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Forums / Depression / Perfectionism + lack of control = Depression

Topic: Perfectionism + lack of control = Depression

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. Perfectly Scattered
    Perfectly Scattered avatar
    8 posts
    27 December 2015

    Hi everyone,

    I am new here. This year has been beyond awful for my family. My 8yr old son developed severe OCD (likely linked to Autism- doing assessments now). Me being so driven believed I could 'fix' everything for him by immersing myself in all the info on OCD and taking him to his Psychologist- following all the rules to successfully beat OCD. I put everything I had into helping him only to feel like a complete failure when we had to resort to medication even though I am fully aware of the role serotonin takes in mental illness- I am not against medication- I was just upset that I did not achieve my goal unaided. I realise medication was necessary in my sons case- he had began to believe everyone and everything were poisonous, life in general was torture for him. Question to everyone... Does anyone else put such high and un-achievable expectations on yourself that when they are not reached you fall into a depression? I have noticed a pattern of this throughout my life, has anyone found a way to stop it happening? At the time I never feel like what I am expecting from myself was out of reach- it is only once my depression lifts that I truely realise how misguided I was.

  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6326 posts
    28 December 2015 in reply to Perfectly Scattered

    Hello Perfect

    Welcome to Beyond Blue. And yes you are perfect.we all are, just have a few blind spots. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties your son is experiencing and I do hope his life will improve dramatically with the meds.

    Having high expectations of yourself is a huge problem. I expect to do everything wonderfully, without help and I certainly do not need medication. Right? WRONG.

    The hardest thing I have had to learn is to accept help and do what I am told. I hate it with a vengeance. And when I go blundering on things go wrong and I end up in a pickle. So yes, I am with you all the way.

    The hardest part is when we try to fix other people and do not succeed and it's even more painful when it is a member of your family. I did some CBT training/learning a while ago. CBT is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Basically it teaches to think in a different way, to take a different path. Not sure how much this would help you as I am not a psychologist. It did help me and still does but I struggled with it to start with. Probably knew much better than the psych and was convinced my thinking was logical and correct.

    So having seen the light and recognised how to change my thinking I cope much better. I probably sound flippant but it was a huge learning curve. There are times when I fall back into my old ways and end up bashing my head against a brick wall (metaphorically speaking).

    Accepting help was weakness as far as I was concerned, and something to be ashamed of. Well I still have remnants of that but I am accepting help. And I do know how this can lead to depression. Why can't manage on my own?

    I often wonder if there is a perfectionist gene and if I have two of them. Not at all sure why we feel this way. Probably something to do with the way we were brought up.

    So yes I fall into the pit when things go pear shaped and try as I might, I can't "fix it". No answer other than the CBT but I hope it helps to know you are not alone.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Zeal
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    Zeal avatar
    1737 posts
    28 December 2015 in reply to Perfectly Scattered

    Hi Perfectly Scattered,

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm sorry to hear about the struggle your son is facing, and the distress it must be causing you and your family. I was diagnosed with OCD at 13, though I think I showed signs a few years earlier. It was most severe in my mid-teens. OCD is a very complex illness, and even complete dedication cannot completely obliterate its effect on a person. You sound incredibly supportive (like my Mum was), which will help your son hugely.

    I was on various medications prescribed by a psychiatrist during my teen years. For the last several years I have been taking an SSRI medication for both my serotonin deficiency and OCD. I was very hesitant to take this, as I took lots of meds in my teens and was sick of doing so. I developed an eating disorder at 19, which was strongly connected to my OCD (worsening the outcome for myself). I have fully recovered (I am 22), and have resigned to the fact that my brain does not produce enough of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which needs correcting. The only way to do this, as far as I know and have been told, is to take an SSRI or similar medication. 

    I haven't really answered your question, but just wanted to send a post, as I know how hard OCD can be on a family. You are not alone.

    Best wishes,

    SM

     

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Hamlet 24
    Hamlet 24 avatar
    19 posts
    28 December 2015 in reply to Perfectly Scattered

    Hi there,

    Welcome. the best advice I can give you is something I've been learning in therapy and nowhere near putting into effect for myself but it's pretty solid-here goes. I know exactly what it's like to put all these insane expectations on yourself, you feel like you could achieve all these things if only you were lucid enough to carry them through. You've got this idea of a perfect, in control, ideal future where you're this super, together person. What we need to do is start focusing on the 'good enough' and accept help when we need it, it's sounds so simple but it's hard to get to that place especially when everything around you is spinning out of control. There is no 'perfect' or 'right' way to respond to a less than ideal situation, we need to focus on the resources that we have. From a subjective perspective it sounds like you're handling things splendidly, you got your son help when he was in pain; caring for someone suffering from mental illness is a no win situation for everyone concerned and often we need to call in reinforcements.

    OCD is a tough illness and I've got all the compassion in the world for you.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Perfectly Scattered
    Perfectly Scattered avatar
    8 posts
    28 December 2015 in reply to White Rose

    White Rose- Thank you. I was so glad to have people respond and your message was the first and made me cry (not in a bad way- more like thankful tears)

    I understand what CBT is and how it works. Alot of what we have done with my son so far has been CBT but as it relates to OCD behaviour- not un-realistic expectations.

    I did see my son's psychologist by myself twice (therefor making her my psychologist I guess) when things got really bad to just get it all out because I was not being honest with anyone I knew and was isolating myself by putting on a happy face. That was months ago,  but we went back to see her for my son's Autism Assesment and I mentioned to her that my son is a perfectionist and double checks himself all the time (not OCD related- just meticulous) and she said we need to work on that now before it causes further issues- then asked me straight out if I think I am a perfectionist...and followed that up with questions about procrastination etc...I thought...probably- then I looked up what that means psychologically speaking and it explained alot- she figured me out! I was suprised- I know that is their job- to figure people out but nobody else would see it. It is not like I have a perfectly tidy house or car or need the best or newest of everything; it is more about the pressure I put on myself to be a happy face and I am overly organised I guess. I felt like I didn't want to leave her office after my son's assesment because she gets me...i don't even fully understand myself but somebody 'gets me'- that is a big thing. It is a big step to realise you can't do it on your own but I think I am ready to do it- if not for me- for my son- I do not want his world crashing around him like mine does and I need to be a good role model and show him that even adults need help and that we fall.

    On a happy note- medication has given me my boy back. He went from seeing everything and everyone as dangerous to being back to his old self about a month into starting on the meds. 

  6. Perfectly Scattered
    Perfectly Scattered avatar
    8 posts
    28 December 2015 in reply to Zeal

    Thank you so much for sharing your own story. I would never wish OCD on anyone but it does help to know we are not alone. 

    It is great to hear that your mum was so supportive. I certainly try to understand what he is going through as much as possible. I guess I will never truely know what it is like. As hard as it was to watch- I am sure it is a hundred times worse to actually have OCD. I feel a great amount of respect for you, having gone through what you have and now being fully recovered at 22. Be proud of yourself. I am always proud of my son :)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Perfectly Scattered
    Perfectly Scattered avatar
    8 posts
    28 December 2015 in reply to Hamlet 24

    I love your advice.

    It is hard to let go of the idea that everything can be controlled and that there is no perfect or right way to respond to a bad situation. Just the fact that we did our best really should be enough for us to be proud of ourselves. I would say all of these things to my kids and expect them to believe it and live by those words but I guess I really should practice what I preach because kids learn more from watching our actions than our actual words. 

    Thank you- it means alot to me to get advice from people who understand

    1 person found this helpful
  8. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    13987 posts
    29 December 2015 in reply to Perfectly Scattered

    dear PS, it is sad that we have our child come down with an illness like OCD, because we feel guilty that it's our own fault, and with your son who is a 'perfectionist and double checks' means that he does have OCD by doing these habits, and even by procrastinating is also included with this disease.

    Even though we try and learn all about OCD what it means, what it does and perhaps ways of trying to cope with it ourselves means an awful lot mainly to the person learning, but to the person who has it could mean nothing to them, unless it's done by trying to understand and accept that your son has to do it.

    My eldest son has had it for a long time, just as I have, and often he would say 'sorry dad I have to do this', but I could never ask him not to, because I knew that this illness he had to go through doing it.

    Unfortunately he wouldn't take any medication, but he seems to have settled down a bit by getting married, whereas I take a SSRI medication for both my serotonin deficiency and OCD, for myself and that just means it may change for other people, however to answer whether I have lowered my habits/rituals is something I can't answer, but I do know that perhaps I have benefited from this medication, or is it because I've had it for 56 years and learnt how to hide it and therefore do habits naturally without worrying about doing them now.

    Being a single Dad of two sons in their late 30's we all hope and wish that everything goes well for them, don't get any major sickness, nor struggle in life, but there are times when it's out of our control.

    It would be interesting for you keep a diary on how your son progress's, and I certainly hope that he does improve so that his adult life doesn't have to suffer one bit. Geoff.

     

  9. don'tworrybefreakinghappy?
    don'tworrybefreakinghappy? avatar
    2 posts
    29 December 2015 in reply to White Rose

    White rose you had me in hysterics with this bit: The hardest thing I have had to learn is to accept help and do what I am told. I hate it with a vengeance. And when I go blundering on things go wrong and I end up in a pickle. So yes, I am with you all the way.

    That is soooo me to a tee!!!!

     

  10. White Rose
    Community Champion
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    White Rose avatar
    6326 posts
    30 December 2015 in reply to don'tworrybefreakinghappy?

    Dear DWBFH

    Thanks for your message. Glad I made you laugh. It's good to know I am not the only one who gets stubborn. Ah well, back to the drawing board.

    Mary

  11. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6326 posts
    30 December 2015 in reply to Perfectly Scattered

    Hello PS

    Great news about your son. I am so very happy for you.

    I, too, loved Hamlet's response. I love the idea of a perfect solution to every problem and get incredibly sad that this is rarely the case. we humans are a resilient race and it really is amazing how much we can adapt. The problem of course is that we only these things in hindsight.

    I had not realised there was a diagnosed condition of Perfectionism. I thought it was just something we said about ourselves. So where did you get your information? I am really interested in this.

    It's really great when someone "gets" you. My GP is like that. Amazing.

    Mary

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