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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous Over-Sharer May 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Hi Josh,

I’ve gotten a lot out of your book and I haven’t even read it yet. I went to your talk at the Pleasanton library this Tuesday. In hearing you talk about Tourette’s — how you thought that you’d learned a way to cure yourself and then the symptoms came roaring back — I thought to myself, “That’s a metaphor for any and every butt-kicking issue in life.” For some people it’s alcohol or drugs, weight issues, etc. For me it’s depression. Sometimes I get seized on (forgive the Biblical tone) as if by demons. I’ll be doing well for awhile and think, “Wow, I’m doing better. All that work I’ve done on myself is coming to fruition,” and then raging critical thoughts grab hold of my system and I’ll cry uncontrollably for anywhere from an afternoon to a whole season. What I got from hearing you talk this week was that I can just ride it out and wait for it to stop. I can ride it out because: A) resisting it is futile, and B) it always stops eventually. I liked what you said about noticing what happens before and after you have Tourette’s symptoms. I will ask those questions when I have a flare-up. Very helpful. Thank you!

Your talk also reinforced for me the concept that storytelling, including sharing our own stories, is medicine. I think that it was Angeles Arrien who said that when people are ill in any way (including depressed) that they should ask themselves when they lost touch with the joy of dancing, singing and telling stories. For some of us dancing is bodybuilding and singing is playing the bagpipes and telling stories is talking to a bunch of strangers in the Pleasanton library about all you’ve been through. Your stories are REALLY HELPFUL. Thank you. I suppose I should get ahold of some bagpipes and a couple of hand weights.

And thanks for the nice thing that you wrote in your book. I posted the following on facebook immediately after the event. Yes, you’ve got a groupie in California, which I hope you find more amusing than off-putting 😉

“This afternoon I went to a wonderful book talk by Josh Hanagarne, author of the memoir “World’s Strongest Librarian.” Josh is a 35 year old bodybuilder, librarian, husband and father and he also has Tourette’s Syndrome. His talk was witty and heartfelt; he began by saying, “You know that you don’t have to be here, right?” I had a great time. I bought a book afterwards and he told me that he appreciated how loudly I laughed, that he liked “feeling funnier than I actually am.” He signed my book, “For C, who laughs so much,” and drew a little picture of a book and wrote “179.9.” I said, “What does 179.9 mean? Or will I understand once I read the book?” He said, “That’s the Dewey decimal number for gratitude.” Awwww. A thoughtful, witty, formerly-Mormon bodybuilding librarian with Tourette’s has now been added to my list of guys who should have been my husband ;)”

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Book Lover July 6, 2013 at 4:35 am

Anon, thanks for your post, above. You may think you’re oversharing but I know what it’s like to have depression, and I wasn’t at that talk but am glad to read of your thoughts on it. It gave me hope, as well as an idea to try. So thank you and bless you for posting.

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Joe Walker October 31, 2013 at 12:30 am

Sorry, I forgot to mention the date. It would be Thursday March 20, 2014 at about 10am.

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