How I became friends with my perfectionism and anxiety

Written by Shivani jha

My 8-year-old self would roll her eyes while reading this post but I am still going to share this with you. My childhood was not overly pleasant, so while writing this story, I may not have a long haul of happy moments but I do have a few subtle memories to share.

I rarely spoke to anyone in high school. But in every art class, I would treasure each moment with the orange, grey and shimmery colours on my blank notebook. Imagine being in the ocean of noise, still not listening to them. Looking inside my artistic world, I wanted to live there forever because for me that was the best place in the world.

There were so many things I would not do or say but, I must say, you can be lonely anywhere when there is a sweet flavour to loneliness which comes from wandering in your own little world.

In a nutshell, my life used to revolve around this phrase, “The less you say, the more likely people will listen to you when you finally do say something”.

 

The Void

Living up to this mantra, it wasn’t easy for me to speak perfect words, to behave in the perfect manner and to be the most likeable person, as a result, I didn’t speak.

My delusion about what other people thought of me was increasing the void inside me every single day.

For hours and hours, I would sit alone at a wooden desk, wracking my brain, staring outside the window and flipping through the pages of my old notebook.

That notion of disconnect from the world gave birth to a writer inside me where words became more lyrical than my voice.

 

How I Met Anxiety

I was 22, out of college, sitting in my first ever interview. Yes, I was on an unconventional, risky and unclear path but somehow my mind was at peace. I was ready to run the biggest race of my life unprepared, without knowing everything, not knowing what the finish line looked like but still ready to run.

The idea of me becoming a writer was a nightmare for my parents. But I still sat on that chair and wrote on the topic given to me by HR: one decision you took that you’re proud of in your life.

Everything was perfect until they asked me about my parents, my family. My heart started pounding fast and I was speechless.

 

What Happened Next?

For a few seconds my throat went dry, my palms moistened and the voice inside me was screaming, “Don’t cry”.

But I still did; crying acted like a medicine for me when I got anxious but it wasn’t fun to cry in my first interview ever.

Nevermind, I wrote my heart out and even got the job.

After meeting anxiety, I realized that my inner perfectionist wanted to come out and no wonder I am still fighting with it. I have not shaken off my ideology of “perfectionism” which often leads me down roads of frustration, confusion and anxiety. Believe it or not, I delayed writing this post several times, all thanks to my inner perfectionist.

And now anxiety follows me everywhere; to the subways, in an empty hall or sometimes in my co-working space.

Still, there are a few ideas which help me in moving forward; the idea of letting go, the idea of revealing my scars and the idea of embracing my imperfections and letting go of perfectionism.

 

One Last Word

I have learned a few things experiencing anxiety, one of them is I can’t control it. But I cannot let it control me as well.

So learning that some feelings don’t have to make sense to you, it’s important to understand what you are experiencing rather than judging yourself in the moment.

As an artist and a writer, I have realized that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be perfect in every sense. So now letting go is my top priority.

If I want to chat with a person, I go for it. Sometimes, I do make a fool out of myself but sometimes I win and that’s life.

For me, playing the game called “life” is more important now than forcing perfectionism on myself.

It takes time but I remind myself everyday, “Go easy on yourself, whatever you do today, let it be enough”.

 

Image credit: Free-Photos

 

Shivani jha is a freelance health and wellness writer, After suffering from anxiety for 2 years now, she is on a mission to break the stereotypes surrounding mental health. She believes therapy can be a helping hand for many. You can check out her website — writing therapy — for some healing words.


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