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Old 12-11-2007, 07:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

For a long time now, I have had a strong urge to smile (smirk?) during difficult conversations, and of course the more I think about it the stronger the urge is. I'm a therapist, so having this reaction while talking to someone who, say, is regretting her abortion, is completely unacceptable. Which makes it even harder to control. I feel like even if I control my mouth, my eyes are still smiling/smirking, kwim? After a while, I'm not even focusing on my client anymore, I'm just focused on controlling my face so I can appear professional. I must be doing ok, because I haven't lost any clients, etc., but I live in constant fear that I won't be able to control it. I also have the same problem with my husband, and I can't control it. He thought I was cheating on him for a long time because of my smirkiness.

Anyone else experience this or something like it, and any advice?? I'm desperate.
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

If it's any consolation, I used to experience the same phenomenon during the worst of my SAD/depression days, but it gradually subsided. I still have the tendency to laugh at inappropriate times. Both manifestations seemed to be linked to how uncomfortable I was with whom I was with at the time.

Hang in there and realize that you're probably more aware of the problem than is your client.
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

This happens to me also when i am at my most anxious states. It is really more of a nervous twitch...usually my upper lip starts to sneer up, kind of like the elvis thing, so then I try to smile to tighten my lips so it won't be as noticable. But as you said, there are plenty of moments where it isn't normal or even appropriate to grin. That's when I start to nibble at my lips, but that isn't very attractive or physically comfortable.
I agree with FillyPhile, that it probably much more noticable to yourself than those around you.
I know in your profession that you have to speak a lot, but maybe if you had a small peice of hard candy or a mint you could put under your tongue, you could concentrate on that sensation and it would take away from the smikiness. Or maybe a bottle of water to sip on to try and relax your mouth.
Best of luck.
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

I do this. I have a hard time listening to the words people say as I'm mostly concentrated on trying to appear normal.
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

this is a huge problem for me, but i think i'm getting better. it's worse with people i don't know well. for a while my doctor had said he wasn't sure to believe me when i said i was depressed because i would always have a half-smirk on my face.

i think i'm becoming more aware of it. or i'm trying to at least. i find it so embarrassing and i hate how i look when i smile. i always look like i don't take anything seriously and i feel immature by always smirking.

i always tend to do it in the worst conversations. and it's not because i think about it first, it's just my natural reaction when feeling uncomfortable.. but then i get aware of it, and that makes it even harder to control. i've tried biting my tongue hard when i feel a smile coming on... it kind of works.

if you find a way to control it or help it i'd like to hear it, i hate doing this all the time, it just gets so embarrassing.
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Old 12-12-2007, 06:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

I notice this sometimes when discussing sad or tragic events with other people. I will sometimes notice either myself or them start to subtly smirk and I will think how odd and inappropriate it seems. You have an obligation to look stern and serious discussing such things.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

Yes! I have a client who does this also, and I can just picture us both breaking out into completely inappropriate laughter. That would probably be an improvement over the current situation...the mental picture of us smirking at each other...jeez.

It helps immensely to know others have this as a symptom.
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

Yeah. Sometimes when talking about particularly stressful or serious things or being in I'll laugh or be smiling uncontrollably. I think, like Kevco said, there's that obligation to be grave and I feel obligated to do the opposite. I also think it can be a defense mechanism for coping with bad/stressful stuff.
I remember when I was a kid and my mom had a medical emergency.. ambulance to the home and everything and I couldn't stop laughing. My family couldn't understand, my mom thought I wanted her dead or something which was completly not the case. Its not consciously explainable. I also think its tied in with Schadenfreude.. which I feel from time to time.
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

I smirk a lot and feel like laughing a lot too. I think its all my nerves.

I'm just like a big ball of nervous energy.
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Old 12-13-2007, 01:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerberus
I have a tendency to laugh at inappropriate times. just the other day someone told they didn't have a life, and I started laughing really hard.
I laughed when I read that. Is that bad?
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Old 12-13-2007, 02:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

Quote:
Originally Posted by daaaaave
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerberus
I have a tendency to laugh at inappropriate times. just the other day someone told they didn't have a life, and I started laughing really hard.
I laughed when I read that. Is that bad?
I did too - but only because it was funny and I really get it. I love Stephen Colbert, by the way!

i, you made me remember my nervous laughter when my mom would chase me around the house, trying to catch me to give me a spanking. Or when my parents would fight - I would laugh uncontrollably (while really wanting to cry). Same kind of feeling.

I have talked to my friends about the discomfort of having inner experience differ from what others see (laughing while falling apart inside, for example). I have a feeling a lot of you will know what I'm talking about, unfortunately for all of us.

Oh, and P.S. Just "confessing" this to people who understand seems to have made a bit of a difference already.
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Old 12-13-2007, 03:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood
i, you made me remember my nervous laughter when my mom would chase me around the house, trying to catch me to give me a spanking. Or when my parents would fight - I would laugh uncontrollably (while really wanting to cry). Same kind of feeling.

I have talked to my friends about the discomfort of having inner experience differ from what others see (laughing while falling apart inside, for example). I have a feeling a lot of you will know what I'm talking about, unfortunately for all of us.

Oh, and P.S. Just "confessing" this to people who understand seems to have made a bit of a difference already.
whenever i have a serious discussion with my parents i can't stop myself from laughing hard, at nothing. with my mum i look away and cover my face, but with my dad i sometimes just let it all out because he wouldn't care. it's pretty ridiculous though. i feel kind of bad because whenever i'm arguing with my mum i'll be laughing uncontrollably at the same time.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood
For a long time now, I have had a strong urge to smile (smirk?) during difficult conversations, and of course the more I think about it the stronger the urge is. I'm a therapist, so having this reaction while talking to someone who, say, is regretting her abortion, is completely unacceptable. Which makes it even harder to control. I feel like even if I control my mouth, my eyes are still smiling/smirking, kwim? After a while, I'm not even focusing on my client anymore, I'm just focused on controlling my face so I can appear professional. I must be doing ok, because I haven't lost any clients, etc., but I live in constant fear that I won't be able to control it. I also have the same problem with my husband, and I can't control it. He thought I was cheating on him for a long time because of my smirkiness.

Anyone else experience this or something like it, and any advice?? I'm desperate.
I catch myself doing this quite often. It's a common thing with people with too much anxiety.Over freakin' "self conscious", right? lol.It's probably just some kind of protective instinct.(smiling or smirking).That's interesting that you're a therapist and you feel that you have SA. That just confirms my belief that a ton of people have it, but they manage to get by somehow. Sorry, I don't have any advice to combat this.
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Involuntary smiling...the symptom that landed me here

I have this walking down the street or on the bus. I don't know why. I even have it in the store. For awhile it will pass but then it comes back again.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
I have a tendency to laugh at inappropriate times. just the other day someone told they didn't have a life, and I started laughing really hard.
I think it's b/c you feel some of the pressure going off when you hear there are others in a bad or worse condition, so it makes you feel better. i know it doesn't sound too good but i think that's what some of it might be.
it happens to me too.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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This happened to me last night when this girl was presenting her homework. I wouldn't have know she was nervous except for when she held up her paper. She showed us the math really quickly, then put it down because she saw how much she was shaking. I smiled and laughed quietly to myself. You see, sa is funny. But when it's my turn to present the homework, I just won't see the humor.

I laugh sometimes I work, too, and once when my coworker told me that her grandparents died. I just find things funny when people get really serious. Conversely, I get serious and hostile when people are having a good time. (I'm really not a sociopath)
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Good god yes! It's so frustrating. Whenever I have to be serious a bloody grin starts to reveal itself, shortly followed by hysterical laughter, or atleast the strong urge to laugh.

A few weeks ago my dad was telling me he had cancer (which I already knew about, and it's only prostate cancer - thank god), and there was that F-ing smirk again, rearing it's ugly head. I was trying so hard not to burst into laughter.

It sucks, royally.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Good god yes! It's so frustrating. Whenever I have to be serious a bloody grin starts to reveal itself, shortly followed by hysterical laughter, or atleast the strong urge to laugh.

A few weeks ago my dad was telling me he had cancer (which I already knew about, and it's only prostate cancer - thank god), and there was that F-ing smirk again, rearing it's ugly head. I was trying so hard not to burst into laughter.

It sucks, royally.
I rarely laugh these days, but I did after reading your post.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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I smirk a lot and feel like laughing a lot too. I think its all my nerves.

I'm just like a big ball of nervous energy.

lol, that's what my mom says about me.

I'm kind of the same way about smiling and laughing. It's a nervous thing.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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I rarely laugh these days, but I did after reading your post.
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