As an anxious person who always thinks ahead to the worst possible scenario, I am also constantly preparing for the worst possible scenario. I have solutions galore for when things go wrong and while I may initially panic and go into shut down, eventually my problem-solving self comes to the fore and I quickly move into solution mode. And because I function at a very high level in these situations, some would say that I thrive on drama and times of crisis.
My brain goes into overdrive when the world around me collapses, which is why when my ex moved out, I straight away went to see Centrelink – the very same day in fact. He was appalled that I could be so callous, but that was just my brain switching to survival mode. Mind you he was the one having an affair and yet he was calling me “calculating”.
When my children have some sort of accident, I immediately go into solution mode – do I need to take them to the hospital? Can I handle the injury at home? Do I need to call on someone else to help? My mind is like a rolodex of accident-management solutions.
Don’t get me wrong – my first response is generally to freeze and panic, but this doesn’t last long. Skip forward a few seconds or minutes, or days, depending on the situation, and I’m a survival boss.
What’s really strange about this is that I generally hate change. And yet, the repetitiveness of day to day living bores me out of my brain and leads to depression. I like change when I’m in charge of it, when I can control how it affects me, which is probably why I quickly switch to control mode when disaster strikes. Mind you, I can’t say that the depression recedes in times of disaster. It might take a back seat to the problems that have to solved right here, right now, but it is still there, malignantly affecting my self-talk and stopping me from living a full life. While I can effectively deal with the crisis at hand, I can’t deal with the laundry or a messy kitchen.
However, the adrenaline and cortisol coursing through my veins do occasionally spill out into the day to day house management. I will do the odd bit of cleaning here and there totally out of the blue, just because I can’t sit still. The mess on my desk has been bugging me big time, so I suspect it’s going to get a makeover very soon. It’s also what’s driving me to finish craft projects.
It’s been interesting watching my response to the coronavirus, particularly my inner drama llama coming out to seemingly thrive on managing our household in light of it. I have a solution for everything my children bring up as a worry, although lately, I’ve been worrying about what would happen should I get sick and I don’t have many solutions for this.
What arrangements does the government have in place for looking after kids of hospitalised single parents, who have been exposed to the virus? I can’t very well ask anyone else to look after them. And how will I manage should I be sick at home and not able to do much in terms of cooking and looking after the house? I guess the boys could manage a lot of the work on their own with instructions from me and I could ask some friends to shop for us if it came to that.
The crux of the matter is that my brain loves the drama because it keeps it busy and in control and constantly in search of solutions. It’s not very healthy in the long term though, because I know that it leads to burn out. I need to give myself space to rest and relax and to think about nothing.
Easier said than done.
What about you? Are you a drama llama? Cool as a cucumber? A bit of both?
**I realise that the term “drama llama” refers to someone who falls apart when disaster strikes and cannot cope with any kind of upheaval, but I love the phrase and couldn’t resist it for the title.