A Sense of Humor in Recovery

The comedian Sarah Silverman was quoted in TimeOut NY:

“Humor can change people’s minds more than anger.”

That’s true. In Left of the Dial I employed a sense of humor to talk about what happened.

I recommend attending a comedy club or watching a three-hour Looney Tunes cartoon marathon or other funny movies.

It’s true I also advocate for having a sense of humor about any perceived stigma. Forgiveness is the way to go: to forgive others who don’t understand; to forgive the illness for encroaching on our lives; to forgive our parents if we need to; to forgive whoever harmed us.

That’s where a sense of humor comes in. I really shouldn’t have had to fight for crumbs from the table to get what I wanted: my own apartment and a full-time job. Other people who don’t have a diagnosis take having these things for granted.

People living with mental illnesses shouldn’t have to fight to get these things. We should be entitled to have them too. We also are entitled to recover. We shouldn’t have to settle for the scraps that unsavory treatment providers give us either: telling us that we can’t recover.

Or practicing business-as-usual with high doses of medication and no practical career counseling and social skills training and individualized therapy as soon as we experience symptoms. The RAISE study proves that the time has come to make recovery for everyone the goal.

Recovery for everyone is a noble, worthy goal. It might not be achievable yet I will always advocate for recovery for everyone. Today more and more people who get the right help right away can and do recovery.

For a significant number of people then recovery is probable not just possible.

I first came up in a mental health system circa 1988 to 1991. I fought to have a better life. I use a sense of humor to talk about my time in that system. It was a time when it was thought that not a lot of people could recover.

This is why I ripped apart what went on with a sense of humor. I will always advocate for finding humor even in your darkest moments.

Thus my contention that attending a comedy club or watching a funny movie marathon can lift our spirits.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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