If you or someone you love is living with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things is a must read. Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) is seriously funny and honest about her struggles with mental illness. But rather than wallowing alone, she invites others in.
Why would anyone want to share what crazy feels like? Because by sharing her own struggles with mental illness Jenny has saved countless others who thought they were alone. Imagine how reassuring it is to read about pain that mirrors your own. “You too? I thought I was the only one.”
Jenny has chosen to be Furiously Happy.
“We all get our share of tragedy or insanity or drama, but what we do with that horror is what makes all the difference.”
“I can’t think of another type of illness where the sufferer is made to feel guilty and question their self-care when their medications need to be changed.”
“’No one ever died from being sad.’ Except that they do. And when we see celebrities who fall victim to depression’s lies we think to ourselves, ‘How in the world could they have killed themselves? They had everything.’ But they didn’t. They didn’t have a cure for an illness that convinced them they were better off dead.”
“I remind myself that depression lies and that I can’t trust my own critical thinking when I’m sick.”
“I wish someone had told me this simple confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way, you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”
Jenny mentions Christine Miserandino’s useful “Spoon Theory” as a way of explaining that dealing with chronic pain or illness—even though a person might not look sick—limits what a person can do. Each of us has only so many metaphorical spoons to spend on a given day. Dealing with pain or anxiety uses up a lot of your spoons. If you are ill you may not have enough spoons for a PTA meeting or even getting out of bed. You try to save your spoons for what has to get done. You have to prioritize.
For those of us lucky enough not be be seeing crazy from the inside, this book helps us be a bit more compassionate to those who who are. And if you are on the inside, know this: you are not alone. Recommend.
- “Jenny Lawson is a very strange girl who has friends in spite of herself. She is perpetually one cat away from being a crazy cat lady.”
We’re in renovation mode here (carpet, vinyl, granite counters, paint…) and then moving. Seventeen days and counting! There simply isn’t enough of my modest brain power left over for writing. Nonetheless, I thought this was worth sharing. How to Become a Happier Person. I mean, who doesn’t want to be happier?
Okay. You blew it. Ate too many nachos, drank too many margaritas. Or somehow that open bag of Oreos–or that pint of rocky road–just disappeared. Or you were forced to eat the leftover pizza for lunch because you didn’t get to the supermarket for salad ingredients. Your healthy eating plan is blown for the week. You scold yourself and promise you’ll start again next Monday. Days away from now. We’ve all done it, but I still have to ask, “How’s that working for you?” I thought so. It’s that perfectionist, “all or nothing” pattern of thinking that probably landed us at this spot.
How many nights have we gone to bed beating ourselves up with woulda, coulda, shoulda? How many days, weeks, months have we wasted waiting the next fresh start? How many moments?
Answer: Too many. Way too many.
Many times it’s not what happens to us, but how we respond that sets the pattern. Success just means getting up once oftener than you fall down.
You can have a clean slate any time you want. So, the next time you eat or drink more than you intended—and let’s face it, honey, it will happen—forgive yourself and figure out what went wrong. Where did that decision start? Did you let yourself get too hungry? Did you neglect to plan ahead? Did you let a bad day set the stage for overdosing on comfort food? Learn what trips you up and who–besides Ben and Jerry, that is–can comfort you when you are sad or angry or frustrated. Then make your very next decision a good one. Here are a few to consider:
- Drink more water. Add lemon or cucumber slices to make it feel and taste special.
- Be sure your next meal or snack a healthy one.
- Take a walk.
- Write in your journal about what set you off.
- Add a few more minutes at the gym.
- Call a supportive friend.
- Plan a few menus, make a shopping list and head to the market.
The key here is to forgive yourself and move on. Keep moving on. Aim for progress, not perfection. What will be your next step after a slip-up?