Real Talk

So last night I saw Perks of Being a Wallflower in theaters and I loved it so much I can’t even describe it. For those of you who don’t know anything about the movie or book (which I have not read, but I am planning on starting it tonight) It is awesome, and about some kids in high school who are admittedly kind of messed up in the head.

This goes pretty well with a trend I have been noticing in my life. The authors and characters I tend to love and identify with all seem to be mentally ill in one way or another. I read a lot of memoirs and I will be reading and enjoying a book and thinking “I totally get this person!” and then I come across a chapter whose basic point is “By now you’ve figured out I’m a nut job* and here is my diagnosis.” They go on to explain their bouts of depression, anxiety and/or OCD. and I am left going “Wait! I didn’t think you were a nut job! I totally understand you!…Wait… Am I a nut job?” And of course, I know the answer to that question is a resounding ‘yes.’ But I am getting reminded of that a lot lately.

So here is the real talk: I was diagnosed with depression in high school, and since then it has been relatively well controlled with medication. There was an unfortunate period of time during my freshman year of college when my medication stopped working and I scared my roommate because I was so sad and upset all the time. (We are still friends, and when reminded of that time she pretends to not care about me at all and claims that “I just remember you being really whiney.” But this is a total lie because when it happened she told a mutual friend that she had no idea what to do, because I was so sad and upset all the time. When our friend told me this it actually made me feel a little better. My roommate and I had been friends since freshman year of highschool and got to be kind of an old married couple. We got into a number of squabbles, so it was nice to know she worried about me. And now I can use this instant as proof whenever she pretends to think I am just an annoying whiner.) Anyway, other than a few occasions when I couldn’t seem to get myself out of bed because the world seemed like it might be ending for no apparent reason, I am able to live a pretty happy life. I enjoy where I am right now, even though there are so many unknowns. I have no idea where I will be in a year, or what I will be doing, but I am excited to find out.

The friend I saw Perks of Being a Wallflower with was the same freshman roommate who secretly cares for me but doesn’t want me to know. She mostly just went to see it for Emma Watson, and liked it but had no where near the love for it that I had. I maintained that it was because she has not been diagnosed with any mental problems (though her friends have been telling her she has an anxiety disorder for years. She refuses to see a psychiatrist.) I think there is a special place in my heart for stories of people who have mental illness. Especially the stories about people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety who are mostly able to live their lives to the fullest and be completely awesome, because it makes me feel like I can do it too. It also makes me feel better to know that I am not the only person out there who just wants to hide in their beds on some days.

I actually think a lot of people can relate to that feeling; at least more than you would think. If you want a book recommendation by someone who is awesome and a little crazy and mostly overcoming depression, anxiety, and ptsd, you should read “Lets Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson, and/or read her blog here: I also highly recommend seeing/reading Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Also Microthrills by Wendy Spero is an amazing book, and I feel like it can fit into this category because the author has some pretty legit OCD.

Do you have any funny/feel good books by authors who have struggled with mental illness? I want to read them!

*I use the term nut job here lovingly. I understand the hardship that comes with mental illness all too well and I know it doesn’t make you crazy. However, most of the authors I read tend to have a self-deprecating sense of humor, and I feel that they would use this term to describe themselves

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