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[YRP Students' Essays] Turning a Grave Story into a Funny Story

The book It's a Funny Kind of Story can change how people think about mental illnesses. This book describes the feelings of a boy who was in major depression and tells how he overcame it. Even though the media talks about mental illnesses often these days for information about them, many people still do not have an understanding of mental illnesses. Most people have negative emotions about it, but by reading this book, readers who have a negative view may change their thoughts.

Readers will not get depressed from reading this book because the author tells the story in a humorous way. Young readers can relate to the main character telling the story because he goes through what every teenager goes through, like love and school problems. The depressed boy's problem was that he could not tolerate the stress he got from school. He took an exam to get into a high-level high school. He thought he was very smart, but after he got into the school, he realized that he was just a normal boy. He was used to being the top, but in an advanced school there are many smart kids like him. He gets upset for getting a 93 on his test. This is not a bad grade, yet for the boy it was. Readers can see how perfect he had to be in school.

He describes the stress in the world as "Anchors". He talks to his psychologist, who he calls a shrink, about his stress. In Japan, talking to a counselor is not that easy. People feel ashamed of themselves for relying on other people. In this book the boy talks to his psychologist like she is his friend. If Japanese people could be more open and talk to a psychologist or counselor as easy as the boy in this book, the number of people who are depressed might go down.

He had problems with his friends also. Although he was smart, he hung out with kids who did drugs and smoked. Most people would think smart people will be smart about drugs, too, but the character in this book was not. He had a good friend who was also advanced in school who did drugs. He felt good to be with that friend, but he could not talk to him about the stress he had and the fact he was seeing a psychologist and taking anti-depressants. This is not a good relationship. A good friend is someone who you can talk to about anything. Your friend should not be ashamed of the fact that you have a mental issue.

By reading this book, I became more open-minded about mental illness. I, myself, have experienced depression and went to a doctor. I did not have a positive view of mental health and felt very ashamed of myself. I still do have that feeling, but it is smaller because of this book. The humorous way the author wrote this book gives the reader a more positive view of depression. It tells readers that you do not have to be ashamed of yourself if you do get depressed. I would like to spread that fact and help people who feel down to get help if needed. This book will help readers to get a broader view of depression.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Stella, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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