Don’t… Brag… Marcia

“Knock wood.”

I do that a lot. Knock on my desk, the woodwork – even my head, which often feels wooden enough. I swear to you, it works – when I remember. And I need this little ritual.

I noticed after it happened often enough that every time I told my psychiatrist I was doing well I’d have a crash within a week – often the next day. Finally I quit telling him I was good. Now, if I’m good, I tell him, “I can’t say that things are going well,” with a BIG smile, “but if they were, I’d say I was stable, I was getting more work done, keeping on track, etc., etc.”

I’ve told him why I have to do this, and he plays along. And it works.

But bragging – I swear, it ALWAYS backfires.

Several years ago when I was carefully controlling my diet and losing about 2 1/2 pounds a month, I told my brother and his family about my daily meals at Thanksgiving. It wasn’t a lot of food but I wasn’t feeling deprived: cereal and fruit for breakfast, lunch varied and was the big meal of the day, a Frappucino for afternoon snack and for dinner, an apple with peanut butter.

My brother said, “It sounds like torture to me.”

That was it. I swear. But meeting with criticism instead of “Hey, congratulations” was all it took for me to start sliding.

Don’t brag, Marcia.

And it doesn’t even take negative feedback. I can do it all on my own, just by shooting my mouth off about an accomplishment.

So what did I do this time? I bragged – here – about taking charge of my time. About my great schedule.

I said I was going to add more things to the schedule because it was working so well. That didn’t work at all. I kept getting farther behind and feeling more pressured. So I took all the extra things out again, but it was too late. I’d lost my momentum.

Of course, I also fell and hurt my knee and then developed cellulitis.

This month, so far, is a disaster. I’ve gotten almost nothing done. I’m showing serious signs of depression – which is often my reaction to feeling overwhelmed, makes it harder to get myself going, leading to feeling more overwhelmed and depressed.

Please stop me before I brag again.

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