Feisty or foolhardy? The struggle between reason and impulse.

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

To do or not to do? That is the question.

A post by another blogger that I read recently got me thinking about the internal battle we all fight when  deciding between what we should do and what we want to do.

One of my biggest pet peeves about my mother was her addiction to strawberry ice cream. She quite literally does not eat anything else. A few weekends ago I went home and watched as, in the course of two days, eight gallons of ice cream were consumed. Eight!

It also didn’t help my annoyance that she just piled all the empty ice cream containers on top of each other on the counter and spent the rest of the weekend complaining that she is fat.

I think her inability to resist the immediate pleasure of ice cream can be attributed to her bipolar disorder in some way. Many people with bipolar disorder drink as a way of self management, especially when manic. My mother eats ice cream. I believe the sugar high helps her when she is depressive and when she is manic it seems to help her to have that ritual to turn to, something constant when her mind is flying out of control.

My mother is an intelligent woman, or at least she used to be. She knows eating nothing but ice cream will make her fatter. She knows that at this rate she will have all sorts of health problems in the future. But, for some reason she just can’t stop.

In that way, I am extremely similar to her. This thought scares me. I have always feared being like my mother. I have always feared developing bipolar disorder when I am older. This condition is genetic and I am susceptible.

I tend to be stubborn past the point of rational determination and onto the slippery slope of foolhardiness. The most outwardly visible example of this is something that has my friends smacking their head on a regular basis: my continual disregard for my own bodily safety.

So essentially, in February I sprained my ankle in a bad landing in volleyball. The weight of both me and my friend came crashing down on my ankle as we ended up tangled on the floor. I wanted to play volleyball and hated admitting defeat, so I strapped on an ankle brace and kept playing for the next two hours. Then I went home.

The next morning, I forgot my ankle was sprained and rushed off to school. By third period my ankle was the size of a grapefruit and the color of a grape. I iced it, then ignored it. I didn’t want to admit defeat, even to myself.

About three weeks after that I ran a 5k. I just strapped on an over the counter ankle brace and considered it good enough.

Throughout the next six months I continually chose instant gratification over self preservation. I jumped off the ten foot sea wall by the beach, only to remember upon landing that my ankle was sprained. I swung off a rope swing into a two foot stream. I played soccer. I played more volleyball. Most recently, I went rock scrambling barefoot.

In regard to other injuries, I have chosen to play tackle football with clearly broken ribs. I have chosen to go to theme parks while extremely nauseous.

I knew perfectly well that I was in no condition to do any of these things and even tried to convince myself to be reasonable. But somehow I couldn’t help giving in to what I wanted as opposed to what I needed. I make stupid decisions out of competitiveness, stubbornness, and a hatred of not being capable.

We all function this way to some extent. But at what point does a decision surpass passion and feisty determination to land in the realm of foolhardiness?

The post that inspired this entry can be found here:

http://overwhelmedbyjoy.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/stretched-to-the-limit/#comments

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