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mrrd117711

Struggling with being a perfectionist with OCD

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My depression, anxiety, and OCD all play into each other. Now My OCD and perfectionism idk if that’s a word lol is getting bad. I spent like 30 mins writing a response to what someone said. I ended up reading about how some kids think of if they were perfect things would be better. My mom and that side of the family is really critical. Also doesn’t help they have mental health issues and don’t try to get better. 
 

Maybe now I can work on this so it doesn’t keep happening. It’s just right now it’s making everything difficult. It’s like overthinking to the highest power. I basically have to stop here. I keep wanting to work or go to school but moments like these show I need more time.

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I am so sorry you are struggling.  As a recovering "perfectionist" I can totally relate to what you write about.

Ideally, it seems, we should be able to move back and forth between a "could be better but isn't better" frame of mind and a "could be worse but isn't worse" perspective.

Each frame of mind tends to engender its own set of default emotions.  The "could be better but isn't better" frame of mind tends to engender feelings of stress, feeling pressured, guilt, disappointment, aggravation, anger and sadness.

Of course I can look at myself or anyone or anything . . . or any event and always be able to say:  "well, . . . could be better, but isn't better."

But the very same people and things and events can also be looked at another way:  "could be worse, but isn't worse."  And this frame of mind tends to engender feelings of relaxation, peace, contentment, appreciation, gratitude and joy of living."

Ideally, perhaps, we should be able to move between the two frames of mind.  But OCD in general and perfectionism in particular tend to get us "stuck" in the "could be better" frame of mind.  In some cases, medication can help, especially when there is a physiological component to it.

I was raised by perfectionists and they were raised by perfectionists, so my default position, my default attitude and frame of mind tend to be "could be better, but isn't better."  This led me to a life of stress, anxiety and a lot of joyless striving.  Cognitive Therapy helped me a lot to learn ways to become more balanced.

Perfectionism for all its  benefits has a dark side effect.  If goodness is equated with perfection . . . that tends to make all bad things somewhat equal.  If the only goodness is perfection than there are no degrees of good and bad.

I once met a very unhappy girl who told me she was worthless garbage and a waste of oxygen because she did not get straight A's on her school report card.  So I mentioned to this girl that in human history and in fact in the last 100 years, there have been a couple of men who have caused the destruction of tens of millions of men, women and children through genocide, ethnic cleansing and campaigns of forced starvation.

So I asked this girl:  "Have you caused the destruction of ten million people?"  She told me, "no." So I asked her: " Have you caused the destruction of a million people or a hundred thousand people or ten thousand people?"  And she said, "no."

And so I asked her:  "Have you caused the destruction of a thousand people or a hundred people [and so on]?"  She told me, "no."  So I asked her, "Well then, how bad are you, really?  What is the failure to get straight A's compared to the failure of causing the destruction of tens of millions of people?"

And that is the problem with perfectionism.  It creates a distorted moral perspective.

To try to overcome my deeply ingrained perfectionism, I have little post its all over my house that read "could be worse, but isn't worse, thank goodness."  These little notes help me restore some balance in my thinking and feeling. 

When I am feeling badly because of my perfectionism, I have to sit down and write out things I am grateful for:  I am not trapped in a burning building.  I do not have the Ebola virus.  I am not a genocidal dictator . . . and so on.  This helps me keep my weaknesses and faults in perspective so that I don't go "over the top."

Hopefully you will find things that help you personally with your struggles.  What works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. That is why I can share what helps me but cannot give advice.

Perfectionism is a heavy, heavy burden to carry.  If we were Infinite Beings, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and all-perfect, then perfectionism would be a light burden.  But we are not Infinite Beings.

I doubt that my post will be very helpful to you or others.  Hopefully other members will will share their thoughts and feelings about the things you mentioned and you will find something helpful in their words. 

I wish you only the best!          - Epictetus

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On 3/26/2021 at 12:47 PM, mrrd117711 said:

My depression, anxiety, and OCD all play into each other. Now My OCD and perfectionism idk if that’s a word lol is getting bad. I spent like 30 mins writing a response to what someone said. I ended up reading about how some kids think of if they were perfect things would be better. My mom and that side of the family is really critical. Also doesn’t help they have mental health issues and don’t try to get better. 
 

Maybe now I can work on this so it doesn’t keep happening. It’s just right now it’s making everything difficult. It’s like overthinking to the highest power. I basically have to stop here. I keep wanting to work or go to school but moments like these show I need more time.

I can relate the past year I've been taking a supplement called NAC and it has decreased my OCD symptoms..not sure if you've tried it but look into it if you can...I can't post links or anything here, but many people have seen a decrease in their OCD symptoms from it, and it being studied ..

Overall, NAC demonstrates activity in reducing the severity of symptoms, with a good tolerability profile and minimal adverse effects. Currently there are three ongoing randomized controlled trials using NAC for OCD (two adults and one pediatric), and one for excoriation

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I appreciate the responses. Again my mind was doing it again. I felt how no one responded when I thought they would no one would. I understand that’s an impossible standard I’m setting. I will say shortly I have heard about NAC. I also read the other response and wish I could say more.

My mind either thinks what I’m saying is wrong before I end up writing it. That or I spend way too much time probably trying to do it perfect. It’s impossible for me to know what someone else will think. It’s like I’m trying to avoid anyone thinking I did something wrong. It’s just a defense mechanism at full power. 
 

Ive been facing my issues a lot more lately. I guess this is what they mean when they say it gets worse before it gets better. It’s like I’m trying to be perfect about not trying to be perfect. Talk about a headache lol. 

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19 hours ago, mrrd117711 said:

I appreciate the responses. Again my mind was doing it again. I felt how no one responded when I thought they would no one would. I understand that’s an impossible standard I’m setting. I will say shortly I have heard about NAC. I also read the other response and wish I could say more.

My mind either thinks what I’m saying is wrong before I end up writing it. That or I spend way too much time probably trying to do it perfect. It’s impossible for me to know what someone else will think. It’s like I’m trying to avoid anyone thinking I did something wrong. It’s just a defense mechanism at full power. 
 

Ive been facing my issues a lot more lately. I guess this is what they mean when they say it gets worse before it gets better. It’s like I’m trying to be perfect about not trying to be perfect. Talk about a headache lol. 

i've been on it for months and since i increased the dosage per my doctors orders, i've noticed a decrease in my ocd/anxiety symptoms..... it might take a few weeks or months to work, it depends on the person, i didn't see results right away..ask your doctor what dosage they recommend because i'm not sure if you are on other medications, and stuff..

the first week it did make me nauseous a few times , and a little drowsy, ..but the drowsiness went away after 2  weeks .. also many people complain it has a weird smell to it, it depends on the brand you buy, that's been my experience, some smell more than others, but honestly since it has helped my ocd and anxiety i don't care.. i hope you feel better! let us know how it works out for you

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On 3/26/2021 at 11:47 AM, mrrd117711 said:

My depression, anxiety, and OCD all play into each other. Now My OCD and perfectionism idk if that’s a word lol is getting bad. I spent like 30 mins writing a response to what someone said. I ended up reading about how some kids think of if they were perfect things would be better. My mom and that side of the family is really critical. Also doesn’t help they have mental health issues and don’t try to get better. 
 

Maybe now I can work on this so it doesn’t keep happening. It’s just right now it’s making everything difficult. It’s like overthinking to the highest power. I basically have to stop here. I keep wanting to work or go to school but moments like these show I need more time.

I feel your misfortune and I understand your pain. I’m the opposite I hate proofreading my work because I do not have much patience for anything. I wished I had more of your problems than mine. I hope things continue to improve for you 

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I don't have patience for anything either.  There's no such thing as something that needs to be done that I want to do.  It's like an addiction though.  You're locked into it and you couldn't get away even if you wanted to.

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My mind is so confusing lol. It’s like I would normally respond to each response to make sure no one felt bad. Now I’m the opposite where I can’t really respond because I’m afraid I will say something wrong. All I can say is thanks. Idk it’s like my thoughts are ping pong balls just bouncing back and forth. 

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I Totally feel you but don’t think about it when you respond back just let it go and hit enter. There is no such thing as knowing the right thing to say. You just hope you can make a difference in one person life and you have move a mountain. 

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