My first read of 2016 caused tears of joy, tears of sadness, and moments of reflection that I have never encountered while reading a book... ever. “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson caused a whole array of outward emotions, including two very embarrassing laugh-out-loud moments. One was whilst riding a busy train home during rush hour and the other woke an elderly woman as we used the laundromat. To me, those moments sum up this book. It makes you uncomfortable, but you just cannot help but laugh at the wit and writing of Jenny Lawson.
This book is a reflective look at the battle the author has gone through, specifically her struggle with mental illness and how uses storytelling to provide clarity as she explains how she lives and functions day-to-day with the emotions, fears, and triumphs that come from her day-to-day. She makes statements that I wish people would take to heart about how much energy it takes just to get through a day sometimes.
So often within the church, we assume that a quick prayer will cure all mental illness, but that is so far from the truth. She nailed it with the following quote.
As I read through the book, there were so many times that I felt as if this book fell into my lap to help me wrestle through so many questions that I have had over the last decade of my life that I have struggled to understand. God created me with ADHD, and that means that I process emotions and situations differently than others. It doesn’t make me less – it just makes me special.
I cannot even tell you the amount of times that I fight to put a smile on my face even if I am having the best day. Something within me just does not want to do it. I should be able to smile or feel happy, but inside I feel empty and sad. I don't say that to make anyone feel sorry for me, but I just wish I could understand sometimes what is going on inside of my head.
Life is amazing and I see how the downtimes have shaped who I am. This book does a wonderful job of allowing you to see your own downtimes not as a weight holding you back, but as a series of events and emotions that bring clarity to the present and direction to your future.
I remember sharing this quote with Amy and having a great conversation with her about how I have had trouble in the past differentiating emotions and explaining how I feel to others. It is something that frustrates me deeply because I see when it frustrates others and that bothers me, too. It is a vicious circle through which Amy has been my rock. This book has been so helpful as I look at my past struggles and my own insecurities. I have told so many people to read this book whether or not they struggle with mental illness because it illuminates the everyday life of someone who does struggle.