There’s only two options in my mind, success or failure. If I am not successful, I am a failure.
That sounds ridiculous right? Putting so much pressure on everything to be either perfect and successful, else I am useless and failing.
My Name is Sian and I have a severe (& very unhealthy) case of Perfectionism.
Turns out this goes nicely hand in hand with my other Body Dysmorphia and Anxiety/Depression, Who knew?
Perfectionism affects everything in my life, even writing this post fills me with dread and fear. “It has to be perfect” my mind is screaming, but its not. This series is authentic and honest and writing it hasn’t been enlightening or enjoyable. It has been the complete opposite. I am left feeling sick to the stomach, empty & exposed. Nothing feels good enough, not even my own feelings and experiences.
I give up on all hobbies and interests with the fear of not being perfect the first time round. The ‘normal’ part of my brain screams that everything takes practise, that we try and try again and keep improving. The other part of my brain (that currently takes up 99% of my thoughts) shouts that if it’s not perfect the first time then basically I am a worthless piece of shit that needs to give up before everyone sees that too. Harsh words but that is how strong the voice is. It’s telling me its their to protect me, if I tell myself the truth first I can’t get upset when others think it as I already know. But life doesn’t work like that, putting yourself down doesn’t make you any safer.
“it’s never good enough…it’s never good enough…it’s never good enough”.
The perfectionism fuels more procrastination which fuels more anxiety which fuels perfectionism which fuels the procrastination which…etc etc. You get the picture. It’s one big cycle that is impossible to break.
I have recently realised that it also has been part of the fuel to my eating disorder. In so many scenarios it has been a trigger which has led me to binge, and then left me feeling the shame, guilt and disgust that comes after.
For example, tracking my macros all day and having my food planned, say if I went over by a few calories or didn’t hit my protein goals or had something I hadn’t planned for, it would ruin my ‘perfect’ track that day and I would then be so ashamed of failing I would then binge. Instead of being rational and just having the cookie or being okay with not reaching my protein and doing minimal damage, I would have to push it to the extreme and binge, probably eating up to 2000kcals in less than 10 minutes and completely ruining all my efforts. This would then leave me with more feelings of failure for ‘giving in’ to the binge and then the cycle would start all over again. It got so bad recently at one point I felt so disgusted with myself I
started forcing myself to throw up because I had to get it out of my body, I felt disassociated with the food inside me and I just needed it out as the longer it was in my stomach, the more of a failure I was, it felt like poison.
The right way isn’t always perfect. It’s about making mistakes and practising and enjoying the journey. That isn’t my way and it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting not being able to bake a cake, or learn a new hobby. The thought of making mistakes petrifies me and the fear of being branded a failure is so real that I give up on everything before I even start.
I want to change my perception of success, and I am slowly trying to change the goal posts.
Here’s to valuing honesty higher than success right now. If this helps even one person I will take that as a win.