Let me ask you a question: Have you ever belly laughed? I mean, laughed so hard that you cried? Laughed so much that it made your stomach hurt? Laughed until you didn’t think you could laugh another drop? (and then laughed some more?) That’s the kind of laughing I’m talking about.
You know, we don’t do too much of that when we’re dealing with bipolar disorder. Everything is so serious so much of the time. It’s like we’ve either forgotten how to laugh, or we’re
just plain afraid to laugh! Like if we were to laugh, we should feel guilty about it or something, because when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, laughter isn’t something you’re supposed to do.
Hmmmm…. Let’s think about that.
Laughter is one of the most natural things we could do in response to something. Think about a child. Think about how naturally they laugh at things. It seems like so much makes them laugh.
And they laugh so easily, too!
Don’t believe me? Just play a game of peek-a-boo with a child and you’ll see what I mean.
Laughter is a gift. And it is a gift that is necessary when you’re dealing with a loved one with bipolar disorder.
I knew a bipolar supporter. And every time I saw her, she was smiling, and had such a positive way about her. It wasn’t a visit with her if she didn’t tell me a joke or two! I asked her one time how she could be that way, you know, joking around and all, when she had a husband who had bipolar disorder, such a serious mental illness. And this is what she told me: “Dave, I have to be this way. If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry.”
Wow. That blew me away. But it taught me a lesson, too. That you need to deal with things realistically. Well, realistically can sometimes mean with a sense of humor.
For a lot of people, it’s what keeps them going. Like that one supporter I was telling you about.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to go around telling jokes all the time, or ignore the seriousness of your loved one’s disorder… I’m just saying to lighten up a little bit… Have some fun once in a while… Enjoy yourself when you can… Learn to laugh again (if you’ve forgotten, or if it’s been a long time since you’ve done it)… Think about some things that have made you laugh in the past, and maybe repeat them. Maybe just the memory will be enough to make you
laugh again. Just thinking about some silly things you’ve done in the past may be enough to get the ball rolling. Or things that your children did when they were younger.
If nothing else, treat yourself to a comedyfest! Rent some of the funniest movies you’ve ever seen, and just enjoy yourself! You know, movies like Young Frankenstein, or Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Ghostbusters – it doesn’t even have to be a new movie. Any movie that makes you laugh counts.
Here’s another idea: Take out your old photo albums. Write one-line captions under your favorite pictures. That way, you don’t just have a ha-ha for now, you’ve got one for any time you feel blue – just take out that old photo album for a good laugh or two!
I’m sure you can come up with your own ideas if you try.
Humor is one of the most important tools we have in fighting this dreaded disorder called bipolar. We need to use it more!