That is me. Over the years, not many people would have picked me out of a clinical depression line-up. One person went so far as to tell me she didn’t believe me when I told her I had it. In all fairness to that person, I can understand why. I was often laughing and smiling on the outside. But on the inside, I was falling apart.
Things are not always what they seem…
Despite my challenges with depression and other emotional issues, I do, oddly enough try to find the humor in life. Growing up, I think this was something that my mom and I used to emotionally survive. And we still do that today (more on that in later posts). The humor I find in life, I usually project through my boisterous, sometimes annoying, but almost never fake laughter. I can’t help it. This is my one apology to the world if it annoys you. Actually it’s not an apology. I’m not changing, I’m not “keeping it down,” so get over it.
It’s funny how I can remember the bad stuff that people say to me, many times I can remember it verbatim. Last year, I got involved in a friendship/partial relationship/I’m not exactly sure what it was with a recovering alcoholic. Classic adult child of an alcoholic (ACA) behavior. But I’m not judging myself. Anyway, I had just started my own 12 step program and was completely emotionally vulnerable. I’m not dismissing my responsibility in this; however, I do feel that I was in part “13th stepped” by this person (Google 13th step if you want to know more about what that is). What began as a sweet, gentle relationship with potential turned into a judgmental, harsh, argumentative, borderline abusive situation that I didn’t need in my life.
In my last confrontation with this person, he told me something that I will never forget. He made a joke about something that I didn’t find funny. When I told him it wasn’t funny, he dismissed my feelings, shrugged it off, and told me that “I needed to laugh more.”
I found that pretty hilarious.
He went on to tell me,
“You’re too sensitive. This is why you have few friends. You only really laugh when you’re not sure of yourself or insecure, or not sure of what to say. You never really laugh.”
I found this even more hilarious.
I am glad that I was “secure” enough of myself to know that he was wrong. And in this case I knew exactly what to say…
LOSE MY NUMBER
Although there have been times where I have nervously laughed, or have laughed because I didn’t know what to say, to say that I only laugh because of that was insane. (I’m not even going to entertain the other stuff he said because that was double insanity)
Laughter and humor were characteristics that were constant for me growing up…despite the bad stuff. People who really know me can see a reflection of it…especially in my interactions with my mom, with others and through the stories I tell. Although a lot of my life has involved “serious situations” and I have been very serious and driven, I have also embraced the laughter.
Or a better way to put it, is that I have had to integrate the serious side of myself with the laughter side of myself. For some reason, I love the word “integrate.” I think that it is becoming my “word” (remember from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love). In Gilbert’s book she talks about how everyone has a word, and finally she figures out that her word was “Attraversiamo” (in Italian) or “crossover.” Well I finally figured out that my word is “integrate” or “integration.” I love the idea of not being in denial of any part of ourselves and embracing the good and bad or light and dark. It’s something that Deepak Chopra describes in The Path to Love as the “ambivalence of life.”
And in my case, my goal is to integrate the humor and laughter in life with the seriousness of life. This way there’s a good balance of each that I show to the world.
“When we learn to take ourselves seriously, others will too. When we learn to chuckle at ourselves, we will be ready to laugh with others.” -Melody Beattie
- Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 301). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.