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.
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.
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. 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.
Here’s what social networks say about this:
Lisa Garcia-Payne I have always enjoyed working with schizophrenic patients. While I wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone, I have found that many have really amazing talents and are very intelligent. She is a beautiful young woman.
Celine Tan Hwee Min Big bear hugs…thank you for sharing what’s in your mind and what you’re experiencing and educating those who have no inkling or are too self absorbed in their own world to care. So glad you have art as an outlet to express yourself. Keep up the fight to stay well!!
Laurie Notoriano Love how you can put how you see things in your art ,which is awesome by the way, it is a good way to show people what your struggles are. Schizophrenia is not talked about much and when it is its vague. This helps put things into perspective from someone firs hand. Thank you for educating us. Stay strong💖
Liew Cheng Yeh (no offense or insult intended)
Hope she sees better day than bad ones…
i’m no doctor or psychologist, but i can tell you this… it’s not fun having to take big and small pills all day, just to make a sickness/symptom under control…
Agnes Majeed You’re beautiful, artistic and articulate. You sharing your story and drawings with the world is very beneficial to help others diagnosed with the same illness. Wishing you bright days ahead!
Gordon Barnes The shame is people instantly think jeckal and hyde when in fact so often its nice guy and decent bloke or decent girl and sweet young lady ok some go a bit or lot bad but normally any i known you can hardly tell if the person is with friends it only gets to be a problem if they get messed about . And i agree its brave to show people what is going on in your head it is bound to make plenty of people freek out and think oh no they are dangerous fact is its likely they have nightmares and see themselves in the pictures i have seen things like that i must be mad is going through there heads . I have had some pretty odd things in my mind but doesn’t make me bad fear is the problem and horror movies dont help matters painting people as nice then suddenly killers its sad taking advantage
Carlo Gonzales Dominguez Why is it that people who have disorder tend to be good in art while some people who need the talent in their profession are having an hard time to create a masterpiece like this? I hope I have a talent like her and I must say, she is a very exceptional and brilliant woman.😊👍👍
Angela Layman Brave young lady to share these details of her life with the public. I wish her the best. Keep being you, I’m sure you are helping lots of people by sharing your story.
Desmond Ghanem This is so dope. It’s so very sad that some of the most amazing art comes from those so tortured. Like Cat Power — I mean, such amazing music, but the very same diagnosis and torment. All the same, you are inspired and I’m impressed with the way you’ve expressed your outlet.