You have to laugh, don’t you?

With anxiety or depression, it can be hard to see the funny side. But I find laughter a really useful tool in my mental health kit.

Today was shit. There’s no two ways about it. Some days are just awful, and today was one. I left work early with the intention of getting a haircut, but managed to walk the full width of the city without spotting a single ATM, and reached the barber with no cash and no time to go and find some. Then I was hoping to take a parcel to the post office which needed to be posted by today at the latest. Carried the enormous box all the way there, panting and puffing, only to be told the post office had just closed. Many other things conspired against me too, but I won’t bore you with them.

Some days, we do feel as if the world is working against us; as if the universe is a sentient being, actively and maliciously taunting and mocking us. But these are first world problems. I could be in a worse position.

And often, our bad luck stacks up at such a rate it’s almost comical.

Seeing it this way can often be transformative. I have anxiety problems, part of which is that — when the world poops on me — I can descend into a spiral of misery, regret and self-pity. It’s really unhealthy. But recently I’ve started to see the funny side. I try to laugh on days like today, when shit hits the fan, and then hits it again, and then just barrels the fan until the fan disintegrates in an enormous fireball. I feel like Mr Bean, or Bridget Jones, or Inspector Clouseau, trying so hard to just get on with life while the world pushes back on me. And I laugh. At myself. At the situation. At the absurdity of it all.

I’m not always able to do this. Sometimes, I still sink into a depression that can spoil the whole day over something as silly as a missed train. But sometimes it works, and when it does, it’s a triumph. It’s the biggest victory. All negativity melts away, and sure, I’m still frustrated. But it’s softened by the hilarity. I’ve looked misfortune in the eye, stepped a little closer, and drawn a moustache on its top lip. I’ve splatted a cream pie in its stupid face.

That feels great.

To quote The Comedian’s final line in Alan Moore’s great Watchmen…

“It’s all a joke.”

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