“Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” -Brené Brown
Sitting on my break at work today, I found myself feeling abnormally tired. Tired like I used to be when my health first started to decline and I was kind of caught off guard. Have I been feeling like this all along and am just now acknowledging it? Or is this a new sensation that I am validating early?
While I would love to say it is the latter, I am almost positive it is not. I have been struggling in my recovery for a while now. But I’ve been too [ashamed, afraid, disappointed, insert negative emotion here] to say anything to anyone. Even my outpatient therapist. I have all the support I need to pull myself out of tis rut, so why am I still here?
Because I have this unrealistic idea of what I want my recovery to look like to other people and to myself. Setting the bar too high has been my Achilles heel for as long as I can remember. Now that I have been to treatment once I feel like I can never go back or else it will be a failure especially because I opened up about treatment via social media. So I have this irrational (or maybe not so irrational) belief that everyone expects me to be better already since I am no longer in a facility receiving treatment daily. I mean it’s not totally irrational to think that people that don’t know how difficult eating disorder recovery is might just assume it’s a quick fix and think I’m “recovered” now, right?
Maybe. Maybe not. But that still begs the question, why do I think I should be “better” (I utterly despise that word!) when I know precisely how difficult and painful eating disorder recovery is? Perfectionism. A quality that can be both a blessing and a curse. A quality that makes me particularly susceptible to eating disorder tendencies along with a plethora of other factors of course but perfectionism has ultimately been my downfall. In my eating disorder. Even now in my recovery.
If I’m not recovering “perfectly” I can’t let anyone know and if I do mention anything to friends I was in treatment with, its always made to seem casual, like it’s not a big deal. Did I mention I am also the Queen of minimization? I don’t know how to stop myself from thinking or feeling this way. While I may have (mostly) physically recovered from my sickest point my mind is still there. Calling me back into the darkness where I am utterly alone, yet feel so safe. And I can feel myself slowly crawling back. Slowly at first of course, until the nosedive, tailspin downward spiral from hell that lands me back in treatment which is exactly where my perfectionism doesn’t want me. Because it feels like failure. But is it really failure? I’m not sure right now but I will soon find out.