Laughter has been such a source of comfort and confirmation in my life. It comes when I least expect it, but is always a welcomed break in the mundane and dreary. During undergrad, I can remember being so bogged down by schoolwork, relationships, obligations. It was at these moments that I sought out laughter to “get out of my own head”. Episodes of uncontrollable smiles and laughter came via puppy and baby videos on Youtube (Check out a cute video here). I learned how healing a laugh or two could be. In these moments I also realized that happiness and joy are not given.
As a young black woman who struggles with depression, I am familiar with dark and low places. I encounter them often. When I reach these points, I can’t see how or when it will end. I’m foggy, lethargic even. Most days, its difficult to complete simple tasks like texting a friend or even eating. When I can’t do basic life activities, it seems odd to seek out anything extra. But, when I am encouraged or pushed to laugh, its as if a light comes on. With each contraction of my gut and joyful exclamation, I can feel a little bit of fog clearing. My situation and outlook become clear, and its never as bad as a think it is. Laughter goes from being an involuntary response to an effective therapeutic remedy.
When I am feeling depressed, I have to fight against my feelings of despair and complacency. I have to fight against the tendency to wallow in my situation, no matter the circumstances. Its so easy to drown in sadness that it feels wrong to do anything that will bring happiness. But now that I know that life wont hand me happiness, I know that fighting for laughter is crucial. It lifts me, gives me a reason to smile, and something to look forward to. Laughter sparks my fire, not just for life, but to live.
So, if you find yourself in a dark place, searching for a way out or a glimmer of hope, fight for laughter. Seek someone or something that makes you laugh. Fun friends, entertaining videos, a comedy show, something that can turn that light on for you. Your happiness is your responsibility, and it isn’t given freely. You must create it or take it by any means necessary.
How does laughter help you in your down times? Leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experience with me!