“I should be a success and I’m not and other people — younger people — are. Younger people than me are on TV and getting paid and winning scholarships and getting their lives in order. I’m still a nobody. When am I going to not be a nobody?”
An honest, serious, yet humorous examination of mental illness. In It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Craig Gilner is a gifted adolescent who just received admission to one of the top high schools in New York. He’s poised for a future of success in business or finance. He’s only fifteen.
But the pressure — the pressure is unbearable and Craig’s coping skills (and choice of friends) need some work. The shrinks help a little, the Zoloft helps some more, but in the end he needs a stay in Six North to help him confront the sources of his anxiety and depression.
Here’s some Captain Obvious for you: School is hard. The pressure we put on ourselves to succeed in a competitive arena, is harder. Sometimes, we are not equipped to deal with these pressures. These thoughts are similar to ones I had in my third year of grad school:
“…I’m asking for simplicity, for purity and ease of choice and no pressure. I’m asking for something that no politics is going to provide, something that probably you only get in preschool. I’m asking for preschool.”
Oh, to have someone wake you up in the morning, orchestrate your day (complete with activities of course), and send you off to bed at a specified time, whether you wanted to go or not.
Sometimes while reading this I thought Craig Gilner, or Ned Vizzini, was inside my brain. That’s kind of scary, but I know a lot of people deal with anxiety and depression. Many of us never have cause to call the suicide hotline, thankfully, but some of us do. Somehow, this story helps. It stayed authentic — in a way that only someone who has lived through this could keep it authentic. It treated a serious, and potentially melodramatic, story in a light-hearted, funny way, but without making light of the very serious problems Craig was facing.
I don’t know if Craig was really okay in the end, but he acknowledged some truths about himself, and sometimes, maybe that’s the best we can do. Find some truths.
Definitely a read I would recommend to anyone.