On Playing With Your Pain


charlie chaplan“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.”

Those words fell out of the mouth of British comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplain and they frame an appropriate attitude toward depression or any mood disorder. Because if I’ve learned anything in my lifelong recovery from depression and anxiety, it is to laugh at my insanity, and to try like hell to befriend my illness as much as I despise it and curse it.

We who suffer from depression and anxiety are in good company of those who go to great lengths to laugh about their pain: Art Buchwald, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, and many many more folks that seem way too funny to be depressed.

“I like damaged people,” comedian Stephen Colbert said in a Parade Magazine interview, “and I am certainly damaged.” He is another that used humor to heal from a very painful childhood.
Only after accepting his spoiled and scratched nature was he freed to be his true self, and to offer people a respite from their pain in healing laughter. It happened when he was apprenticing with the comedy troupe Second City. All of a sudden he burst into laughter while on stage. “I finally let go of the pretension of not wanting to be a fool,” he explained.

I’m hoping that this is a place where we can let go of the fear of being a fool in order to help each other heal and rebuild ourselves, find tools and support that will aid our recovering from depression, anxiety, or another (all?) mood disorders. I want this blog to become a space where the damaged can gather together and try to make sense of the creative wiring inside our brains, or maybe a loved one’s brain (even more difficult), and maybe, just maybe, crack a smile about it all.

Image courtesy of doctormacro.com

Originally published on Sanity Break at Everyday Health.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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