Schizophrenia is a terrible brain disorder to live with.
Symptoms can include everything from hearing voices, to abnormal social behaviors, and losing touch with reality.
There is no doubt that people living with schizophrenia have it hard. In fact, more than half of those diagnosed with this condition also struggle with substance abuse as a means to cope.
But there are some who have turned to something far less harmful to cope with their condition: ART.
The following pieces were created by people who live with schizophrenia. While some of them may be disturbing to look at, for their creators these works help to visualize the unrest in their heads. This makes the harsh consistency of their thoughts a little more bearable.
1. “Electricity Makes You Float” by Karen Blair
2. Notice the variety of moods, the cyst-like creatures growing out of this man’s head, representative of the confusion schizophrenia can sometimes bring.
3. These two photos were done by an unknown schizophrenic artist trying to capture the abstract nightmare of his thoughts.
4. This does look like a nightmare.
5. This insanely intricate drawing was done by Edmund Monsiel, an artist in the early 1900’s believed to have been suffering from schizophrenia.
6. This drawing was found in an old asylum, its artist was a paranoid schizophrenic.
7. A nefarious depiction of the affliction by Erik Baumann.
8. In 1950, Charles Steffen began compulsively making art like this on wrapping paper from inside a mental hospital. His obsession with transformation is very clear.
9. This artist suffers from a rare case of paranoid schizophrenia that causes him to have visual hallucinations. One of these visions is a figure named “Wither,” shown below.
10. Spooky, strange, but probably an accurate portrayal of what schizophrenia feels like on the inside.
11. This piece, entitled “Motifs of Mania,” depicts schizophrenia as a shadowy menace.
12. Karen May Sorensen recently began pushing the boundaries of her “madness,” by posting drawings and paintings on her blog while on varying levels of medication.
13. A series of paintings of cats by Louis Wain from the early 1900’s. They capture a slow descent into varying levels of schizophrenic episodes.
14. Another by Draak. Notice the two headed subjects in both pieces.
15. This piece captures the auditory hallucinations associated with the disease.
16. This schizophrenic artist feels trapped by it all.
17. Johfra Draak drew this in 1967, depicting a schizophrenic Dante’s Inferno.
Art is the closest thing to ever come close to showing us what it’s like to live with schizophrenia. And although much of this art may look scary and negative, the act of setting the anxieties on paper is a positive for the artists.