It would be too easy to start my blog series off on a negative note. There are many disadvantages to a variety of mental health categories. I could go on and on comiserating with everyone about depression and anxiety, but I wanted to choose a different route.
One of the advantages of having brain wired differently is all of the life experience and wisdom that comes with it. Most of us can agree that we feel like we’ve lived a thousand lives in what could really be considered a blip of existence. And all of that wisdom and experience brews a special brand of humor.
Example: Tonight, my husband, (C.S.) and I were driving home from a visit at his parents house. Our son (T.D.), had since finished a horrific temper tantrum having to do with chicken nuggets. My emotional circuitry was completely burnt out from fluctuating between enraged, anxious, and empathetic.
We were at a traffic light sitting next to a car packed full of teenage girls and only one of them singing her face off to songs on the radio. Yes, with the windows down for all the world to witness. Clearly, she was itching to be on Idol.
C.S. is not shy by any stretch of imagination. In fact, if you ask him about it, he’ll say, in his best ghetto girl voice, “She don’t know us. We bastards!” (Us referring to him and I. He’s right.) So he loudly announces, “I love when people next to me in traffic sing loudly with their radio!”, as sarcastically as possible. This did not deter this girl.
But as we were pulling away, I felt compelled to laugh loudly and forcibly as I pointed.
Sorry, my humor is dark and biting.
I can only figure that this was cultivated as a defense mechanism for dealing with the more unpleasant effects of my brain misfiring. Oh well, being wired differently means that this house comes with a unique set of rather peculiar and quirky things. Sometimes, you just have to look at your bad situation and find something hilarious about it. Usually, that produces some dark, goofy, impulsive, sometimes reckless humor.
I laugh at inappropriate things and make inappropriate comments. I’m always blunt, sometimes crass, and often vulgar. I blurt things out. Sometimes, I say something that doesn’t make sense. And I’m great at taking a bad situation and filling it with all kinds of nonsensical things that could have happened. But I am the best at humorous rants.
I can thank bipolar and anxiety for that. There is a lot of power in laughter and I’m glad that I have the ability to harness that.
In what ways do you cope? Can you say that being affected has shaped your humor? I’d love to hear about your humorous scenarios!
© Tallulah “Lulu” Stark and A Canvas Of The Minds 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tallulah “Lulu” Stark and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
I use humor and sarcasm to cover everything. Is that always best? Not in some situations. But it has helps me see the humorous side to almost anything and has made me quite the class clown.
I’m glad you’ve found a good way to cope. Coping is a hard thing to learn how to do. I’ve found that finding and consistantly utilizing healthy coping mechanisms is very hard for me to do. This is especially so when a support network is small or non-existent. I am very tempted to go for quick fixes that are very unhealthy and / or dangerous habits.
I’m glad that I found everyone here. I can honestly say that it has made a remarkable difference in the way I look at and handle bipolar disorder. It’s a support network that offers real life experience combined with empathy and feasible suggestions. This place, with the projects and all of the writing, has become a coping mechanism for me. This is one that I can say actually works and inhibits the urge to do something impulsive or irrational.
I have chameleon coping mechanisms, they change and blend and adapt to fit the issue at hand. Are they always healthy? No. Am I getting drunk or high or having indiscriminate sex to hide and mask the reactions? Also no. After all of the years I have dealt, I have learned what is appropriate and acceptable for me. I think that’s the key, finding your individual, personal strategies.
Well, you bring up an interesting point about unhealthy coping mechanisms. We all have them. And I do realize that some of the humor is there to mask the pain beneath. Truly, that can be considered a little less than beneficial when it is designed to attract attention away from the heart of the issue.
I will admit, I have a plethora of what can usually be considered self-destructive habits. I go on occasional benders. I’ve been a smoker for nearly 15 years now. Sometimes, I emotionally eat. And if it’s bad enough, I’ll drop off the grid completely to be “alone” when all I’m really doing is isolating myself. (Don’t try those at home.)
Really, I could go on forever. But I wanted to focus mostly on generating conversation that may spawn some ideas to share about what gets us through the worst of it.
Honestly, when I’m at the bottom, just before I reach incoherent, the only thing that works is mantras. “It won’t hurt forever.” “Hang on, just one more day, minute, second…” “I won’t ALWAYS feel this way.” It works when nothing else does, because they are all truths that don’t promise anything.
I have to apologize, Lulu. I’ve been having a day of it. Fortunately a friend was kind enough to help re-frame my perspective. I didn’t intend to take a positive post and turn it all negative. 😉
No certainly, when we look at the positives, we would have to recognize their negative couterparts. By using ABA psychology, you can pair a negative coping mechanism with an incompatible behavior. For instance, I write because it’s healthy for my mind. This also serves as an incompatible behavior of the original bad habit of smoking. So the bad can lead right back to the good. The yin and the yang, the balance of the universe.
No worries! You did well!
I have definitely coped with sarcasm, and humor has come into play as well. For me it’s usually one of those I just got the kids fed, cleaned up, and dressed, we’re trying to get somewhere in a sort of timely manner (actually being on time is not something I shoot hard for with kids in my care, unless I’m taking them to the doctor), and something gets spilled and then someone loses a must have toy and someone else picks up my car keys and stuffs them in the toy box scenarios (why not, it’s where we try to get them to put everything away).
You either have to laugh or cry about it, and I gave up on crying about it long ago!
I make screwed up journal comics about my screwed up life, played for laughs much of the time: http://www.webcomicsnation.com/jennydevildoll/lalaland/series.php?view=archive&chapter=48656
Otherwise I have some pretty self destructive coping mechanisms, which also get played for laughs.
I’ll definitely be taking a look!
A sense of humor is definitely required. Although there is not always agreement on what is actually “funny”. Finding people who can laugh with you and that ability to laugh at yourself I believe are keys to surviving the rigors and challenges of life 🙂
I agree. We have to put a little humor in it. It makes it a little easier when the tougher times come around.