Monday, February 18, 2013

All or Nothing Drama

{The Lord of the Rings; Merry, Frodo, Pipin, and Sam}
Have you ever heard the phrase, “go big or go home”?  I think it was coined by someone dealing with depression.

It is common for those struggling with depression to have an “all or nothing” attitude toward life.  The current feelings you are experiencing seem like they are going to last an eternity.  There is only black and white, no gray.

Even if you don’t deal with depression, you might have experienced an all or nothing situation that left you feeling hopeless.

I will easily fall into despair if I forget that my feelings are NOT forever.  If I have a bad day and can’t get out of bed, I feel like I am going to be bed-ridden for the rest of my life.  If I miss my work out for just one day, I think I will never exercise again.  Or even if I have a lousy run, I am tempted to never run again.  That phrase, said in good fun, “go big or go home”, has a dark side in my opinion.  Having that attitude makes is really difficult to recover from small setbacks, not to mention, the big failures.

The saying, “all or nothing”, while I can see how it can be beneficial in some circumstances, is quite harmful for me in most situations.  For a long time, I believed, that if I can’t get better now, then I will never get better.  If I can’t have a job now, then I will never have a job.  “All or nothing” has not served me well.

Looking back, I can see many times I’ve easily given up because I couldn’t “go big”.  I can see now that I was being dramatic.  It always feels like the truth in the moment.

I have to note that I do have a dramatic side to my personality.  Not the kind of drama that you would think a group of high school girls gets involved in.  No.  I flee from that kind of drama.  I guess I have a more quirky kind of drama that I don’t often disclose to anyone else.

I blame it on watching Anne of Green Gables as a girl.  Anne, with her red hair and admiration for literature, became a heroine for me and my friends in our early teenage years.  She was a textbook melodramatic character.  And-we-loved-it.

Some of my classic cinematic drama is embarassing to admit.  It includes things like having tea while reading a book.  I keep my phone in one spot so that when it rings, I can run to it and slide with my socks on the floor to answer it.  If I am late for church and I hear the bells toll for mass, I hop on my bike and ride as fast as I can to get to the front door before the bells stop.  Though I’ve never worn a cape, I do wish they were in style so I could wear one.  Quirky drama.

Okay, so I know I can be a bit dramatic.  Now, I can work on using this knowledge to my advantage.

If I am getting down and feeling like I will never recover, I remember that I also slide on my socks to get the phone.  I have to laugh at the thought of it.

I remind myself that this feeling will pass.  Feelings come and go.  Feelings do not dictate my actions.  The temptation to give up is just a feeling; just a consequence of my “all or nothing” attitude.

Have you ever felt like giving up or going home because you couldn’t “go big”?  What would you do if you knew you could not fail?  What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?


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