How Perfectionism Impacts Mental Health

When I wrote last week’s post about why I feel like I’m always playing catch up, I thought a lot about perfectionism. It’s not something that crosses my mind often, but when I have time to reflect on how I treat myself, that word comes up. When I was growing up, no one ever made a connection between perfectionism and mental health. Perfectionism was a personality trait, and some people had it and others didn’t. But the more I learn about mental health, the more I’ve learned that it’s not so black and white. It’s always existed, but perfectionism effects our mental health in very unique ways in 2021 – and that’s what I want to talk about today.

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The Trouble With Playing Catch Up

It has been a surprisingly productive week for me but for some reason, I still feel like I’m behind. It doesn’t matter why, but this is about the time every single year where I feel like I’m behind on everything (it happens other times during the year, but this is when it hits the most). It’s discouraging to feel like you’re constantly catching up on things, but I’ve learned to manage these feelings in a way that helps me, not hurts me. And that starts by admitting that in my game of catch up, I’m never going to win.

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What is Self-Doubt, And How Can We Handle It?

There are many symptoms for anxiety and anxiety disorders: feelings of panic or doom, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, a general sense of uneasiness…the list goes on and on. Symptoms of anxiety can create challenges with how we view the world and view ourselves, creating issues with self-worth, confidence and self-esteem. But lately I’ve noticed one one area that I don’t often see people discuss – self-doubt. After years of experiencing anxiety, my self-doubt has grown in a major way in recent months. But how did this happen, and why didn’t I notice it until now? I have a few thoughts.

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Going A Little Easier On Myself

One of the things I’ve learned on my mental health journey is that I can be extremely hard on myself. When I make mistakes or experience setbacks, I am quick to place the blame squarely on my shoulders. When I succeed, I’m reluctant to take any of the credit or share in any part of the praise. And while I know many of the reasons behind this (and since I don’t want to turn this post into a pseudo-therapy session), I’ve never really known what to do about it – which is what I’d like to talk about today.

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When It Comes to Mental Health, Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy

People say it all the time – easier said than done. That phrase can extend to a lot of different situations for a lot of different reasons. In fact I don’t think I realized just how often I said it (to myself or to others) during my day-to-day life. And while I think that this extends to plenty of situations in our lives, there’s no area where this plays out for me in a clearer way then when my mental health is involved. When it comes to mental health challenges and finding ways to improve my mental wellness, it is always, always, always easier said than done. Because even though mental health solutions might sound simple, they are anything but easy.

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Why Your Mental Health Journey Is Unique

A lot of people face mental health challenges on a daily basis. That might sound like it’s a lot to deal with, but there’s something that’s easy to forget when we talk about mental health and the challenges that people can face – each person, and each challenge, is unique. There is a sense of community and togetherness that is important when it comes to the mental health discourse (think about ‘you are not alone’ and phrases in that vein), but it can be difficult to remember that even though we’re in this together, each person is on their own mental health journey. This means that our challenges will be faced in many different ways, which can get left out of how we talk about mental health.

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Learning to Find Comfort in Messing Up

I get annoyed at myself a lot. Like, a lot. Multiple times a day. Part of that is my natural inclination after years of experiencing depression and anxiety, but part of it feels like human nature. No one is is happy about every single choice they make. We’re humans and we make mistakes. The problem is, I can hear that a million times, but an aspect of that never sinks in. Failing is extremely uncomfortable to me, and even though I’m discovering why, that doesn’t make it any easier to manage.

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Bringing My Whole Self to Therapy

A few months ago, a big part of my mental health routine was thrown off pretty heavily when I had to abruptly stop seeing my therapist. Since this happened more for administrative reasons than incompatibility, I felt a little disappointed that we couldn’t continue with the progress I felt I was making in the almost year I’d been seeing this therapist. But in the past few months, I’ve been able to connect with a new therapist and start working toward goals of mental wellness and healthiness. It’s been interesting adapting to this new situation, and it’s reminded me of a few things about adapting to changes when you see a new therapist.

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Closing Thoughts During Suicide Prevention Month 2021

I’ve written before that one of the topics I’ve learned most about in the four years I’ve done this blog is suicide prevention. As we reach the end of Suicide Prevention Month, I try to take time to reflect on what I’ve learned this month and how that helps my work in suicide prevention going forward. After my research this month, I’ve been able to connect more dots in regards to suicide prevention. Whether it’s calling attention to mental health or naming the connection between marginalized communities and a higher risk of suicide, I’ve learned that suicide prevention looks like a lot more nuanced than we think.

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Fighting My Instincts Toward Negative Thoughts

I think a lot about instincts. Whether it’s the instinct to think something or feel something, I’m pretty fascinated by the concept of instantly having a thought or feeling throughout my body because of something I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, people who experience mental illness can often have natural instincts that create negative thoughts or feeling, which can be very frustrating. It’s difficult to live in a world where every instinctual thought about yourself is negative, but that’s the reality for many people who experience depression.

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