It’s amazing that, even in constant pain, most of us can still laugh. Or, is that because of the chronic pain, we are able to see humor in the worst of things? Therese Borchard, author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression and Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes said in an interview:


Image by ReloVertigo 2013

“Haven’t you noticed that pattern? Those who’ve had rather uneventful lives don’t have as much to say at cocktail parties as the ones who have been cleaning up feces for a few decades. As much as I curse depression and bipolar disorder (and most of the DSM-IV that I’m diagnosed with … let’s be honest), it has brought me the blessings of humor, perspective, compassion, humility. Plus I write better!”

According to the world famous Mayo Clinic, laughter has both short-term and long-term health benefits, so it would almost seem instinctual to find a sort of gallows humor, even through great physical pain. And we don’t have to work hard to imagine the physical pain of a combat-wounded  US Marine. In June, 2006, Marine Lance Cpl. Toben Madeiros was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. As he recovered at a Bethesda, MD military hospital in August of that year, despite being “mangled,” he joked about feeling like Forest Gump. President Bush had visited him at the hospital. I’d imagine that I’d feel like Forest Gump, myself, if the Prez dropped by. But after having given whole chunks of my body, I don’t know that I’d be able to laugh about it.

My father is a Vietnam-era US Marine, so I was raised with enormous respect for the United States Marine Corps. I am very thankful to Lance Cpl. Madeiros and all of those who’ve sacrificed for my freedom. And I know that I have not actually surrendered whole parts of my body for my country, or any other cause, for that matter.

But, having said that, when I am in the pain caused by migraine, I sometimes feel like part of me is being cut out, stabbed through, pushed out, ready to explode. And I often wish, even sometimes literally pray that it would be something like those things. Because then, at some point, it would end, unlike my current situation. But – because I couldn’t possibly maintain that black state of mind forever and ever, amen – I eventually begin seeing humor. All around me. I really have to, don’t I? It’s that or cry. That’s possibly an overused phrase, but it is so, because it is true. And unlike those either brave or pretentious souls who parade about, shouting, “I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!” It just happens. I mean, really. Who “chooses” to be happy, when they’ve had the Triceratops of Death all night? Pffft. I drive along in agony, and as I’m holding one eye beneath my sunglasses, I spot a bumper sticker in front of me that unabashedly proclaims, “I Love My Rotten Ungrateful Kids.” Lord love a duck, who wouldn’t laugh at that one? Especially if you have kids? Rotten and ungrateful ones? Even if your eyeball is about to ‘splode out of your head?

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