Not all of us who struggle with mental health issues use humor, nor do some of us find lighthearted portrayals of our suffering funny…but I do…and I’m not alone.
Why humor about suffering? Perhaps because it is a means of coping with suffering. If I can laugh about it, I don’t have to cry…or perhaps laughing about it will help me cry.
That said, as with many areas of life, it is best to allow those who suffer set the tone. What can be self-referentially funny may become mockery in the hands of another.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you use humor to cope with mental health issues? Do you find it offensive when others do so? Is there a difference between those who suffer creating humor and those without utilizing it?
One interesting example…I’ve heard some people complain about the TV series Monk‘s portrayal of OCD. I personally found watching Monk a therapeutic and entertaining experience. But what about you?
4 thoughts on “Humor: Extra Strength Anxiety”
I find it very helpful seeing other folks w the same mental struggles talk/joke about their experiences, as if to say “oh yes! I do this as well! It may be painful, but now I know I’m not alone.” I also think it can be helpful as a way of approaching sometimes difficult to begin conversations by experiencing vulnerability with a more light hearted introduction. When mental health struggles are chronic, it is often difficult to exclusively talk about them as weighty burdens. It can be so helpful to point at the burden with a light hearted joke to make it weigh a little less, even for a little while.
Often when something stressful is happening I think to myself this will make a great story one day and i try to look at it that way – to see the humor in the situation. This is usually true for me of relatively brief situational anxiety/stress – like when I was quite sick and on my way to the emergency room in Montana and got a flat tire on a remote dirt road. Suffering relating to relationship problems for example is not something I would be able to find humor in. Overall I do believe laughter is a great medicine and physiologically even this is true.
Great thoughts Faith! I’m glad the lighthearted approach is cathartic for you…and I agree that dififcult conversations can sometimes benefit from some levity.
Margaret – I try to remind myself of the “great story” aspect when going through something difficult as well! And I agree that relational problems often aren’t as easily addressed with humor.