Since I was little I was always called a perfectionist and I always thought it was a compliment because who doesn't want to be perfect? I was warned that this wasn't a good thing and it could get the best of me, but how could it? They were just jealous. That I could be perfect and they couldn't.
When I started therapy for my eating disorder my first year of university, I was told that my perfectionism was driving the disorder. That without letting go of the perfectionism, I wouldn't be able to let go of the eating disorder. I didn't get it. How could they be connected? My perfectionism was perfecting me while the bulimia was destroying me.
My perfectionism had gotten me straight As all through high school and the first few terms of university. My perfectionism had gotten me 5 provincial championship medals.My perfectionism was responsible for my extreme organization, my ability to balance school, work, volunteering and gymnastics. How could this be a problem?
By the time I figured it out, it was too late. The perfectionism had grown into my brain attacking me on all sides. By the time I figured it out, the perfectionism had decided on the way I sit, dress, act, study, and live. That's how this monster works. It comes to you as a friend. It helps you look prettier and have a clean room and get straight As. Once you've placed your trust in it it starts to attack.
The perfectionism gets needy. It doesn't want you going out with your friends, no you need to stay home and fix that one piece of hair that just wont straighten. You can go to sleep, you need rewrite your cue cards for the 27th time. The perfectionism starts to erase the grey, anything less than perfect is failing. Getting a 99% becomes a punishment.
I'm starting to learn that when you let go of the need to be perfect you can be great. But is it too late? Because when you'd rather die than fail, you know that the perfectionism has won.