MS and Laughter: Embracing Cliches

Cathy Health Guide
  • Last night when I began writing this post, my mind was calm and I was feeling happy.  My theme was about the virtues of laughter while living with a chronic illness.  I was going to talk about old clichés and lessons I’ve learned over the years, and how I lean on these when helping others live with their chronic illness.  When one door closes another door opens.  Always walk on the sunny side of the street.  Concentrate on all the good in the world and not on the bad.  Foremost, I love a song that was originally sung by the immortal Nat King Cole entitled “Smile,” music by Charlie Chaplin and lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. It begins:

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    “Smile though your heart is aching.

    Smile, even though it's breaking.
    When there are clouds, in the sky, you'll get by.
    If you smile, through your fear and sorrow
    Smile, and maybe tomorrow
    You'll see the sun come shining through
    If you'll...
    Light up your face with gladness...”


    While I was writing this post some events transpired in our family that were quite difficult and extremely stressful.  Life events were putting my fortitude to the test.  Would these old clichés and life experiences help me manage my stress to avoid an exacerbation?  Is the advice I give to others good enough for me to now follow?


    No one walks in anyone else’s shoes, a saying I’ve used many times when parenting my son.  This last stressful situation made me think, long and hard, about the advice I give to others.  Who was I to tell someone to go ahead and focus on laughter, when their legs are not able to carry them?  What gives me the right to share the joys of my life when someone else is being confined to a scooter or wheelchair?   How can I expect someone who is experiencing optic neuritis to concentrate on the sunny side of the street?  And then it occurred to me I was looking at this all wrong...


    We are all part of a greater community, the MS community.  One where we share in each other’s joys and sorrows.  One that holds us up and keeps us strong with our strengths of character, sense of dignity and abilities to know that we can survive by helping each other.  We know we all have MS in different ways.  It is in those differences that we share stories to help hold each other up and lift our spirits in ways that we would not have without this community.  I hope, through this post and all of the posts on HealthCentral by our wonderful bunch of writers, we learn ways to, as Oprah says, live our best life!


    Now I will feel better while listening to my own advice, and I once again have a full heart wanting to help others manage their MS.  Today I will manage my MS with deep breathing, short walks, watching classic movies (only black and white will do) and some laughter yoga!  Also, a little piece of dark chocolate puts a big smile on my face…hmm.

    (Next time I will publish my original idea on laughter and MS.   I hope to hear from you!)


Published On: September 17, 2011