Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Author Jenny Lawson has multiple anxiety disorders and depression. Rather than keep her mental illness in a dark and secret place, she started a blog about it awhile ago. Her blog became so popular that she decided to write a book which became a number one best seller called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

Furiously Happy is her second hysterically funny book of essays on how handling her many issues although can be debilitating, the situations they pose can be laugh out loud funny!

And laughter IS one of the best medicines for anxiety and depression. Lawson’s ability to take a simple thought and create a whole comical scenario is a talent I have never seen. In the essay, I’ve Found a Kindred Soul and He Has a Healthy Coat tells the story of how Lawson went to the pharmacy to pick up her meds and while waiting in line saw a box of dog biscuits behind the pharmacy counter. Whose could they be? Does the pharmacist eat them on break? Can you eat dog biscuits? Should I eat dog biscuits?

Another essay which some of us can relate to…I know I can, is titled, Things I May Have Accidentally Said During Uncomfortable Silences. In the essay she lists thoughts she has said out loud at possibly the most inappropriate times. One such thought was during an office visit during one of her psychology appointments she remarks during a lull, “On the way in here I saw a cloud that looked like a skull. My first thought? Death Eaters.”

There are a few funny stories she tells about going on a vacation (something her anxiety usually will not let her do) to Australia with her girlfriend and they decide to dress up as koalas while visiting the zoo to see the koalas only to find they have gone to the wrong zoo while dressed as said koalas. When they finally find the correct zoo they find out you are not allowed to hold the koalas. Hence pictures of them NEXT to the koala in a koala costume.

The pictures which Lawson provides in the book are proof positive that although she struggles, she certainly tries to push the envelope and have a bit of fun. My favorite photo is of her laying in an unfinished pool which they had been trying to complete only the contractors kept bailing on them. It says quite a bit about a book when not only do the words make you laugh, but the pictures are even hysterical.

Although this book does try to show that there can be a little light at the end of the tunnel, Lawson does not in anyway sugar coat her mental illness. What she can do and does is not only empathize with those who suffer minor or major anxiety or mental illness, but explains that even though there are crazy fun moments, there are still weeks which she spends in bed being unable to get up her depression so severe. Or feeling guilty that she is unable to go see her daughter in her dance class because of her social anxiety or the newest, now that she has to go on book tours…hiding under tables when she knows she has to speak. But she has a terrific husband, Victor who can talk or argue her down from the ledge when need be.

With all that said, the most important lesson I believe Lawson wants us to take away from her book is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here. I understand your distress. I know what you mean. Now, laugh about it!

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