IRJE: January 1 (It’s Kind Of a Funny Story)

Ned Vizzini wrote the book “It’s Kind Of a Funny Story” in 2006. He based this book on his experiences during his stay in an adult psychiatric hospital. The protagonist, Craig Gilner, is a 15-year-old kid who lives in Brooklyn. He experiences depression due to peer pressure, unrequited love, and academic pressure. Before deciding to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge one night, he called the suicidal support line and signed himself in a nearby hospital. He was reluctant towards staying for an entire week in the psychiatric hospital, but he notices many things the system of the hospital has that made his life simple. For example, each morning, a menu is carried to each person, and they could tick off the ones that they want for the day. Craig, who used to have eating disorders, slowly recovered his appetite again:

“I wish the world were like this, if I just woke up and marked the food I’d be eating and it came to me later in the day. I suppose it is like that, except you have to pay for whatever you want to eat, so maybe what I’m asking for is communism, but I think it is actually deeper than communism–I’m asking for simplicity, for purity and ease of choice and no pressure.” (loc. 2655)

This passage describes the recovery from mental disorders well. We used to have that simplicity, but the author suggests that we lose it as we age, and as we gain more cognitive knowledge of the world. Our cognitive beliefs can affect our actions to a great extent, and it explains why the world could be such a different place for someone else. Perhaps this is also why our material needs could be so different from our mental desires. One will often connect the satisfaction of our material needs with our subjective desires, and when we aren’t able to have tangible things to make us content, we will likely suffer. “Pressure” will always exist, but in a way it never did.