Healing – Day 14: Chuckles, Chortles, Grins, and Guffaws

Laughter is the best medicine.

9780895779779I hate adages. Truisms. I hate being told what’s tried and true. I’m a contrarian. Oppositional. A bitch, truth be told, when it comes to things like this. Don’t tell me what or how to think.

Get it?

Got it?


That being said, I love laughing. It makes me happy. It puts things in perspective. It reminds me that life is worth living, even though it might not feel so great in the moment. And I love my laugh lines – I’ve earned those crinkly wrinkles by my eyes.

News flash: laughter is the best medicine. For me. It is the greatest healing tool in my ever-increasing box of gimmicks and gizmos to help me out of [fill in the blank (argument, anxiety, depression, etc.)].

In the midst of a heated argument, I will findnationalabsurdity-day the absurdity in something I’m saying, and start to giggle. Most of the time, the person with whom I’m fighting will look at me like I’m crazy. I’ll explain, and the fight will be over. We’ll both be laughing too hard to care about continuing our spat.

As I’ve said before, anxiety is an old friend of mine. We’ve hung out together forever. We’re close. Closer than close. Claustrophobically close. Sometimes, though, you  need to step away from an old friend. You need a different and fresh perspective. 10696310_10204455907452501_466820485586148386_nWhen my old friend and I are over-invested in each other, and we’re seriously in danger of merging – morphing into a mass of melodramatic mush – I will look at my dog, or one of my cats, and something about them will tickle me. My dog’s tongue, which hangs out of the side of her mouth. My two cats poised like perfect bookends on the kitchen counter (shhh…don’t tell anyone they get up there). I’ll smile, then grin. I’m good.

Depression is more complex. When depression hits, it’s hard to laugh. I often judge the severity of my depressive episodes by whether and how much I can even smile. If I can smile, there’s always the possibility I’ll grin. Once the grin starts strutting her stuff, there’s hope, and life begins to seem livable. It’s only a matter of time until a chortle, a chuckle, and maybe, if I’m really lucky (and surrounded by friends with a great sense of humor), a deep and soul-cleansing guffaw will sneak out and blow away the depression.

So…want my advice? Of course you do!


Bleak? Banter!
Crabby? Crack up!
Gloomy? Guffaw!
Glum? Giggle!
Hard times? Hah!
Joyless? Jest!
Self-pity? Stupid puns!
Sadness? Slapstick!
Trepidation? Tee hee!
Worried? Whoop-it-up!

I’m telling you – laughter is the best medicine.

(Trite? Too bad!)


About armsakimbobook

I'm a mother, a lawyer, a feminist, a writer, a potter, and an inveterate and unapologetic New Yorker. My book, Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, tells of my journey of healing over a number of years, learning to live a full life after I was molested by my father at a very young age. I live in Maynard, MA, with my wife and and our two moose-cats, Samson and Hercules. My daughter used to live with me part-time, but she's all grown up now and in her junior year of college, which I can't quite fathom, since she was born about five minutes ago...
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