I kid you not: I was at the gym the other day and the guy on the elliptical machine next to me was eating a candy bar and drinking a Coke. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, and I thought to myself…well, I’m sure you can guess what I thought—you’re probably thinking the same thing right now.
It did get me wondering about the power of addiction, though. Either this poor guy is diabetic (but, still!), or he is addicted to sugar. Either way, it was a whole lot of sugar to be consuming all at once. I’m surprised that his body didn’t go into shock between the sudden influx of calories and the increased heart rate due to exercise torture. But he didn’t, and I was spared the experience of practising my CPR (thank the good lord almighty).
But I’m certainly not one to be judgemental about addiction. It’s a hard reality for me to swallow, but my body (mind?) is addicted to anti-depressants. One only needs to read the package information to realize this ugly fact: “Under no circumstances should you stop taking this medication without doctor supervision.” Okaaaaay. Apparently you have to be weaned off of it to avoid serious side effects. Yep, sounds like addiction to me. That’s fantastic.
Jenny Lawson, in her new book Furiously Happy, talks openly about her struggles with depression, and it’s—wait for it—hilarious. Of course the cover of the book should be a dead giveaway about its contents: Jenny’s the only author I know of who has taxidermied animals posing front and center. And that’s the thing about depression—on your darkest days, at least you’re not a taxidermied animal.Referred to as her “Magnum Opus,” Furiously Happy is a collection of thoughts, experiences, recollections and questions that Jenny has recorded about her ongoing battle with clinical depression and severe anxiety, and a slew of other issues including—but not limited to—rheumatoid arthritis and trichotillomania (that hair-pulling thing). All issues considered, the book is amazingly wonderful.
Jenny certainly doesn’t take her diagnoses lightly, and she’s an excellent spokesperson (and cheerleader, I must add) for people fighting similar disorders. But in case you’re under the mistaken belief that the book is dreary, or worse, a how-to-survive manual, she also veers off into unchartered territories like voodoo vaginas, murdering swans, zombies—the ones who live at the airport—and Japanese toilets. Okay, it’s a bit like a how-to-survive manual: she does give tips on surviving a zombie apocalypse (at the airport).
If you’re like me, Furiously Happy is the type of book that will become dog-eared with use. You may even mark certain pages so you can hand it to your significant other and say, “This. Exactly this.”
In the words of Jenny Lawson, “Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken. Be furiously happy.”
Jenny Lawson, AKA “The Bloggess,” is the best-selling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.
Furiously Happy is her second book. Flatiron Books, 2015.