Traumatic brain injury is serious and heartbreaking, but just like many other serious life events, there is always something to laugh about "• at least when the initial trauma is behind you. Laughter is a natural anti-depressant, an anti-anxiety fix, a shot of oxygen, and a muscle relaxer … and, best of all, it doesn’t require a prescription.
Laughter helps the whole body. It’s our EJECT button for stress. Laughter improves our immune system by releasing endorphins, our body’s pain-blocking chemicals, while at the same time, reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It even increases blood flow and oxygen in the blood so it’s great for your heart.
Laughter is best when it’s shared. A back-slapping, belly-hugging, eye-watering laugh session can make us feel like we’ve just run a mile! Our troubles melt away, at least for a while.
Okay, so when is it appropriate to laugh about something as serious as TBI? Here are a few examples:
- I’m telling Hugh, my husband, what to do in my usual bossy pants way. He’s had enough. He picks up the TV remote, looks me dead in the eye, points the remote at me and keeps clicking MUTE. I fall on the bed laughing.
- Hugh puts on what he thinks is the red sweater I love to see him in. He walks downstairs wearing it, his biceps bursting against the short sleeves and the empire waist cutting a line through his chest. When he sees our faces, eyebrows raised, we all burst into hysterics. He is wearing one of our daughter’s dresses.
- I go into the bathroom and Hugh keeps asking me through the door, “Are you okay in there? Do you need my help?” He’s mimicking me. Good thing I’m in the bathroom ‘cause I’m peeing my pants!
And how many times have you heard, “I can’t believe you just said that?” while talking to someone with a TBI or their exhausted, nonsensical caregiver? TBI and caregiving are rife with absurdity, quirkiness … and yes, sometimes even humor. So get giddy once in awhile. It will do you and your family a world of good.
Can you share a funny moment you have had as a caregiver? Please comment below, and give us all another laugh!