How Stand-Up Comedies Helped Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Fear of Public Speaking | Comedy

“NSAngry? I asked a friend. “You are very brave. I couldn’t do that. Isn’t meditation smarter?” Another said. For those who have a long history of depression and anxiety, as well as a morbid fear of speaking in public, taking a stand-up comedy may seem like a masochistic decision. But to me it makes perfect sense. The intolerable fear of failure is at the heart of most people’s aversion to trying to make a room full of strangers laugh. But controlling that fear without giving in to it is the main reason I chose to expose myself in this very public and humiliating way.

I grew up in the comfortable middle-class suburbs of Hertfordshire in the 1970s and 1980s, but my upbringing was a complex emotional uncertainty. Years of treatment have given me an understanding of how I have learned to deal with it over the years. To avoid facing difficult problems between childhood and teenager, I filled my emotions, and that avoidance escalated only in adulthood. By my early twenties, I wasn’t mentally equipped to deal with the daunting challenges of life.

At the age of 22, I suffered from the first of many breakdowns. My parents divorced when I was 15, but my upbringing didn’t provide me with the psychological toolkit needed to navigate the unpredictable rides of life. There have been many recurrences in the 28 years since then, leading to a nearly catastrophic meltdown six years ago. I could hardly work, my parents, or communicate, and I was suicidally depressed and chronically anxious for over a year.

Thanks to the selfless support of my ex-partner, the life-saving efforts of the local NHS mental health team in eastern London, and the mood-stabilizing properties of Lithium, I finally recovered, touched the tree, and was relatively functional. Since then, usually. But the latest episode has expanded the need to face head-on rather than fill in fear.

When I was a kid, I always I used humor to protect myself from emotional discomfort, and as a freelance writer, I tried something similar, using written language instead of spoken language.

I spend the day with drugs in recent years and spend the night Life model.. I always wanted to get up, but I felt that being exposed to public surveillance like this was too risky because of the shaking of the foundation. Until this summer.

Whether it was my couple’s separation, isolated lockdown, or midlife crisis, I finally took the plunge in June and run it by an experienced comic and Levincent in a London comedy group. I enrolled in a stand-up comedy course for beginners Interesting mousse, Its graduates include Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Jack Whitehall, Greg Davis, Romesh Langanasan.

Andre created an intimate and welcoming atmosphere through a combination of gentle trust-building trust practice and several improvised wordplay games.

There was something in the comedy immediacy that allowed me to speak honestly and openly on even the most painful subjects, and I quickly realized that no matter how dark the material, there was always a humorous angle. A student in his 50s wanted his material to focus on the recent fight against testicular cancer. Another man chose to share his experience in London in the 1990s. One woman who attended the course listened to the absurdity of racial and cultural turmoil in Yorkshire, and another turned to the challenge of becoming a young Chinese immigrant in London.

Before the course, I didn’t mean to talk about mental health, but one brainstorming exercise evoked a reaction that inadvertently went that route.

When asked to give as much as we were grateful, my first thought was that a healthy family, Tottenham, ended up on Arsenal-again-and kept me sane during the pandemic. It was a lovely Jack Russell rescue dog. Still, the word at the top of the list of gratitude was half a joke, “lithium.”

Andre subtly teases a little more detail, and before I knew it, I was in a room full of strangers, how to defeat the suicidal ideation that psychiatric mood stabilizers had plagued me five years ago. I was talking about how it helped. Andre, a proponent of the idea that “truth has comedy,” encouraged me to explore this subject more deeply and realized that although the material was dark, it could be comedy.

In the depths of my last depression episode, humor was an alien concept, but unloading in a safe and supportive environment felt catharsis. However, I also realized that sharing this material on stage with forensic details could be a step too far away. The last thing I wanted to do was to trigger someone who had a similar experience to me. So I shifted sideways and went home to the fertile terrain of my parents’ embarrassment.

My own children have been particularly supportive of my cartoon ambitions. No one thinks you are funny. No one will ever pay to see you, “said my 16-year-old daughter with confidence when I informed her.

From this, a comedy story unfolded. I was able to send the shame of my kid’s parents on my escape, as I have the calm to talk to friends at a teenage party using Gen Z terminology. Release yourself to publicly air my most tragic teenage anecdotes. It has plagued me for nearly 40 years.

Spending the weekend in a naked campsite and not seeing middle-aged nudists playing badminton didn’t make me the top of my teenage bucket list, but thankfully for years. Over the years, those memories have become blurred. With the exception of one, it is still disturbingly etched into my brain. When I found a surprisingly familiar person, I was a nasty 13-year-old standing unknowingly at one end of a nude pool. She is a Nude beach in her 50s, trying to dive into the water. She was also my history teacher. As you can imagine, I wanted to die on the spot.

Dying on stage is the greatest horror of all fledgling stand-up comedies, but as Andre, who regularly talks on stage about the psychological consequences of fighting cancer, is unfounded anxiety.

“Every time I teach a group of students, someone will say,’What if I’m on stage and everyone hates me?’ But that doesn’t make sense. Audiences don’t go to see comedies because they hate people. They are there to have a good time, and that’s the idea that people need to shake off. “

As my debut at the Water Rats pub in Kings Cross, London approaches, it becomes clear that my main obstacle to avoiding the five-minute tumbleweed is not my material itself, but my ability to remember it. I did. However, with or without memory, 7:30 pm that Sunday night arrived rapidly and never returned.

The show I saw in a room full of very supportive family and friends began, and after five acts I was in the spotlight, clasped a mic for my beloved life, and people curled my toes and remembered clumsy. I saw him laughing at the story of nudism in the 1970s.

The euphoria may exaggerate it, but I realized that the whole experience wasn’t as scary as I thought, so there was certainly a wave of relief and satisfaction. No one died. Most people laugh and some kind people – probably lying, who cares? – Then I said it was fun.

Two months later, it’s no exaggeration to say that Jack, Jimmy and Romesh aren’t looking over their shoulders nervously, but I’m approaching Gig 4 now. I’m still a million miles because I feel completely comfortable on stage, but it’s also a million miles because it’s a tragic end-of-life experience I’ve come to expect. So for now, I’m still scared on and off the stage and I’m going to do it anyway.

If you are affected by any of these issues, please visit the following URL: McGrath is on the night of a comedy virgin tomorrow (

How Stand-Up Comedies Helped Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Fear of Public Speaking | Comedy

Source link How Stand-Up Comedies Helped Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Fear of Public Speaking | Comedy

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