Life is tough. There are times when it’s just the biggest effort to get out of bed in the morning to get the kids off to school, to go to work, or even just brush your teeth and make the coffee. It doesn’t matter how often you can tell yourself that your pain is nothing compared to some of the pain you see others go through every day, pain is pain and you can’t compare yours to someone else’s because if it hurts, it hurts.
Twice in my life I’ve been on Zoloft to help me function and get through the day. The first time, I was on Zoloft for two years. After a time, I felt I’d broken the cycle and I weaned myself off. The second time a few years later, I felt myself declining and decided I needed to go back on the meds.
I spent about two more years dealing with side effects such as dizziness, ear ringing, hot flashes , night sweats, and worst of all, that general numbness. There was that horrible inability to actually FEEL anything either positive or negative. I decided enough was enough. I wanted to be myself again and began for the second time to wean myself off.
If you’ve ever been on mood altering medication, you will understand how very difficult it is to come off this stuff. It’s very physically addictive. It has to be done very slowly or you could end up hospitalized. I found this process even more difficult to do the second time around. Bit by bit I would cut my pill into smaller and smaller pieces. I knew I’d cut back too quickly if my ears started ringing and I had dizzy spells. That meant my blood pressure was soaring out of control and I needed to up the dose again.
For me, I realized that if I want to stay off of this toxic stuff, I would need to make some major lifestyle changes. First, I changed my diet. I’ve almost completely eliminated sugar and junk food (besides the occasional indulgence in a small piece of dark chocolate). I make absolutely certain I get regular exercise and fresh air, I force myself do it whether I want to or not. It’s a catch 22 because when you are depressed the last thing you want to do is go out and be active, but I know it helps to kick in those endorphins that make you feel good. I also follow a semi regular spiritual routine. The Toltec Wisdom books have been an excellent resource for me. Having that feeling of connectedness to the life source is important to my sense of purpose and wellbeing. Also, I can’t forget the support of a loving family and network of wonderful friends. When you are depressed, again the last thing you want to do is go out and socialize. It’s an effort but I make myself go and I am always glad that I did. My friends always make me laugh and that brings me to the central point of this article.
For me, the number one thing that catapulted me out of that pit of despair was HUMOR. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of laughter on the human body.
So much of what happens in our bodies is controlled by the brain. I won’t go into it in depth here, but a good book to research this mind / brain/ body connection is “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Dr. Christine Northrup. By controlling what we THINK, we control the chemicals produced in the brain, and depression is a chemical imbalance. By controlling our thoughts, we control how we feel and that can have a very powerful influence over our health both mentally and physically. Laughter releases chemicals that helps you relax. Laughter reduces pain, increases blood to the heart, and kicks the immune system into gear.
It may sound simplistic and possibly just a little crazy, but I have to give credit to a certain you tube video that a friend posted to my Facebook page about a year ago. It was the Mad TV Bob Newhart skit “Just Stop It”. I know it’s just a spoof on quick therapies, but I find a certain kernel of truth in it. My depression is directly linked to a feeling of helplessness brought on by worry, and anxiety over life situations as well as an OCD tendency to perseverate on incidences that other people would classify as “nothing”. This skit by Bob Newhart helped me realize that worrying and perseverating over “things that can’t be helped” or “things that happened in the past” or “things that haven’t even happened” is not only “silly” but a waste of precious life and I decided to just “STOP IT”. Cross my heart, when I get into that downward spiral “mode” I think of Dr. Bob.
Having a good laugh, or even a low chuckle or snide titter, I’ve realized is vitally important to me in maintaining that healthy life perspective. Again, it may sound simplistic, but another thing that has helped me to maintain a good sense of humor was to sign up for a Twitter account. I only Twitter follow accounts that I find inspirational or funny. I’d heard that John Cleese and Eddie Izzard were regular users of Twitter and I think they are two of the funniest men on the planet. Honestly though I have to say I was disappointed, Especially with Eddie. All he tweets about is places he’s visiting. (Maybe he figures he should be getting paid to be funny?) I adore his work though so I keep following him regardless. This routine here is my absolute favorite:
Another person I follow is Nathan Fillion. My favorite tweet : “At Disney’s Haunted Mansion, I let out a blood curdling scream in the parlor, and some kid always cries. Everybody wins.” Nathan Fillion
How can you possibly be depressed while watching two grown men in tights and masks banking left on a double bed? (The Daly Show)
These are some of the accounts I like to follow for inspiration or belly laughs:, Alan Tudyk, Rainn Wilson, @shitmydadsays, @Unvirtousabbey, @thetweetofgod, @godthemother, @TinaFey, Joel McHale and Tim Daly. Thanks all y’all for giving me my “Daly dose “of funny!
- ABC’s ‘Castle’ spoilers: Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion stage ‘Firefly’ reunion (examiner.com)
- Spotlight!: The Daly Show: Episode 7: “The Daly Superheroes” with NATHAN FILLION (geekxlovin.wordpress.com)
- Nathan Fillion and Tim Daly (Sort of) Reprise Green Lantern and Superman Roles IRL [Video] (comicsalliance.com)
- Exclusive Video: Justice League: Doom Star Nathan Fillion Talks Memorabilia (seattlepi.com)
- Book Review: Naked Heat (bostonwriters.wordpress.com)