Perfectionist. It sounds so pretentious. Often times when I hear people say it about themselves I laugh. They say it so flippantly, in passing. “Oh ya, I’m a total perfectionist.” I look at them, nod, and weakly smile. Ya, sure you are, I think. A true perfectionist does not define herself as one. At least this is what I used to (still?) think. However, I can now say with confidence that I am not only in recovery from an eating disorder and anxiety; I am also a recovering perfectionist. And one who is struggling big time.
I started grad school this September, and the pressure I am putting on myself is nuts. NUTS. I expect nothing short of the absolute best. In my mind, everyone is expecting that I can perform at the Ph.D. level, which is completely ludicrous. I already *irrationally* believe that my thesis supervisor wished she didn’t take me on (even with only ample evidence to the contrary). I feel I need to always look polished, stylish, and professional. I feel I always need to know the answers, and be ‘normal.’ No one else in the world has any issues, right? God forbid someone find out about my ED, or my anxiety. The world would end, obviously. Clearly, this way of thinking is no good. It’s only exacerbating my anxiety, making me feel even less ‘normal,’ and it’s interfering with my ability to think and perform at my best. Cue even more anxiety. My mind is fun.
Not an ideal situation, friends. After a nice crying phone call to my Mom, I decided to stop working (it’s 10:30pm, after all, *gasp*), and write this post. Writing is so cathartic for me. It’s my time. I haven’t been taking enough ‘me time’ these past few days. Working non-stop, not even breaking for meals is not cool. And kinda makes you go crazy.
Fighting my thoughts is a lot more difficult than fighting my behaviour. I’ll do my best to 1) Notice them, and not allow them to mutter about in the background, and 2) Refute them when I do notice them, and acknowledge how completely insane and unrealistic my expectations are.
In terms of my behaviour, there are some things that I can begin doing tomorrow:
1) TAKE BREAKS. Why, oh why do I ALWAYS need to remind myself of this when school starts. DO NOT work through meals. Stop. Rest. Reflect. Read a fun book. Talk to a friend. Watch a tv show. Damn. So simple.
2) Journal daily. Whenever the urge strikes. I can journal more than once a day (the more the better!), but once a day is a must. Especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Journaling brings me back to earth, and grounds me.
3) Stop trying to be something, and present myself as someone I’m not. YOU DO YOU. Easy. Sorta.
4) Remember that everyone else is just thinking about THEMSELVES. We’re all walking around thinking about ourselves, assuming those around us are also thinking about us. They’re not. They’re thinking about them, and what YOU think of them too. (Wisdom from my Mom!)
5) Dress and primp the way I want, and when I want. Some days I’ll feel the urge to get all fancy and done up, but the pressure of needing to do this everyday is unnecessary. Obviously I’ll always look presentable. And have showered. Duh.
6) LOOSEN UP. I am so uptight. I take everything so seriously. I just need to relaaaaax.
Alright. Bed time now.
Good night, friends.