Norwegian cartoonist makes comic strip about depression

Even though mental illness can't be seen, sometimes depression feels like a tangible thing -- even more tangible than our own bodies. And it's hard to believe it can't be noticed by the world, as obvious as a tumor on our foreheads.

Many people describe depression as a “black hole.” But the most accurate portrayal of mental illness I have ever seen comes from Norwegian cartoonist Kristian Nygård.

He drew depression as a black skeleton, which he calls a “charcoal being,” wearing his human body like a suit. For those dealing with depression, this can be what it feels like – like you have to fake a smile and fake even being human to the rest of the world.

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In an interview with Bustle, Nygård said, "I think the 'charcoal' beings and the person suits came to me when I was feeling especially disillusioned and dissatisfied about myself, and how we all might just be collectively faking it to get by.”

Nygård’s comics are called “Optipess” (combining the words “optimism” and “pessimism”). Although his comics are about various different topics, his drawings about depression have received the most praise. He said he tries to find humor even in the darkest subjects.

He told Bustle, “At first I was a bit wary about doing comics about these subjects but the response was usually very positive, which sometimes inspired me to delve even further down into the abyss.”

For more of Nygård’s comics visit or find him on Facebook

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