Ready to be furiously happy? Read this book!

Have you ever stayed up until 4 am thinking “If I go to sleep now, I’ll get 4 hours of sleep. If I sleep now, I’ll get 3 hours and 59 minutes of sleep.” And so on and so on. Until you realize it’s 7 am and you haven’t actually gotten any sleep because you worried too much about not getting enough sleep.

This is what it’s like to be in our brains. Except multiply it by one million because on top of sleep we’re worrying about getting the kids to school, working on our business and oh did we forget to turn the stove off?

That’s anxiety. And it’s something we have dealt with pretty much our whole lives, even when we didn’t realize it.

A couple of months ago we were in a book store and accidentally found this book called “Furiously Happy.” It is written by a blogger named Jenny Lawson who talks candidly about her struggles with mental and other health issues. When we read it, we knew that she was our long lost triplet. Or at the very least, a kindred spirit.

I can’t say enough about hilarious she is but the biggest reason we would recommend the book is that it’s an insider’s look at someone who deal with mental illness. And maybe, if you’re anything like us, you will read the book and suddenly shout “OMG THAT’S JUST LIKE ME!”

Because one of the biggest lies of anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses is that you are in this alone, that no one else is dealing with the same thing. Reading this book will help you realize how far from the truth that really is.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book, some that talk about her views, how other people see mental illness, and some just plain funny stuff to convince you why this book is a must read.

“When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.”

“Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.

“I can tell you that “Just cheer up” is almost universally looked at as the most unhelpful depression cure ever. It’s pretty much the equivalent of telling someone who just had their legs amputated to “just walk it off.” Some people don’t understand that for a lot of us, mental illness is a severe chemical imbalance rather just having “a case of the Mondays.” Those same well-meaning people will tell me that I’m keeping myself from recovering because I really “just need to cheer up and smile.” That’s when I consider chopping off their arms and then blaming them for not picking up their severed arms so they can take them to the hospital to get reattached.”

“Normal is boring. Weird is better. Goats are awesome, but only in small quantities.”

“If you put a bunch of chameleons on top of a bunch of chameleons on top of a bowl of Skittles what would happen? Is that science? Because if so, I finally get why people want to do science.”

If you decide to read this book (and we definitely think you should), buy the audio book. Listening to her tell her story in her own voice is amazing and even more hilarious than just reading it. You can also follow her on FB (if you’re a fan of cat videos, check this out).

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