So, apparently Jenny Lawson writes a beloved blog. I did not know that when I put this on my Christmas wishlist. I thought the description was intriguing enough and at this point in my life various people I know have suddenly become depressed, are seeking help for depression, or are recovering from depression. I was hoping to get a humorous insight into the disordered or depressed mind… that isn’t exactly what I got.
Jenny Lawson, otherwise known as The Blogess (where you can find her on your internets), struggles with depression and mental illness. Don’ let that define her, because from her book of essays (?) she seems like she’d be a lot of fun. Genuinely, aside from her bizarre love of taxidermy, I imagine she and I could talk books, movies, tv shows, pop culture, music and have several good laughs. Perhaps that is the point, that those with mental illness are just like everyone else, for the most part. Her book is kind of chronologically written while she was actually in the process of publishing/promoting her first book and has various humorous anecdotes as well as descriptions of some frightening bouts with depression and/or suicidal thoughts. The transitions are fairly non existent and some of the chapters come across simply as “hey, look at how witty and clever my husband and I are!” While I enjoyed much of what I was reading, it didn’t resonate in meaningful way… which is not to say that someone else might not find it a type of salvation.
This year, a twelve year old neighbor attempted to commit suicide. Now, this is a kid I LOVE. I can’t tell you how much I adore this kid, his siblings, and his parents. They’ve been so welcoming to my family and I since we moved here four years ago. They are the first to offer to help. They are that genuinely good and generous that you don’t come across often. This particular child was always my favorite. He has a quick smile, a zest for adventure, a good sense of humor. He’s handsome, athletic, popular, and a great friend. I just couldn’t understand how something like this could happen… not to someone like him. He is so normal. When I started reading Furiously Happy I wanted to understand, how does this happen? How does it work? Why? Why? Why? Long story short, for Lawson (and probably my neighbor) there really isn’t a why that satisfies. Chemicals, thoughts, challenges, life.
What I enjoy is the passion in which Lawson wants to live her life. Though public speaking, flights, meetings are struggles and create a crippling sort of anxiety Lawson wants to be happy. Furiously Happy. She also wants to be an ambassador and a beacon of hope to those who are living daily with mental illness. She communicates with and supports others who struggle and through her blog she presents a picture of someone who has quirks, but is doing her best to help others and that is admirable. Since reading her book, I started following her blog. I love it… and maybe that is why I found her book challenging. What works for a blog post, does not a book make. I WOULD suggest this book to a friend or two of mine who are fighting their own battles with depression because I believe they would see something of themselves in Lawson, not the struggles, but the triumphant humor.