Years ago, I took a young family member to acting classes for eight weeks. The class focused on improvisation, also known as improv. During that two-month period, I learned so much about the fine art of acting. Recently, I recognized how this has helped me deal with sarcoidosis.
Improv is based on spontaneous performance. This means it is not planned beforehand. Improv differs from what happens in most performances. Typically, actors memorize lines prior to appearing on stage. Improv, on the other hand, requires quick reactions and clear thinking. In addition, performers have no knowledge of what will come next.
One rule of improv is replying “yes” to what was said before. In other words, actors agree with what the previous performer said. Another rule involves building on that same thought. This is done by adding “and” to the statement. So, saying, “Yes, and …” allows scenes to evolve onstage.
I recently recognized how the rules of improv relate to my experience since my sarcoidosis diagnosis.
I was unprepared for sarcoidosis. There was no rehearsal, studying, or planning involved in this aspect of my life. Instead, I found myself employing spontaneous reactions and relying on clear-headed thinking as much as possible.
Every time I would receive new information or speak with another practitioner, I would listen as closely as possible. After taking time to digest the additional information, I’d then ask a question: “And what next?”
Essentially, I was building on what I already had learned along the way. This information came from research and other practitioners, and through trial and error. I was, in effect, applying the improv approach to this process. Yet, I didn’t even realize I was doing so.
I believe this approach led me to try treatments such as acupuncture, infrared sauna, and an anti-inflammatory diet. The improv approach also led me to new practitioners, organizations that focus on sarcoidosis, and other individuals who also have rare health conditions.
When it comes to managing a chronic health condition, we’re all really improv actors. We navigate practitioners and treatment options the best we can. This is done without any preparation or rehearsal.
I would have preferred to have more preparation for sarcoidosis. Yet, I am confident that adding the “Yes, and …” rule of improv has been beneficial. By doing so, this production that is my life became a little more enlightening and informative. At the least, utilizing improv helps keep life moving along.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.