Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Nancy: When Nothing Is Funny

If you haven’t noticed already, I’m dedicating a lot of posts to the topic of humor lately. For two reasons: as I’ve said in so many posts, humor is central to my recovery, and second, to respond to those readers that find absolutely nothing about depression funny.
Back on my post, “16 Ways Depression Is Like a Pumpkin,” Beyond Blue reader Kathy wrote this:

I have been reading Beyond Blue for awhile. You may give hope to people with minimum to mild depression. But apparently you have no idea what it’s like to suffer from severe depression.


I often hear other versions. And I always think of Beyond Blue reader Nancy’s response, on the combox of my post “Some Words for the Desperate.” She articulates so well the need for small talk, and nonsense, and how it builds a community of support. Thanks, Nancy!

As I read this post, it reminded me of myself the first time I stepped in to a 12 step meeting. It was early and people were chatting in small groups, greeting others; there was laughter in the room and a great sense of community.
However, I thought I definitely had come to the wrong place. NOTHING at that point in my life was funny, nor could I find a reason to laugh about anything. I figured that if these people could, then they had absolutely no clue as to what REAL problems were, and they used this hour as a “social visit”.
Obviously, I was wrong; dead wrong. There’s a saying, “bring the body and the mind will follow”. My pre-conceived notions were based on comparing my insides to other people’s outsides. In addition, I did not take into account that they had been in “treatment” for quite some time; many for years on end. Not to say that they still did not face very difficult dark days; however, they found days that were lighter, and had even come to a place where humor could be incorporated when looking back on situations or dealing with some of the more minor current ones. They had learned different coping skills and tools. No, not denial or pretending. The authentic ones would express good times/feelings when it suited the timing and also spoke of the darker, more difficult times.
This is exactly what goes on here at Beyond Blue. I was told in the beginning of my other journeys to be open-minded. Just open the door of willingness a little bit to let some of the light (or enlightenment) shine through.


I have had one of the most difficult years, and thank God that although there are the days that I cry and don’t want to live through the process (yes – I do – I just want to be on the other side), I can still get very silly, laugh, and find humor in what I thought was awful in the past.
I am encapsulating 15 plus years of hard work to get to this place where both can be integrated. I’m still very vulnerable and do not fool myself into every thinking I’ve got a lock on how to stay well-balanced, sober, of right thought and action and a positive attitude filled with gratitude.
There is another saying, “Sometimes we’re the teacher; sometimes the student”. It’s great to be on the giving end, but recently I’ve had to be on the receiving end.
So………. after 16 years of doing this merry-go-round of recovery from everything, (including myself), I would hope that I’d develop enough of a hindsight and repertoire to use as humor. I look to others for their sharing also, as I smile at my computer, bobbing my head up and down in agreement. I’m glad that some of us are in a place where humor and sarcasm can be a thread through our tapestry.

To read more Beyond Blue, go to, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.

  • Peg

    Amen, Nancy. Thank you for writing and helping me to see more clearly.

  • DonnaY

    Thank you Therese and Nancy for your response!! I am so glad that I signed up on the mailing list. On those dark days when I can’t do anything but stare blankly at the computer screen, up pops “beyond Blue” and I feel connected and understood.
    Humor indeed, is the best medicine! I have found that to sit and watch a sitcom, or have your children do something so comical, (I believe God gave us children for humor, along with patience and humility) has done more for me then meds and therapy put together.
    This not to say that laughter alone has made me “better”. When I am in such a dark place where even breathing is a chore and I can find some small piece of light(such as my daughter racing around the corner and scaring my cat out of it’s skin), it helps me be able to cling to the end of my rope and reach up. Humor is the hope that even if you can’t smile or laugh right now, some sweet day you will. And that small hope gives me the strength to keep climbing.

  • Linda Clare

    Dear Therese:
    I’m a writer and writing teacher and your name is familiar to me. Titles of your books? So far, I write for Xian (nonCatholic) pubs, but I am Episcopalian and need all the friends I can get. I write a bunch about my bipolar meth addicted 26 year-old son, as well as my bipolar mom and daughter. I am one of those resentful mono-depressed sorts who has been helped by miracles of prayer, saints who intervene for me and antidepressants. Thanks for your blog and the miraculous relief of humor! This is one miracle that doesn’t take much to believe in. It’s so hard to listen to the voices of depression or mania while you’re busting a gut.
    Good work,
    Linda Clare
    Making Peace with a Dangerous God (Revell, 2006)

  • June

    Thank you Nancy. You summed up so much so well.
    Personally, there are days when it’s incredibly easy for me to find something to cry about. And on those days, when someone throws me a lifeline, it almost always has a laugh on the other end of it.
    It’s hard to find something to laugh about with tears streaming down my face. That’s why I need Therese and others to, as Austin Powers put it in his silly, funny movie, “Throw me a frickin’ bone!”
    I’d much rather have tears of laughter streaming down my face. But those are hard tears to summon up all by myself.

  • Barbara formerly Babs

    When you are at your lowest, sometimes you just need someone to give you a good laugh to lighten your heart. Therese and Nancy, I agree on the need for laughter and people who can make you laugh.

  • cory johnson

    I am a 44year old male. I have suffered from PTSD amd severe depression most of my life. Recently my past has collided with the present and five months go I lost everything; my business, marriage, kids, money, home, car, health and any sense of selfworth or purpose. I am not sure of the exact moment, but something in me snapped and I decided to put all this negative experiences to good use.
    I have recently created a website for men starting over with a major focus on mental health issues and the stigma associated with getting help.
    I enjoy reading your posts and can personally associate with just about eveything you have written
    My blog is
    My site is
    All the best

  • Patti Hendrickson

    Humor, laughter, giggles…all these are not only gifts from our individual deities, they are scientifically good for us. Endorphins lighten our moods, give our brains a lift and our emotions a jump start. I am a postal worker and I find it much easier to get through the day to day idiocy if I laugh at it rather than grumble and knock my head against the stone wall of administration. Sure, I am on anti-depressants, but I can laugh about that, too! (Better than illegal meds. I don’t smoke or drink. My only other vice is sex, and my husband isn’t complaining.) Laughter is essential, just like air, water, food, shelter and clothing.
    Keep the giggles rolling and you may just be helping someone else. It is infectious, you know.

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.