Craig is the main character of the story. He is 16 years old, good looking but awkward. The story starts with the moment while he glides on his bike toward the Brooklyn Bridge. He is the only one on the streets. His beating heart is the only sound that we can hear and it increases in pace as Craig nears the bridge. He walks to the edge, over the speeding traffic below, then out over the water. I find his suicidal moment brilliant because of his mind talks. “What were you planning to do with your bike, honey?!” his mother said. “I don’t care about my bike! I’m killing myself!” he replied. “But we spent a lot of money on that bike, Sport! We only ask that you take care of it!” his father said and his little sister comes up with “Think of me, Craig! I might want that bike when I grow up!”. Later a car horn blares and he blinded by the oncoming headlights. He slips and falls as his family watches in horror. Then he usually wakes up in a sweaty panic but this time it was different. And the story starts!
Cosmic Quotes: It’s Kind of a Funny Story on Depression
“How long have you been feeling suicidal?”
“I don’t know… I’ve been depressed for about a year now. Thought about a few times, but never like this. Never so… real.”
“Did anything specific happen today that might have triggered these feelings?”
“Sometimes I wish I had an easy answer for why I’m depressed. My father beat me. Or I was sexually abused. But none of that stuff has ever happened to me… It was just a normal Saturday.”
“What happened when you woke up?”
“I was having a dream. I don’t know what it was, but when I woke up, I had this awful realization that I was awake. It hit me like a brick in the groin.”
“Like a brick in the groin, I see.”
“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
“And what is that nightmare, Craig?”
“Life is a nightmare.”
What am I always going to do? I’m going to go home and freak out.I’m going to sit with my family and try not to talk about myself and what’s wrong. Im going to try and eat. Then I’m going to try and sleep. I dread it. I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. I’m not doing well in terms of being a functional human, you know?
I can’t function here anymore. I mean in life: I can’t function in this life. I’m no better off than when I was in bed last night, with one difference: when I was in my own bed—or my mom’s—I could do something about it; now that I’m here I can’t do anything. I can’t ride my bike to the Brooklyn Bridge; I can’t take a whole bunch of pills and go for the good sleep; the only thing I can do is crush my head in the toilet seat, and I still don’t even know if that would work. They take away your options and all you can do is live, and it’s just like Humble said: I’m not afraid of dying; I’m afraid of living. I was afraid before, but I’m afraid even more now that I’m a public joke. The teachers are going to hear from the students. They’ll think I’m trying to make an excuse for bad work.
It’s tough to get out of bed; I know that myself. You can lie there for an hour and a half without thinking anything, just worrying about what the day holds and knowing that you won’t be able to deal with it.
I’m not better, you know. The weight hasn’t left my head. I feel how easily I could fall back into it, lie down and not eat, waste my time and curse wasting my time, look at my homework and freak out and go and chill at Aaron’s, look at Nia and be jealous again, take the subway home and hope that it has an accident, go and get my bike and head to the Brooklyn Bridge. All of that is still there. The only thing is, it’s not an option now. It’s just… a possibility, like it’s a possibility that I could turn to dust in the next instant and be disseminated throughout the universe as an omniscient consciousness. It’s not a very likely possibility.
Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.
I wanted to tell people, “My depression is acting up today” as an excuse for not seeing them, but I never managed to pull it off.
I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.
I waste at least an hour every day lying in bed. Then I waste time pacing. I waste time thinking. I waste time being quiet and not saying anything because I’m afraid I’ll stutter.
This was all an excuse, I think. I was doing fine. I had a 93 average and I was holding my head above water. I had good friends and a loving family. And because I needed to be the center of attention, because I needed something more, I ended up here, wallowing in myself, trying to convince everybody around me that I have some kind of. . . disease. I don’t have any disease. I keep pacing. Depression isn’t a disease. It’s a pretext for being a prima donna. Everybody knows that. My friends know it; my principal knows it. The sweating has started again. I can feel the Cycling roaring up in my brain. I haven’t done anything right. What have I done, made a bunch of little pictures? That doesn’t count as anything. I’m finished. My principal just called me and I hung up on him and didn’t call back. I’m finished. I’m expelled. I’m finished.
Dr. Barney stared at me, his lips puckered. What was he so serious about? Who hasn’t thought about killing themselves, as a kid? How can you grow up in this world and not think about it? It’s an option taken by a lot of successful people: Ernest Hemingway, Socrates, Jesus. Even before high school, I thought that it would be a cool thing to do if I ever got really famous. If I kept making my maps, for instance, and some art collector came across them and decided to make them worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if I killed myself at the height of that, they’d be worth millions of dollars, and I wouldn’t be responsible for them anymore. I’d have left behind something that spoke for itself.
Things to do today:
1) BREATHE IN.
2) BREATHE OUT.
“Doc, I’m not afraid of dying; I’m only afraid of living, and I want to put this bayonet through my stomach”
Some days I woke up and got out of bed and brushed my teeth like any normal human being; some days I woke up and lay in bed and looked at the ceiling and wondered what the hell the point was of getting out of bed and brushing my teeth like any normal human being.
I’ll get up and bike to the Brooklyn Bridge and throw myself off it.
Why were the other kids doing better than me? Because they were better, that’s why That’s what I knew every time I sat down online or got on the subway to Aaron’s house. Other people weren’t smoking or jerking off, and those that were were gifted-able to live and compete at the same time. I wasn’t gifted. Mom was wrong. I was just smart and I worked hard. I had fooled myself into thinking that was something important to the rest of the world. Other people were complicit in this ruse. Nobody had told me I was common.
So why am I depressed? That’s the million-dollar question, baby, the Tootsie Roll question; not even the owl knows the answer to that one. I don’t know either. All I know is the chronology.
I’m jealous of her. Can you be jealous of your mom for being able to handle things? I couldn’t take a day off, take a dog to the vet, and cook dinner. That’s like three times too much stuff for me to get done in one day. How am I ever going to have my own house?
SUICIDAL IDEATION. That would be a good band name, I think.
Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.
I have a system with bathrooms. I spend a lot of time in them. They are sanctuaries, public places of peace spaced throughout the world for people like me. When I pop into Aaron’s, I continue my normal routine of wasting time. I turn the light off first. Then I sigh. Then I turn around, face the door I just closed, pull down my pants, and fall on the toilet— I don’t sit; I fall like a carcass, feeling my butt accommodate the rim. Then I put my head in my hands and breathe out as I, well, y’know, piss. I always try to enjoy it, to feel it come out and realize that it’s my body doing something it has to do, like eating, although I’m not too good at that. I bury my face in my hands and wish that it could go on forever because it feels good. You do it and it’s done. It doesn’t take any effort or any planning. You don’t put it off. That would be really screwed up, I think. If you had such problems that you didn’t pee. Like being anorexic, except with urine. If you held it in as self-punishment. I wonder if anyone does that? I finish up and flush, reaching behind me, my head still down. Then I get up and turn on the light. (Did anyone notice I was in here in the dark? Did they see the lack of light under the crack and notice it like a roach? Did Nia see?) Then I look in the mirror. I look so normal. I look like I’ve always looked, like I did before the fall of last year. Dark hair and dark eyes and one snaggled tooth. Big eyebrows that meet in the middle. A long nose, sort of twisted. Pupils that are naturally large—it’s not the pot— which blend into the dark brown to make two big saucer eyes, holes in me. Wisps of hair above my upper lip. This is Craig. And I always look like I’m about to cry. I put on the hot water and splash it at my face to feel something. In a few seconds I’m going to have to go back and face the crowd. But I can sit in the dark on the toilet a little more, can’t I? I always manage to make a trip to the bathroom take five minutes.
Tentacles is my term — the Tentacles are the evil tasks that invade my life. Like, for example, my American History class last week, which necessitated me writing a paper on the weapons of the Revolutionary war, which necessitated me traveling to the Metropolitan Museum to check out some of the old guns, which necessitated me getting the subway, which necessitated me being away from my cell phone and email for 45 minutes, which meant that I didn’t get to respond to a mass mail sent out by my teacher asking who needed extra credit, which meant other kids snapped up the extra credit, which meant I wasn’t going to get a 98 in the class, which meant I wasn’t anywhere close to a 98.6 average (body temperature, that’s what you needed to get), which meant I wasn’t going to get into a Good College, which meant I wasn’t going to have a Good Job, which meant I wasn’t going to have health insurance, which meant I’d have to pay tremendous amounts of money for the shrinks and drugs my brain needed, which meant I wasn’t going to have enough money to pay for a Good Lifestyle, which meant I’d feel ashamed, which meant I’d get depressed, and that was the big one because I knew what that did to me: it made it so I wouldn’t get out of bed, which led to the ultimate thing — homelessness. If you can’t get out of bed for long enough, people come and take your bed away.
“You want to play video games twenty-four hours a day?”
“Or watch. I just want to not be me. Whether it’s sleeping or playing video games or riding my bike or studying. Giving my brain up. That’s what’s important.”
There’s so much more for me to be doing. 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?
I had hurt her feelings, I found out later; I didn’t know I had that power.
I feel dead, wasted, awful, broken and useless. It’s not the kind of feeling you forget.
“But I look like a freak now.” ― Noelle
“I told you, Noelle, everybody has problems. Some people just hide their crap better than others. But people aren’t going to look at you and run away. They’re going to look at you and think that they can talk to you, and that you’ll understand, and that you’re brave, and that you’re strong. And you are. You’re brave and strong.” ― Craig
The therapists told you that you needed to find happiness within yourself before you got it from another person.
I was happy about different things. I was happy because someday I’d be walking across this bridge looking at this city, owning some piece of it, being valuable here.
That’s all I can do. I’ll keep at it and hope it gets better.
I know something’s changing in me. It might not be dramatic, but it’s real. And for the first time in a while, I can look forward to things I want to do in my life…
Bike. Eat. Drink. Talk. Ride the subway. Read. Read maps. Make maps. Make art. Have a party. Hug my mom. Kiss my dad. Kiss my little sister. Make out with Noelle. Make out with her more. Take her on a picnic. See a movie with her. See a movie with Aaron. Heck, see a movie with Nia. Tell people my story. Volunteer at Three North. Help people like Bobby. Like Muqtada. Like me. Draw more. Draw a person. Draw a naked person. Draw Noelle naked. Run. Travel. Swim. Skip. I know it’s lame, but, whatever, skip anyway… Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Live!
[book]: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini [movie script]: Written for the screen by Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden, based on the novel by Ned Vizzini