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Recovery: It Ain’t About Perfection

Counselor Online

“Okay, this time I’m going to get it done the right way. All the ‘I’s’ dotted and ‘T’s’ crossed. Perfection is the keyword this go-round. Am I right?”

Well, you’re intentions are. But big picture? Um, not exactly.

Symptom Monitoring & Perfection Obsession

As you begin to recover from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder it’s natural to spend so much time monitoring the frequency and intensity of your symptoms.

Let’s face it, as humans, pain isn’t our thing. So you’re always going to be looking for signs that your suffering is truly about to end. Yes, you’re hopeful – and your expectations are high.

That’s more than understandable. In fact, the quest for wellness is a healthy sign of recovery. However, if you’re not careful you can easily fall into an obsession with the very unrealistic and destructive goal of achieving perfection.

I’ve said it many times before, to this day I have symptoms of anxiety.

Now, I don’t have panic attacks or other life-interrupting demons. However, little annoyances occur from time to time. And probably always will.

Don’t forget, we may well have a genetic predisposition for depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder – on top of which lies all sorts of goofy neural machinations driven by life experience.

Okay, sure, you might like for this not to be the case, but that just isn’t realistic.

I mean, ask an alcoholic if a cold beer wouldn’t taste good once in a while, or if sharing a glass of wine with someone special wouldn’t be nice. As a recovering alcoholic of 27 years I can personally tell you the answer is yes.

But for me, it isn’t a recovery-threatening issue. I’m not going to drink, and that’s all there is to it. So why get hung-up over a few very human thoughts?

The Perfection Expect (Not)

Sometimes you breeze through your day with very few, if any, symptoms – only to have one or two sneak up later. Yes, it can make you angry and disappointed; however, you have to come to realize just how very unreasonable and unfair that is.

You can’t expect perfection because, frankly, you’ll never find it. Chances are you’ll have symptoms and little annoyances for the rest of your life.

So what!

Over time you’ll learn to manage and accept them for what they are. And that’s because you’ve gained insight into the context within which they occur – and know precisely what to do about them.

In time they become very minor inconveniences, even ongoing reminders of just how human you really are. And the character building value of adversity is powerful.

Think about those who suffer from chronic back pain, asthma, diabetes, and on and on. Well add depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder to the list. What, just because you endure an emotional/mental health disorder, that’s different?

No way. Imperfection is imperfection. Pain is pain.

Take some time to think about your pet self-perfection peeves and how you’ve learned to accept and manage them. And if your pondering reveals you’re a bit low on the insight scale, think about what you can to secure a piece of reality.

Why not write these things down?

Let’s Close

Go easy on yourself, okay?

Perfection is totally unreasonable and not at all necessary in securing a peaceful existence. Indeed, the quest for perfection only brings disappointment and distress.

You’re human, you’re imperfect. Revel in it!

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