backyard crowing


improv depressives

The imp community in my area now has a support group for depressed imps, and a guy named B posted a response that resonated with me:

"One thing that struck me is how you wrote about 'Opposite To Emotion Action.' That's a DBT technique where you force yourself to do the opposite of what your brain is telling you to do.

I have a lot of times where I really want to sit at home and do as little as possible. Those are the moments where I have to make myself go out and be social. Your brain is always chewing on something. It will continue to chew on negative/confusing thoughts. If you can give it something else to occupy its time, you'll be doing better.

Social interactions are very immediate and require a lot of focus, and your brain is occupied with that. I've had a fair amount of Friday nights where I don't want to do the [Improv Show Title], but I always do and I always feel better."

I've certainly felt that way (at times) after having done improv, socialized, or gone to church. Not ALWAYS, of course, but enough times that it deserves mention.


A few of us got to talking about improv and introversion, and improv as it relates to mental health, for that matter. So I googled "depression and improv," and found an interesting article that again, came out of our community.

Here are some highlights:

“…improv forces you to be present and in the moment. When you are in a scene, you have to react. You don’t have the time to doubt yourself. There’s no room to be an introvert, sitting back analyzing the scene. Cutting everything else away, you are left with owning the emotions you bring to a character. You are left with honesty.”

This reminds me very much of my Enneagram type, type 4. We 4s tend to be very focused on living a life that is authentically ours. That's the honesty referenced in that last quote.

"Ryan says that after starting improv there was a distinct shift in his relationship with fear. To that point when dealing with stressful situations Ryan would either battle through the fear, or bail. Improv opened the door to building awareness around these feelings and then letting them go. Confronting the concerns of being on stage, through the lens of objectivity dispels them. In essence there is nothing useful about a fear of going on stage. Coupling this with studying Buddhism has shown that the majority of fears are not useful.

Build awareness around feelings of fear, and then let them go. Fear is not useful, and it's boring. Everyone has it. Fear is not unique; and 4s want to be unique above all else. So fear is the opposite of what 4s want; it's common and pointless. It's going along with the crowd, and for bad reason.

"When I began taking improv classes, it was the one place I was given full permission to act silly. To some extent it still is. Improv is a creativity pressure valve in what felt like the machinery of my life. My relationship with improv then matured into a means of facing my fears of public speaking, being on stage, acting stupid, failing in public, talking to strangers, looking dumb, talking to women, not knowing what to say, and so on."

Failing in public: that's a big one for me. I am just starting to learn how much I fear embarrassment and rejection. I never realized how much these fears conrol/controlled me. It's not hip to care what others think of you, so no one (except Blurrryface) admits to it.

But we all care, all of us!

I'm not sure which came first: me lying to myself about not caring what others think, or me lying to others about not caring what they think.


Oh, and one last quote:

"Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way."

- Dr. Suess

11:13 pm - Sunday, Mar. 27, 2016


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