A little over 3 years ago, I wrote about The Vicious Cycle of Perfectionism and Depression. I didn’t come from the place of a professional counselor or therapist, I just shared the pattern I’d noticed after years of experiencing it myself.
The main image from the original blog post, posted again above, has sort of taken on a life of its own after I published it. It’s been shared on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram countless times. If you’re reading this now, it may even be this image that brought you to find my blog in the first place.
I learned that many people felt seen. You recognized the pattern from your own life and realized you are not alone. That is definitely the most important point I wanted you to take! You are not alone!
Update: Where Am I At Now on this Cycle?
Since I started this blog 10 years ago, every few years or so, I’ve gone missing-in-action for a while. The realization that people are aware of my struggles sometimes feels like it amplifies them (like, I can’t hide the fact that I just stop blogging for a few months).
I will say that I am doing better than I have in a very long time. I’m still dealing with the effects of my concussion, but I mean: my perfectionism (and then ultimately depression) feel more under control. The more I learn about myself, give myself grace, and remind myself frequently that I do not have to be perfect or do anything perfectly … the better I feel.
In this cycle, I’m currently battling in the “All or Nothing” portion. I feel the pull to give in to being All or Nothing, which to me is the calling card of being a perfectionist. And I might always feel that pull. The longer I can work through my issues with all or nothing, however, the longer I hold off on entering the other parts of the cycle. It may be inevitable, I’ll probably go through the cycle again, but that’s okay. That’s just part of not expecting perfection from myself.
The more I combat the urge to go All or Nothing, I focus on accepting the middle-space of “Good Enough.”
I know that the saying Good Enough has been co-opted to sometimes mean something bad. Like, it could be better, but I guess we’ll just settle for good enough. I whole-heartedly refute that definition, though. Good enough is life-affirming for a recovering perfectionist. Accepting Good Enough means that we can stay present for our families, available to our friends, but still have achievements and make progress on our goals.
This acceptance of “Good Enough” has been crucial to finding my own lane. Last year I saw a quote that has been a constant source of inspiration to me.
She silently stepped out of the race
that she never wanted to be in,
found her own lane
and proceeded to win.-Opal Ingram
This quote means to me that I get to pick the lane. And my lane isn’t going to look like your lane. And that’s okay.
If you’re somewhere stuck in this cycle. Stick the word Recovering in front of Perfectionist and join me in the world of Good Enough!