By JEN WIGHT
But do you know what one of the most common things people have said to me about the book is, ‘I wasn’t expecting to laugh. Is it OK that I found some of it funny?’
The answer? Most definitely yes.
John Cleese talks about how humour is often overlooked or even taboo in some circumstances because the topic being discussed is considered too ‘serious’.
But I think humour is the best, and sometimes the only, way we can cope with the difficulties that life throws our way – from irksome to life shattering. It helps shine a light into the gloom and helps us bond with those around us who want to help. It has certainly helped me recover.
But this is one of the many reasons depression can be so hard to fight your way through. When I was ill my funny bone was well and truly broken. My life felt like a grey, joyless, painful experience to endure day by day. The very things that I needed to get myself better; my self-belief, my ability to look forward to a better possible future and my ability to laugh, were not working.
But using a variety of techniques (I pretty much tried everything anyone suggested) including therapy, exercise, healthy diet, plenty of sleep, support of friends and family, medication and yoga, I managed to survive that dreadful time. Laughter, fun and joy returned to my life.
Being able to laugh at the awful things that happen in life is a therapy of sorts as it requires you do take a step away from the awfulness and see things from an outsider’s perspective. Exactly what psychological support helps you do. Getting to the point where you can laugh about a difficult thing that happened to you is a real watershed moment.
Mums are lucky in this respect as we get plenty of opportunities to practise this, like the time my son marched around giving inappropriate military salutes (yes those ones) to the elephants at Taronga Zoo, or when my friend’s daughter announced at the school gates in her piping clear voice, ‘My mum has a hairy vagina,’ or in the brilliant How To Be A Woman when Catlin Moran has to kick her daughter’s poo across a falconry display at Regent Park Zoo. All parents have a library’s worth of these types of stories.
Cringe at the time, funny afterwards.