This summer was the opposite of what I thought it would be. I thought I would have fun and be the happiest girl. I planned to go watch movies, stay up late, discover new places and so many other things. My brain seemed to have other plans for me. Pretty much on the last day of work I started to feel my mind go numb as well as my feelings. By the time I got home I fell into my bed and stayed there for the rest of my vacation. I could not find the energy to leave my bed, let alone my house. Mentally I decided to give in to my numbness and ceased to speak or feel any emotions. It was peaceful yet scary for me to find myself so cold and unfeeling. I accepted my new reality and wasted my summer away.
Finally, after 2 months of nothingness I am finally starting to feel things again. One particular day my cat did something very funny and I laughed. After laughing I realized I had not laughed in a long time. Laughing was something else I had ceased to do once my numbness took over. I actually felt strange after laughing, like I shouldn’t have done it. I also realized that after laughing for a few seconds my mind felt lighter. In fact my whole body felt lighter and brighter. As I thought about the fact that I had not been able to laugh for so long and not having noticed that until that very moment scared me again. I was living like a robot and I did not like it.
That day I decided that I must force myself to laugh. If I wanted to get back to myself I should start by laughing. Laughing seemed like a good way to start. But besides my cat doing something funny right in front of me, there was not much making me laugh at the time. I remembered the times I laughed the hardest was when I watched certain tv shows. Those tv shows were always available on line and all I had to do was put them on and watch them. I really liked the fact that I did not have to leave the comfort of my bed to try this experiment. Of course, I did not immediately do what I set out to do. The plan was in my brain but for some reason I was finding excuses to avoid it each morning. This is something else I need to work on. For whatever reason I can come up with the best plans for myself and somehow I will intentionally sabotage my plans or hesitate to even get started. At times I feel a little trapped between my fear of trying new things and my guilt of doing the same things over and over again. Either way I seem to end up unhappy.
One morning, after writing in my journal about my laughter plan I finally pushed myself to do it. That morning I played a tv show that always makes me laugh. As I watched the tv show and started to laugh, I could feel myself shifting. I can’t quite say what was shifting but I just felt a change inside of myself. After 30 minutes of laughing along with the pre-recorded tv laughs, I felt brighter and lighter again. I noticed that after watching my show I had more energy and wanted to do things around my house. So I did a couple of things around my house and felt a little better about myself. The next few days I pushed myself to watch funny tv shows daily especially at the beginning of my day. Without fail, there were changes in my mood and my behaviors every single time I watched my tv shows, and all I was doing was just forcing myself to watch an enjoyable tv show every morning.
I read in a book once that forcing your face to fake a smile will have an effect on your mind. Back when I read that I did try it for myself but felt a bit foolish making faces at myself so I gave it up. Now that I have discovered this new trick to help myself laugh I understand why that book suggested fake smiling. As I laugh at my tv show my facial expression moves and changes into a smile and I keep smiling until the next joke. It is my personal belief that my facial expression somehow communicates to my brain that I am happy, and then my brain believes I am happy and starts to send me energy and good thoughts that will keep me happy. Again, this is what I believe is happening in my brain during this time. I will definitely continue doing this to feel better and will post again if I notice if it stops working or something changes.