I’ve dealt with depression off and on since age fourteen. I’ve tried dozens of modalities, been to numerous therapists, read upwards of 100 self-help books and tried anti-depressants. I’ve had stress so bad it caused amnesia and being catatonic as a teen, and as an adult blood oozed from the pores of my arms and legs, as well as seizure-threatening high blood pressure, asthma and panic attacks. I kept trying new things for whatever worked last week often didn’t work today.
Being happy became a quest. Not that I haven’t had a good life; I have, way better than most. But for much of my life, I thought I was crazy. My moods changed so quickly that I didn’t trust myself. It helped when a Rolfer explained I was only feeling what someone close to me was feeling. She made it sound like a gifted talent, but most people scolded me for being hypersensitive. And even my teachers at Rolfing school couldn’t agree whether I was an introvert or an extrovert, until one brilliantly explained, “She is both, depends on her mood.”
For many years, I couldn’t be happy unless everyone around me was happy. But pleasing others proved to only stockpile resentments. It confused and angered my loved ones that I hadn’t stood up for myself. But pleasing myself seemed to annoy or anger them, and I truly didn’t like being alone, so it seemed better to adapt and hope that I’d be happy.
But walking out of long-term relationships including two marriages caused grief for us all, and I was determined to make my current relationship work, especially since it was the best of my life. Noticing that he laughed easily with others, but not with me, I searched on the Internet how to laugh. That’s when I found Laughter Yoga.
Laughter Yoga was built on the premise that the body doesn’t know the difference between real and fake laughter, if done willingly, and thus the body gets the same physiological and psychological benefits. Thus, you don’t need a sense of humor. In fact, they almost guarantee you’ll laugh doing their unique concept.
No therapy had ever made me laugh, so I signed up for a class. Three hundred dollars seemed cheap for two days of laughing. In addition, it appealed to me to get a certificate to become a Laughter Yoga Leader. The idea of making money teaching others to laugh made me laugh. Just my signing up to take this class made my guy laugh, too.