Dr. Love said it best: “You need to live in the real world. I live in the real world and I need you to be in it.”
About 75% of my anxiety comes from the struggle for perfection in my every day life. I went to work yesterday with the thought that everything was going just fine, but I am slowly starting to realize that it is not. I alienate people by being demanding, being controlling. I start out just fine, trying to roll with the punches. Then I realize what I am doing, what is going on, and I NEED everything to be JUST SO. And it’s not. Because apparently perfection isn’t reality. I would say that I can understand that, if I did. I just can’t internalize it.
Dr. Love is always telling me that I need to relax. “Just relax…c’mon, just relax!” I find it nearly impossible to do, save for a few moments here and there. I come home from work, and I am obsessed with the house being picked up. To a crazy degree. No dishes in the sink, bed is made, grass is mowed. Unless these things are in place, I feel anxious. I feel a compelling need to do it. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. I’m tired, had a bad day, unmotivated. So I sit…anxious and miserable.
I don’t know what I need to do to embrace “reality” and stop demanding perfection from myself and my environment. My thinking is ridgid, black-and-white, obsessive. I act on my obsessions, almost compulsively. Jokingly, people have always said that I have a touch of OCD. I can’t begin to describe the terrible anxiety I have related to my every day life. Even when, on the outside, things are going well, I feel like certain things have to be “just so” or I am ungodly uncomfortable.
This isn’t to say that I always do something about it. There are days when the lawn isn’t mowed, when there are dishes in the sink, when the house is cluttered and dirty (at least in my own mind), and, for some reason or another, I can’t handle it and I don’t do anything about it. That’s called depression, it’s called defeat. It is exhausting and miserable and unbearable. Somewhere along the line (with a lot of prodding from Dr. Love, QoB), I have realized that my strong obsession/compulsion for perfection, my resulting anxiety when things are not so, and the depression and defeat that set in when I do nothing about things being “just so”…these things are ruining my life, making it so that I don’t have a life. I can’t function sometimes just because things are out of place and I don’t have the wherewithall (is that a word?) to do anything about it.
And it’s a viscious cycle. I want my relationships with others to go smoothly, I want things at work, the cases I work on, to be perfect. And I have to rely on other people and that is never good. Because people, in general, are unreliable. Especially overworked state employees. They are not perfect, and they do not strive for perfection. This causes a lot of angst on my part and causes me to lash out at them, whether verbally, in my own head, in an email, bitching to supervisors, etc. I have no friends at this job. People tiptoe around me, fear/annoyance of my judgement keeping them away. And yes, this is another way that I keep people away. I trust no one. None of those people at work DESERVE my trust, and I absolutely will not give it to them.
All of this angst just boils in my belly, in my chest, my heart, day in and day out. And really, there is nothing I can do about it, other than to make my environment and myself as perfect as possible. Unfortunately, I seem to be unable to do that. More unfortunately, I cannot see a life where I do not expect it.
This song reflects what I say to myself in my head. Downright pathetic.
Alanis Morissette, Perfect