Lighten up!!

Years ago, I was taking numerous psychotropics for depression with psychotic features and post traumatic stress disorder.  The meds numbed a lot of the pain I was feeling, and helped me to function a bit.  The problem which the medication could not fix is that I was a very unhappy person.   I was shy, introverted and very sensitive.  I didn’t know that I simply was different than others.  Plus, I’d grown up in a dysfunctional and oppressive family.  My mother had schizophrenia and was very depressed.  I didn’t know how to be happy, joyful and engage with life.  I recognized this in myself and I started reading books and articles about laughter medicine, healing with humor and being positive.   It was totally out of my element, but I really wanted to get out of my funk.

So my family already thought I was crazy, but I tried to develop a sense of humor.  I was reading a book about how to be funny, and one of the techniques was to pretend you’re a martian.   Okay so I pretended like I was from Mars and it was my first time on Earth.  My family totally didn’t get it at all!  They didn’t say it, but I could sense them saying “She’s completely lost her mind!”   I thought it was funny!  I loved telling people I was Martian.  I already felt different and like I didn’t belong in most social gatherings because of my sensitivities and mental illness.  What’s easier to say to people, “I have a mental illness” or “I am Martian?”  Hmmmmm.  It’s so much easier to admit you’re just not from this planet.  People will excuse your odd behavior if they will just understand you’re from another planet, right?  Remember Mork from Orc?  Yeah I thought it was hilarious, but even that was sad because I wasn’t comfortable just being myself.

Today I’m all about accepting myself and loving myself just the way I am.  I no longer need to pretend I’m something I’m not.  Sometimes I’m quiet and shy, other times I’m open and outgoing.  You just never know how I’m going to act and that’s okay.  I don’t need to be one or the other.   I don’t need any type of label to define who I am.  I am who I am at the moment.   But learning to have a sense of humor to deal with the ups and downs of life is a big help.  It kept me down to think that since I had depression, I must always look and act depressed.    I was such a mess with my stinking thinking.

I learned that depression outside of the chemical imbalances can be a learned behavior.  In that regard, I need to unlearn it or learn a new one.  I started to look in the mirror and smile at myself or laugh.  I learned to say “I love you!”  I made goofy faces at myself in the mirror.  It didn’t take away the depression but it did help lighten my load and it helped me to change my perspective on my life.  My previous perspective was that my life was a depressive mess and hopeless.  When I learned to lighten up, I realized there was hope.   I could change my story.  I can change the direction of my life.  Lighten up.  Do or say something silly!  It doesn’t matter who hears or sees you.   They think you’re crazy anyway.  But here’s another tip:  We’re all crazy (in our own special way).  Seriously, lighten up.  Life isn’t meant to be so serious all the time.  Learn to play and laugh.  You’ll feel better.  While you’re at it, give yourself a hug.  Love yourself!

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