Different people have different ways of dealing with loss. The artist who goes online by the nickname Stormy Gail, for example, tries to cope by creating comics. Her untitled series features a crushed but not yet entirely defeated skeleton, and its everyday struggles.
Stormy Gail started it in 2018. "My mom was hospitalized for stage 4 cancer," she told Bored Panda. "She was in a coma for two months and unable to bring my art supplies into the ICU, I began working digitally on an iPad." Stormy Gail doesn't have an art school education but grew up in a family of artists and with the support of her loved ones, she made her dream of being an illustrator a reality.
"[My series] doesn't really have a set name yet, mostly because I started these comics to journal my therapy and journey of grief. I do refer to it as my Sad Skeleton comics to people who ask what I do for a living though."
Stormy Gail launched the series with the skeleton representing her own self, a very clinically depressed, anxious, and traumatized young woman navigating the loss of a loved one. "They sort of morphed into a way for my audience to see themselves and relate, and feel seen," she said. "They're now this sort of genderless and undiagnosed Skelefriend. Maybe it's depression, maybe it's a chronic illness." If this comic has taught her anything, it's that she's not alone and neither is anyone else.
There are other recurring characters, too. Stormy Gail has thrown them in to give Skeleton someone to talk to. "It started out with Brain, Skeleton's floating adversary. There's also Bat, a kind and gentle friend modeled after my loved ones. Ghost, a caring yet straight forward roommate. And sometimes I throw some Skelefriends in there like Skelepartner, the drug toad, and the existential crisis goldfish."
The artist said she had no idea when she started posting these strips that her works would reach so many people that needed to feel seen. "I just want you all to know I'm honored and you have changed my life too," Stormy Gail said. "You'll grow back, you'll be amazing."
Depression drains people's energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the step toward helping themselves. The things that help the most are the things that are often the most difficult to do. Stormy Gail addresses these situations without any glamor, exposing mental illnesses' frightening power. However, talking about these things is so important. Support groups can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation, and it looks like Sad Skeleton comics have successfully created one.