As Grenville Kleiser (1868–1935) said: “Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment”. That’s probably what Gemma Correll had in mind while creating her fascinating illustrations that deal with anxiety and depression.
Gemma Correll is a British cartoonist, writer and illustrator currently living in California. She studied Art in Norwich, England. She has a BA degree in Graphic Design, specializing in Illustration. While struggling with her own mental disorders, she has created illustrations using humor in order to talk about what anxiety and depression feel like.
What’s important to her, is to break down the stigma of depression in modern society and encourage people to talk about their mental disorders. As she has says, “I honestly think that humor can be a savior at times of distress or, if you just live with a constant level of anxiety and depression like I do. I do think that people should speak more freely about anxiety. I know that I would have felt a little better as an anxiety-ridden teenager if I knew that I wasn’t completely alone in my fears”.
Some of her illustrations talk about the ‘perils of chronic over thinking’ or ‘the inferiority complex’ while another one is called ‘the worrier’s guide to life’. They describe the thoughts of a person with anxiety disorders. They also refer to the way people with anxiety disorders and depression deal with themselves, their family and friends or the society in general.
Gemma has received thousands of messages on her Facebook page from people who suffer from similar disorders and haven’t been able to share what they’re going through. A woman wrote to her: ‘Thank you for your spot-on illustrations. I have bipolar II, anxiety…the list goes on and on. No one talks about it. There is humor in it. You have to see the humor or it kills you.’ This message shows the effect of this talented illustrator’s artworks on people all over the world.
It is estimated that about twenty-five percent of the British population will experience some kind of mental illness in the course of a year. Anxiety and depression are the most common forms. Humor can and should be the best way to avoid or overcome these disorders and artists such as Gemma Correll are contributing to that.