Perfectionism and me

Nothing makes me feel more worthless than my perfectionism.  I hate being this way, but it seems no matter how I try not to be this way, it almost seems to get worse.

This isn't my desk, but I want order like this.  I need it, not just want it.

This isn’t my desk, but I want order like this. I need it, not just want it.

For me, perfectionism has lots of ways it controls things in my life.  I really wish I could be different.  Sometimes it is how I do my homework.  I have to have all the writing on the page exactly perfect.  If one word looks wrong to me, I will redo the whole thing.  It takes a long time to get things done and it’s really frustrating when you cant stand things to be any way but just this one certain way.

For the most part,  it also decides how things are around me.  Like I cant handle chaos at ALL.  My room has to be clean and things in place all the time or I feel really crazy inside.  When things are out of order it seems like my whole life is out of control.  I start to feel like I am stupid and dumb, and the more upset I get the more little things bother me.  The only way to stop feeling worse is to clean.  I have to take control of it before it controls me.  Often, when I am cleaning because of this reason, I get really mad.  I usually will end up throwing a lot of things away, or tearing up things that later I wish I hadn’t really done.  At the time I just have to have things really really clean, and so when I am mad I dont care about anything but that.

It doesn’t have to be big things for me to get really upset.  I know I drive my sister crazy, because she is the exact opposite as me.  We share a room and have since she was born.  I am the oldest, but we are only a year and a half apart.   She really doesn’t care if there are socks on the floor or if her bed is made every day.  She is okay with her things just being any way she sets them down, and her laundry pile in the little hamper can overflow till it gets done, and she’s fine with that.

I do my own laundry a couple times a week

I do my own laundry a couple times a week

Me?  I have to have things picked up, my bed nice, and my things organized, perfectly.  I do my laundry myself, because I dont like people touching my things, and I do it the minute it starts to get part way full.  I dont like any other things added in with my laundry, so my mom lets me just do mine alone, by itself.  My sister and I have separate laundry hampers.  Mom usually adds things in with small loads to make a large load, but that makes me really upset and uncomfortable.  I dont like germs or dirt from something or someone else’s things mixing in the wash with mine.

Perfectionism upsets me in the whole  house, but it bothers me so much in our room that if I try to sit at my desk and work, I cant concentrate till all my things on the desk are neat and in order, the way they should be.  My mom doesn’t really understand I don’t think, because we have had some fights about this before.  She really got upset one day because I was supposed to be working on school work and I was cleaning my closet.  She came in and asked why I was doing that when I had so much school stuff to do.  I told her I HAD to.  I couldn’t think, knowing the mess in my closet was waiting right behind me, and I needed to be able to think to work.  She doesn’t understand because when she sees my closet, she doesn’t see a mess.  She says there is hardly a thing in it to BE messy.  But I know what is not right about it and I have to just fix it.

That is another thing that is hard for me, and for my mom too.  I would rather have almost no things at all, than  have things out of place.  I am constantly going through things I have and getting rid of things I don’t think I will need anymore.  I feel better if I just don’t have them to worry about.  My sister is so different.  She doesn’t get rid of anything.  She is real sentimental and she likes to keep all her stuff and says there are lots of memories attached to her stuff.  I don’t have memories attached to my stuff I guess.  The things I hang on to are just stuff I need mostly.  I cant handle having those few things out and accessible to people to touch and use.  They are mine and I wish people would just not mess with them.

I have a couple of these in different colors where I put all the things I need safe.

I have a couple of these in different colors where I put all the things I need safe.

I hide everything from people.  If my things are not safe, I dont feel safe.  If they are out and can be touched, messed with, or maybe taken, I feel like I am really open to be attacked or something.  It’s hard to put in words, but I just feel really panicked and I am upset.  I get panic attacks when things are not in order and they are where people can touch them.

My mom bought me two steamer trunks that I put locks on.  All my stuff goes in them and that way no one can get to my things.  I feel safer and I know things are going to be okay.

My sister doesn’t mind keeping all her things out on shelves and her dresser or around the room.  I could never do that.

My mom asked why it upsets me so much to have things out or maybe messy.  I feel overwhelmed and I just cant function when things are that way.

It’s not just my room that makes me uncomfortable though, and that is where my family really can get me upset and upset at me.  I cant stand crumbs on the countertops or table.  I don’t like it when there are dishes in our sink.  I really dont like it when people dont put things where they belong.  I will ask for help in cleaning up stuff when it bothers me, but my brother and sister just get mad at me for telling them what to do.  They don’t think I am asking them for help, but making them help me do things I want done.

I don’t want to be like this.  I really dont.  We don’t really have a messy house, but I need things to just be perfect all the time.  It’s not like I want to always be cleaning.  I really want to not care about all this, and to just stop.  But I cant seem to stop caring.  My mom says my trigger is chaos.  She says I don’t like the feeling of being out of control and that is why I get so upset and mad.  Maybe that is right.  All I know is it is really frustrating and I am really tired of feeling like this.  There is no medicine to make me stop caring about things being perfect and in order.

I feel so worthless and taken advantage of.  Since it doesn’t bother any one else, no one wants to clean every time I NEED to clean… and I feel like they take advantage of me for it.  My siblings don’t have to bother to help around the house very often because I will eventually do it when it bothers me enough.  At least this is how I feel like they think things.  My mom says that it’s not true, but it’s how I feel.

Perfectionism makes me feel very sad.  I feel hopeless and worthless and anything BUT perfect.

-Lindsey’s view

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From the inside looking out

She looked into the mirror on the wall of her bedroom and groaned.  It didn’t matter what anyone said, all she could hear was the hissing of her own internal dialog like an old scratched up 45 record.   It skipped and jumped and came back to the same snarled and garbled up lines over and over again.  “UgLy, FAT, pAtheTic, UseLeSs.”

panicA tear trickled down her freckled cheek and followed the trail of mascara that had left tire tracks down each side of her face.  The perfect complexion that everyone saw was in her eyes fiercely marred.  With red blotches spotting up her creamy skin, she looked like a freak.  No one understood what it was like.  All it took was one second of her heart racing fast and the blotches would appear.  She wouldn’t even know it was there if it weren’t for the heat of her skin against her frozen like fingers.

With the palm of her hand she began to rub at the black marks on her face and she slowly increased the pressure.  The friction of the rubbing became hot against her face first, then her hand.  She rubbed harder and harder till her face was burning.  With both her hands she tore into both sides of her face and she rubbed at her skin till it began to roll like crumbs under her fingers.  The pain was like a welcome visitor and she embraced it completely.

She wanted to just scream, or rage at her own reflection, but that wouldn’t fix anything.  The girl in the mirror was not some impostor. It was really her.  She hated the face before her.  She began to cry and the tears came faster and faster.

She pulled back the curtains that hung around the bottom of her loft bed and climbed into her chair.  She closed them back tightly and they held the world at bay.  She sunk into her chair further and let the tears take over.  Sobs silently wracked her tiny body.

A wave of despair washed over her.  Nothing would ever change and she felt so hopeless she felt as if she were sinking into a big dark hole.  She was overwhelmed and all her senses began to buzz.  Tears, from a never ending supply, continued down her face.  Her whole body shook and a loud moan escaped her lips.  It surprised her, yet made her cry harder.

She no longer even truly remembered how she got to where she was now, all she knew was she was drowning and gasping for air.  It was as if she were dying.  She could hardly take a breath in and couldn’t push any air out.  The darkness that she had sought out now seemed to be pushing on her, weighing her down.

Now, at this point, every time, the trigger that brought her to this place no longer mattered.  All that mattered was that she had arrived.  She was now here, and she feared there was no leaving.  All she could think of was escape, and for her mind, there was only one way out of this cycle of hell… death.  She craved it and that scared her beyond words.

She began sobbing with a low moan and increasing wails.  She watched herself from a place outside her own body.  She knew what came next, and she was powerless to stop it.  The coming panic attack would consume her and leave her exhausted.  She began to cry harder, angry that she couldn’t stop what she knew was coming, livid that she didn’t even remember why she was upset to begin with, and even more incensed that she didn’t even want to stop, to be honest.

She was crazy.  She hated herself and she hated every inch of of that which made her up.  And yes, she was even mad at the one who made her.  Because if God makes all of us, why wasn’t SHE “fearfully and wonderfully made,” like everyone else?  Why did he make her like THIS?  She could see no good point, and if there was one, to her being like this, and she wanted no part of it.  All she wanted was to slowly evaporate, disappear, or to fade into nothing.

But here she sat, still, and she was not evaporating.  A low and painful wail escaped her lips and she let her emotions fully take over her mind and body.  Rocking back and forth, she stopped fighting it and gave into it and let it take her.  What was the point in fighting it?  She let it full consume her.

Afterall…

Nothing would ever change.

Ever.

(This is a narrative written by Christi, Lindsey’s mom.  It is all real, as things here always will be, of a regularly occurring situation for Linds. She worked together with me to get the feelings and the emotions of the moment down so that hopefully readers can step, for a moment, inside her mind for a moment and see life from her perspective.)

A “What-if” kinda life…

I’m just a kid, so everyone says… so I should lighten up and relax, live life, chill.

Like bouncing balls, "what if" thoughts bounce out of control.

Like bouncing balls, “what if” thoughts bounce out of control.

I want to, really I do.  But it’s not easy to live inside my own head. It fights against me.  No one seems to get the way my mind works and there’s no turning off the thoughts that race.  My mind does this trick where it thinks thoughts really fast and they are all the worst things that can happen in a situation.  My mom calls it my “What if” life.  I cant stop thinking of all the bad things that COULD happen.  A part of me knows none of it probably will, but my mind worries it might, and then it gets worse and worse.  It happens fast in my head like rolling a ball down a hill.  It goes slow at first, then the farther down the hill you go, the faster the ball goes.  This is when really bad things happen, when the ball spins out of control.  I can not catch it and I panic.

Harder yet, I never have just one ball rolling.  I always have lots of them at one time, and sometimes the balls seem to grow all by themselves and I get really scared and cant breathe.

I sometimes don’t understand myself but writing it down helps.

Anxiety sounds like something you can just stop.  Why don’t you stop worrying about things so much, right?  It doesn’t work like that though.  It’s yucky.  I hate it.  But it’s what I have to live with.  I never asked for it, but God gave me a family who wants to help and understand me.  I am lucky not to have to do this all alone like some kids.

I am just beginning to learn how to deal with this better and I know this isn’t new to everyone, but it is all new to me.  I hope if you’re a kid and you have to deal with this kind of thing, I hope my blog helps you a little bit, and know you aren’t alone…

I wish I could say, yep, that’s all I have to say.  This is just one little thing that makes my life hard.  But I have a lot more.

So I guess, hello world – it’s me… Lins.