My mind has been a vortex of depression, anger, fear (and loathing) for months. How to change? What can help and help immediately? Laughter.
Taking an inventory of my behavior over the last year I’ve noticed something unusual: Laughter doesn’t come as often or as easily.
This morning I signed on to Facebook (go ahead and sneer now) and saw a status that said:
‘DEPRESSION is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long. Put this as your status if you or someone you know has had depression. Will you do it and leave it on your status for at least an hour? Most people will not, but it’s mental health week and 1 in 3 of us will suffer at some point in our lives.’
Never believe what you read on Facebook. It’s a networking site that promotes idiocy, skanky pictures (woo hoo!) and wasting some time. Not that it can’t be amusing. It’s just that any information coming across the feed is suspect.
I’m not the snopes.com of the internet but checking out statements dealing with issues that concern me direct my attention to research. First, it is not National Mental Health Week, it’s actually National Mental Health Month. Second, An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year according to NIMH.
Already we’ve learned the basic tenet of Facebook. If some idiot posts it as a status it’s gotta be wrong.
To keep myself from wandering even further into the abyss of statistics I stopped there. It would be akin to spending four hours on Wikipedia reading all the links from your primary topic and winding up at the Three laws of Thermodynamics. After your initial search for information on David Bowie.
What’s so funny?
National Fruitcake Week is actually National Fruitcake Month. As a psychiatrist-carrying Fruitcake this example of humans acting like sheep (POST THIS STATUS IF YOU DARE FOR ONE DAY!) would normally cause a chuckle. Instead, hardly a smile. Hell, even my favorite Eddie Izzard bits barely cause a subdued laugh these days. Something is definitely wrong.
Climbing out of the despair requires laughter and humor. So beginning the day with Fark.com, The Chive or even LOL Cats is a start. It’s better than allowing your brain to cross into dark neighborhoods. Or eating too much food rich in trans-fat and refined sugar, or sleeping all day. Or calling in hourly bomb threats to the local 7-11.
First thing in the morning with good coffee. It’s a slow process but a start.
Hopefully the easy laughter will come back. I just have to change and look for it. And as my crone of a piano teacher often told me Practice Practice Practice.
Finding out about National Mental Health Month (Week) was funny. But not as funny as laughing at myself.