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

Advertisements

Meet Lindsey

Lindsey2I have an vibrantly beautiful daughter.  She is talented, spirited, creative, hardworking, organized, independent, and full of life.  She is amazing.  Unfortunately, most of the time, she doesn’t believe a word of it.  The image she sees in her mind is not one just skewed by the jaded eyes of teen-hood, but ones far more intense and deeper wounding.  Lindsey is living in a fractured reality that is distorted by mental illness.

Wow.  Mental illness.  That’s a word I’ve only allowed myself to say out loud to a precious few people in my life, and only in the last couple of months.  They’ve been intense months and the fact of the matter is, it’s now fully impossible to deny that the ugly “M. I.” labeling words are the only ones to help shed light into a very dark place in our lives.

The only way I can describe it to people is that it’s like Lindsey is living in a glass bottle with a long narrow neck.  It’s been fractured and the glass is splintered and cracked.  Looking out at the world from inside the bottle makes it look like a distorted version of what it really is.  Nothing she sees is “NOT” really there, it’s just not the way she sees it.  It’s close, but it’s not nearly as ugly or scary as her perception of it is inside her bottle prison.  She cant reach out and touch things to prove they are not what they seem.  The glass prevents it.  Each time she does, she gets little knicks on her fingers, they bleed,  and she’s learned to be afraid to event reach out.

I cant join her in her world.  I can only reach down through the neck in the bottle and try to give her comfort.  Her Dad and I try to be the voice of reason in the midst of confusion and pain.  The hard and painful fact is that the only way  we can truly reach her is if she reaches upwards.  If she reaches up to God – with God we can reach into her world as best we can – then hopefully will connect through the nuggets of words and situations that God brings us to.

And he does.  Over and Over.  Then there are the days, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work.  It’s a long hard truth.  I’d love to say that we connect more times than we don’t, but that isn’t the case.  There are long spans where we don’t connect at all.  It’s terribly painful and torture for us both.

I love my daughter more than I have words to express.  But it isn’t easy.  I plan to share our journey with you over time.  I hope you’ll join us.  I have no answers, I am not a counselor… but this is life as real as it gets, unfiltered, raw, and full of the trial and errors that we have faced that have lead to us still having our daughter with us to walk this road with.

We will fight daily for her, and help her learn to hold the hand she was dealt in life, and to play the game before her called life, without having to fold.  Because folding this ill hand is not an option.  Period.