You Are Here

you are here

I am not a coloring person as an adult. It appealed to me at first but after buying two coloring books and only coloring like half a page in each I decided that coloring books were not for me. I loved coloring as a child, but as an adult I can’t seem to color and do other things at the same time so it goes out the window.

But then March happened. I rode the struggle bus all through March. I cried, I had sleepless nights. Depression was constantly up my ass. I reached a point where I was so out of it that I didn’t even want to talk to anyone. Depression told me no one would understand, I would just be bothering them with my troubles.

So around my birthday I decided that I was going to do something for myself. I kept seeing Jenny Lawson’s new book You Are Here, and with her advocacy for mental health I thought it would be fun to pick up and give a try, despite my past experiences with coloring books. So I bought this giant pack of gel markers and her book.

gel pens
60 PACK!

Before I started coloring I read through the book. By the time I had made it halfway I was crying. I think sometimes in the midst of work and school and chores and everything I manage to forget how alone I feel. This book made me feel like I was not alone. I was crying with relief.

So after having it for about a week and a half I decided that it was time to color something. I looked through the pictures, and after crying some more I decided on this one:

brain on fire
“Sometimes my mind is like a flame. It’s remarkable, terrible, and terrifying all at once. But the real trick? Is in not letting it consume me. At least, not entirely. BRAINS ARE DANGEROUS THINGS.” -Jennifer Lawson, You Are Here

I’m not done yet, and if you look closely you can see that the markers I used on the hair were glitter markers, and I had no idea when I was using them, the glitter only showed up once the gel dried. I picked this picture because this is how I feel when I have my good ol’ fashioned freak outs. I have to be smarter than myself, I feel like I’m drowning, and my brain feels like it’s on fire or being ripped apart from the strain. I have coping mechanisms and they are very good, but when the pain is too great they break apart and I am on fire.

I think that reading comes in different forms, and as always there are different strokes for different folks. I would posit, however, that this coloring book is for everyone who feels different, feels silenced, feels isolated and alone. It’s so much more than a coloring book. It’s hard for me to explain, but just flipping through the pages, not coloring at all, was like being with an old friend.

I strongly recommend picking up this book, and it’s not even that expensive. I’ll share more of my coloring on my facebook page as I go, and maybe more of my journey. The more people speak out about their experience, the less stigma exists. Now I’m gonna go decide if that’s water or smoke flowing around her neck and color it up before I go to bed. Happy Monday.


  1. Glitter hair is awesome. I will mos def check out the coloring book. I really appreciate you writing about your struggles with depression. I’ve certainly struggled with it, at times, myself. I’ve been having pretty smooth sailing recently; however, I just got off the phone with my son and he gave me some not great news about a recurring health problem he has. I can already feel myself trying to slide down into that pit of despair and panic. I’m going to try hard not to do that, but it ain’t so easy. Keep fighting the good fight.


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