Little says ‘unhinged’ like laughing hysterically by yourself on an otherwise dark and silent airplane… until shushed by a fellow passenger leaning into my solo spotlight. I just pointed at the manic raccoon face and slunk deep behind my copy of ‘Furiously Happy’…
Blame author Jenny Lawson and her (NYT bestselling) autobiographical musings and anecdotes from a woman diagnosed with a litany of mental illnesses and disorders - sounds hilarious, right?!
But it’s had tears rolling down my cheeks - for all the reasons tears do that.
I absolutely love this funny, uplifting book that not only writes openly about mental illness, but also celebrates it! Not like, ‘yay! I’ve got depression and anxiety,’ but like, ‘hey, this is the way I’m made - a bit different, given - and with a ton of great. Let’s deal with it and make the most of it!’
Elsewhere in the world you’re weird if you don’t go to therapy! And anyone who’s anyone has a Coach, right? Because Coaching is awesome! …Here in Bermuda however, mental health is still such a taboo subject. Any kind of helping profession or personal development tends to get lumped together: as somewhere you definitely don’t want to be seen, with an attitude of: ‘I don’t need help, I’m not crazy!’
Hello?! This sh*t (mental illnesses, in their multitude of classifications and degrees of severity) affects a LOT of people. If not you directly, then I bet you know someone close by…. Aren’t we tired of pretending like mental issues don’t exist, being swept under rugs, hiding behind brave faces, desperately trying to look ‘normal’ and ‘fit in’ when perhaps inside it feels like worlds are crumbling?
“Unapologetic…” is a word used amongst ‘Furiously Happy’s rave reviews, and it’s precisely this which makes the book so darn inspiring. Accepting her diagnoses, recognizing that how her brain works is part of who she is and that it brings its own joys alongside the pain… owning her ‘crazy’… allows the author to live fully.
We try so hard to fit ourselves into this box that society's designed. Who in society, I don’t know… but there’s this general collective idea of how we’re supposed to act and think and be like (and btw. having any kind of mental illness is definitely not in the criteria)…
I know how hard I’ve tried over the years to stuff myself into that constricting cube.
So when, whichever way you try, you just don’t fit, it’s really easy to spend your time and thoughts chiding oneself, feeling bad or useless or undeserving or pathetic, ashamed, less than, self-pitying… and even more depressed or anxious because you’re constantly apologizing for the way you are and lamenting the fact you aren’t ‘normal’.
What a waste. And this is what Jenny Lawson says. Life is too short to spend the time you do have feeling bad about feeling bad, or feeling sorry about the way you are.
The book’s title comes from her decision on how she intends to spend the ‘free’ time that her illnesses give her. When she can be, she is not just happy and grateful… she milks joy. She launches into her creativity and sparkle, and shares with us the adventures of her gloriously unique mind and quirky perspective. Out of the darkness she finds the light – and the comedy. When she’s not stuck under a duvet or a table, this gal lives and loves and laughs… furiously.
Couldn’t we all take a page out of her book?
Whether or not we have a diagnosis, we all have our own versions of crazy.
And the truth is that we get to define our own ‘normal’ too, if we dare. Let’s love the life we’re given, and live it furiously happily!
** Living with any mental illness or condition is isolating enough. You are not alone and you don’t have to do it alone. We all need help sometimes and there is help out there for you… so please reach out until you find what works for you.
Julia is a trained Personal Development Coach, certified NLP Practitioner, writer and public speaker. Using coaching methods, tools and conversation, Julia helps her clients achieve the goals they set for themselves and transform their lives. Here she shares her own personal development journey on her life quest for authenticity, growth and having a good time!