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Read Broken

Read Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson

As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.

20% laugh out loud funny

20% entertaining

20% meh

40% mental health, chronic illness, serious stories – dark but eloquent

Her mental health is much worse than mine which always scares me a little that I might get to that level. But her writing about her experiences with depression and anxiety help me accept my own foibles better.

Quotes + Notes

Emphasis mine.

“It’s probably not true. It’s not true.

That first line is what I feel. The second is what I know.”

“My doctor told me that when you finally get into remission from depression you are 350 percent more likely to stay in remission if you exercise thirty minutes a day six times a week.”

“I know that time given to yourself to make yourself healthier is good for you and for everyone around you. I know that it takes time and effort for some of us to stay sane. I know that I’m worth the work and that I should feel grateful that I can take care of myself without feeling guilty. So the next step is moving from knowing to feeling.

“Treat yourself like you would your favorite pet. Plenty of fresh water, lots of rest, snuggles as needed, allow yourself naps.”

“Avoid negativity. That means the news, people, movies. It will all be there when you’re healthy again.”

“Forgive yourself. For being broken. For being you.”

“Give yourself permission to recover.”

“I make the call. I keep the appointment. I work my program. This is the never-ending work of recovery.”

“[S]ometimes you have to do the hard thing. Sometimes you have to say no. Sometimes you have to make waves. Because otherwise you can get swept away.”

“[A]ll small terrors pass. That fear can make you think irrational thoughts. That you are only ever truly trapped when you give up and allow yourself to be. Don’t give up.”

“It’s a strange thing … to be tangled up in things no one else really cares about. To be so busy with worry that your constant back-and-forth looks like utter inaction. To be so afraid of doing something wrong that you end up doing something worse. To be exhausted by a marathon that looks like complete paralysis on the outside but feels like being on both sides of a violent tug-of-war on the inside.”

“And some people, like me, have a shard forever missing, a chasm that goes straight down to the core. Anxiety. It creates a fear—of people, of strangers and friends, and of life. It makes you fragile and vulnerable and you throw up walls so that no one can reach inside, because you have to protect that core. But—and here’s the tricky part—you also have to protect the break … that empty place that you always feel, because that break is what makes you who you are.”

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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