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How Laughter Has Helped Me Through Times of Crisis

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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.

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Unsplash photo via Anita Huber.

Originally published: April 25, 2017
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