Posts tagged ‘Driving’

November 28, 2011

Disorder #4: Megalomania

Disclaimer: refer to introductory post here

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Not officially listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD), Megalomania (hereafter, MM) could be defined as “an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs.”  Essentially, megalomaniacs consider themselves to be omnipotent and invincible.  While its clinical equivalent would be Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I thought that MM pinpointed my delusions of grandeur in a concise manner, without having to encompass all the other elements of NPD.  But what made me realize I was showing signs of MM?

Living up here on the North Shore (MA), I tack on quite a bit of mileage on my car.  Driving up and down to Connecticut for the holidays, serving at a church in the city, and the occasional meal/coffee dates all add up.  When I drive on the highway, I can become a bit reckless and revert to a “speed-demon” temperament.  Weaving in and out of lanes and traveling at speeds 20 to 30 miles per hour over the posted limit, my only focus is to get to “Point B” as fast as possible.  What triggers this response?  One of three reasons:

  1. I’m late for an appointment/meeting/event/etc.  I hate being late.
  2. My “road aggravation” kicks in (notice how I didn’t say “road rage”… I do not have road rage).  This happens 90% of the time when there’s a driver in the fast/left lane driving at or below the speed limit.  He/she may not be breaking the law, but certainly is violating the unspoken etiquette of the road.
  3. An angry, upbeat, and/or pump-up song comes on shuffle on my iPod.  My heart rate increases, hands grip the steering wheel tighter, body repositions into racing posture (refer to picture here), and right foot just naturally gets heavier.

I held no regard for the law, my own safety, or the safety of others.  I thought I was invincible.

A couple months ago, I was able to go to Seattle for a friend’s wedding.  During my stay in the city, I rented a motorized scooter for a day to explore the sights (e.g. Space Needle, Pike’s Market, first Starbucks, etc.).  While I was riding around the streets of the seaport-city, I’ve never felt more vulnerable in my life.  Driving in the open air on a dinky, wannabe-motorcycle, I knew I was one jerky motion away from a dooming demise.  Even though the mo-ped topped out at around 40 mph, I was ant among elephants.  The once delusional confidence I felt behind the wheel of a car vanished, and I no longer felt invincible.

Gospel Connection: Only God is omnipotent.

I think that sentence alone is worthy of a GC.  But to dig a little deeper, there stands the Cross.  In an act of utter humiliation and weakness, Jesus triumphs over sin in a way which we can never have expected.  Instead of a glorious eradication of sin through a conquering manner, Christ chose to debase himself to the point of death.  Through his weakness comes our power.  Cars and speed don’t bestow invincibility.  Grades and salaries don’t guarantee omnipotence.  Relationships and friendships shouldn’t provide identities.  Our egos can’t die for us.

PTL that our assurance rests in the only One who is invincible.