Alright, Wraem, you inspired me. (https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/69516717/posts/2083234357)
I’m a slightly reformed perfectionist. I say “slightly reformed” because I don’t believe I will ever be entirely reformed and cured of this madness that sometimes takes over my already borked up brain.
I see the root of my perfectionism as being two-fold:
A)I’m a Virgo and we tend to be a bit anally obsessive about things ANYWAY. Astrology.com says this:
The Virgo woman is the ultimate combination of brains and beauty. She’s got organizational skills for days, not to mention highly developed characteristics and a dedicated work ethic – all of which ensures that the world will get to see her in action, putting all of her brilliance and talents to good use.
So I’m very good at being organized and I like things to be tidy. Anything less represents chaos and I hate that more than the Grinch hated the Whos at the beginning of his story. Chaos, whether it is visual, mental, enviromental or audible, makes me twitchy and sets my anxiety running like a greyhound chasing a rabbit. I’m a lot better at calming myself down than I used to be when these things happen, but the way I usually calm myself is self-destructive in that I try to still my jangling nerves by shoving food down my throat.
B)My parents treated me as a mini-adult from the time I was about 6 years old and made me feel like if I didn’t get something right the very first time I attempted, then I’d failed. And I needed to try and try and try again until I got it right. When you’re 6 years old and already have a tendency to be a bit obsessive and freaked out ANYWAY because your world got blown apart by divorce and then re-marriage, this is NOT the best parenting technique that can be employed. My parents, though, did not know this. As much as I want to blame them (especially my stepfather, who had been married 3 times before and had 6 other kids, all of them much older than I), I can’t. I’m sure they were trying their hardest to not fuck shit up but it happens. Which I didn’t know at the time, but I do now. Every parent screws their children up…some to a greater degree, some to a lesser. As Dr. House said (and even though I’ve never seen the show, I love quoting him because he’s so on the nose sometimes):
Following your heart is easy. Following your brain is tough. Especially after years of following that much smaller second organ. That’s why all parents screw up all children.
Having a child with autism only made my perfectionism worse because I was forced to worry (or at least in my head I was forced to worry) about all the ways the whole damn WORLD could go (as the Brits say, which I think we should say in America more often because it’s fun to say) completely bloody pear-shaped, causing him to have a meltdown. Was the room too hot? Too cold? Too bright? Where can I take him to get away from the noise and stimulation? Do I have his jacket? Extra socks? A chewie for him to nom on in case he decides to start nomming on his own fingers out of frustration and overstimulation? How far away is the car? Is he too heavy to pick up or do I think my back can handle it today? Did I forget to pack the hand sanitizer in case he starts licking his hands and running them over the handrails?
And I kept it in check, at least when my son was younger, by stuffing my anxiety down with food and also walking. A lot. Like up to six or seven miles every day. That kept my weight down for the most part.
And that system WORKED. For years. Until I went back to work when J was in 5th grade and I had the miscarriage which caused everything to totally and completely spiral way the fuck out of control.
I’m just now..as in the last year or so…getting a handle on it again. It takes a lot of hard work on my part to be in control of my inner anxiety-ridden perfectionist. Sometimes I shut her up with food but mostly I just make sure to take my medication every day, exercise, do my yoga and meditation and create things with my needles or my hooks. I don’t go to talk therapy because it doesn’t work for me. It’s not a BAD thing..it just doesn’t work for me because I’m such a control freak I don’t want anyone else to do the work that I feel I should be doing. I don’t know what work that would BE if I had a therapist, to be honest. I never stayed in therapy long enough to see how that really works, to be honest. But I feel like if I’m broken, then I have to fix me. I’ve always been that way, I think.
And it’s a difficult way to be. I don’t always succeed at being halfway normal. A lot of days I struggle.
Maybe one of these days, I won’t struggle quite as hard. I don’t know. I don’t see it coming any time soon, but I have hope.