Published: 17:10, 20 March 2021
| Updated: 17:23, 20 March 2021
A renowned Kent artist has told how a psychotic episode saw him convinced he was friends with Banksy and Kanye West.
Sam Cox, who goes by the moniker Mr Doodle, has spoken out about the experience which was caused by a build-up of stress.
The artist - a former Homewood School from Tenterden near Ashford - has amassed more than 2.8m followers on Instagram, and another 750,000 on Facebook.
He is well known for his distinctive designs, with a video of him doodling clocking up tens of millions of views across the world in 2017.
But Mr Cox was absent from social media around the beginning of the pandemic last year, and has now revealed why.
"In March last year I was sectioned and went to a psychiatric ward for six weeks," he wrote in a post on his Facebook page, Mr Doodle.
"I had been diagnosed with suffering from a psychotic episode," he continued. "Psychosis is a condition that causes you to lose touch with reality and makes you see or hear things that are not there.
"I went through a wave of hallucinations and delusions from thinking that I was speaking to God to being hired to doodle all over Donald Trump’s wall to believing that I had become the video game character Crash Bandicoot.
"In the psychiatric ward I believed I had met and become friends with Banksy and Kanye West and that we were destined to doodle the world together. In reality these were nurses and patients.
"It was amazing how convinced I was that these things were all true.
"It’s incredible how powerful and fragile the human brain is when you experience closely what it is capable of."
Mr Cox says his psychosis was caused by "a build up of stress" relating to the administrative side of his work.
"I am much better now thanks to appropriate medication, therapy and the support of my family and I am able to doodle better than ever before," he said.
He added that drawing during his stay on the psychiatric ward helped him to work through his mental health struggles.
Addressing those experiencing similar issues, he said: "Everyone is different, but with the right help and support it does eventually get better."