FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: [22/09/2020]
What helped me, will get you through this pandemic too.
Laughter is vital to all of us. From a young age, laughter has got me through my tough times. Heartbreak, horrible situations and disappointments, the whole spectrum of bad life stuff that routinely affects us all. We all have our own unique ways of dealing with issues and stress, my personal way of dealing with any negative situations or emotions has always been laughter.
A sense of humour had seen me right in life, no matter what I had faced. I prided myself on being a bit of a tough cookie in fact. I felt almost invincible with laughter as my secret weapon enabling me to get through anything!
This worked very well for me, until one day it didn’t. The day I lost my best friend to suicide.
I met him when I was going through one of the roughest times in my life and he had just journeyed through one of the worst times in his so ‘we got each other’ if you know what I mean. We hit it off in seconds of meeting and were joined at the hip for years after. We laughed at the same things, thought the same way and both had a naughty irreverent sense of humour. To be honest, together we were a nightmare to those around us with non-stop giggles! Always choosing to see the funny side of everything no matter how dark or grim the situation. We found it hard to take anything seriously when together.
Like my brother from another mother as they say. We seemed to share thoughts without a word needing to be spoken and would laugh like kids, constantly setting each other off. After spending time with him, my ribs would hurt. I’ve rarely been that close to another human being before or since.
Skip forward to just over 5 years later and I got a call from a friend on Christmas Eve, to tell me that my bestie had taken his own life by hanging himself at the age of 34. I was in total shock, which was to last a very long time.
During the intervening five years, my bestie had confessed to having had a nervous breakdown before we met and said he was being treated for depression. He later started suffering from frightening hallucinations and it wasn’t long before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis. Or so I thought…
The drugs didn’t work for him and he disliked their side effects so he would often refuse to take them. Long story short, I watched my friend go downhill and go from one mental health crisis to another over his last year and become hospitalised. He would fall apart then get better – rinse and repeat the cycle.
Then out of nowhere, he seemed to stabilise! He started taking his meds, looking after himself again and seemed happier than he had in a while. As quickly as this had happened, he was gone. No note left – nothing. I was completely disorientated and heartbroken.
There was no funny side to see this time, laughter had finally let me down. For years after his suicide, I was numb, I literally felt nothing mostly. I barely smiled or had a real emotion. Every night I would go to bed and feel intense grief for a few minutes before falling asleep exhausted and every morning wake up and have to check myself to make sure that the whole thing wasn’t actually a horrible mistake or nightmare.
I would put my public face on and buried myself in my kids, my work but little else. Looking back, I think I spent quite a few years in shock and grieving. I didn’t even laugh or cry anymore. I tortured myself with “What if’s and Why’s? My sense of loss seemed endless and unsolvable. I had stopped living and merely existed. I didn’t think this feeling was ever going to end. Then thanks to laughter, in an instant – it did!
I knew all my besties friends and family – except an Uncle (I’m not even sure if he was a real Uncle or a family friend he grew up with and was made to call Uncle) that he was close to and would visit regularly but he had for some reason, never introduced me to him which had always struck me as odd. I did however eventually meet him years later and it was my salvation.
It happened quite by chance. A friend of mine literally came to my home one late afternoon and all but kidnapped me forcing me to go out and celebrate her partners birthday. We went to a pub I used to go to with my bestie. I felt awkward and pinned for the fun times I had spent there with my bestie. I felt awkward not having been out socially in years. I found myself just wishing I was home.
An older gentleman spotted me from across the bar and stared hard at me, then made a beeline for me at speed. He looked a bit tipsy and I tried to move out of his trajectory and hide in between some tall partying friends so he couldn’t corner me. Fearing he may deliver some cheesy chat-up line or that there would be some sort of drunken scene from this tipsy stranger that I would rather avoid.
He came right over so quickly turned my back on him. However, he started tapping me on the shoulder, which I ignored until he said: “Pleased to finally meet you, I’m your best friends Uncle”. Seems he had recognised me from the photographs my bestie had shown him. We chatted and to my relief, he was one of the smartest, funniest men I had ever met. He was disarming and easy to talk to. I could see why my bestie would go and visit him often. He had the same sense of humour as my bestie too. I actually laughed for the first time in a long time.
His Uncle explained to me that my bestie had tried to commit suicide a few times before I had met him and he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia a good few years before he let on to anyone (Including me). He had talked to his Uncle about his illness and openly admitted that if it got unbearable, if he wasn’t having fun anymore, he was going to opt-out permanently and he felt that time was coming soon. His Uncle had known that he meant it and there was no way of talking him out of it but he tried. My bestie could be a very stubborn man.
His Uncle had next seen him about six weeks later, beaming from ear to ear. He told his Uncle all about meeting me, my kids, pets, friends etc and said he was having a blast. His Uncle ribbed him about saying he was going to end it all and my friend had replied: “Not just yet, all the time I’m laughing, I’m staying put”.
Five years passed happily when he had gone to see his uncle again and had confessed to him that he felt he was ‘losing it’ and hanging on by a thread now and couldn’t take much more. He had refused to allow his Uncle to talk to his doctors or tell anyone else.
He confided that the frightening hallucinations were getting worse and he was going to ‘check out’. I felt a tear run down my cheek as he told me this but my besties Uncle wasn’t having it!
He put his arm around me (made some terrible joke which made me splutter) and told me I was viewing everything the wrong way and not to be sad. As far as he was concerned, finding new friendships, fun and laughter in life had given my best friend 5 extra, happy years on the planet and for that, we should be grateful.
He continued that being able to laugh was what he loved to do most even as a child and made his life worth living. Finding people he could do that with kept him here just a little longer… I knew he was right and the darkness I had felt since my friend’s death instantly lifted.
Laughter had not let me down but given me and my bestie 5 wonderful years of fun, laughter and friendship. My best friend always lived life on his own terms and he couldn’t be stopped once he made up his mind to do anything as a rule. Laughter had in fact saved his life for the longest time!
Laughter releases feel-good hormones, is a distraction from problems, builds immunity and can change our perspective from negative to positive. So with this in mind, years later, I had the idea of starting Word Craft Design Gifts. Because, if you ask me, virtually all of us could use a little more laughter in our lives.
So during lockdown number 1, I developed a naughty, rude and funny line of gifts to spread a bit of joy around and launched my business! The pandemic had made me realise that it was time I did something that would make me laugh a whole lot more. I know my bestie would approve. No one can convince me now that laughter isn’t vital in this world. So, running a business with the purpose of making people laugh is what drives me every day.
So, make time for laughter during this pandemic and second lockdown. Instead of cleaning the house till it’s like a sterile operating room, look after your mental health! Making sure that, when times are tough, you watch a funny movie or TV show. Try to see the lighter side and find the humour in everything. Spend time with people in person or over the phone that you love, and do activities that make you happy. Then laughter will be your secret weapon and get you through this unavoidably difficult, extraordinary and unprecedented time too.
COMPANY BIO: Word Craft Design Gifts
Word Craft Design Gifts started the design and production of satirical irreverent gifts during the pandemic in August 2020, with the sole intention of producing gifts that make people laugh, smile and giggle. The founder is a former web designer with 15 years of experience. The business is based in Kent.
Notes to editors:
Founder/Owner: Deana D’Monte based in Kent.
Deana D’Monte: I’m an online retailer, designer and producer of satirical, unique, rude and funny gifts.
My customers have dubbed me “An Irreverent Word Artist”.
Word Craft Design Gifts was founded: August 2020 during lockdown.
Missions Statement: To produce funny, rude, risqué gifts to make people smile.
High-resolution images: available on request.
For further information contact here