In all honesty this is not a fantasy book review although Mental Illness is often surrounded by a fantasy enigma because it is not usually visible. This is just a great book, for anyone who suffers with Mental Health, knows someone or just wants to get more of an insight into the world seen in a very different light.
It was one of those weekends where I somehow managed to misplace my last packet of antidepressants. Typically, I had ordered my next prescription earlier in the day but this of course needs 48 hours for a process that takes 5 seconds, by the time I realise the doctors are closed. So think its okay its just a weekend. But it’s not okay, I start becoming dizzy from the withdrawal which feel like electricity pulsing through my brain, itchy like I want to rip out my skin and scalp and of course very grumpy.
It’s just my anxiety thats in disarm. But “personality disorder”? That meant … broken.
“But i’m not broken” I explained to my psychiatrist. ” just … I just hurt … inside. And when I tear at the outside it makes me feel feel less torn up on the inside. (J.Lawson, P71)
Whilst involuntarily going cold turkey this wasn’t the time for epic fantasy, I picked up Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. It may have saved me.
Surely the people naming antipsychotics could have come up with something less hurtful. After we don’t call Viagra the “floppy dick pill” (J Lawson, p49)
Its not easy to make somebody who suffers with depression feel relatively normal, okay not normal thats the wrong word, lets not kid ourselves, maybe not alone is a better description, I could relate to Jenny and her experiences so much, which was scarily comforting and reassuring to know that other people really do feel this way.
Here’s what I find helpful; Sunlight, Antidepressants, anti anxiety drugs, vitamin B shots, walking, letting myself be depressed when i need to be, drinking water, watching Doctor Who, reading. I talk to people on twitter when afraid to be out in the world. When I can’t be active, I snuggle with my daughter and watch TV with her or ask her to read to me. (J Lawson, p115)
Crazy things happen when your diagnosis is ever changing, being an experiment for new drug combinations, which generally either make you feel one of 2 ways;
- Totally shut down, shaky, tired and snappy, just wanting to be alone in a dark room shut away from the outside world or
- Completely hyperactive where you cannot stop doing things, breaking things and hiding really important things like your bank card or your keys in a safe place (which have turned up in the cocoa pops box before) this is generally done to the point of exhaustion, where at 3am you may sit down and drink the coffee you made 8 hours earlier. With one thing constantly leading to another without so much as a breath as every new job and idea takes priority and the last one is forgotten.
Today on the journey home from dropping the kids to school, I was considering what I should do when I get home. I needed to study for uni, but I really felt like writing wanting to pickup a story I left off a year ago, this is justified that I would eventually need a story for my creative writing course, then I thought that I could work much faster if my original mac keyboard worked (not some cheap part time replacement) and getting the charging issue sorted on my partners laptop as I could use that for writing when I’m out. So this would mean making an appointment at the apple store and going to town. I also have some of my books to pack away for moving and i have lots of bubble wrap in the loft and I should definitely clear the loft out. This was in a 7 minute car journey.
In summation, I spend an impressive amount of time doing absolutely nothing. Like, I’m at pro level. Because thats how artistic genius works. (J Lawson, P55)
Jenny bravely shares a few experiences and some are laugh out loud, absolutely fucking hilarious. I can appreciate that she would not find any of her experiences at all funny and totally rational including trying to create a photo montage of Rory her stuffed Racoon playing rodeo with her cats but she made me cry tears of laughter whilst I was at my lowest. I mean if I wrote this book id probably be making people who were perfectly happy want to slash their wrists. Shortly after laughing like lunatic I was dragged to out of hours by my partner, 2 days had been too many.
You take the maximum dose of sleeping pills, but they don’t work at all and then you glare at their smug bottles at three a.m., whispering.”You lying bastards.” (J Lawson, P31)
Jenny is a real inspiration in the way she has accepted herself and bravely shared some her experiences with such dazzling narration and personality. Its a book, which ironically has a split personality facing tough subjects such as self-harming but will also make you laugh your head off.
Furiously Happy is an eye opener for people with no knowledge, an aid for carer’s and friends and a gem of hope and reassurance for sufferers, and hopefully a smile.
Tweet me @kvothe1984
Follow Jenny Lawson @BloggessBooks
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