Anxiety and the Quest for Perfection: Fuhgedaboudit!

As we begin to recover from panic disorder, any mind variance for that matter, we spend so much time monitoring the frequency and intensity of our symptoms. As humans, pain isn’t our thing; so we’re always looking for signs that our suffering is about to end. And, naturally, we’re hopeful; and our expectations are high.

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

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 panic, anxiety, depression, etc.; on top of which lies all sorts of goofy neural routings driven by life experience.

Okay, sure, we 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 25 years I can personally tell you the answer is yes, but it’s a non-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?

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

We can’t expect perfection because, frankly, we won’t find it. Chances are we’ll have symptoms and little annoyances for the rest of our lives. So what! Over time we learn to manage and accept them for what they are. And that’s because we’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 we 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. Anxiety can be included. What, just because we suffer from a mind variance, 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 purchase a piece of reality. Why not write these things down?

Let’s go easy on ourselves. Perfection is totally unreasonable and not at all necessary in securing a peaceful existence. Indeed, the quest for perfection only brings disappointment and distress.