We've all heard the line that the funniest people are the most sad. This holds so much more weight than anyone gives credit to.
Over the past few years I have had a lot to deal with, and having to be a grown up and deal with pain and fear and a range of diagnoses, the only way that I've learnt to cope with all of this is to pretend it doesn't hurt, to pretend that it's funny, everything that I am experiencing gets made into a joke...
It strikes me that people always notice how even when I am very low that I'm smiling and can still make a joke, and It's true. It's true because when I am in the most pain the only way I can get through is to pretend that it doesn't hurt.
There have been times when I don't even know that things are hurting me anymore, I get so used to thinking that everything is a joke that I can be really vulnerable or getting really hurt, believing things are okay and letting people treat me however they want because it's all a joke right? It's just banter?
So many times I have come down from a manic episode and made a joke out of the things that happened. Lol, I have pink hair. Haha, I got ANOTHER tattoo. Guess what! I haven't slept in 3 days. The thing is, these things do sound ridiculous and it could conceivably be amusing except for the fact that I'm not doing these things to get a laugh or even because I'm just making bad decisions, they're happening because I am sick.
When I take a step back from everything I realise how not fine it is. I'm hurting myself and the people around me and I can never get better if I don't accept that I need to take this seriously and deal with it. You see humour is just a bandage, maybe it covers the wound but it won't make it go away. I need to accept that I am hurt and with some [metaphorical] stitches and some time I will start to heal.
It's so normal to use humour as a defence mechanism, this isn't some unique problem. We think that if we make it a joke it isn't real, we deflect our pain and hide our vulnerability. The thing is, I don't know at what point we decided that sad people needed to act happy. Why is it not okay to act sad? People expend so much effort in order to stop other people knowing how we are feeling but all that does is hurts us more.
My therapist once said to me, you spend so much time and effort preventing other people from seeing your vulnerabilities and imperfections because you are afraid you will get hurt, but while you are spending time protecting yourself from hypothetical pain you are underestimating your ability to deal with getting hurt. Yes, by facing up to everything that is going on in my life I am going to get hurt, I am going to have to fight like hell but, I will be fighting. It's okay to be hurting and it's okay to feel like you can't cope, because as much as you feel overwhelmed you can manage, you have the ability to deal with pain, you don't have to hide yourself from the help and the relationships in case of pain because you can handle it.