Are we having fun yet?

I have spent a good bit more than half of my life dealing with a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Thanks to modern science I have been on a drug called clozapine since 2008 which treats treatment-resistant bipolar illness. Since taking the medicine I have been hospitalization free for almost 13 years.

While that is an accomplishment for me, I would like to raise a subject that often alludes me – having fun. It feels like most of my energy is wrapped up in getting things done, handling things in my life and my family’s life and staying symptom-free or almost.

What is completely missing from my life however is the element of having fun. What is fun anyway? Is it laughing aloud with family or friends? Is it listening to music I knew before I was diagnosed at age 22 that feels like letting go? Is it cooking a meal with my daughter — not so much full of laughs but full of good times?

In general, I feel like my illness has made me a doer. As long as I am doing this or that and fulfilling obligations of wife and mother and daughter I give myself a grade of doing OK. But still, it feels like something is missing – that illusive idea of having fun.

Does anybody have a bucket list for laughter that they’d like to share? I will be working on a new list soon – a list that includes things that don’t just need to get done but also includes whether or not I am enjoying myself. I know it’s hard to fathom having fun when you are depressed or even when you are manic since that’s not the fun I am talking about. I am talking about fun that is centered in a centered self.

Does anybody want to help get the having fun list together? I think we all could benefit from reading it and/or trying to help create it?

Laughter really is the best medicine

A week or so ago, I played Monopoly with my 16 year old daughter. I was the banker and kept forgetting where I was keeping my money versus the bank’s money. My memory issues sometimes are a challenge. Based on this unwitting propensity of mine to “capitalize” on my role as the banker toward my own benefit, my daughter and I were laughing so much we were almost in tears.

I came away from the game feeling like somebody had just rebooted my computer (my emotions) and all the junk files and all the computer viruses (excess anxiety) had magically disappeared.

I don’t think it really matters for the most part what you laugh at particularly if you can laugh at yourself. For me, laughing at myself last week was some of the best medicine I have had in years.

What makes you laugh? I wish each of you a good laugh that does’t stop until you too are almost in tears.