These are some links I’ve been reading lately, with improv in mind:
- Social anxiety disorder : I’ve never really felt like I have diagnosable social anxiety, per se, but it does a good job explaining how I feel before/after performances. And if it’s treatable, well hey, let’s look into that.
“[Social anxiety disorder] is sometimes referred to as an ‘illness of lost opportunities’ where ‘individuals make major life choices to accommodate their illness.‘”
“[They] experience dread over how they will be presented to others. They may feel overly self-conscious, pay high self-attention after the activity, or have high performance standards for themselves. According to the social psychology theory of self-presentation, a sufferer attempts to create a well-mannered impression towards others but believes he or she is unable to do so. Many times, prior to the potentially anxiety-provoking social situation, sufferers may deliberately review what could go wrong and how to deal with each unexpected case. After the event, they may have the perception that they performed unsatisfactorily. Consequently, they will review anything that may have possibly been abnormal or embarrassing. These thoughts do not simply terminate soon after the encounter, but may extend for weeks or longer.“
- The main solution Wikipedia offers is cognitive behavioral therapy. I started doing improv as an alternative to CBT. Improv is my CBT. Sooooo if anxiety is making me unable to partake in my therapy for anxiety, that’s a snake eating its tail kinda situation. What’s the solution? More improv? Real CBT?
- Mental Illness Happy Hour interview with Marc Maron :
What I realized about me is that I have anxiety–almost paralyzing anxiety and panic…. I would become overwhelmed by these possibilities that were bearing down on me, that were being generated by my mind through panic and fear, that I would become exhausted. And I would enter a paralysis. And that paralysis does not look that different than depression. – Marc Maron on not being bipolar, starting around 17:26
- Can I also take a moment to mention—the fact that this podcast exists, that it started as comedians interviewing comedians about all the ways they’re fucked up—is awesome.
So far, this is all just in the spirit of “huh, that’s interesting. And familiar. I wonder how I can take lessons from these things that have already happened to other people and apply them to my situation.”
My “situation” is that I am not deriving a lot of pleasure from improv at the moment, and I am unsure whether this is a surmountable issue or not.
Am I just generally anxious and depressed, and when that fades, will my enjoyment of improv be rekindled? Or am I done?
Am I consigned to being a mere watcher of improv?
Why do I want this? Is the high worth it? Do I even get a high?
Am I resistant to that kind of a high because— as an only child who is/was a self-centered attention whore (as all only children obviously are), who was self-aware that attention whoring was an undesirable trait, who consequently trained myself long ago to ignore that smug sparkle I feel when someone laughs to let me know I have succeeded in entertaining her– I ignore that joy instead of chasing it?
Comedy is hard. What’s my reward? Is it worth the pain? Is anything?