I'm Laughing, But It's Not Funny - PBA
It's really not funny
We’ve all been there; laughing at something that isn’t funny. Stop and think if ever you have found yourself laugh when someone has fallen or hurt themselves before asking if they were okay. You think that your laughter is not appropriate for the situation and you quickly attempt to “pull yourself together” long enough to sincerely ask them if they are okay?
I'm sorry, I can't help it
When I was a kid, I annoyed many friends as I found myself unable to control my unnecessary laughter. I remember watching one of my dear friends lose control of her mountain bike in gravel and fall to the ground; all the while I’m crouched behind her trying to conceal my uncontrollable laughter. I immediately try to take a deep breath and quickly squeak out “You okay?”, but the strained sound of my voice is only more damaging when she realizes that I am desperately trying to hold back the laughter. That particular wipe-out didn’t result in any major or life-threatening injuries; just simply a scuffed up knee which was scabbing nicely by the following day. As her knee was nicely healing she expressed to me that her parents were not thrilled about the idea of her being friends with me. Completely caught off guard I inquired why and she said because I “laugh when she gets hurt”.
Sure, I laugh, but I laugh all the time; I’m a funny person and I have a great sense of humor. I guess there are times that laughing might seem inappropriate, but it is certainly not meant to be offensive. I have also found myself laughing when being reprimanded by my parent or questioned by a teacher, not all out hysterical laughter, just an inside giggle, but the kind that you try to stop because you know it will only worsen the situation. I have found myself laughing when I was actually fearing something, laughing when I was sad; thinking to myself, “Why am I even laughing”. Do you know how many times I have had to say, “I know I’m laughing, but I don’t think it’s funny”?
Unexplained laughing or crying
I thought that this uncontrollable laughter of mine was relatively normal, slightly inappropriate but relatively normal. That is until I heard a commercial blaring from the other room that immediately caught my attention; “…don’t call it crazy…episodes of uncontrollable laughing or crying…call it by its real name…PBA”. I happened to be sitting at the computer as the commercial played and immediately opened a new tab and typed in PBA. PBA is pseudobulbar affect and is characterized by unexplained, often unwarranted laughing or crying. I said to myself, “Gee, not only to I laugh in inappropriate situations, but now that I think about it I cry for what seems like “no reason” quite frequently too”. Maybe I have this PBA, so I read more.
PBA – PseudoBulbar Affect
PBA affects almost 2 million Americans and is the result of a neurological condition or brain injury. PBA affects the part of the brain that controls normal emotion responses and is explained to have something of a “short circuit” causing these temporary episodes of laughing or crying. Common conditions that lead that may lead to PBA are Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Traumatic brain injury.
- PseudoBulbar Affect: Causes, PBA Quiz, and Management | PBAInfo
Learn more about PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA), a secondary neurologic condition that causes sudden, frequent, and uncontrollable crying and/or laughing that doesn't match feelings.
Why am I laughing?
Do I think I have PBA? No. After researching more about the condition I’m pretty sure that I can rule it out. There are many other medical related explanations for unexplained such as social anxiety, Tourette syndrome, Tic disorders, just to name a few. I don’t think that I need to talk with my doctor about my laughing or crying because I think I can self-diagnose myself as just simply immature, but for those who really question themselves; it may not hurt to talk to your doctor or research online.