Good morning JackFrost,
Well, in answer to your first question.... my brain does that too! So you are not alone there. When I email my psych, I'm like "how can I say I need help without sounding to needy, but make it have enough humour that I don't really sound like I need help, but enough that she'll find it funny so she'll read it and want to email back straight away". So trust me - there are people who think that way. I just don't think it's often we say it out loud.
I (dryly) laughed when I read your post....because I could have written it. I know exactly what you mean. I have a phenomenal cv, I'm always achieving, but nothing I do ever gives me joy or fills me with worth. Externally, I had it all, but inside I was drowning in things I hadn't done, things I perceived as failures, playing out all these scenarios in my head of "if I'd only done this, then I'd now be there"... and on and on.
And it broke me. I was in hospital earlier this year for a month and it wasn't until I was in there that I finally had the space and time to look at my life and go "does this even make me happy?" and "why am I spending so much of my time striving to achieve things that don't fill me with any meaning". It was awful. I looked under the bonnet and I'd been using achieving as trying to fill the hole where my self-worth should be. And it made me question everything in my life.
Then my psychologist sent me the link to this: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Perfectionism
Reading the workbooks, I was like "holy hell, this is me". I really recommend checking them out, because it started me on the journey of understanding why I do the things I do.
There is also an amazing book called Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression by Margaret Robinson Rutherford. It was so difficult to read, because it was literally reading an autobiography.
Perfectionism has three key parts:
- The relentless striving for extremely high standards;
- Judging your self-worth based largely on your ability to strive for and achieve such
- Experiencing negative consequences of setting such demanding standards, yet continuing
to go for them despite the huge cost to you.
And I'm going to go on my gut feel here, and guess that you probably understand exactly what I'm talking about.
Are you able to take some time off to unpack how you are feeling a bit more?
If you want to talk more, let me know.