The Love of Laughter

This afternoon I had a lovely experience. I was invited to a Christmas Lunch organised by Hear-Our-Voice, a Mental Health Action Group in the town where I live. The people who run Hear-Our-Voice are a friendly dedicated bunch who certainly know how to make somebody feel welcome.

Regrettably, I don't attend the group's monthly meetings because I am usually pretty bad in the mornings, but I always read its newsletter from front to back. 

I had a great 'social' afternoon with a group of people who have had a tough time, because of one form of mental illness or another. Many aren't as lucky as I am: they live lonely unloved lives. I can't imagine how they keep going.... 

As I was leaving, after a nourishing three course meal, I offered a lift home to three ladies who were stuck for transport. It was a chilly afternoon so I was pleased to help them out. I did say that the only way we would ever reach our various home destinations was if the ladies concerned were to give me very precise directions. I said this because I am painfully aware that one area of my brain that is still very confused is the part that deals with orientation. To put it bluntly: I am crap at finding my way around. I could get lost in a handkerchief! My frustration is made worse by my husband's exceptional abilities in this area. - I swear he was born with a compass up his backside. Anyway, the ladies said 'no problem - we know the way'. Foolishly, I believed them...

And so off we went, one Manic Depressive (me), one Paranoid Schizophrenic, one Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferer, and one part-time carer - three 'nutters' in a car on the road to nowhere. These ladies were WORSE at finding their way around than I am. Believe me when I tell you this is a feat that is hard to achieve. We drove around in ever-increasing circles, getting more and more confused with each circular completion, and .... WE LAUGHED! We had so much fun being so hopelessly inadequate. 

We laughed with each other, at ourselves, without feeling the need to be any different from the way we were. My car felt like a little safe capsule where stigma and prejudices were absent. We SHARED our inadequacies in the knowledge that we were all travelling the same mental health road, even if we were struggling to find our way home. We got there in the end but what really mattered was the journey more than the destination.

Next time you hear of someone with a severe mental illness such as my travelling companions have to live with, please remember this: there was so much LOVE in my car today that we could have run it without any fuel. 

If only our society could offer us such uplifting public transport with such caring joyous companions....

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