It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a novel about a boy named Craig. Who is Craig? Craig is an ambitious teen living in NYC who realizes that, in comparison to the kids in his new pre-professional high school, he’s barely mediocre. Towards the beginning of the book, he nearly kills himself because of the awful pressure and stress he feels just trying to keep up. Craig then checks himself in to a psychiatric hospital and learns to confront his depression and anxiety. Author Ned Vizzini, who himself spent some time in a psychiatric hospital, creates what really is a funny story despite the subject matter.
I’ve been largely absent from the blog this semester due to some mental and physical health problems of my own. A syncopal episode led to a doctor’s appointment, to an EKG, to cardiology appointments, and to blood tests galore. All that has just been feeding my anxiety disorder, and my anxiety disorder makes me feel…well, not so great. But rereading It’s Kind of a Funny Story reminded me of something that I always forget but which always makes me feel better. In the story, Craig likes to draw maps. By the end (spoiler!) he draws maps of the inside of people’s heads to chart the hills of their depression, the roundabouts of their anxiety, the twisty lanes of schizophrenia, and so on. It’s his way of mapping out the mess to figure out how to get around it. I don’t liketo draw maps, but I do like to write as a way of charting my own mental twists and turns. It’s strangely soothing, and authors like Vizzini, though I’ve never met them, are kind of this cool, unseen community reminding me that writing is good for more than arguing a point. It’s also good for mapping out the mess so you can start to see the way to get through it.