Yes, I am neurotic. Thank you for noticing!

I’m often described as being “highly neurotic” and I agree with that 100%.  I just don’t agree that “neurotic” means what some people think it means.  Some people go by the boring, standard definition as outlined in the dictionary describing someone who is “mentally disturbed, unstable, or unbalanced”.  And while that’s all technically true of me, I think it’s important to point out that “neuro” means “brain, nerve or nervous system” so if “artistic” means someone with great art skills, then by that logic, “neurotic” would mean someone with amazing brain skills.  In other words, you say “neurotic”, I say “incredibly intelligent.”

Victor rejected this logical conclusion because he says “that’s not how words work” but I suspect he really just disagrees because he’s simply not neurotic enough to understand me.  He agreed completely.  Probably for the wrong reasons though.

I’d petition Webster’s to add my definition under “neurotic” but I lost all respect  for dictionaries last year when they changed the definition of “literally” to also mean “not really literally at all“.  Literally.  So instead I just wrote my definition of “neurotic” (in pen) into my local library’s copy of the dictionary, and I’d suggest you do the same.  If you get caught just explain that you had to do it because you are dangerously neurotic and the librarians won’t mess with you because they’ll be intimidated by how smart you are.  (But only after you show them the new definition of “neurotic”, which you just scrawled in their dictionary, so write quickly.)

Poll time!



And now, time for the weekly wrap-up:

shit i did

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit that I’m vaguely involved with on the internets:


Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the fabulous Michael Meyerhofer who just released his first fantasy novel, WytchFire (The Dragonkin Trilogy, Book 1).   Part Game of Thrones, part X-Men, Wytchfire takes place in a land haunted by the legacy of dead dragons, wherein those born with magical abilities are hunted down-sometimes, for good reason. As war roils across the continent, one mercenary finds himself caught in the middle.  You should check it out here.

129 thoughts on “Yes, I am neurotic. Thank you for noticing!

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Ugh, that business about changing the definition of “literally” last year, literally made my head explode.

  2. Darling, I’m a library lady. If you wrote in our dictionary, I’d have to replace it (and I don’t have the money). Please don’t write in our books. You could though, write your definition on a piece of paper and insert it — like a bookmark. But I’m highly neurotic, too. Which I think of meaning highly creative and incredibly interesting.

  3. The “literally” thing bugs me too. But that’s not why I’m neurotic. I think that’s perfectly reasonable and I’m upset others don’t think that’s reasonable, which is what makes me neurotic.

  4. This post is literally neurotic. (Literally being the first original definition and neurotic being the hand written pen definition added to Webster by Jenny)

  5. I’m a librarian and I need a poll response that’s “I would respond to this poll, but I’m curled into a fetal position and trying to slow down my breathing over the idea that people are going to vandalize library books.”


    (I think you’re confusing “vandalize” with “update and improve”. But you’re right. Maybe we should take Rita’s advice and instead just print out this post and tuck it inside the dictionary on the page defining neurotic. Less pens needed. ~ Jenny)

  6. If we can invent words, why not definitions? Somehow the word apropos has come to be an abbreviation for appropriate, and it makes my skin crawl when people use it that way, but short of being a complete asshole and correcting every person I hear use it, there’s not much I can do. (I like to think I am not a complete asshole, and I don’t correct everyone I hear use it incorrectly.)

  7. It could also be interpreted as neo erotic which means “new porn”. Not that the first thing I though of was porn.

  8. I read an article the other day that used the word literally, saying Mitch McConnell literally ran away from the press. Imagine my disappointment when what he really did was literally walk away. Stupid Webster!

    Nothing wrong with being neurotic. My therapist said so.

  9. Cards Against Humanities. Funniest game in the history of funny games. Definitely need to get some expansion sets. And I believe neurosis is in the eye of the beholder.

  10. This is literally the best thing I’ve read today. And the definition I just read of neurotic specified “but not a radical loss of touch with reality,” which rules out people who use literally to mean not at all literally.

  11. Omg, your fans are amazing! Two librarians curled in the fetal position at the thought of dictionary vandalization, and someone thinking PORN when they read this post. I’m so glad were all friends. It feels like home.

  12. I’m definitely neurotic according to an internet personality test, and the internet can’t be wrong. And I shall now adopt your definition as my own. I wonder if the dictionary people would listen to me since I’m a distant cousin of Noah Webster? They should. They stole that shit from my family.

  13. I like the library lady and her post made me laugh after a sleepless night I’d rather not discuss. I agree. Don’t write in library books no matter how funny and clever you are. I find sticky notes helpful when I simply must express my thoughts to the general public. Example: placing a note stating, “This woman is an idiot” on anything written by Sarah Pallin displayed at Costco.

  14. Because it literally cannot be said often enough: “I love you Jenny!”
    Also how come the word “literally” has only one “t”? The word is pronounced like it has two “t’s” but whenever I try to spell it that way, the spellcheck always flags it.

  15. Did you use the word “absolutely” to mean “yes”? New to your blog, but could you please discuss the definition of the word “absolutely”? Love ya!

  16. I’m not a doctor, but I almost played one on TV a couple of weeks ago. No – really. They needed a background actor on Grimm to play a doctor, but they didn’t use me. That must lend some credibility when answering questions about a medical condition.
    What was the question again?

  17. I have 2 comments:
    1. I don’t like people who aren’t openly neurotic. They make me deeply uncomfortable and bore me to tears. Life without neuroses is like Christmas without Merry.
    2. I didn’t hear about the “literally” definition change in Websters. So very wrong. Are the stupid people winning? They already won the battle over “enormity.” People who care about the English language will be driven to writing manifestoes and muttering Shakespearean quotes at nobody in particular.

  18. I’m so neurotic that I picked four of the five answers. I just loved them all! Headed to the library now.

  19. This all made total and complete sense, probably because I’m also neurotic. And why does Victor even bother arguing with you anymore, when you have so many people to back you up? Maybe he IS slightly neurotic.

    Also, I am LITERALLY upset about literally. Wtf is that?

  20. I am very neurotic and really okay with it since most of the very well-adjusted, non-neurotic people I’ve met are super boring.
    Somehow I missed the whole “literally” now literally means the opposite of “literally” development Next they’ll be saying it’s okay to replace “you are” with “your” and I will figuratively lose my neurotic mind.

  21. Option f. Can’t answer the poll due to literally not being able to get over the change in definition

  22. To paraphrase the philosopher MC Frontalot “Words do whatever you want them to.”

  23. I find that my neuroses/anxiety level is directly proportionate to my coffee intake. But coffee is delicious… sooooooo….

  24. Cards Against Humanity should be played at every family get together. My 16 yo son loved playing because he had permission to read whatever the cards said..even the words I normally like to pretend he doesn’t say.

  25. And here I thought my therapist was insulting me, when all along he was complimenting me. I suppose I should apologize for trashing his office last week.

    Also, I’m totally getting Crabs Adjust Humidity now.

  26. I think if you’re neurotic, you have to own it. Then when people call you on your behavior, you can say, “It’s okay, I’m neurotic.” And then they can’t do anything, because they’d be labeled anti-neurotics, and that’s just mean. We should start a pride movement for neurotic people. We’re here! We’re weird! Stop complaining and just indulge us!

  27. speaking of neuro, that reminds me of a potential argument that other people may have. Is the Essene of farts brown?

  28. I literally could not finish reading that stupid article about the change of literally in the dictionary. I think that might be a run on sentence.

  29. I accept this definition. Now i can stop punching people when they refer to me as neurotic. You saved a lot of faces today.

  30. How about a disapprove button? As in “I disapprove of writing in library books.”

  31. I hadn’t heard that fuck-upedness about ‘literally’. I am so mad I could burn up. Luckily I’m wait..I’m not flammable not inflammable. As a kid it pissed me off so much that flammable and inflammable had the same meaning. They are spelled totally different.

  32. puts on linguist hat Dictionaries don’t make definitions, they just reflect actual usage. “Literally” has been used non-literally as an intensifier for a couple centuries, so as far as I’m concerned, the dictionary folks have been literally resting on their laurels for too long 😉 In case anyone’s interested, here’s a good discussion of non-literal “literally,” with plenty of examples from literature.

  33. I think that the suffix “tic” Might not mean good at something, but maybe more like, to the extreme of something. Because psychotic, neurotic, artistic, futuristic…or maybe “tic” turns a noun into an adjective? Ugh, sometimes I’m too smartic for my own good….

  34. They just CAN’T change the meaning of “literally” in the dictionary! If someone uses “literally” figuratively, then they’re doing just that, figuratively, literally figuratively, actually figuratively.

  35. I love looking at your pinterest, but now pinterest is being an asshole and is constantly covering half the screen with invitations to sign up that I can’t get to disappear, and I don’t want to sign up just to watch your pins, and now that they are pressuring me to sign up I absolutely refuse to do so. So no more looking at your pinterest…

  36. Please don’t write in library books. It makes the librarians all mad. And the one thing you don’t want is a mad librarian. You think postal workers were rough? Wait till a librarian goes all wacked. Duck and cover.

  37. I passed neurotic many years ago on the way to my state ever since, bat shit/ crazier than a loon. Pfui to half measures.

  38. Does it make me neurotic that I get super excited when I choose the answer with the most votes, because that means “I got it right?” Or does that really just mean I will look for validation everywhere, even an internet poll? Sigh. It’s hard being neurotic

  39. I accidentally just realised that I can vote for more than one answer on these polls!! That solves all my problems!!

  40. Not only did I immediately get BOTH sets of cards – thank you for that by the way I feel less alone now- I also googled “indoor baby lamb” and accidently got a glimpse of where the folks from your search terms are ALSO spending their time on the internets…shudder…

  41. I just want to thank you for making me laugh.

    I’ve been having panic attacks all weekend and feeling like a terrible person for it (long story), so seeing you post today and having a laugh felt pretty fucking wonderful.

    Also a guy I know called me nuts a few weeks ago, which I took as a compliment because I was “nuts” for daring to call another male on his bull and demanding some basic respect for myself. I’ll happily be neurotic too and collect all the unstable negative descriptors if that means I can continue to be a wonderful and vivid me versus the broken me that I am feeling this weekend.

    So thanks for reminding me it’s all about interpretation 🙂

  42. Ocularnervosa @#14: And the New Pornographers have just released a new album, which I haven’t heard yet… Does that make me neurotic? Or just a Neko Case fan?

  43. I’m so cranky that I was too pissed to even vote. Is that like being too neurotic to take polls? I’m irritable in a way that makes me want to go to an actual polling place for whatever the next election is for and just throw up on the ballot, then stuff it in the box. Being in a tug-of-hate with yourself all morning will do that. Dictionaries are full of lies anyway.

  44. One of my favorite ex-boyfriends (now there’s a left-handed compliment) famously said to me “the problem with you isn’t that you think you’re neurotic. It’s that you believe the rest of us are normal.”

  45. Sadly, when people keep on using a word wrong, the word has to change to suit the way people are using it. “Literally.” (Rather like “inflammable” used to mean you COULDN’T set it on fire….)

  46. Some people say neurotic like it’s a bad thing. So sad indeed. Literally. What’s life without some neurosis which I totally agree translates to highly intelligent, oh yes and creative too.

  47. i don’t think you’re ‘disturbed’ by your mental illness, therefore you’re not neurotic. victor seems to be disturbed by it, so it sounds like he’s the neurotic one.

  48. Can we get some FOIF magnets up in this place? I’d totally (not literally) buy a crapton of them for all my peeps.

  49. I read one of those links as “I’m going to need to get inside a lamb” and assumed that was like getting inside a tauntaun and was filled with dread when I clicked the link. . . and then got a lovely surprise.
    So, if you don’t do stuff like that, you’re better off than me. . . on the other hand if people presume you want to be inside a lamb, rather than have an inside lamb, that could be a sign of something. I’ve just decided that from now on when I eat roast lamb, I’m going to call it inside lamb, because it goes inside.

  50. Neurotic: suffering from, caused by, or relating to neurosis.
    Neuroses being mental illnesses like depression (but not ones with hallucinations).
    So it fits me but i don’t like the negative connotation.

    I prefer ‘physical illness that happens to be occuring in the brain’-ic
    Or just call me Jane.

  51. LMFAO: @notesfromthebathroomfloor” Life without neuroses is like Christmas without Merry. ” Properly illustrated, that would be an awesome holiday card.

  52. If only being neurotic literally made me happy, instead of literally making me sad.

  53. This is the first poll I’ve wanted an “all of the above” choice for…

  54. Another librarian chiming in – please don’t vandalize the books! Dictionaries are absurdly overpriced and libraries everywhere are losing their funding thanks to the prevailing opinion that we’re no longer necessary because of the internet. For some small libraries, the cost of replacing a dictionary would literally be an entire month’s book budget, possibly more. If you don’t want to make your librarian cry, just use a sticky note. Please. We work really, really hard and we’d all appreciate it if you didn’t vandalize the books.

  55. Hey, librarians! Slow your roll! Calm your tits, all that stuff. I don’t think that she literally wrote in your book. It’s. A. Joke.
    Jenny…back me up here.

    (I’m pretty sure everyone who actually reads here knows not to actually vandalize books, but I don’t blame librarians for being a bit neurotic about protecting books even from obviously facetious threats. That’s what makes a good librarian. ~ Jenny)

  56. See, I read this all a little differently- I see the word as “neuro” and “erotic.” Which means, I think, that neurotic people are just brainy AND sexy.

  57. I want to maim the people who decided to change the meaning of literally to it’s antonym.. WTF dictionary? WTF.

  58. Wait, is it “inside lamb”? I thought it was “indoor lamb.” I think I’m bleating a dead horse with that one.

  59. I’m pretending I’m hard at work on my computer, but really I’m just reading this, looking all studious and stuff. And then I fell off my chair laughing at Darth Vader “here kitty kitty”. I might die laughing.. or lose my job. Literally worth it!

  60. I am going to add an entry to “AWESOME” in every Thesaurus I find, to include “JENNY LAWSON”. Fuckin AAAAAAAA!

  61. Hopefully we’re all neurotic, neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics move in. Keep building those castles just don’t pack your bags.

  62. The last time I wrote in a dictionary I was severely disciplined by a nun…and not in the fun way.
    So I am scared for life. Can’t write in books.

  63. Last time I wrote in a Dictionary I got severely punished by a nun, and not in a fun way. So I am scarred for life, I will never write in another Dictionary, even one I own!

  64. I’m a librarian. We are used to people doing worse things than writing in books. Literally.

  65. Language messes with my head sometimes too. Mostly because my husband insists on using it incorrectly “by accident”. The most recent phrases include: They do it for the prosthetics. (meant esthetics) and It’s so monogamous. (meant monotonous) However, I’m shamefully bad at using “ambivalence” correctly and I despise the use of “ironic” all together.

  66. Dear Jenny,
    Your book has saved my sanity! Thank you!

    If my daughter Victoria could have read your works, she’d know she was not alone.
    Your works remind me that neither of us is alone.

    Victoria died last August, in 2013. She was 20. She was artistic and poetic and a musician who performed in public, she was wonderful. She was also on a LOT of Antidepressants. She’d been therapized, medicated, counseled, hospitalized, labeled and examined, and assessed, on and on…
    Victoria Thompson jumped from a building, and I have no idea why that day or why that way.

    If she had just read your works, she might be alive today–because you make us all LAUGH! And from that comes Coping with this crazy world.
    Yes, life is a crazy bag of contradictions and a mixed bundle of crazy-assed conservatives and doctors and religious and self righteous people, even weird liberals with their own wacky logic, trying to explain to us all why we are less than good. That’s what they did to Victoria anyway.

    I’ve wanted to write to you ever since your book “Let’s Pretend That Never Happened” consoled my sad heart this year. I can’t write that very important letter just yet, but I will.

    Thank you for giving the world and all of us a voice of sanity, a voice that is funny, real, true and honest. And comforting, oh my god, so comforting.

    May I tell your fans this?

    It’s been a year since my daughter died. I thought I was getting better, but then all the Anniversaries hit–her 21st birthday, Mother’s Day, the year anniversary of her death.
    I crumbled. I have a very hard time accepting that she is gone, it destroys us to lose someone like that. What is life without her?

    We were also from Texas– Austin. We escaped to Arizona (Texas is one amazing Black Hole for many of us!) and were happy there until we came to Virginia. We had a short lived happy time before we came here. Now every day is a nightmare without Victoria.

    I know people who commit suicide aren’t thinking about the rest of us at all, they are not doing it to hurt us. Their HURT IS HUGE. Their PAIN is HUGE. And that is exactly what they leave us with–HURT and PAIN. Inconsolable hurt and pain.
    I think your approach with Laughter is the best CURE I’ve ever seen, and I have seen millions of attempts at cures—YOUR CURE HELPS. Your works should be prescribed by every therapist. And they are all batshit crazy if they don’t recognize that.

    Someday I will be able to write you that long letter about how your works could have completely altered my daughter’s reality and tragedy, and how your works have helped me through this nightmare to find my own sanity, and acceptance of laughter as a tool for survival, and how you have taught me acceptance and appreciation for everyone in our lives.

    For now, please accept my sincerest gratitude, and hurry up with the next book, no pressure,
    Tamara Benson

  67. Oh, and the dictionary auditing/editing: Yeah, I’m so with you on that one!
    The time has come for great ideas.

  68. How about if I deem you, “Literarally neurotic”? As in, ‘writer of extreme intelligence’?

    Cause that’ll work.

    And I’m even going to hit ‘post’ despite it making me sound like a total kiss ass suck up.

  69. If I said I was neurotic, my boyfriend would laugh at the gross understatement.
    I recently added a beauty tab to my blog that has been taking off. Last week I reviewed the ItWorks products and listed my fave lifestyle products.

  70. A vote from the “absolutely” camp here. I did look it up to verify independently before voting, however, because I’m responsible and stuff.

    of, relating to, or afflicted by neurosis
    a person who is afflicted with a neurosis or who tends to be emotionally unstable or unusually anxious

    neurotic. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved September 01, 2014, from website:

  71. I had a dream last night that you had a bunch of people over to your house and taught us how to filet whole tilapia and make fish stock out of the bones. It was like a video game where you have to filet and deliver so many pristine fish fillets before someone else, and we were competing against your fish monger. I was doing pretty well, but then I woke up, and my first thought was that I couldn’t wait to make some fish stock of my own because I would add clams and onions and potatoes and cream and make clam chowder. But then I realized that I don’t think I was filleting right, because you had us cutting down to a pink layer, then across the pink layer to lift the fillet out, but I don’t think tilapia has a pink layer because it’s a white fish. So I thought you’d taught me an amazingly useful skill in my dreams, but instead you didn’t teach me anything. Bah!

  72. I just visited your store for the first time–and it’s a very fun place:). Even here, from my couch. But I want the “I’m good at stuff” mug in another color. Because if I buy it in white, it’ll get those tea and coffee stains on the white inside. Which will make me crazy. Why? I guess I’m neurotic:).

  73. Neurotic, meaning “acting upon or stimulating the nerves”, is the earlier definition (1770s, per Online Etymology Dictionary). Stimulated nerves sounds like super-smart to me, and I am clearly an expert, because I literally have a Masters degree in Applied English Linguistics. Literally literally.

  74. I think that the comments on this post are some of the best I have ever read in my life. You guys are all awesome.

    Jenny, you’re right. Also Victor is right. Neither one of you have the definition of the word right, but that’s besides the point really.

  75. Something I read a long time ago:
    Psychotic: believes two plus two equals five
    Neurotic: knows two plus two equals four but bothered by it anyway

  76. No need to piss off the punk ass book jockies when sticky notes are so readily available (and also so handy for covering up the original bad definition).

  77. I’m starting a petition against the misuse of the word literally. And insure. And a few others that make me twitchy too. But that’s not a neurosis; that’s just proper word usage.

  78. Victor needs to reread Humpty Dumpty’s description of how words work (that would be in Through the Looking Glass, a standard reference work in my library.) But you should keep in mind that even Humpty, when he makes a word do extra work, pays it more. You may owe back wages to “neurotic.”

  79. I totally get why people don’t want you writing in library books, but in your case you could probably sell that thing on eBay to get the library some money. You’re THAT famous. Everyone else, however, might want to use some sticky notes (unless Neil Gaiman or Wil Wheaton decide to do this). Side note–I totally love Michael Meyerhofer and was happy to see him here. I recommend his fantasy book and his poetry, if you like that sort of thing.

  80. I only voted “I didn’t bother to read the post but I like to answer polls.” because there was no real reply to this. Sorry, you usually give a real response, guess you gave up on this.

  81. I get that language is ever evolving and that’s part of what makes it so amazing and wonderful. Our lexicon changes with the times and adapts to different social norms and we can invent new words and phrases. But the “literally” thing is RIDICULOUS.

  82. I really loved a post you wrote the other day. The one with closed comments. It was awesome. Thank you.

    What’s up with the questionnaires lately? Did you just learn how to do them all fancy-embedded and shit? Pretty swanky 😉

  83. I love how the term “artistic” has so many meanings. Several years ago, my aged Aunt was asking me about marriage and children for my brothers (one of whom is my fraternal twin) and I. After reminding her that my older brother was married to his career and my twin was nutso from Bush War 1, I told her I couldn’t legally get married. She put her hand on my arm and said “Oh, that’s right, Honey. You’re ‘artistic’ “
    She knew me before I did. And she’s also the reason I now take “bad” labels, make them my own, and make them work for me.
    I’m glad, Jenny, that you’re doing the same thing. Labels only mean something if you let them.

  84. While the men’s will come with a Black nylon tongue, the grade school pair will feature a White nylon tongue. No word on why Jordan Brand decided to switch it up, but other than that the shoe will remain the same on both.

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