Its Kind of a Funny Story Ned Vizzini EXCERPT Hello. Hi_ is by fdh56iuoui

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									                                It’s Kind of a Funny Story

                                        Ned Vizzini



                                        EXCERPT



“Hello.”

“Hi, is this the Suicide Hotline?”

“This is the Brooklyn Anxiety Management Center.”

“Oh, um…”

“We work with the Samaritans. We handle New York Suicide Hotline calls when they
overflow. This is Keith speaking.”

“So the Suicide Hotline is too busy right now?”

“Yes – it’s Friday night. This is our busiest time.”

Great. I’m common even in suicide.

“What seems to, ah, be the problem?”

“I really, just…I’m very depressed and I want to kill myself.”

“Uh-huh. What’s your name?”

“Ah…” Need-a-fake-name, need-a-fake-name: “Scott.”

“And how old are you, Scott?”

“Fifteen.”

“And why do you want to kill yourself?”

“I’m clinically depressed, you know. I mean, I’m not just…down or whatever. I started
this new school and I can’t handle it. It’s gotten to a point where it’s the worst it’s ever
been and I just don’t want to deal with it anymore.”

“You say you’re clinically depressed. Are you taking medication?”
“I was taking Zoloft.”

“And what happened?”

“I stopped taking it.”

“Ah. That’s probably, you know, a bad idea.”

Keith sounds like he’s just getting started with this whole counseling thing. I picture a
thin college-age guy with wire-rim glasses at a desk lit up with a small reading lamp,
looking out the window, nodding at the good deeds he’s doing.

“A lot of people run into problems when they, y’know, stop taking their medication.”

“Well, whatever the reason, I just really can’t handle it right now.”

“Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”

“Yes. I’d jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.”

I hear Keith typing something.

“Well, Scott, we aren’t the suicide hotline, but if you like, we have a five-step exercise
for managing anxiety. Would you like to try it?”

“Um…sure.”

“Can you get a pen and a piece of paper?”

I go to the drawers in the dining room and get a pencil and paper. I take it to the
bathroom and sit on the toilet with Keith. The light’s on.

“First, okay? Write down an event that happened to you. That you experienced.”

“Any event?”

“That’s right.”

“Okay…” I write on the piece of paper Ate pizza last week.

“Do you have it?” Keith asks.

“Yes.”

“Now, write down, ah, how you felt about that event.”
“Okay.” I write: Felt good, full.

“Now write down any ‘shoulds’ or ‘woulds’ that you felt about the event.

“Like what?”

“Things that you regret about it, things that you feel would have made it go better.”

“Wait, uh, I don’t think I have the right kind of event.” I furiously erase my first
statement, which is marked 1. Instead of Ate pizza, I put down Threw up Mom’s squash
and then for 2, I write Felt like I wanted to kill myself, all the while telling Keith to hold
on, I just messed up.

“Just put down ‘shoulds’ and ‘woulds,’” he reassures me.

Well, I should have held down the squash and I would have been full if I had. I put that
down.

“Now put down only what you actually had to do in the event.”

“What I had to do?”

“Right. Because there are no such things are shoulds and woulds in the universe.”

“There aren’t?” I’m starting to suspect Keith a bit. For someone in Anxiety
Management, he’s giving me an exercise that is fairly confusing and anxiety-provoking.

“No,” he says. “There are only things that could have turned out differently. You don’t
have any shoulds or woulds in your life, see? You only have things that could have gone
a different way.”

“Ah.”

“You never know what truly would have happened if you had done your shoulds and
woulds. Your life might have turned out worse, isn’t that possible?”

“I don’t see how it’s really possible, seeing as I’m on the phone with you.”

								
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