Many of my friends think that I'm a funny person. They laugh at my jokes (even when I don't know I've told one) and if asked, most people would tell you I'm fun to hang out with. I suppose I have always been able to see the humor in everyday situations. Overall, I think friends and acquaintances would describe me as entertaining. Little do they know that on the inside, I am unbearably depressed on most days, and it takes all of my resources to try to escape the sadness. I usually fail. When faced with divorce, I tried even harder to escape the pain, only to find out that there is no escape.
I have often heard and observed that a lot of comedians and other humorous entertainers are actually quite depressive, and are far from the mirthful personalities they portray to others. Graham Kennedy and Rodney Dangerfield come to mind, along with Johnny Carson and Sarah Silverman. I guess what I have in common with them is that I want life to be funny, and I try to find all the ways that it is. Also like them, I am always looking for ways to escape sadness. Depression is like a constant, invisible force-field, tugging hard at my heels as I try to make my escape into joy. So I tend to look for the humor in everything that offers itself, and create the funny little scenes that make people smile. In truth, I am not okay, but I have hope that if I make you laugh, your laughter will perhaps make me feel like things might be okay - and that's good enough. In laughter, I can temporarily ignore the monster of gloom, who is never far away. So I have learned to become an escape artist, running from persistent pain.
Depressed or Not, There is No Escaping Divorce Pain
Not willing to face a kind of hurt I knew I couldn't bear, I even tried to find the funny in divorce. I have to say there really isn't much fun to find, there. Divorce is devastating, and there is no way to escape from the crushing feeling that your life is over. Because the life you knew is over. After my divorce, when I would wake in the mornings, I would think in those first few moments that my husband was there, and I imagined I heard him in the kitchen making coffee. At any moment he would open the bedroom door and say, 'buongiornio principessa!'. But it was only the sound of the house settling, or the refrigerator humming itself to life. He was gone.
One day, shopping for toiletries, I happened upon a bar of French-milled soap scented with linden. It's clean smell brought me back to northern France, where my ex-husband and I had lived our most carefree days. The scent tormented me, as I realized I had lost those feelings, that time, and that person forever. It was enough to send me into a downward spiral of grief for the rest of the day, and it was a grief that seemed infinite. I really had no wish to live.
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Yet, I carried on and hosted wine parties and joked with the sales lady at the furniture store. All the world was a stage for my performance, and I was acting as though I was happy, so maybe eventually I really would be? That's what I've always heard, anyway. By behaving like a happy person, you can learn to be happy. But it isn't that easy. And I don't have an easy answer. What I do know, is that if happiness is a state of mind, I haven't yet trained my mind. Joyful moments do happen, but they are fleeting. I may walk into my living room and see the sun casting the most beautiful light over a palm tree in the corner, and feel a momentary surge of hope and appreciation. But the light always fades away, and so do people.
Learn to Embrace Every Moment
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I am learning to embrace every moment that joy finds me, because in the next one, I know it will vanish. And maybe that's what life is: learning to enjoy the good times while you have them, and cherish every laugh, every embrace, every smile you put on a friend's face. Soak up every particle of happiness you can, while you can.
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