Tentacles and Anchors

[spoiler alert]

These are the terms that I got from the 2007 published book It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (The book was adapted into movie in 2010). For heads up, this book is about an ambitious New York City teenager, Craig Gilner, who is determine to succeed at life but end up unable to bear the pressure from his prestigious High School; Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professionals. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he plans to kill himself. His suicidal episode, then, get him checked into a mental hospital. There is where he finds a way to confront his sources of anxiety and get to know his other ‘troubled’ neighbors.

its kind of a funny story book cover
It’s Kind of A Funny Story book cover

Tentacles and Anchors are Craig’s personal terms. Tentacles are described as “the evil tasks that invade my life” and anchors are “things that occupy my mind and make me feel good temporarily”. Tentacles, in the book, are explained in a very eerie detailed manner that scared the hell out of me when I read it. It made me wonder how scary people with depression can view things. Thus, it is so scary to be living with depression or other mental illness. Try to be positive as we can, while we still have the chance of experiencing healthy mental state. No matter how hard it is, just try to find positive thing in every situation. I hope we can be more grateful and more positive towards life.

This is how tentacles are explained in the book: Tentacles are evil things that invade my life. Like, for example, my American History class last week, which necessitated me writing the paper on the weapons of the Revolutionary War, which necessitated me travelling to Metropolitan Museum to check out some of the old guns, which necessitated me getting in the subway, which meant I didn’t get to respond to a mass mail sent out by my teacher asking who needed extra credit, which meant I wasn’t going to get a 98 in 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 Good College, which meant I wasn’t going to have a Good Job, which meant I wasn’t going to have insurance, which meant I have to pay tremendous amount 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 me 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.

Thankfully in the end, he found his Anchor. His doctor said that he couldn’t make people his anchor because people tend to change. But, then, he found his ultimate anchor, something that he re-discovered along his recovery process in the hospital, something that make him feel good doing it, something that make him feel like he own his life. It is a very hopeful book, though. It’s just so sad that the author- who was also suffering from mental illness- died of suicide.

As for myself, my Tentacles, well I don’t think I have one right now though. I just hope that I wouldn’t have to think about those Tentacles- ever. As for my Anchor, I think writing is my Anchor. It is something that I really like doing and it makes me feel good doing it. Something that make me feel calm and absorbed. Sometimes I am worried about getting a good and competitive writing. But in the end, I enjoy the process. I enjoy how I could be carried away by it. I hope that could be my Anchor for a loooooong time :)


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