Author: Zoe Thorogood
Publish Date: November 2022
Publisher: Image Comics
Catalog ID: ISBN: 978-1534323865
Author website: https://www.instagram.com/zoethorogood/?hl=en
Additional info: suicide depictions, self-harm, depression, mental health, survival, anthropomorphic characters, memoir, COVID-19, pandemic; In the U.S. and Canada, the mental health crisis helpline is 988; and in the U.K. it’s 999; elsewhere, check with your mental health crisis provider.
by Gary Skirka, MSN, RN, CPC
In the vast landscape of graphic novels, few works stand out as profoundly personal and creative as It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood. This autobiographical snapshot, published by Image Comics, embarks on a courageous exploration of the artist’s tumultuous time during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, diving into the depths of depression, self-discovery, and the formidable influence of artistic expression. Zoe Thorogood takes a bold departure from traditional storytelling as the narrative unfolds over six months, intricately woven with hyper-imaginative visuals and introspective asides. Thorogood’s unique approach blurs the lines between reality and imagination, resulting in a reading experience that is both deeply intimate and raw.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the themes of depression and suicide gain even greater significance. In a 2021 study, nearly half of Americans surveyed reported recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder, and 10% of respondents felt their mental health needs were not being met, as reported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) . The isolation, uncertainty, and disruptions caused by lockdowns have contributed to an increase in mental health challenges, including depression. Additionally, the WHO emphasizes the need for mental health support during these challenging times, recognizing the increased risk of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety due to a global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%. In the U.S. and Canada, the mental health crisis helpline is 988; and in the U.K. it’s 999; elsewhere, check with your mental health crisis provider.
At the heart of this graphic novel is a fearless confrontation of the realities of depression and mental health. With unflinching honesty, Thorogood portrays her own battles with suicide and self-harm, shedding light on topics often thought taboo. Through her evocative artwork and compelling storytelling, she captures the bleakness and intensity of these experiences, allowing readers to empathize and connect on an emotional level.
Beyond its exploration of mental health, It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth serves as a testament to the transformative power of art. Thorogood delves into the role of artistic creation as a means of survival and self-discovery. The graphic novel becomes a mirror reflecting the artist’s own journey, highlighting the catharsis and emotional release that comes from pouring one’s soul into their craft.
Zoe Thorogood’s self-portrayal in the novel is both candid and complex. Through her writing, she reveals various facets of her personality, from self-deprecating humor to poignant introspection. Her willingness to expose her flaws and vulnerabilities creates a relatable and authentic character that resonates deeply with readers, fostering a sense of connection. A standout feature of the illustration is the remarkable artistic versatility displayed. The artwork seamlessly transitions between assorted styles, from abstract and ludicrous character designs to haunting and emotive illustrations. Thorogood’s ability to evoke a wide range of emotions through her art is a testament to her skill and creativity. These artistic choices enhance the overall reading experience, immersing readers in Thorogood’s captivating world as Thorogood masterfully weaves together memories, emotions, and reflections, creating a narrative that is both introspective and engaging.
Gary Skirka, a part-time nursing professor residing on the serene Eastern Shore of Maryland, brings a rich tapestry of healthcare experience spanning more than two decades. His journey in the healthcare realm encompasses a diverse range of roles, from his service in the US Army to his work in medical review and nursing education. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Gary Skirka is a passionate advocate for quality care within both healthcare and community settings.