Lawson’s Lesson

It isn’t easy for me to be honest about my battle with mental illness. It was a journey for me to get here, a journey traveled in booze and beers and tears and joy and heartbreak and so much more. On my journey, I traveled through dark, paralyzing places and palaces in my mind. And while there are many factors along that journey that helped inspire me to be so open, the biggest factor by far is the work of one of my favorite authors and in particular her writings in one of my favorite books. So fuck it, today I am living furiously happy, as inspired by Jenny Lawson.

You see, August has been kind of a shit month for me mental health wise. It has featured a son-of-a-bitch depression that kept teasing me by making me think it was clearing, only to have it pull me down into the depths once again. And today I am saying fuck it, and more accurately, fuck you depression.

Jenny’s book, Furiously Happy, is an honest view of her depression. She opens by saying that she was going to live furiously happy to spite her depression, and this weekend at least, so am I. I may not look as good running through a graveyard in a red ballgown, but I did almost get trapped in the middle of a funeral a few weeks ago. My cat won’t stay still long enough for me to make a water bed for her, but she will furiously try to get into the bathroom to join you. I don’t have a stuffed raccoon named Rory, but I do have a picture of him on my phone (all this makes sense if you’ve read the book, if not go read it now).

A photo I found online of Rory the Raccoon, which is now my phone’s background. Here Rory is living furiously happy in front of some icebergs. I don’t remember where I found this photo or who to give the credit to, so whoever you are, thank you for taking this photo and please don’t sue me. That would not be very furiously happy.

And yea, living so furiously happy probably won’t be a thrilling development for my anxiety, but I can deal with it, at least for the weekend. Sure, I might be exhausted by the end of the weekend, having used up all my spoons living furiously happy, but the memories I make will make more spoons somewhere down the road (again, if you’ve read the books you know the spoon theory, but if not you can read up on it here).

I know that I won’t be furiously happy forever. I know that eventually the depression, and the anxiety, and all the demons they bring with them will come back, and will surround me in the darkness once again. And when that happens I won’t be furiously happy, I’ll be stuck trying to push myself through the day as I unravel inside. But I can’t change that fact. I can’t change the fact that I have these illnesses. But at the moment, where they’ve at least cleared enough for living furiously happy, I’m going to go for it. Because with depression and anxiety, I can’t always promise that I’ll have the energy to fully live my life, so I got to make the most of the living when I can.

Given how big of an influence she has been on my work and my openness about the darkness, it is a bit surprising to me that I haven’t dedicated a post to her yet, but no better time to rectify that than today.  If by some chance she reads this, I hope she knows how much she has helped, how much the community of Lawsonites have helped me, how un-alone I feel when I read her works and the responses to it. I hope someday I can be as much of an inspiration to someone with my writing.

And I hope that wherever you are reader, that you find the energy to live furiously happy from time to time as well. Thank you for joining me thus far on this journey, this dark tales project.

See you next time.

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