So I admit I’m a perfectionist
I have always been complimented for my perfectionism, being told I have the right attitude towards achieving the highest possible. I felt proud of my status… with title “perfectionist” and in a way this fed into my need to please people.
But what happens when perfect isn’t quite good enough….
Recently having started back at sixth form it has brought back a reminder of how hard it is to achieve the high expectations people have of me, and mostly the expectations I put on myself. It can be hard to explain because, on the outside, to many, it looks like I should have nothing to worry about, but inside I can feel the pressue building.
Having not been in education for almost a year and not sitting any exams this summer, I am retaking year 12. Firstly I’d like to point out that the thing I find the most difficult is feeling that people who do not know I’ve been in hospital think I was just lazy last year or failed all my exams. It’s hard because although I know A level is really difficult and many struggle. I feel like I’m looked down upon because of it.
I admit last year wasn’t great for me, when I did attend school I was barely able to concentrate due to Anorexia’s strong influence, I did not complete work or sometimes even turn up to lessons… the hardest thing for me to admit is that this was not because “i didn’t want to go” or “couldn’t be bothered” but actually down to such a strong hate I had towards myself.
I’ll explain…. During my time in sixth form my mental health began to deteriorate to a point I felt I didn’t deserve to do well or have any future. Unfortunately, for me this impacted on my education because I felt that by withdrawing from sixth form it would stop me ever being able to achieve my dream job as a doctor or gave any chance at a decent career
I would walk to school then disappear for hours pacing round the streets, I would lie to my parents that I had been to school, and on days I wouldn’t go at all because I would be so faint and exhausted I’d feel scared to leave the house, I would further push myself to exercise excessively at home.
It was hard, tiring and time-consuming!
I felt like a slave to something external which was pushing me to my limits. I was no longer myself, I would never lie to my parents or even skip school. I was ashamed of what I had become but this just pushed me further into the depths of my eating disorder.
With this self hate being something I have only just mentioned in therapy I still find it hard to hear out loud. In a way I’m embarrassed of how things have got the better of me at times – but i suppose nobody’s perfect, right?
I would like to hopee that those who know me perceive me as an accepting person who see’s the best in people, despite any flaws. Knowing I have such strict guidelines for how I think I should be but when it comes to others I am very open to anything – I need to try to find a balance with myself also.
Us perfectionists need to aim for a middle ground between the polar of “perfectionism” and “not caring”. Having the motivation to aim high and achieve the best possible is a good trait but it also needs to be put into perspective to see whether it is taking over our lives.
I find taking a step back from the situation and viewing it as if it’s happening to someone else really helps me rationalise what’s going on. Yes, even when I realise it’s not rational it’s still very hard to change how I’m emotionally feeling, but by viewing both sides it can sometimes minimise things.
I still have a lot of work to do on this aspect of my recovery, but I believe I am now becoming more aware that my perfectionism will never make me feel perfect and understand that…”failure should not be feared because it is necessary to learn and grow”