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When Is It Okay to Laugh Again?

Are we allowed to be happy if we're depressed?

By Kelly HawksPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

I see myself as having a “goofy” sense of humor. My idea of a fun evening is making fun of old crappy movies or watching anime spoofs on YouTube which, by the way, are hilarious. It's the stupid, silly things that can make me laugh for days on end. Some people don't get it, but I guess you'd need to have that goofy mentality to understand what makes me tick. Being silly or making other people laugh, even just a little bit, makes me feel, well...pretty damn good. Almost somewhat “normal.”

At the same time, I suffer from major depression and anxiety. Some days I cry thinking what a horrible person I am for being depressed, and I feel ashamed like I’ve let down those I love. Some days, I feel empty, like a shell of who I used to be. Other days, I'm pissed at myself because I feel like I can't do anything right and all I do is make everyone else miserable. I’m not good enough, nobody likes me, why would they, and maybe they'd be happier if I weren't around. These thoughts are constantly in the back of my mind. When they make their way to the front is when I lose it. They completely cloud my ability to function, both mentally and physically.

The one thing I can rely on is my sense of humor. I discovered that it’s a really great coping mechanism. It’s funny (no pun intended), but it’s actually proven scientifically that laughter is a great mood lifter. Yeah, so I guess it’s true, laughter is the best medicine. Finding something funny to the point where it makes you laugh, even if it’s just for one minute, can totally affect your mood for the rest of the day.

Laughter lowers your heart rate and blood pressure which puts you in a more relaxed state. It also stimulates endorphin's, the brain’s natural painkillers. Also, the act of making people laugh counteracts the feeling of being alienated by others, which is a major factor that contributes to depression. Basically, it means that you feel better about yourself when you make others feel good.

It’s hard, at first, to convince yourself that it’s okay to feel happy. The social stigma that’s attached to depression is complete bullshit. Being in a decent mood doesn’t mean you don’t hurt. It doesn’t mean you don’t miss someone or that you feel no regret or remorse. It’s not something to feel guilty about.

On the other hand, being depressed doesn’t mean you can’t be in a good mood. We don’t have to show an outward display of doom and gloom as proof that we’re depressed. We don’t have to shroud ourselves in black. Some days it’s just easier to suppress the negative feelings.

Take some time out for “you.” Let your inhibitions go. Watch a funny movie. Read a funny book. Write a funny article about something you find funny — ahem. Talk to someone who used to make you laugh. Have a pillow fight. Play makeover with the kids, any kids, even the neighbor's kids — AND YES THAT INCLUDES YOU, MEN!! I can assure you, you’ll laugh at the great clown job they’ve done. Draw funny pictures. Make hilarious memes. Goof off once in awhile. Sit on the porch and make funny faces at the people driving by.

Now, I’m not telling you to force yourself to harness laughter’s benefits. That’s just plain stupid, laughing for no reason makes no sense. You can’t force yourself to feel something you don’t. It doesn’t work like that. There are days when I don’t find anything funny and I don’t care to. You might not be ready yet to take that step.

My point is, while humor isn’t a solution to the problem, it’s a way to cope with your present mood to make it through the day. You’re capable of having good days, hell, even great days. You’re allowed to feel happy. You’re allowed to laugh. So, if you’re ready to try, go for it — it won’t hurt. Well, unless you bust a gut or something.


About the Creator

Kelly Hawks

A sci-fi and anime geek at heart, I'm a writer with an eclectic personality by nature. I tend to lean towards humor, but cycle through phases of what inspires me.

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