First of all, I do not find mental illness funny. As a matter of fact, if I'm crying at work it's because I am working on mental health records from the late 1800's and early 1900's. So much that we can treat now that back then was eithermisunderstood, or not understood at all.
Because if it was either of those things, then the solution - those poor people, that this was a "solution" - was to bung them into the hospital. Hospital for lunatics, the insane or the mental depending on what decade you're talking about. Even the names are sad.
Sometimes one comes across things that read differently today than how they were originally meant to be read. For a while I wondered at all the patients whose "final disposition" was written down as "eloped". At first I was shocked, and then I gave myself a lecture: there should be no reason for patients/inmates in a mental hospital to not be allowed to marry. But then it occurred to me - duh - that it probably meant something else back then. And it did; to elope means "to escape from the authority of". That's why we use it the way we do. Kids running away from their parental authority to get married. We still use it, even when a couple isn't running away from any authority. Just the running away for a quick wedding is an elopement. That column in the registers now makes sense. Lots of people escaping, not lots of people getting married!
Sometimes, if I'm lucky, something strikes me as funny, and I can get a little chuckle in the midst of sadness. For instance....
There is a column in one of the ledgers regarding how a patient died, if they did die in hospital. Lots of what you'd expect, pneumonia and old age being the biggies. Suicide, sadly, makes a fairly regular appearance. What worried me last week was one patient who died of "idiot exhaustion".
This is terrible. I am around idiots all the time. And yes, they're exhausting. I just didn't think it could be fatally exhausting.