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Laugh When You’re Afraid

Stephen Colbert“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane,” sings Jimmy Buffett. “Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods,” says a Japanese proverb.

A sense of humor, for me, is by far the most useful weapon in my depression arsenal. Which is why Eric is panicked when I stop laughing, when my funny bone is split in 43 places.

For two nights in the psych ward, our group therapy session was to watch a comedy act by an actress (I forget her name, sorry … I was on too many sedatives to take notes) who pokes fun at depression and mood disorders, the way I try to do on Beyond Blue. Our psychiatric nurses were well aware of the studies showing that laughter can be a powerful tool for recovery and healing. In between meals and meds, they did their best to evoke a few chuckles from their patients.

Depressive Art Buchwald translated his pain into hilarious columns; Robin Williams uses the manic and depressive cycles of his bipolar disorder to produce comedic genius on and off screen. Many comedians throughout the ages have used their wit to persevere through severe depression.

In a Parade magazine profile, I learned a bit more about Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

The article starts with this line from Colbert: “I like damaged people. And I am certainly damaged.”

Laugh When You’re Afraid


Therese J. Borchard

Therese J. Borchard is a mental health writer and advocate. She is the founder of the online depression communities Project Hope & Beyond and Group Beyond Blue, and is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist. You can reach her at thereseborchard.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.


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APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2018). Laugh When You’re Afraid. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/laugh-when-youre-afraid/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.