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Why I'm Proposing a National 'Find Your Favorite Funny' Day for People With Chronic Illness

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Even when we feel at our worst, there can still be that one little thing that holds us up, gives us that little bit of strength we need and reminds us that things can be OK. Call it a lifeline; mine is comedy.

I propose a national holiday for everyone with chronic illnesses: National “Find Your Favorite Funny” Day. When I was at my most ill, I was bedbound and felt more ill than I ever thought possible. I was unable to pass the time by “doing” things as any physical or mental exertion exacerbated my symptoms. I’d lost my sense of independence, choices and freedom. My bedroom became my world. Unsurprisingly, my mood took a dip into the abyss. I needed something to lift me back up.

I got into comedy. I watched stand-up, improv, sitcoms. I could only watch a few minutes at a time at first, but over time it became easier. When I was able to, I read funny books, or listened to funny podcasts and audiobooks (I recommend Nick Spalding to read, and audiobooks written and narrated by stand up comedians).

Some people say that people don’t laugh out loud when they watch comedy alone, in the way they do when they watch it with others. This doesn’t apply to me. Whether with somebody or on my own, I’d roar with laughter, tears streaming down my face and releasing all that tension with uncontrollable giggles. The more ridiculous the comedy, the better. Laughter really is the best medicine.

I honestly don’t know how I’d have gotten through that difficult period without it. It helped me live, it helped me cope and it helped me heal. Regular laughter taught me not to take life too seriously. It released me and let me be free at a time I felt trapped. Years later, I joined an improv course and met some amazing and hilarious people there whom I cherish dearly. It’s helped me bring laughter into my life from all angles. I feel better in myself and have stronger relationships. Laughter releases happy hormones and helps us bond; people who laugh together, stay together! Laughter is free, and available to everyone. All you need to do is find that one thing that makes you laugh the most, and let those giggles free. Find your favorite funny!

Getty Image by monkeybusinessimages

Originally published: September 5, 2018
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