Humor is a powerful tool. It’s good medicine for the soul. Laughter is even good for those struggling with depression. It is no cure, but it can help. I know it’s hard to laugh when your soul is filled with darkness. You may even sit in front of a funny movie and can’t laugh. You’re probably wondering how humor can help with your depression if you can’t even force yourself to smile, let alone laugh.
Humor is a better way to look at your mistakes instead of dwelling on them and beating yourself up for them. It’s a way to let yourself off the hook. When you’re depressed, your human errors become a confirmation of your worthlessness. You obsess over them, you tear yourself up over them, and you internally punish yourself for them. How about instead of beating up on yourself you look at your mistakes in a humorous way?
I did that just recently. I ordered, The 4-Ingredient Diabetes Cookbook by Nancy S. Hughes. It arrived Friday in the mail. I was excited to test out the recipes. I searched through the book for a recipe I had ingredients for and found Extra-Easy Meatballs.
Perfect, I thought. It’s extra easy. I couldn’t possibly mess this recipe up. It’ll make a nice supper for Lou and me.
I gathered the ingredients. It called for cooking oats. I looked through my cupboard. I pulled out a canister that read steel-cut oats.
Hmmm, are steel cut oats the same as cooking oats? You cook them for breakfast. They will have to work.
Dang, I’m out of eggs and it calls for 3 egg whites.
I was ready to give up, but reluctantly my husband offered to go get me some eggs. When he returned I began to mix the ingredients. The recipe called for three egg whites. I had no idea how I would separate the yok from the whites. They all come out of the shell at once. Do I put it on a plate and separate them with a fork? Do I put them in a strainer? I shrugged my shoulders and just put the whole eggs in. I put in the oats, hamburger and a half a cup of spaghetti sauce just like the recipe said.
I mixed everything together with my hands. It seeped through my fingers. I looked at it. I was pretty sure it shouldn’t be so squishy. Maybe this recipe wasn’t simple enough for me. I held up the mixture and it oozed from my hand like slime. How would I make meatballs from this? My husband has lived through my cooking for thirteen years; will this be the one time I kill him with slimy meatballs?
I proceeded to roll the meat into small balls and place them in a pan. Lou is in for it tonight. He’ll have the most interesting meatballs he has ever eaten in his life. Sloppy meatballs for dinner; eat them if you dare. I could just see the headlines on the morning news: WOMAN KILLS HER HUSBAND WITH SLOPPY GOOEY MEATBALLS.
I wanted to turn to my husband and yell, “Run, while you can. Dinner tonight might be deadly.”
Instead I attempted to flip the meatballs and they all fell to pieces. It looked like I was cooking my husband a lovely dog food meal instead of nice rounded meatballs. I added in the rest of the spaghetti sauce. It looked more edible, but how could I serve this to my husband? Maybe as sloppy joes or just meat and sauce?
Then what little sparks I had left in my brain lit up. I could turn my meatballs into spaghetti. I gathered up some noodles and began to cook them on the stove. I place my meatball mess off to the side. Once the noodles were done I added the meat mixture to the noodles and mixed it together. I placed some on plates and called my husband to the table.
Here comes the moment of truth. My meatballs became Dead Meatball Spaghetti. Would my husband die from my cooking or would he just get sick? Did I by some mistake create a new dish that my husband will love? Would my husband run for the bathroom after one mouth full?
My husband placed his fork into the food and I watched as he placed it into his mouth. I had my cell phone nearby just in case I needed to call 911 after he keeled over from my creation. Maybe I should have taken CPR classes for moments like this. That way if my husband falls over, I could at least get credit for trying to revive him. This isn’t exactly the way I wanted to get his life insurance and 401 K plan money.
Lou smiled. “Delicious. What is it?”
I smiled, relieved. “Well, it’s kind of a dish I created by accident. It’s Dead Meatball Spaghetti.”
After I explained my cooking disaster to Lou, we laughed together. I could have apologized to Lou for messing up dinner. I could have berated myself up for my mistake and I could have obsessed over my mistake, but instead I got a good laugh and I created a meal my husband loved.
Instead of being critical of yourself for simple mistakes you make, look for the humor in it. Let a little bit of laughter release the self-torture of human error. Tearing yourself a-part for your mistakes only makes your depression worse. You need to give yourself a break. You are human and humans make mistakes. Don’t worry about your errors. Don’t tear yourself down, but instead just laugh about it.
Laughing about my mistakes helps me stand in the light of recovery.