So, in case you haven’t heard yet, I recently found out I have persistent depressive disorder. I know, I feel like I keep harping on it, but it’s kind of all consuming for me right now. So in the spirit of being depressed I read this book, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.
It’s basically a collection of essays by a woman who struggles with mental illness and has determined to be furiously happy despite her challenges. She has a remarkably wacky sense of humor. Like seriously, off the wall. Some essays are hilarious and some are poignant and moving. I’d have to say one of my favorite chapters was the one where she shared some of the things she texts to herself in the middle of the night (she has chronic insomnia). Gems like: “I bet marmalade was invented by the laziest person in the world.” and “Why is it ‘incapable’ and ‘unable’ instead of ‘uncapable’ and ‘inable?’ You can have an inability but you can’t be inable. I’m uncapable of understanding how these decisions were made.” and “If you put a bunch of chameleons on top of a bunch of chameleons on top of a bowl of Skittles what would happen? Is that science? Because if so, I finally get why people want to do science.” The whole book is fantastic.
I started reading this the other night when I was in depressed state. I laughed so much. At one point I was laughing so hard I cried and then I realized I was really crying and it felt very good to cry, so I just laid in bed and cried for a little while. Then I dried my eyes and kept reading. Guys, she gets it. If you have a mental illness or if you have someone in your life who has a mental illness READ THIS BOOK. And she spins such humor into the challenges of mental illness that reading about being so depressed you can’t get out of bed is funny. Some of the essays made me LOL (legitimately). Some of the essays made me cry, because I felt like she was speaking directly to my soul, saying “I’ve been there. I’m still there. I’m still alive and fighting and you are too. Good for us.” I’ll admit I did compare myself to her a little: she’s happily married and I couldn’t help thinking “how did someone so messed up find a guy who loves her so well?” And she’s a massively successful blogger (www.thebloggess.com) and I’m just starting out with my blog and I’m not nearly as funny as she is. Although, I’ve only got one mental disorder that I’m aware of and she has like, five, and rheumatoid arthritis on top of that (I do also have anemia, so there’s that I guess). And although she talks about God, she doesn’t really believe in Him. I’ve got that going for me too. Comparisons aside (because they really just make me feel worse), I love the way she ends the book: talking about the benefits of depression. She writes:
Ground zero is where the normal people live their lives, but not us. We live in the negatives so often that we begin to understand that life when the sun shines should be lived full throttle, soaring. The invisible tether that binds the normal people on their steady course doesn’t hold us in the same way. Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else. Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow.
…Sometimes we fly.
I wouldn’t let my kid read this until they’re older teenagers, or if they struggle with their own mental health I’d read it to them/with them if they’re younger. There’s quite a bit of language. I thought when I started it that it would make me not want to read it, but it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. She also talks a bit about some situations that adults would better understand and relate to. But yes, for mental health issues, I highly recommend this book. I also want to read her other book (but I haven’t yet), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I feel like it would explain a lot.
Full disclosure: clicking the picture or link above will take you to the Amazon page for the book where you can read more reviews and purchase the book if you’d like. I receive a percentage of the sale, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to pay more for the book than you normally would. It just helps me out. Thanks!