“Hi. My name’s Lisa and I’m addicted to drama.”
Luckily that’s not true.
But that hasn’t always been the case.
Until the divorce, my life was pretty drama-free. I grew up in a stable environment and calm order was my status quo.
And then the world fell out from under me. For 8 months, from the text to the decree, my life was a soap opera. Each day brought new information, one shocking tidbit after another. And, after a time, they began to lose their impact. Drama became my new normal. My status quo. I needed bigger and bigger shocks to feel much of anything.
I had unwittingly become a full-on drama junkie.
Part of me yearned for it all to be over so that I could settle into a calm life again. But another part of me craved the stimulation that comes from drama. After the divorce was final and I stopped tracking my ex’s actions, I went through a bit of a withdrawal period. When friends and coworkers would ask for the daily update (I had become the days of their lives), I had to respond that I had nothing. They weren’t interested in hearing about the awesome lesson I taught that day or the furniture I was scoping out at IKEA. Normal life just couldn’t compare to the intrigue provided by bigamy and double lives.
I felt a bit lost for a few weeks. Empty. I was used to a fresh injection of “new” every day and I had gone cold turkey. I had to train myself to be content within the normal pace of life, going from fast-paced thriller to non-fiction. Luckily, my drama-free childhood was a stronger set point than that brief period and I was able to adjust without much trouble.
That’s not the case for everyone.
I was talking with a friend the other day who faced her own period of drama while caring for a very sick child. She is now past the worst of it but has two years of drama conditioning to overcome. She is aware of her higher threshold for stimulation, which is the first step in resetting your normal. I think she’ll be okay as she learns to trust and relax in the face of calm. She has to trust that no news is good news.
I know others that are not so fortunate. Their childhoods were filled with drama. Chaos has been their normal from the get-go. I’m not a proponent of the Law of Attraction (if it worked, all my students would make As on every algebra test) but I do believe that our intent and our vision tends to direct our decisions and influence the types of people that are attracted to us. In this case, drama begets drama. From my perspective now, I look at those crazy lives and I shake my head. I can’t imagine that level of chaos. But, yes I can. I was there myself. From the inside, it eventually doesn’t feel chaotic. It just feels normal. And, for those that were raised within that kind of environment, they know nothing else.
Drama may not be all bad. In my case, my desire for novelty led me to date (“Match Madness”) and helped me make major decisions about where to live and switching jobs. It is an adaptive behavior that keeps us from becoming overwhelmed and shutting down in the midst of craziness.
Life has a way of providing periods of intensity. If they last too long, we have to adapt to survive. When the chaos fades, it is time to release those adaptations. They are no longer needed. Recognize that life may feel boring for a time as you adjust to a lower level of stimulation. If you have children, understand that you are setting their drama status quo when they are young; try not to set the threshold too high.
It’s okay to release the need for constant stimulation.
It’s okay to be boring.
It’s okay to leave the drama for the big screen:)