Think back to an average day when you were 17 years old – school, homework, and a little social life took up every day. Now imagine going through that day, and every day, with severe anxiety, insomnia, delusions, anger management issues, and even hallucinations that seemed as real as everything else. Hard, right? For Kate, a 17-year-old high school student in San Diego, that’s not left up to the imagination. For her, that’s life… every single day.
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
“This is a Joker, surrounded by the same color splotches I often see.”
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.