With It

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    I have always been an ‘artist’, I just didn’t realize what that meant until my mental illness appeared. I despise the term ‘mentally ill’; it implies that who I am as a person is fundamentally corrupted and broken.

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    Unfortunately, as soon as I tell people what I struggle with, I feel like that’s all they see me as. They see the stigma perpetuated by the media, and the inaccurate stereotypes portrayed in Hollywood. That is precisely why I am so open about what I live with.

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    My name is Kate and I’m an 18-year-old artist with schizophrenia

    I’ve been ‘diagnosed’ with multiple labels over the years. At the age of 17 I finally was diagnosed with schizophrenia after my parents realized my mental health was getting worse

    I draw a lot of my hallucinations as drawing helps me deal with it

    In my hallucinations I hear voices, sound effects, random noises, and I often see bugs, faces, and disembodied eyes

    Inanimate objects will look like a Van Gogh painting: warped and swirly.

    I hallucinate bugs quite often, and my depression makes me feel worthless like a fly. These bug illustrations represent my illness

    This is a quote by an artist named Jory, and it was something that spoke to me.

    This one crawls out of the vent in my ceiling and makes clicking noises, or I’ll see it crawl out from underneath things

    This is a self-portrait. I looked in the mirror and my eyes did this thing. I painted it

    I have a lot of intense emotions, and hear voices telling me to light things on fire

    Here is an example of the disembodied eyes I see. They surface in a mounds or masses on my walls or floors. They warp and move.

    This is Birdie, she sings to me

    My self esteem is at its lowest, and I feel insignificant. I always wish I could shapeshift into a “prettier” person

    What eyes sometimes look like, with more of those odd colors and circles

    Organization, communication, paranoia, depression, anxiety, and managing my emotions are the biggest struggles for me

    What I live with isn’t easy and it can be debilitating, but I’m not living out on the streets screaming about alien abductions. That’s not to say there aren’t people out there who are that severe – there are. However, there are also people like me who just stay at home most of the time cooped up in their room. It is a spectrum of symptoms with varying severity levels. Each person’s experience is unique.

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