Learning to turn my weakness into humour.
Learning to laugh at my myself has been one the most endearing qualities that has helped me gain control of situations I’d usually have a panic attack in.
I am, according to my many, a neurological wonder — it’s as though God decided, well let’s just throw all the chemicals in this kid’s brain and see how it goes.
It took me a very long time to come to terms with my mental illness and owning it.
Nobody was more inspiring than Andy Kaufman,
“Take that insecurity and turn it into a performance. Take it to a point that the person laughing at you feels uncomfortable for laughing. Make your insecurity, a super power. It will provoke people to look inwards and realise their own shortcomings.”
Andy Kaufman’s performances resonated with me, his childlike demeanour and innocence, his hissy fits on live television, never breaking character nor letting people in.
Many might have seen the new Jim Carrey documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond”, but very little is known about the true man behind Andy Kaufman.
I stopped trying to decipher as to what exactly was going on behind the scenes and instead make mental notes of what Andy Kaufman was attempting to expose through his “Performance Art”.
Firstly, let me know just acknowledge that He truly is a master of “Performance Art”, in fact I’ll even go as-far as to say he coined the genre by taking it to a level that inspired Joaquin Phoenix’s Mockumentary “I’m Still Here” .
I had to come to terms with the fact that falling asleep, at random places, at random times, was in fact funny. I had to acknowledge that there wasn’t much I could achieve from constantly ranting about my mental illness and playing my “victim” card every time somebody joked about how I nod-off mid conversation.
I decided, instead, I’m going to start “Pretending” it’s deliberate.
That it’s a part of the “act”, I’m doing it to show people how indifferent I am to their opinion and how little I have to gain from engaging in a conversation, so I choose simply “To take a power nap”.
The key, was never breaking character and pulling out the narcolepsy card. In fact I would go at length to deny I suffered from any such illness.
On one occasion when I fell asleep whilst in attendance at a wedding, I joked “…the band helped!”, when asked if I’d just had another narcoleptic attack.
Pushing it a level further by asking what “Narcoleptic” means, observing the confusion and derangement that resulted from a group of people trying to make me understand I suffer from narcolepsy instead of the other way around.
Of course, I kept denying it and kept informing them I had no idea what they were talking about because I was awake the whole time any ways.
I guess, I can call it my sociopathic tendency to fuck with people.
It brought me great pleasure, owning up to my mental illness — rather than always putting myself through the misery of having to explain myself to people I didn’t really care much for and plowing myself into self-hatred.
Once it started bringing me great joy, I started coaching people to do the same.
I’ve attended mental-health discussions since and talked to others about my experience, paying attention to their own.
The revelation I continue to have along my journey is this,
“Nothing annoys the fuck out of people more than indifference.”