Using Humour To Defuse Difficult SituationsBy Patricia Lefave, Labelled D.D.(P)..har har Original post at Monophrenic Monologuefrom November 24th 2010Admitted Monophrenic
There is a great deal of untapped power to be had in the use of humour. That may seem a strange idea to many as the topic we are discussing here is anything BUT
funny most of the time. However using humour to take back some personal control can be very empowering at the same time as it de-fuses tense or potentially violent situations. It also forces others to take a much closer look at themselves since it is a non threatening emotion being engaged. Let's face it; people are often afraid of the psychiatrized because they have been taught that they should be and there is a strong tendency to believe anything, virtually anyone in a role of ''authority'' claims to be reality.
Most of us who have experienced the system know the system is fear
based. The two most consistent emotions in all concerned, whether psychiatrized, psychiatrists or the public being directed in their perceptions of either are: anger and fear. There is also a consistent sprinkling ( or sometimes a cloudburst) of ridicule, mocking and contempt of course but the base line it seems to me are the two old favourites; fear and anger. So these are the emotions we do NOT
want to trigger yet we DO
need to connect to the 'others' on an emotional level. This can be very challenging since at the first sign of emotion in the psychiatrized those monitoring for ''changes'' will begin to panic and see ''disease' returning in ways in which they would never see it in anyone who is NOT
psychiatrized. It is a double standard and that's reality.
So how do we then connect emotionally with some sense of safety knowing what we know?
Well, to me humour, shame and embarrassment are the emotions we
need to trigger in our righteous judges. It can't be too big a dose of shame and embarrassment with these defensive others as that will in turn trigger more righteous anger. So I believe one of the best emotional reactions to trigger is going to be laughter
and that is going to have to be born out of silliness and absurdity and by pointing these common ideas out in non threatening ways, most of the time.
Someone asked me recently how comedy ever did anything to change things for the better or who could I ever claim had done that. My answer was "black comedians." Decades ago black comedians made obvious points about racism more visible
by doing just this very thing. I could also have said "feminist comedians." Triggering laughter about the absurdities of racism (or sexism or age-ism or mentalism) makes it easier to handle and easier for those who are doing
it, without really noticing it in themselves, to admit
it is there.
I believe that those of us who are discriminated against by doctors, and society at large, are going to have to engage in many of the same tactics if we are going to be heard and finally
understood. It is not going to be exactly the same as with other groups though so we can't kid ourselves about that. Other groups being discriminated against are also mocked and ridiculed for their complaints about how they are treated but they don't usually get told they are 'crazy' if they 'think
' they are being mocked and ridiculed by strangers. So those of us who are experiencing the mentalism prejudices, are having to deal with this extra aspect of this which others dealing with racism or sexism do not always have to endure in quite the same way.
Do you know why then that I recommend more laughter as a way of making emotional connection?
It is because this style of comedy points out absurdity in non threatening ways but it STILL
points it out; and when people laugh, ideas and feelings (Intellect and emotions) get connected
. Psychiatrists and many others are able to do what they do and feel just fine with it because they remain emotionally distanced
and we need to change their
capacity for being able to do that; especially while feeling comfortable about it. That means we need to get up close and personal but in NON
threatening ways as much as possible.
Let me give you an idea of some of my local humour out of my real life and mind so that some of you can see how to turn that ''sow's ear" we have been handed into a comedic silk purse.
I was thinking this morning about my grocery list. (How odd! I am now doing the invalidating of everything I think, say, feel and do FOR
my assessors so they don't have to waste so much time and energy on it. )
Anyway, on my list I have written "Time." As I thought about the propensity of psychiatry for the 'interpretation' of everything, I began to laugh to myself and then of course I began to find that pretty funny too. Those of my readers who have been psychiatrized themselves usually know why, though psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses rarely get the humour. I thought, it is likely that my neighbours won't know WHY
I am laughing so it is most likely to be perceived as a 'sign.'
Once, a few years ago, when I was standing in the vestibule of my bank and wondering absent mindedly, half out loud what a code I had never seen before meant on my bank statement, one of the bank employees standing a few feet away intoned with alarm to her co-worker, ''Oh, Bessie, did you hear that? I think she's going again..." ('Going' is the lay public's version of floating off into alien space and apparently ''our'' natural hearing and vision goes floating off with
But let's keep me from floating off on one of my ''tangents'' here and get back to today's grocery store list.
I thought this morning of the way psychiatry would go into their interpretative search for meaning in that item on my list when needing to 'fit' me into it's belief system, and I indulged myself by imagining the conversation between them.
ED: ''Did you see that Brian?''
Brian: "No Ed...what was it?
"Ed: "She needs to ''buy some Time for herself?" Isn't that fascinating?
Brian: "Wow Ed..it really is. Let's get together with the two Dr. Dick's and see what these space and time experts think of that. Then the one "Dick" can keep the retired men out at the mall food court informed of all the latest fascinating twists in this case too.
So Ed, you being the bigger expert between the two of us, what do you think she ''needs to buy some Time'' for?
Ed: ''Fear of death? Time to shop for a sniper rifle? Time to get over her paranoid delusions? Time to order her obviously ''disordered thoughts?'' (Some of these nuts are quite insightful you know) But really Brian I can't say for sure despite the fact that I have rolled my eyes back into my head for several minutes to search my well entrenched psychiatric programming. I say let's get another committee going and together we may invest a few months, or years, (or even decades) trying to decipher the coded message in that.''
Brian: ''Great! We could even bring in a bunch of psych students into the think tanks with us to demonstrate our deductive skills and use this woman as our teaching aid."
Ed: 'Sure after all we got lawyers to make a law saying this is all right to do
this as long as her real name does not appear anywhere on the paper. I have always said Brian, you sure are a great team player. ''
So off went the experts to get the team together for another ''crazy code'' deciphering session.
OK... well... end of sarcastic fantasy.
Now let me point out some of psychiatry's beliefs here first to help the uninitiated get the "'joke.'' Psychiatrists claim to believe that what the psychiatrized say, especially when in the altered state of psychosis, does not actually MEAN
anything. (Are you starting to chuckle just a little?) However they ALSO
spend most of their time looking for ''hidden'' meaning in the perfectly obvious as they are ALSO
taught not to take anything the identified patient says ''at face value.'' They are also taught what the ''hidden meaning'' (which isn't there of course) actually is but they do not discuss it with the patient since ''you can't talk to a disease process'' anyway. Now this means then; that the psychiatrist can't accept anything at face value and that s/he also can't look for any hidden meaning as there is none there to find
. Quite the intellectual quagmire isn't it? Yet they don't seem to notice. Do you know who DOES
notice though? It's ''us''; the nuts who are often ''laughing for no reason.''
So they avoid any direct
communication with the identified patient and form committees which spend enormous amounts of time looking
for something they don't ever really expect to find anyway. They do seem to enjoy the get- togethers created for the hunt for the elusive diseases and of course it gives them time to invent, as it gives them an opportunity to practice their skills at sounding brainy without ever actually saying anything specific about what they are looking for.
It also creates another opportunity for inventing lots more new ''diseases.'' It gets more hilarious still if you have ever had one of these psychiatrists who spends all day (or decades) looking for hidden meaning in your straightforward statements which he cannot accept, instruct you in how to know if you might be going mad again: "If you find yourself looking for 'hidden meaning', it's a sign that you need an anti psychotic."
That one can be quite the knee-slapper to us lunatics. It certainly was to me personally but fortunately for ME
I was managing to keep a straight face by then. While in the wacko unit listening to all of this, years ago I was unable, on several occasions, to contain myself in the presence all of this psychiatric hilarity."
When one of the nurses intoned wisely to her co-worker, just a few feet away, "They laugh for no reason," I had to run and hide in a bathroom in a futile attempt to contain my laughter. I still kept on thinking this MUST
be a joke for who could be saying all of these things without being able to hear THEMSELVES
?! I learned afterward though that they really don't understand how truly funny they are. So we must SHOW
Here is one puzzle they won't be able to solve psychiatrically and with meaning they won't be able to find in any old Freudian text chocked full of hidden meaning.
The ''Time'' I need to buy is a Dollar store, all purpose cleaner, that works very well on shower walls.
They would never get it, as they would have to take something at face value and worse than that, they would also have to actually talk directly to me
and perhaps even ask, as if we were equals, having a two way conversation, what it meant TO ME.
That would mean admitting that I understood my own life BETTER
than these experts. We can't have that! How would that look
You have to admit that if you look at it a certain way
, insanity is sometimes very funny. It is just that we loons are never able to be as truly comical as our doctors who remain determined to cure us all of our senseless laughter by getting us to think more like them
. So I propose we put some real effort into doing exactly that. Let's get as comical as they are. That way they will be able to relate to us better and learn how to understand the greatest of the psychiatric jokes.
I for one intend to get right on this. Now that I've got all "the Time" I need.
Just kidding...so hold the chemicals.