It’s kind of a funny story… (a review of sorts)

When did my blog become a book review blog?

Well, I guess when I ran out of time to do much except read, work, and sleep.

I’m not really writing reviews, y’all. I’m more writing about what I’ve learned from these books or significant things these books are telling me/reminding me of/etc. Plus, I don’t want to give spoilers and in order to get a thorough review, spoilers would happen.

In case the title of this post wasn’t a clear indicator, I just finished Ned Vizzini’s “It’s kind of a funny story.” The book, as a whole, was amazing. I enjoyed his writing style and it was a pretty quick read. I started it a little over a week ago and probably would have finished it earlier if I didn’t spend most of April 13-17 in the middle of a panic attack from hell.

Which leads me to the point I’m trying to make with today’s post.

It’s very hard to write about depression in a way that is understandable to people who’ve never had it without somehow losing part of the experience. I know this because I’ve tried. It’s even harder to write convincingly about depression if you’ve never experienced it.

Vizzini’s writing speaks volumes about how struggles with the illness. His suicide this past December is a reminder of how that illness often wins.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression when I was 14. When I was 17, after three years of the meds basically making it worse, they rescinded the ‘bipolar’ diagnosis and focused on teaching me ways to maintain my depression and anxiety without drugs. I attended weekly (and later biweekly) therapy for 7 years despite no longer being on medication.

I’ve never read a book that actually put into words things I went through during those years. At some point during those years, I was most of the characters in that book. Harming myself to fight against expectations, unable to get out of bed, paranoid of every person I saw, desperate to make it all just stop. 

I found myself crying at the end of the book. Not because someone dies or because the story ended or any other painful reasons but because I felt like a piece of myself was in this book, a piece of myself that I spend a lot of time being ashamed of and hiding away. But it’s still in me and you can’t really lose any part of yourself, despite what you try to tell yourself at night.

If you’ve ever dealt with serious depression or are close to someone who has, read this book. Share this book with that person. It’s the closest you’ll get to understanding what it’s like without having to live through it. Trust me.

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