Laughing – a complicated pleasure
A few days ago, I really let myself go and laughed as much as could. I haven’t laughed like that for years, partly due to fear of loosing control of my body and partly because the electrical currents that roam around my brain hurt. It’s difficult to explain because it doesn’t feel like pain, perhaps more like a medium pained cramp and then it makes you absolutely exhausted. I am taking medication that is supposed to control cataplexy but it doesn’t so do it so well so I simply avoid genuine laughing, frustration, anger, centre of attention /surprise situations. In social situations, I don’t even think about it anymore – sometimes I just walk away, sit down or my speech gets slurred. People don’t tend to notice. My body reacts so violently internally on external stimuli and it’s hardly visible on the outside. Occasionally, it makes me feel strange – to carry around this burden (hidden disability) because so much in our contemporary culture exists on the surface.
Except from one or two, a majority of my friends have no idea how funny I can be. I would die of laughter 😉 if I didn’t practise self-restraint! I don’t have to vocalise my sense of humour to trigger an attack. It’s enough just thinking about it. Yes, I have had to learn to control my thoughts – how? I can hear you ask. Stop your mind racing – don’t think of anything. Or if something is triggering cataplexy think of the direct opposite. Not just think the thought – you have to feel and live the opposite thought so your brain registers it as reality. It helps me sometimes when I am in public places and I can feel my muscles start to weaken.
Anyway, so two days ago I had a friend over and I laughed hard for at least 30 minutes. I had to sit/lay in my bed because otherwise I wouldn’t have been safe. Laughing, having attack after attack after attack, then back to talking, laughing, more laughing and then attack attack laughing attack…. I got completely exhausted and my brain was hurting but it was worth it. I was elated and deliriously happy in a way I haven’t experienced for years.