No one knew I suffered from depression because it seemed I was always laughing at something or making others laugh. For one, I did not recognize my depression as a “thing”. My feelings of self-loathing, distrust and sadness were just how I was; a part of my personality. I never thought of myself as depressed, maybe melancholy or isolative but not depressed. The fact is I am a comedian, a prankster, the one in the group who made any situation fun. I believe all my friends will agree on that. My life, no matter what I was going through was never ho-hum. The thought of someone feeling sorry for me or pitying me made me cringe, so I always lightened the situation. My therapist says I was downplaying or masking my feelings. Maybe I was but not intentionally, I was doing what black people did for generations I was smiling while suffering and laughing to keep from crying. I did not appreciate the power of laughing then. Now that I understand the physiology of laughing I realized the power of laughing helped me survive some of my lowest moments.
Physiology Behind the Power of Laughing
The physiology of laughing starts in the brain. When someone laughs they decrease their stress hormones. Laughing also increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. So laughing improves your resistance to disease. A good belly laugh triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins are responsible for promoting an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. There are accounts of patients written off by Doctors but changed their prognosis by adding laughter to their lives. Norman Cousins was one such patient. Now I’m not saying to tickle yourself to health and ignore the advice of your Doctor, but I am definitely saying that laughing adds healing value to your life.
The Power of Laughing a little
So what causes you to laugh a little or a lot? Is it a funny movie, hanging around certain people or going to comedy clubs? People have asked me about my depression since learning about it through my blogs. They want to know how come I never showed it because they always see me happy, laughing and positive. The truth is I did show it. I showed it when I isolated myself, and I’m sure in many other ways. The fact is depression is a combination of issues causing a chemical imbalance. Honestly, I don’t know if you’re depressed because of the chemical imbalance or the chemical imbalance is a result of issues. But once I understood more about the root of my depression it empowered me to live with it, overcome it, and laugh in spite of it. I chose to laugh a little or a lot depending on the circumstance.
I Choose to Laugh
No one saw my depression because I never wore it on my sleeve and I still don’t. I love to laugh and I chose to laugh. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have all kinds of ridiculous memes and mishaps on video which I watch frequently and they have me dying with laughter. Sometimes I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and I have tears in my eyes. I know depression hurts, but it helps to get out of your head. Unlock the power of laughing by giving yourself permission to laugh. Stay away from sad movies and depressing situations. Surround yourself with positive people who enjoy life. Find things that bring you joy and fill your time with those things. Watch bloopers, silly animal videos or create your own reasons to laugh or smile. Feed yourself a good dose of laughter and allow your smile to shine. You are an irreplaceable, one of a kind true jewel.Feed yourself a good dose of laughter and allow your smile to shine. Click To Tweet
If you suffer from severe mental illness or thoughts of suicide I want to encourage you to seek help today. Find a local therapist or contact the National Suicide Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting “START” to 741-741. A trained therapist can provide you with a diagnosis and help you develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Before you leave, please don’t forget to comment below. Sharing your experience and what works for you may help others find a solution that works for them. Also, please share this post because you never know who in your circle may be struggling and may need to read this post for encouragement.
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Meet the Author
Adenike is a 46-year-old Jamaican immigrant and a devoted single mother of one, whom she raised with a village in the absence of the father whom long aborted his responsibilities. She holds a Masters in Licensed Clinical Social Work, Bachelors in Social Work, Masters in Non-Profit & Association Management and a Licensed Practical Nursing degree. From the outside, you wouldn’t know that behind the many accomplishments are experiences of trauma, PTSD and depression. Her experiences have uniquely shaped her and she has learned to appreciate each and every part of who she is and her journey. Now she wants to inspire you to do the same!
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