Hello dear readers.
This will be short because I’ve been bitch-slapped with depression and I am exhausted. It took me three hours to convince myself to get out of bed and do something, so here I am, doing something. The following is what I have been thinking about in bed. It all started, as most things do nowadays it seems, with Facebook.
I was rolling around in bed today after I got home from the doctor in that weird spot in the mind between “I really need some fucking sleep” and “I can’t sleep because nothing makes any sense.” So, I solved the issue by occasionally scrolling through Facebook, which admittedly is the worst possible solution for my current state because it’s mostly filled with all the people who have recently passed away. But then I saw a post (I can’t even remember what it was; the brain fog is strong with this one today) and I giggled. Not loudly or triumphantly like a villian who just caught that pesky little hero they’d been after, but, I did giggle.
This giggle sparked a memory in me. When I was in college, I took a psychology class because I was interested in learning about the subject…and also because I was forced to by my Communication degree. The teacher I had was Ms. Reed; a stunningly gorgeous, brilliant, yet perpetually caffeinated teacher who suffered from the worst case of sleep apnea I had ever seen. Her class was terribly stressful and by far the hardest I had been through. I nearly failed it. Yet despite my C-, I learned more from that class than nearly any other I had ever taken.
At one point we studied depression, which was fantastic for me considering I suffer from clinical depression, though at the time was blissfully unaware of this fact. We studied the difference between sadness and depression, which I had never even thought about. There are many differences, but the one I found most intriguing was that, according to sciency science and people with glasses and white coats, when it comes to behavioral traits, a person who has intense sadness will often times still be able to laugh. A person suffering from depression, however, has a much harder time laughing. I am not sure why the least important fact wanted to stick in my head for five years, but it has. So I made it a little home in the back of my head where it has happily stayed.
My depression is partly clinical because of all that stuff that goes on with brains that I am too tired to describe, and partly situational because as so many doctors love to remind me, my life just kind of fucking sucks. Yet through every surgery, Emergency Room visit, Ambulance ride, and all the other extremely unhumorous events that come along with being chronically ill, I can remember at least one time where either I made someone laugh, they made me laugh, or in most cases, both.
I don’t believe laughter is the best medicine. I’m more likely to say that painkiller is the best medicine since it’s what gets me through most of my days. I do believe that laughter and silliness can get one through the most treacherous parts of life, though. It doesn’t make the pain less severe, make me any less depressed, or make my money problems go away. Laughter won’t make the person you miss come back, or fix anything tangible at all. But I do find that when I laugh, for just one blip of a second, the smallest, almost microscropic flash of a light ignites in my heart. When that little light radiates, it quickly burns out; but the fact that I can feel that in myself, or cause that almost unnoticeable change to occur in others, gives me just a glimpse of hope.
I don’t always laugh out of happiness. Many times, it is to distract myself. And of course, in the style of distractions, they never last long or get very far. I can’t tell you how many times I start typing out words that I find funny in either txt or a Facebook post, and then give up halfway through because I just can’t bring myself to be the comical little weirdo I pride myself on being. Yet at the same time, the moments I remember making a nurse laugh at 3am while they’re setting up my Saline drip are moments that, while they may be initially created in desperation to forget my unfortunate circumstance, in the long run do give me real joy and happiness which doesn’t fade at all.
I feel as if my heart is aching, my mind is overflowing, and my body is screaming; but if I can just squeeze out a few dick jokes here and there, I think maybe I can get through this, one bad pun at a time.
You can’t maximize a life. What you can do, is try to be honest in the choices that you make. Be true to yourself, no matter how embarrassing those choices are. Life is not a science. I realize that. Look, I’m a guy who does palindromes and tells jokes about leather jackets because that gives me some meaning, at least for now. And you know what, I apologize for none of it. Because the unexamined life is not worth living, man.
Disclaimer: this post does NOT mean that if you are not a silly person, or don’t laugh a ton that you are DEFINITELY DEPRESSED. Rather, my point is to highlight how laughter and joy can make a person who IS depressed feel a second of light in the darkness we are forced by our depression to stagger through every day. Furthermore, I wanted to highlight the fact that people who are silly, funny people aren’t always people who feel no suffering.