It’s time to start talking about the elephant in the living room. I refer to our national mental health problem. It’s not about mass shootings, though they are a symptom. It’s not about the homeless, though they too are largely a symptom. It’s about 1 in 4 Americans suffering from mental illness each year, and our inability to acknolwedge that there’s a problem.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson is a great place to begin the conversation. In this series of essays and blog posts, Lawson explores her own mental illness, as well as society’s reaction to mental illness. The book is hilarious, and also enlightening. I’m listening to the audiobook, narrated by the author, and it is extremely listenable. It’s also available on Kindle, although this is one of the few books in which the performance makes it hard to imagine “merely” reading it.
From the description:
Furiously Happy is about “taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It’s the difference between “surviving life” and “living life”. It’s the difference between “taking a shower” and “teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair.” It’s the difference between being “sane” and being “furiously happy.”
There’s plenty of mention that most of those who live with mental illness “suffer in darkness.” There’s the note that cancer sufferers get recognized when they survive, but those with severe depression often get ostracized when they survive.
And there’s plenty of profanity, but get over it. This book is worth a little discomfort, whether at the subject matter or her colorful language.
Here’s the first chapter of Ordinary World, as read by Scott Pollak. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It should be available in audiobook on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes in about three weeks.