When harmless cleaning routines, hygiene and list making behaviours once deemed to be positive implementations into life, turn into the catalyst of unhealthy, ritualistic and life threatening behaviour...
For as long as i can remember I've questioned if I’m good enough. Does everyone think this way? What actually is ‘good enough’. I’m left wondering if there is something wrong with me… is my mind just so messed up that I can never praise myself on success, yet only punish myself for not reaching unobtainable and stupidly unrealistic goals.
After experiencing an eating disorder and an altered perception of my own body, I have come to learn that the perfectionism mindset, that almost cost me my life, was just an illusion. An illusion that each person poses in their own mind, that forced me to do things that I knew were wrong, harmful and life threatening.
It was a constant state of what more could I do?
How much more weight could I lose?
How little could I eat?
How many calories can I burn?
How long can I exercise?
I better be better than yesterday… or else.
Or else what?
This harmful cycle only left me depleted in every form. I went from a healthy weight of 70kg for my height of 5’9”, down to a dangerous 45kg. I was anorexic, suffered with exercise addiction, then came the bulimia, then the binge eating. I am somewhat thankful for this, as it allowed me to gain much needed weight and fulfil all the years of different food deprivation and avoidance. But it did sky rocket my weight up to 85kg. I had almost doubled my body weight in a matter of six months, which left me depressed, scared and overwhelmed. I had to come this new body I was in.
Someone still possessing an anorexic mind now in an overweight body, I didn’t know one cell in my body and I didn’t want to know myself. This brought emotions of self harm and contemplation of suicide into my mind. I kept telling myself that I was ‘perfect’ before these doctors came and took away the only thing I had to myself. “They ruined my life” I would say. “They have stopped me being able to lose weight”. They took anorexia away from me. The one thing that was all mine and I was sickly proud of. I stood out because I was so ridiculously underweight and I praised myself on this. Looks of concern that I would receive every time I went out in public only feed the disease. It’s not until now, years later into recovery that I have realised how scary my underfed, deprived snide shrinking brain was operating… I valued being anorexic more than my own life. “If I couldn’t be skinny I didn’t want to live”.
It was not about what I could add to myself anymore to make myself perfect, it was about not having anything left to take…. Was this the end? Did I finally reach a state of perfection? Lying on a hospital bed, admitted against my will with less than 2kg of body fat on my entire body and my heart about to stop. This wasn’t perfection. This was not glamorous. This was my body shutting down.
Now, I view the state or idea of perfectionism as almost counteractive. Unobtainable perfection leads to overthinking, which then leads to procrastination. I view perfection as unhealthy. Oh wow has it taken me a long time to get here! To view perfection as a state of loss, deprivation and starvation. Starving my mind, body and soul. What I once praised myself for doing, I now look back at my behaviours in disgust and almost disbelief at what damage I was doing to my body.
Now at a comfortable, healthy and maintainable weight of 78kg, I’ve come to realise that weight does not equate to perfection or health. Someones weight equates to beauty, genetics, lifestyle and uniqueness.