How Laughter And Humor Help Me Cope With Depression
Last night, I was searching for light…then it dawned on me (see what I did there) 😉
I love Dad jokes…probably more than I love anything on the planet. Yes, I know, you’re all very aware of that.
And yes, I’m also well aware of how annoying it is… but I don’t care. It brings me joy, and that’s all that matters. And isn’t that what life’s all about right there? Finding areas in your life that make YOU happy and then doing those things repeatedly?
The health benefits of humor are widely recognized. Laughing releases endorphins and other hormones that are directly linked with stress reduction, lowered blood pressure, and a general sense of well-being…
Not to mention, it’s a KILLER Ab workout and could have you looking like Ryan Gosling…
Okay, if that were true, I’d laugh all day and never be depressed…
When it comes to mental health, the release of these ‘happy’ hormones is a perfect short-term solution to battling depression.
As most of you know, this past week was Suicide Prevention Week. I posted my first video talking about my experience with an attempted suicide and it turned out to be a very emotional week for me.
For the past two years, I’ve been fighting my demons and working at finding the best version of myself. So, I was under the impression that the hard part was over and I had already done most of my healing. This video proved me wrong.
It was the first time I vocalized my issues to a larger audience rather than just write about them in my book or on a blog.
It was tough for me.
And no, not because I’m ashamed of it - more so because saying it out loud brought back visions of me standing on that window and almost taking my life. The extent of how far I allowed my problems to go became very real to me this week.
And it sucked...royally.
But, rather than sit in the house and sob like I used to (I know, I’m a giant man-baby) I got back to work on becoming the best version of myself.
I started thinking about the things that make me the happiest and wrote them out on a piece of paper. I won't bore you with my list here (I know your time is valuable), but I will give you the one that brings me the most joy and the reason why I wrote this article…
Humor…or for me, laughing at my own, lame Dad Jokes.
Isn’t it strange that people who battle severe depression use humor to shield the pain underneath?
I was reading Lewis Howes' new book, The Mask of Masculinity, and he talks about the connection between darkness and humor. He quotes an essay by Zara Barrie in the book and it really hit home with me…
Robin Williams is a prime example of this.
When I first heard the news of Robin Williams’s death, it shook my world. In my mind, he was the funniest, kindest, and happiest person alive.
Here’s a man who was filled with more joy and love for life than anyone I knew. He was successful, happy, and full of life.
Or so I thought… But, I had missed one central truth.
Mental Illness doesn’t care how successful you are. And making people laugh isn’t the same as being happy.
For Robin Williams, comedy was a mask he wore to hide his darkness and make everybody else happy around him. And he did one hell of a job at it, too.
Though we have similar stories, I can’t even begin to imagine the pain he was feeling when he took his own life. I’d be willing to argue, though, that he didn’t know how to express it to those around him so suicide became the only alternative.
Lewis Howes said it perfectly...
And that’s just it right there. On the surface, everything looks fine. People don’t question if we’re okay because we try really hard to make it seem like we are.
You see, I’ve developed an abnormally high tolerance for pain over the years. Not so much physically, but emotionally. I’ve used humor to mask my pain for as long as I can remember. I don’t want people to carry my burdens or feel pressured to be sorry for me.
I’m not, by any means, proud of my past. But it’s there, and I can’t avoid it. Sure, I’ve tried masking my pain by putting myself down for others to laugh at my expense - but it got me nowhere. I used to constantly joke to other people about how fat and broke I was as if it didn’t bother me at all.
I lied to people and told them it was everyone else’s fault for my business failures, break-ups, and problems. I told people whatever I could to get them to look away from the pain I was hiding.
Running so fast and for so long resulted in me being the most depressed I’ve ever been. I didn’t begin to feel at peace with my past until I stopped running, took responsibility for my actions, and learned how to accept the things I cannot change.
And now, I’ve learned how to talk about those problems, without putting myself down, and then use those problems to help people. And that has truly made all the difference.
Let me clear on something…
We live in a world that needs humor, laughter, and joy more than ever. Our world is suffering. There is more pain, depression, suicide, insecurity, conflict, and negativity than ever before.
Humor unites us all. It’s the one commonality that brings every person, every race, every gender, and every hurting soul, together.
Laughter has a way of instantly connecting people, and having a sense of humor is certainly not a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with making people laugh, just as long as we don’t hurt someone, or ourselves, in the process.
And that is why Dad Jokes matter to me. They are the one thing that almost always bring joy to every situation I’m in - while also bringing joy to my life in the process.
So, in case you were wondering, I’m certainly not going to stop my #DailyDad joke posts anytime soon. There’s your warning...
Oh, and by the way - what did one mushroom say to the other mushroom?
Hey, I'm a fungi 😉
So, have a little fun this week, friends…and laugh a little. Who knows, it could change your life.
That’s all I got for now – stay tuned ✌️