My dad gave me the gift of humor.
He has an encyclopedic memory for jokes and funny movie quotes. My sister and him are great at telling jokes. I’m more inclined to quip about something, and mom, well… Mom tries, okay?! We can’t all be good at jokes.
A well-rounded sense of humor kept me alive in my darkest, suicidal moments. It can be dark and morbid, allowing me to find something funny in just about any subject. One of the best survival tips I can give depressives is to watch something that they find hilarious. My method was binge-watching stand up comedy routines.
Jim Gaffigan, Maria Bamford, Christopher Titus, Lewis Black, Ron White, Tina Fey, Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro, Joe Rogan, Chris Rock, George Carlin, Ralphie May, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Eddie Izzard, and the list goes on and on and on.
For a time, comedy was my singular source of joy. I could revel in a witty observation or a ridiculous premise by people who thought fast while I was thinking slow. Comedy was a life preserver in the truest sense of the term. My ability to laugh is part of why I am still alive today.
Sometimes I think that my dad feels he failed me in some way. Having never been able to fix my mental illness so I could live without the daily struggle. Fixing me is out of the question, but he did equip me with the most powerful weapon in my arsenal against depression and suicidal thinking - a damn good sense of humor.