Hi! I’m 22 years old and for the past year and a half of my life I have been in a never ending cycle of self-loathing. I think firstly it is important to understand that I’m not the type of person to ask for help. I rarely do even at the most minimal of levels. So it goes without saying that this is, in a way slightly uncomfortable for me. That being said let me address the issue at hand. For the last year and a half I have been experiencing feelings that confuse me. Feelings that until now I have yet to express to any other person, including close friends and relatives. My issue is this, every single and I mean every single thing that I do that is not done to perfection I beat myself up about. I’m not talking about when it happens but in the future. I’ll be watching TV, driving a car, walking down the street and Bam! Out of nowhere a negative thought, embarrassing moment, or otherwise distasteful event will pop in my head. For the next 30 seconds to a minute it will consume me from the inside out. At best I’ll clench my fist or jaw and maybe shake my head. At worst I’ll have to lay down and take deep breaths to overcome it. Whether the event was a lie I told years ago or an awkward encounter I had with a close friend that if I asked they may not even remember. It’s a constant war in my head. On one hand I can realize that 99% of these past events just don’t matter in the bigger picture of life but on the other i’m a perfectionist and they are just unacceptable things that drive me insane. This has lead to strong anxiety to the point that If I’m having a episode in my head I may slur my words while I’m talking to someone. Furthermore it has lead to a hatred for myself and a deep sadness. I have been loved by so many people and can’t explain why I feel the way I do. But the churning in my stomach has to go. It is just to unbearable. Thank you very much for your time.Negative Thoughts And Past, Seemingly Meaningless Events, Are Creating A Black Hole Consuming My Life
Negative Thoughts And Past, Seemingly Meaningless Events, Are Creating A Black Hole Consuming My Life
Negative thoughts are a scourge of the human psyche. They are common and can wreak havoc in one’s life. The good news is that they can be corrected with counseling.
Part of the problem might be your insistence on perfection. That’s not a standard that anyone can achieve. Humans are imperfect beings. It is a fact of life that perfection is not an achievable goal. People who are expecting perfection will undoubtedly experience disappointment and stress.
Researchers have indicated that people who tend toward perfectionism have a strong desire to do something well. That desire is admirable; however, the perfectionist takes things too far. They possess a deep-rooted fear of failing. The fear of making a mistake can be immobilizing. It’s possible that the anxiety and negative thoughts you have described, are directly the result of your desire for perfection.
Correcting this problem will involve altering your expectations to be more in line with reality. It will come from your realization that perfection is an unreasonable standard that you must abandon. You can learn new ways of thinking and adapting to life in counseling. Understanding reality and adapting, is the ultimate purpose of counseling.
There is no shame in consulting a professional who is trained to help people solve these types of problems. As you have experienced firsthand, thinking affects behavior. If you continue to hold yourself to impossible standards, you will continue to do things that are not in your best interest. You will suffer and nothing will change. Perfectionism is a well-known and understood problem that is easily corrected with counseling.
Finally, many people are their own worst enemies when it comes to psychological health. When they have a problem, they will often refuse to seek help because they equate the need to ask for help with personal weakness and failure. This type of thinking prevents many people from seeking treatment and thus they needlessly suffer. Don’t let that be you. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle