I’ve suffered from mental illness in one form or another since I was 16, and it seems throughout the years it’s grown in varying degrees; my depression, my anxiety, my OCD, my claustrophobia, my germophobia. But it all began when my brother died. I choose to stay away from medications, because of the effects I’ve felt in the past. Not everyone understands mental illness; how everyone copes differently, or reacts differently. I have depression, but I am not suicidal; I would never want my mother to lose another child. I cope with my mental illness using a pretty dark sense of humor; that’s how I get through the tough days.
If you suffer from mental illness and find that you also get through the day using humor – I recommend reading Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. Reading this book, I felt like it was written just for me. It’s funny, clever and intelligent. It’s relatable, it’s weird, it’s wonderful. It also nails what it’s like to live with mental illness, and what it’s like to live with someone who doesn’t. While this book is mostly fun and comedic, it does hit hard sometimes as well. Like this blurb:
Sometimes being crazy is a demon. And sometimes the demon is me. And I visit quiet sidewalks and loud parties and dark movies, and a small demon looks out at the world with me. Sometimes it sleeps. Sometimes it plays. Sometimes it laughs with me. Sometimes it tries to kill me. But it is always with me.
I supposed we’re all possessed in some way. Some of us with dependence on pills or wine. Others through sex or gambling. Some of us through self-destruction or anger or fear. And some of us just carry around our tiny demon as he wreaks havoc in our mind, tearing open old dusty trunks of bad memories and leaving the remnants spread everywhere. Wearing the skins of people we’ve hurt. Wearing the skins of people we’ve loved. And sometimes, when it’s worst, wearing our skins. These times are the hardest. When you can see yourself confined to your bed because you have no strength or will to leave.
So if you suffer from mental illness – or if you love someone who does and you just want to understand – I recommend you read this book, it has been incredibly helpful to me.