How Laughter Has Helped Me Through Times of Crisis

A common question to be asked in mental health support groups is, “Are you in crisis?”

When I finally bit the bullet and went to my first NAMI support group meeting, I introduced myself and told them a bit about my life.

“Sweetie, that sounds a bit like a crisis.”

“What? No, this is a fairly normal month for me,” I said.

“I’m marking you as ‘in crisis.’”

Cue inappropriate laughter by me.

Why did I laugh? After experiencing a year of continuous tragedies, a rapidly developing stream of depression, anxiety and a newfound diagnosis of ADHD, I find out that a normal month for me is what a mental health professional deems to be a crisis.

So now I’m asking you, what else could I have done but laugh? Laughing and cracking jokes at wildly inappropriate times is the only defense mechanism I’ve ever known.

Monty Python once said — well, sang — what is probably the anthem of many of my other fellow “in crisis” colleagues:

“Life’s a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show,
Keep ‘em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you!”

The words to these lyrics have always resonated with and have made sense to me.

Humor has always helped me get through my deepest and darkest moments in life. When I feel like I have nowhere else to turn in life, I turn to laughter. I turn to comedy. I turn to silly internet memes, corgi videos and podcasts.

To be extremely clear, I’m not writing this to talk about the physiological benefits of smiling — in fact, you’ll never find a bigger skeptic of positive thinking than me. But I am saying that when I’ve gotten to some of my lowest points in life, the only thing I’ve ever been able to do is laugh.

So next time you’re feeling low, please join me in watching a Charlie Chaplin movie, listening to some George Carlin standup or sing along with me to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Anita Huber.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

woman working on laptop in black and white

Why I Recorded Myself Multiple Times a Day for Months During Depression

I imagined I would write this from a shinier, happier place. I imagined I would be happily married, sitting in my home office, early morning sun streaming in over the books and legal pads and Sharpies, when the right and perfect moment would strike me, tap me on the shoulder and tell me it was [...]
An image of a small child holding a balloon

You Are Not Depression

The idea of having a mental illness is terrifying. Once I’ve been labelled with depression, am I somehow different from everyone else? In a world where having an illness of any sort is perceived as making you less desirable, the thought can tear a person apart. It’s hard not to label yourself as the illness. [...]
painting of beautiful girlpainting of beautiful girl

6 Things I've Learned in Therapy About Being a Highly Sensitive Person

Since starting therapy and beginning to better understand my emotions, I’ve come to realize I am a highly sensitive person. You often hear about sensitive people being “too needy” or “high maintenance.” Other times you hear they’re kind and caring. But being a highly sensitive person can be more than that. Here are some of [...]

4 Ways to Minimize 'Catastrophizing' When You Have Depression

Today I got the coffee pot all set to go and forgot to turn it on. The other day, speaking on my cell phone while driving (hands-free), I realized I had missed a turn several minutes (and quite a few miles) after passing it. Another time recently, I struggled for a bit trying to find my [...]