22 Words

7 minimalistic posters representing various mental disorders

Mar 14, 2011 By Abraham 154

Designed by Patrick Smith

154 Comments

    1. Plastic Robot says:

      Oh, so they were moving. Thank goodness! I thought it was just my medications. Sometimes it looks like the curtains are breathing too. Oh, and my floor! Landsakes! Sometimes it’s like there’s no floor at all!
      o_O

      1. Mr. Shroom says:

        This sounds entirely like you’re currently tripping on shrooms. Bravo, good sir, for seeking to open your mind. I’m glad you were relaxed enough to enjoy the more positive things the experience has to offer.

      1. Ruth says:

        It is in winter, but in Spring it tends to cause a week or two of hyperactivity and joy. I’m now sure how you’d show this in a poster..

        1. Paddy says:

          Actually S.A.D is a form of depression, as is bipolar disorder. Depression is a spectrum of disorders, not just one. The one people think of is Major Depressive disorder, but there is also Bipolar disorder which has again many subtypes, and Seasonal Affective disorder, which could be argued is a form of Bipolar as it has 2 different points of mood between which the affected person fluctuates.

          1. Marie says:

            Bipolar has a depression component, but is its own form of mood disorder. Its not technically part of depression.

          2. Ribva says:

            They are all affective disorders (that is, disorders of the mood ‘affect’) as opposed to say, personality disorders. Case solved.

  1. Sabra says:

    These are very nice however the agoraphobia one is not quite accurate. The poster here is portraying what most people believe agoraphobia is, The fear of open spaces. Agoraphobia however, often goes hand in hand with claustrophobia and sufferers enjoy truly open spaces. It is more of a fear of crowds and leaving a comfort zone

    1. Jessica says:

      Agoraphobia (from Greek ἀγορά, “marketplace”; and φόβος/φοβία, -phobia) is an anxiety disorder defined as a morbid fear of wide open spaces, crowds, or uncontrolled social conditions

      1. Shannon says:

        Actually… according to the DSM-IV, the Bible of psychotic disorders, “The essential feature of Agoraphobia is anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having a Panic Attack…or panic-like symptoms” (p. 432).

        Similar to generalized anxiety disorder. True agoraphobic patients usually don’t stray from home because they are afraid of new situations.

        1. Heather says:

          Shannon, I agree with your source. I suffer from both agoraphobia and GAD and your description is the more accurate one (for me, anyway).

    2. susu says:

      Agoraphobic square is having kind of a stage fear in front of people who he constantly thinks that they are watching him.

    3. Lish says:

      I just assumed the wide open area represented leaving one’s safe zone and going out in public, therefore being around lots of people.

    4. helenann says:

      While looking at the agoraphobia poster, I felt it was accurate…a small square against a large, overwhelming unknown…

  2. Skeptic says:

    According to mental health professionals, EVERYONE has some sort of disorder. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

    As an aside, the poster designs are thoughtful and well-executed.

    1. David says:

      Absolutely, yes! …and thus they are not actual “disorders” but just individual life problems that everyone struggles with in their own personal way…

        1. Ashley says:

          Actually, not every one has a disorder. A lot of people express symptoms of disorders but most disorders need to have some form of impairment on the person’s life to receive a diagnosis. Example: You can have multiple panic attacks, but if you don’t worry about having them and it doesn’t stop you from participating in your life you don’t have Panic Disorder.

          1. Ribva says:

            Cookie for Ashley (Serious, here). No, not everyone has a ‘disorder’. We all have the odd problems/issues/etc, and no doubt many people would benefit from a chance to work these out with a therapist. I think if we stigmatised mental health illness less and worked on improving our mental health with the same fanaticism many people worry about toning their butt with, we’d all be happier, more fulfilled, and better able to cope with the stresses of life. But unfortunately not being fat is seen as more important to society than not being miserable.

            BUT to have a disorder means to have a significant number of symptoms/signs that fall into a particular classification AND that affect your life severely. Most people who are diagnosed with disorders are plagued by the disorder they are experiencing, and need help to cope and get by. Not the same thing as having some unresolved issues in your relationships or not wanting to eat broccoli.

            Otherwise it’s just like saying you have paranoid schizophrenia because you’re a little suspicious of your boss.

    2. the she-ray says:

      I believe what they say is that disorders are more common than many people think. To acknowledge this is not to defeat “the purpose”; it is to feel less alone.

    3. Jan says:

      Rubbish. People who are of a sane mind should be able to enjoy that and be proud of that without someone else shoving some bogus theory that we’re ‘all somewhat disordered’ down their throats. What you are essentially suggesting with your ridiculous statement is that there is at least one thing wrong with everybody, which is a terrible way to view others and life.

      The vast majority of people are mentally, perfectly healthy. What kind of mental health professionals have you been gathering your information from, or did you just make that bit up?

      You can’t seriously believe that everyone is to some degree mentally ill. Or are you really that stupid? It is trivialising to people who DO suffer from real agony because of mental illness and it is also INSULTING to people who have been blessed with a healthy mind.

      1. robbieRob says:

        My goodness, Jan you’re so angry. Are you aware or do you suffer from a dissociative identity disorder and not even know it? The very first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem… come on Jan we’re all behind you.

      2. Andy says:

        People who are of better mind should be able to enjoy ‘that’ and be proud of ‘that’ knowing that what someone calls their habit is relevant to them, as a person, and that what someone else ‘suggests’ doesn’t particularly matter if it’s of opinion.

      3. yellowcrayon says:

        Maybe an overreaction, and not the best way to convince everyone of your blessed sanity, but Jan has a point here.

        Saying everyone has a unique way of looking at things is okay, even saying that everyone has strengths and weaknesses is okay, but saying everyone is mentally ill or disordered — as someone who has suffered mental illness, I find that troubling. The way my brain worked in the worst months of my depression was far from “wonderful,” which is what David said above.

        The posters are quite clever and appropriate, though. One for bipolar disorder would be interesting.

      4. Meg says:

        It bothers me that you find suggesting that a “sane” person has a mental disorder would be insulting, and that people without mental disorders should be proud. I think your purpose would be better served if you changed proud to grateful and got off your high horse. Mental disorder is nothing to be ashamed about, and more people would be able to come forward and get treatment if people would stop treating it as such. No one chooses to have a disorder.

      5. Nicole says:

        Take a Xanax and calm down already. Goodness!

        I have had clinical depression and anxiety disorder for most of my 23 years of life. I am no way ashamed of this fact nor do I feel as if I do not have a “healthy mind” unlike you blessed souls without any kind of affliction. I am medicated and I live a perfectly normal and happy life.

        I think you overreacting the way you did there, Jan, completely destroys the point you were trying to make. There is absolutely no reason to go about calling people “stupid” and all that.

        I do get a little miffed when people try to act as if they know what it feels like to have depression because their boyfriend broke up with them and that was the saddest they had ever felt, or like they understand a panic attack because they were nervous once about something, but it is comforting to know that people are at least TRYING to console me and let me know that I am not alone. It’s called empathy.

        I think your post is very ignorant and uninformed and perhaps you should understand a little bit more about disorders for posting. Saying people of “sane mind” should be proud is like first saying anyone with a disorder is insane, which we are not, and second we should be ashamed of whatever that is different with us. And let me tell you what, I have never in my life met someone who is 100% “sane” or mentally sound. Please, let me know if you have, I would LOVE to meet that unfortunate individual.

        1. Jacob says:

          I agree with you, Nicole. Everyone has a mental or emotional problem to some degree, but it only becomes a “disorder” when it starts to interfere with your life. Take OCD for example. Pretty much everyone has something that they’re nitpicky about for no real legitimate reason. That’s normal. But there is a difference between someone who hates it when their desk isn’t neat and someone who will have a panic attack if someone moves anything on their desk. There is a similar line with depression.

          So I agree that no one is totally “sane”, but that is normal. It’s only when it begins to seriously interfere with a person’s life that it becomes a disorder that needs to be treated. I too have suffered from major depression, and I agree that it is very different from just being sad for awhile. I also am on meds, which helps. People with a mental or emotional disorder aren’t necessarily crazy. Having depression or OCD is very different from having psychotic delusions. A mental or emotional disorder is an illness, like mono or the flu. You can’t help if you have it, and you’re still a valid person when you are suffering it. People who do not suffer from any real mental disorder need to be more accepting and understanding of those who do, and people who DO suffer from mental or emotional disorders need to be more understanding of those who don’t. Don’t hate, educate.

          Oh yeah, nice posters :P

          1. Ribva says:

            Sanity is a false concept. Most people with mental problems aren’t ‘insane’, they haven’t lost touch with all reality, I always found the terms ‘sane’ or ‘crazy’ completely useless and stigmatising.

            Everyone has issues – it’s natural to go through life with some knocks, hangups etc, that we can deal with or not deal with depending on how we look at mental wellbeing. Some people go through a lot more of these than others, hence have more trauma to deal with. Like i said upthread, it would probably benefit us all to talk through the problems that affect us, or think through them with something like CBT – we can all learn to deal with problems in more constructive ways and work on our self esteem.

            BUT most mental illnesses are as a result of biochemical changes in the brain that are much more than simply being affected by an event. Depression isn’t simply being sad (actually, feeling down after bereavement, loss of any sort ect is called ‘adjustment disorder’ and is perfectly normal – if it persists for a long time, THEN you’re considered depressed.), nor is OCD like being a bit picky, because the obsessive component is pretty severe.

            I think it’s good that we’re trying to empathise with people going through a hard time (and willing to admit our own hangups and mental processes, so there’s nothing bad about owning up to our problems. But we must remember that A) we can learn to face them and B) severe mental illness is very, very different to the ‘manageable’ problems most people go through.

      6. jonny says:

        Insulting? do you feel like people who have mental illness are somehow less valid as people, or at least less valid than you are

    4. l.cee says:

      How would you design an ADHD poster? I would put very random shapes and one bouncing (with dashed lines) between them all. Probably it would be very colorful and whimsical looking.

      1. travis says:

        that may be, but the keyword here is Minimalistic. On another note, to say that one has a “disorder” is saying that there is an “order” that everyone should adhere to, the answer to curing a mental “disorder” is in the finding of the perfect “order”. You will never find the perfect “order” because the perfect “order” does not exist = mental disorders do not exist, but are mere emotions.

        1. Nicole says:

          Actually, there is a certain chemical balance in the brain which must be met. So while you might not think of brains as having an ‘order’, they actually do. It doesn’t mean everybody thinks or feels the same way, it just means that everything is balanced. Mental disorders are caused by an imbalance of chemicals. Therefore, mental disorders are not just emotions, and do actually exist.

          1. Heather says:

            Agreed, Nicole. Mental illness is classified as a “disorder” because it is an imperfection in the chemical balance in the brain, just like you said. It is an anomaly, therefore not just a “difference” but a disorder. It is a physical defect.

        2. Ribva says:

          Er, no, it’s saying that the processes of the brain (be they thoughts or biochemistry) are chaotic and very different from the (for want of a better word) normal function. It’s not about some philosophical ‘order’ but about re-establishing a balance of the finely-tuned chemicals that make the brain work, so that the person at the centre can feel stable and feel themselves again.

      2. Kyberia says:

        I’d give an ADHD poster a strong, dark red background and then place in the foreground a kinda bored now ooh, kitty! *chases*

      3. helenann says:

        HA! I love it, especially the one line bouncing (with dashed lines) between them all!
        That is me. It all connects, but God help you if you’re waiting for a straight line. :)
        Happy New Year to you!

    5. Shannon says:

      Except not. A patient is only classified as having a mental disorder if the affliction is “abnormal, causes life to be inefficient or difficult, and is harmful to self and/or others.”

    6. Dr. Brooks says:

      No, not everyone has a disorder. A disorder disrupts normal daily functioning to some extent. Most people function well given their unique set of life circumstances.

    7. Hasu says:

      Sure we all have some slight disorder. OCD is pretty common but most of us don’t have a disorder that’s at such a high degree that it severely affects our lives and way of living.

    8. snc says:

      Having a mental illness is, above all, chemical. This is the difference between “being sad” and “having depression.” It’s the different between “being nervous” and “having generalized anxiety.” One is circumstantial, and the other is chemical & electrical – and something that the person themselves are not capable of changing. Believe me, if I could change the way my neuron receptors fired in my brain and could not battle the symptoms of depression (which, by the way, no one in my life would know unless I tell them, b/c it is controlled – and I battle, not succumb, but battle it)… I would.

    9. Weirdo says:

      I have to agree – I actually have a phobia – I am literally afraid of broccoli – seriously – I know its funny, and I have gotten my fair share of comments and jokes at my expense, but I seriously have issues with it….I don’t want to touch it, even by accident, I can’t watch anyone eat it or handle it…<>

  3. omgsrsly says:

    OCD one was very good except I got a bit worried because I wanted to fix that off square compulsively

  4. hmmm says:

    I think these are great designs, but it’s a shame that non-normative gender identity is still considered a “disorder” just like homosexuality was before 1973.

        1. Rebecca says:

          One of my friends (who is mtf trans) said that she considers gender dysphoria a disorder becasue it interferes with her day-to-day functioning.

          One can also look at it as a genetic disease or severe hormonal problem ;)

      1. Kyle says:

        I’m FTM Trans and I actually like the poster for Gender Identity Disorder (GID). I think it was accurate and while I’m not sure whether or not GID should be in the DSM, I know that it is there now and probably will be there for a long time so I don’t think the OP was wrong in putting it there.

    1. Jan says:

      hmmm -

      That is ridiculous and beyond touchy. I think PC has become insane in the last couple of years … we have to tip-toe around everybody because EVERYTHING is offensive to EVERYONE.

      You think it’s NOT a disorder to feel that your physical gender does not match your mental one? Or is that a normal thing that most people go through? The poster does not suggest that there is anything wrong with being trans, neither does it suggest that there’s anything wrong with having OCD, depression or agoraphobia. Or it is really that offensive to be lumped in with people who suffer mental illness?

      I think you need to deal with your own prejudices before you call others out on theirs.

      1. Kyle says:

        Jan, many cultures through-out history have completely accepted trans people and did not consider it a disorder. Look up the native american two-spirt for example. They considered it a third gender. But the dysphoria that results from having GID is believed by some to be cause not by the GID itself but by society forcing us to be the gender we do not wish to be. I am trans and I’m not really sure whether GID should be in the DSM but I understand the argument because I dunno, I really don’t think being trans would be a big deal to me at all if people would have just let me do the things I wanted to do from a young age. What gave me stress in my life was society. And if you look at the beginning of the book in the DSM in order to be classified as a mental disorder the stress resulting from the disorder cannot be a result of society but must come from internal. So yes, it is a very valid argument that GID shouldn’t be in the DSM. But it is also very controversial because we can’t really prove that if society was accepting of it, that trans people would be just fine and dandy until society actually becomes okay with it. And we can’t just make that happen so don’t hold your breath for it to change anytime soon. All I know is, getting homosexuality out of the DSM was one of the first great big steps in getting homosexuality to be accepted.
        What do I know? I’m just a big ol’ tranny. :]

        1. Alex says:

          But a disorder, by definition, means it affects our lives. The lives we live in the society outside our door. Not a native American one, or Inca or Inuit. So there will always be component of disorders that represents social prejudice.

    2. Kazie says:

      Gender Identity Disorder is classified as a disorder because it may cause distress in the individual’s life. Homosexuality is no longer a disorder because there are so few people now who find a conflict within themselves because of it.

      In future generations, just as with homosexuality, Gender Identity Disorder will be removed from the DSM due to so few people feeling conflict and distress.

      1. Kazie says:

        For clarification, if you are transgender yet feel little to no distress in your life because of being transgender (NOT because other people are making you feel distressed, they’re just assholes) then you do not have Gender Identity Disorder.

        Not everyone who is transgender has GID.

    3. Ribva says:

      It’s so that they’re entitled to ‘treatment’ (which reassignment surgery would be). It’s certainly not cosmetic or elective for someone who would feel absolutely miserable if they were forced to stay in the ‘wrong body’. And also because these people suffer huge stigma and are very likely to need counselling to go through the process, both to actually be sure that these permanent changes are what they want, and to support them through the problems with this process.

      Homosexuality doesn’t need treatment for them to be happy, but someone who is transgender often needs surgery and hormones to be at peace. Consider it a disorder of the body not matching the mind, rather than the other way around, if you prefer. Either way, the patient sees it as a problem that needs fixing. Hence, disorder.

  5. Madeline says:

    Cool! I like the narcolepsy one, I read a book in which one of the characters had narcolepsy. Great art!

      1. AJ says:

        Not necessarily genetic. But yeah, it’s not a mental disorder — it does happen in the brain, but there is a distinct qualitative mechanical problem, technically a limited form of brain damage, usually from an autoimmune event early in life, though it can have other causes including head trauma.

  6. Sam says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been linked to this page by one of my students – great designs! Is it possible to buy or otherwise obtain some copies? I know of a psychology classroom where these could be great conversation pieces.

    Thanks

  7. Jon says:

    imagine my thrill as I’m browsing reddit and click a link that brings me to 22words. Abe- when you’re crowned king of the internet, remember the little people.

  8. Tom says:

    Interesting double take on the OCD poster – initially seeing it different to the rest (which have the shape represent the person) – you can initially see a pattern of shapes and one askew, but then realise that one askew might be the person with OCD who has everyone (in this birds eye view) slightly askew to them.

    1. David says:

      You know you have “OCD” tendencies when you can’t focus on anything else but that mis-aligned cube and can’t control your urge to straighten it out…!

      1. Nik says:

        First off, these are fantastic pieces, very creative and thought provoking. Though, with the above comment in mind, I think it’s sad, almost to the point of offensive, that OCD has become so trivialised. You dont “know you have “OCD” tendencies when you can’t focus on anything else but that mis-aligned cube and can’t control your urge to straighten it out”, you know you have OCD tendencies when you cant leave the house without checking time after time that your hands are clean and the lights are off, and even when you do manage to leave the house, you do it with such anxiety and near dread that it is literally all you can think about. My housemate has previously undergone extensive therapy to combat OCD, and in his case it has been successful, although without going into examples there is still very clear evidence of his condition in his day to day actions. This is not to say that I disagree with the OCD poster, it is a very effective way of showing the condition. But being drawn to the square and having an urge to straighten it out doesnt even scrape the surface of how people with OCD act on their compulsions, and how much it can hinder their day to day life, and I have seen first hand how upsetting statements like the one the moron above me has posted can be for genuine OCD sufferers.

        1. Jacob says:

          Yeah, OCD is an anxiety disorder. It isn’t just annoying that the square is out of place; it’s stressful. It is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the “Obsessive” doesn’t necessarily refer to obsessively following the urge to do the compulsion. It refers to actual obsessions, or intrusive thoughts that you can’t get out of your head, that drive the need for the compulsion. The compulsion is really just a coping mechanism.

          1. Ribva says:

            Yup, OCD obsessions can be very vivid and distressing – getting intrusive thoughts in your head which are incredibly unpleasant so you HAVE to do certain compulsive things to make them go away is challenging for people who suffer from it. OCD isn’t necessarily always about being neat, people can have all sorts of ‘obtrusive thoughts’ that really bother them.

  9. Tony says:

    Pretentious, simplistic rubbish.

    As if a complex malfunction of the human brain can be expressed so simplistically:

    Pathetic. Simplistic. Patronising.

    1. Anonnymoose says:

      You’re right, a complex malfunction of the human brain isn’t simple. But perhaps, by making a simple poster to REPRESENT a disorder, you are helping those people by showing the problem in a simple, uncluttered way, making them feel less like outsiders or “freaks”. Further, you are helping laypeople like myself, who have no experience with disorders of the brain, to figure out what all them fancy words mean by using a simple representation of the disorder, and showing us that tho the disorders are present and effect many people we may know, there is no reason to fear, shun, or otherwise discriminate a person with a disorder. Your comment is the only pretentious thing here. I’ll bet you go to art galleries and crow there too ~.o

      I found them delightful! Well executed with nice, clean lines, really gets the point across (even if they aren’t an exact representation :P)

      1. ls says:

        Tony always says the same thing about every item on the internet: “pretentious” and “rubbish” are his favorite words. I’ve seen his “critiques” in other places. They are always this sophisticated.

  10. Jenna says:

    Perhaps simple Tony, but definitely still cool. And super creative. I have an appreciation for any new way to look at mental disorders (and narcolepsy :)Way to blend modern art with the soft sciences! Keep on keeping on with your brilliant ideas.

  11. Patrick says:

    Thanks for the post. I am getting a lot of reactions at the moment and I’m really glad that people are talking about it – this poster series has already achieved what I wanted.

    1. CJVloyski says:

      When I saw this that was the first thought that popped into my head-”someone should edit the square fixed!”
      Looks like you beet me to it…

  12. anonymous says:

    I agree with the P…no one should have to feel like that and your equation is not equal to everyone.thus, apprehensive

  13. Florian says:

    It’s amazing what messages you can deliver with minimalistic design. Coming up with a minimalistic design is an art in itself. Nice work!

  14. orlagh says:

    The comments are fascinating! That a set of posters can get people debating mental health issues is impressive. Job well done and would love to see the series extended at some point.

  15. Kim says:

    Is there a disorder when someone takes everything waaayy too serious? Like 1/2 the people here finding fault with these very funny posters…

    1. Teek says:

      Dunno, is it a disorder when you whine others are taking something ‘too seriously’ because you can’t be bothered, or disagree with them, like you get to decide what people should give a crap about?

      The posters are lovely, but as the artist said, the point was to encourage people to talk about mental illness. So yeah, discussing it seriously was kind of the point, actually. If that’s not you, it’s fine, but finding fault with others for actually thinking about something…that’s just infantile.

  16. Kafei says:

    We need one for someone who’s undergoing an existential crisis or I’d love to see this person’s artistic take on HPPD (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder) or derealization. How ’bout a visual depiction of Michael Hoffman’s version of ego death?

  17. Ricardo says:

    There’s not such thing as Gender Identity Disorder; or at least there shouldn´t be… I’m psychology stundent and totally disagree with that clasification of transsexualisim or transgender…

    1. Teek says:

      I respectfully disagree with your disagreement. These people would like treatment (reassignment), and for treatment considered essential for your health, there has to be a condition to treat. Both medicolegally and in common sense. They aren’t doing it for cosmetic reasons, they really feel they HAVE to be another sex to be happy and reflect who they are. They also will need extra support going through the process because it’s tough on them and their nearest. We can argue that they should not be stigmatised, and that they need to be accepted by the wider community.

      But you can’t argue undergoing radical hormonal and surgical therapy to completely change your body isn’t something big. They feel there is something wrong – a disorder in themselves, a discontinuity between their body and their soul. We treat the body because they could never make themselves feel differently and they deserve to be happy.

      The problem where is we’re confusing the word ‘disorder’ with being a bad person. Having a disorder doesn’t make you so. It just means there’s some sort of imbalance that you need to have addressed to make you function at a stable level that works for you. Yes it’s a disorder, no, they’re not bad, or freaks or wrong or unnatural.

  18. Marmoset says:

    Thank you so much for these works. I was deeply and unexpectedly moved by your images. Please keep up your work. You are inspiring.

  19. Steve says:

    Good stuff – insightful and humorous where appropriate.
    A fun riff on narcolepsy would be kleptomania … and just delete that triangle.

  20. Lee says:

    As someone with depression, I think the depression poster would be much more effective if it was completely, 100% black, with the word “Depression” in gray. It’s minimalistic in the extreme, but I think that much more accurately portrays the fact that real depression isn’t a raging sadness, it’s an empty, numb, dark abyss.

    1. oddity says:

      i agree – to me the white box represents a “light at the end of the tunnel” (aka hope), which is NOT present at all in depression. other than that, i think these posters are amazing.

    2. yellowcrayon says:

      I respectfully disagree with you, Lee and oddity. As someone who has suffered from depression for four years and has been hospitalized three times for it, I understand what you mean by the abyss. However I thought the gray at the top represented a sort of weight pressing down on the depressed individual and making it even harder to escape that abyss. When I saw the poster, I didn’t see raging sadness; I saw profound emptiness.

      As well, I definitely didn’t see the white box as a light at the end of the tunnel at all. Because all the other posters include minimalist representations of the sufferers, I figured that white box was the depressed individual, and I thought the way it stood out against the dark really showed the extreme loneliness that comes with depression.

      I would also say that these posters are especially meant, I think, for people who have no experience with the disorders. From an outside perspective, a completely black poster might seem somewhat vague and not bring across the nuances of the disorder.

      Mostly, though, I thought the effect when scrolling down the page of the gray fading into black was an excellent way to represent hopelessness and physically recreate the sinking, drowning feeling of depression.

      1. anon says:

        Yellowcrayon, that’s how I saw it too (and I’ve been managing my own depression for over a decade). I do think the bright square is meant to be the depressed person, but I can understand the “light at the end of the tunnel” interpretation. I guess you could imagine that light as suicidal ideation, if you really wanted to ascribe something to it, even if it wasn’t meant that way. The weightiness of the gray into black was definitely there for me. Heavy and empty. The grayscale can also represent that there are shades of depression, it’s not all despair all the time, but even the highs are dulled, and the darkness is always there waiting. Very thought provoking art, minimalism lets you project so much onto it.

    1. Ribva says:

      The small oval sees its reflection in the mirror of being a ‘fat’ larger oval, reflecting the overvalued idea in anorexia nervosa that the sufferer is ‘fat’ regardless of how skinny they actually are.

  21. Belinda says:

    These were really cool in my opinion. :) Though I had to look up some of the things to actually understand it…
    And I think the anorexia one is that the circle it the person, the line is like a mirror, and the oval is what the circle thinks they look like (’cause, if looking from above, the oval would be fatter than the circle, I think). Also, for the depression, maybe it’s that the square fell down that dark abyss and knows they can’t get out again. Would being OCD be like being a perfectionist to the extreme? So if anything is out of place, they freak out (not exactly, maybe, but something like that)? I don’t know too much about these things, so if I got something wrong here, blame my not-knowingness… :)

  22. bryony says:

    I suffered with depression when i was younger (im 20) and i agree with the depression poster being all black. i think there should still be a white or grey square though…maybe in the middle? with ‘depression’ written towards the bottom. Love the concept… definitely got people talking. Quite infuriating some of the comments and also very contradicting. i counted only two intellectual comments that i think everyone should really consider. Maybe they would console everyone…

    Also, i realise this is contradicting but i can’t help but say that if you feel alone, it’s because you are alone. everyone is alone…and it took me a while to be ok with that.

  23. bryony says:

    This link was posted up on my advertising design degree facebook page by the way :) pretty sure the design and concept was well recieved by the majority :)

  24. Grey says:

    Having a rather intense case of A.D.D., I tend to show the typical pattern of occasional O.C.D. behaviors. But that poster made my eye twitch.

    Well played. lol

    I work in behavioral health and have interacted with patients possessing a few of these conditions. These posters are well thought out and remarkably accurate in their simplicity. I applaud the designer.

  25. Anna says:

    Just want to throw this out there, there is a difference between Obessive Compulsive PERSONALITY Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive ANXIETY Disorder. People who have OCPD are the people who have rituals or have to wash their hands x amount of times or open and close doors.

  26. Lawry says:

    I suffer in a mild way from agoraphobia, OCD and DID but mostly I suffer from depression. While these posters are a fairly good attempt, an excessively minimalist approach can miss the human element.
    As many have noticed the agoraphobia design is NQR, and only says to me ‘trapped’. It is more like depression.
    The DID poster should be somehow more allover the place, not in a neat sequential horizontal line.
    The OCD poster just drives me nuts, it annoys OCD sufferers and is meaningless to non-sufferers. Doesn’t capture the overwhelming compulsion to organize.
    The depression poster is way to cheerful, to me it looks like the lifting of depression, a nice sunrise. It doesn’t capture the abysmal inescapable hopelessness of depression.

  27. Ciaran says:

    I have to agree. OCD is incredibly misunderstood. I had a housemate who could be trapped in the shower for hours, freezing cold until he got a series if thoughts in the correct order or who’d get stuck on the threshold if a room, couldn’t touch his face with his hands and could only wear one pair of trousers that he also couldn’t repair when they ripped from ankle to knee. His day to day was a frustrating drudge of pointless ritual that left him feeling trapped and angry. Straightening table cloths, lining up pencils and having everything parallel or perpendicular is being fussy not OCD. It’s like the constant confusion of schizophrenia with split personality only it adds an element if trivialisation to it.

  28. dsimathguy says:

    You know, if you 200 or so who are commenting don’t like the posters, why don’t you make your own? Or how about making your own site to show stuff you think people will like so we can complain about it on your site? Or how about actually enjoying this site for what it is? Is that too much to ask?

  29. heather says:

    You know you’re ADHD when you scroll past each one swiftly and carelessly to find ADHD… (Which disappointingly was not one.) =p

  30. booger says:

    damn, i cant believe how much attention these are getting compared to the other posts on here, these aren’t that cool…

  31. Emmika says:

    The OCD poster got me clenching and gritting my teeth. I wanted to extend my hand into the screen, very badly, and just fix the damn box.

  32. AE says:

    Discovered a wonderful optical illusion as I scrolled down through these drawings. Because of the persistence of vision, the tiles in the OCD drawing bias the eye toward thinking that the next square will also be aligned. But one is not. Which makes it appear that that one misaligned square and perhaps the ones immediately above and below aren’t merely scrolling up and down like the others, but also jostling in place, like a figure in a zoetrope. So we’ve jumped from a symbology of abnormal psych to the psychology of cognition and perception. SWEET!

  33. Pieter says:

    I had no idea my ailments are so simple. I’m cured………

    No, wait….. I’m depressed. WHY MUST IT BE SO COMPLICATED????!!!

  34. Jason says:

    people are nuts. so worried about saying and commenting the right thing, making everything soft and acceptable. geesh shut up and be real for once in your life. To those who are being armchair psychiatrists, get over yourself, go start your own site with your own boring self aggrandizing discussions..now there is a poster for you.

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