1. Something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
2. Enjoyment or playfulness: She’s full of fun.
I’ve been rolling the idea of “fun” around in my mind for the last few weeks. It started when someone at support group made a comment that “nothing is fun. Nothing is enjoyable”. Immediately, other’s joined in echoing her thoughts—including me. Normally when I say “that sounds fun” or “yeah we had fun this weekend” what I really mean is “that sounds less miserable than the other option” or “it could have made me feel worse”.
But this concept of fun is more complex than first glance (otherwise it’d make for a pretty boring post!). The mental illness of majority of the support group members set in during adulthood. Therefore, they have past experiences to compare the present too. Past experiences of “fun”. I’m not in that situation. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. When I was in 8th grade my family was at a large event for Fourth of July or some other holiday. I was able to spend some time with my friends during it and if asked, I would have said that it was “fun”. However, the next day my mom talked to me and said that I needed to find friends I was comfortable with because I was giving everyone a “fake smile”. I probably was—after all, I was in a large group of people and it was raining—I was probably feeling pretty panicked. But I wasn’t at home in my closet—so I was having fun right?!
Then how do I know what “fun” is? Well, I can think of some experiences where I was able to relax and truly enjoy something. I think I just experience them less often than most, and I can remember going months at a time never feeling like I had “fun”.
But the real twist is that most people consider me “fun”. In the last 24 hours I’ve had three separate people make a comment about me making things more “fun”…and Sidney would tell you he married me partly because I’m “fun”.
So how do I reconcile these two facts? Apparently I can be “fun” without having “fun” myself. But does that mean I am just pretending? Does that make me fake?
The answer to these questions is complex and jumbled in my mind. I think the gut reaction answer is ‘yes, clearly you’re being fake’. But upon closer examination I don’t think so (and not just because I do not want to admit that I’m a fake!). If I have the energy to make jokes, come up with crazy ideas, go along with other people’s crazy ideas—why shouldn’t I? I’d rather be pretending to have fun than admitting I’m miserable. Why make everyone around me suffer just because I am?
So I can make people around me have more fun, but not have fun myself. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that concept. At first, it makes me annoyed!! It seems unfair—why can’t I make things fun for myself?!
But upon further consideration—it gives me hope. Because it’s a sign that Nicole has a personality that is not ruled by her illness. Nicole has characteristics and personality traits that shine through despite her mental illness. It’s one more reminder that there is so much more to me then bipolar, anxiety, OCD, panic, etc…..