The Perfectionist killed her brain… (and how she began to save it)

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health

I lead a life that is filled with a lot of expectations. Expectations that I push on myself. My whole life my parents have always told me that my best is good enough for them, but my best seems to never be good enough for myself. While it seems unlikely to people around me, I am low key a perfectionist. A lot of the times my perfectionism is what leads me to my failure. I want every situation in my life to be perfect and when I feel like it’s not going to happen, I sometimes will quite literally RUN from situations. If I don’t run, I self-sabotage or tell others I don’t care. It’s a weird defence mechanism I’ve picked up. Where if I tell others, I don’t care enough then in turn maybe I truly won’t care enough. If I know something isn’t going to be how I pictured it, I’ll just pretend I don’t give a shit. Not only do I set bars high for myself, but I also set bars high for how I think others are going to treat me. The bar that I set for others means it makes me constantly unhappy and filled with loneliness mixed with disappointmentIMG_2467

An example is, I’ve had shitty friends in the past and so when it comes to birthdays, I always plan something big, but then when people bail, and plans go to shit I pretend I don’t give a shit about my birthday. It’s a big lie. I love birthdays! I think birthdays are a day you truly should feel so loved, but some of my recent ones have been filled with more heartbreak than love. Last year I was quite literally bricking it for my birthday. I planned different things for home and for my other friends, but it scared me how easily others will ruin the perfect birthday I’ve created in my head. Despite some hiccups, I had an incredible birth fortnight and made memories that will last forever. It leads me to wonder why I crave perfection. I know nothing in life is perfect but it’s so hard when everyone around me seems to lead these perfect lives.

I think I write about love a lot on my blog, and this is one area of my life that scares me. I don’t have love from a guy, I haven’t for a very long time, and it scares me that I may never find the perfect guy for me. What if I’ll spend the rest of my life craving guys who won’t want me and never fulfil the perfect life I’ve created in my head. I go for guys I can’t have because it hurts less when they are not the perfect person for me, it’s like I allow myself to pre-hurt, before they actually hurt me. I have an intense fear of abandonment., I have lost a lot of guys I have dated, but I’ve lost a lot more friends. This leads me to be fearful of relationship because I think that no one will stay due to me being imperfect. If I have a crush on a guy, I become obsessed with how I look because I fear if I don’t look perfect then they won’t want me. I like to push guys I care about away in fear they’ll see the perfect exterior I show to them is a lie. It scares me that all my friends are dating guys and girls that seem truly perfect for them. While I know they all have their ups and downs in relationships, it makes me feel like a failure. I can’t seem to get a guy interested in me long enough to want me, and so sometimes I’ll kill relationships before it arises in fear they won’t be perfect. Sometimes it feels like I am truly alone in the world and I’ll be perfect for no one.


I set unreal expectations on myself on how to be a perfect friend, which leads me to burn myself out quite easily. I have had many friends come and go in my life. Situations that some I couldn’t control and some I could. Which means I tried my best to do everything for everyone and then worry when I don’t succeed in the million tasks, I’ve given myself. Truth is no friend is perfect: everyone ends up saying a bitchy comment about a friend or bailing on plans. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. Sometimes we expect too much from our friends because we’d do everything for them, but that’s an unfair mindset for both parties. You’ll lead yourself into a lot of heartbreak if you expect everyone to have the same heart as you. I’ve learnt instead of trying to be a perfect friend, to just be me. To be there and to care but to not put pressure on me. When a friendship does end, I’ve learnt instead of being hurt, to take it as a learning curve and know that I still have many other incredible friends who love and support me.

Why am I writing this you may be wondering? Well, when I started writing this, I was sat on a plane on the way home from my first girls’ holiday. I booked this holiday about 11 months ago and during those 11 months I hyped it up into a holiday it could never have been. I thought the holiday would cure some of the sadness that has haunted me the last university year, I always feel happiest in the sun and just wanted the sun to cure me. While I had some amazing times on the holiday, the down days had been bad. I got taken into hospital after having a very bad inner ear and respiratory infection, which has now resulted in me having double hearing aids. It crushed me because the ‘perfect’ holiday had slipped away, and I felt like it was my fault. I couldn’t have factored in that I’d get sick, but it made me regret the earlier nights that I’d came home early from nights out in the week instead of staying out partying with my friends. I kept telling myself I had plenty of nights to get super drunks but putting them off lead me to miss them. I don’t know what I was expecting from this holiday and I don’t think it would’ve ever been perfect, but I can’t help the feeling of failure. That I somehow failed myself and ruined a holiday. Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed some parts of the holiday but I’m also sad that the things I looked forward to most were not what I expected.

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Now you may be reading this and thinking ‘ah but if you’re a perfectionist you JUST want to do a good job at everything, so what’s the harm in the issue?’ The issue is whatever job I do will never be good enough for myself because there are always ways it could have been more perfect. Maybe I could’ve taken less time to complete it, maybe there are more aspects I could change to make it perfect. There’s always a maybe that could make the situations ‘better’. Meaning my best will never be good enough… Any feelings that come with accomplishment are sabotaged by my brain telling me that things could’ve and should’ve been done better.

So I decided to find out about how to stop letting my perfectionist habits kill my brain and this below is what I learnt:

One thing I noted was that I say ‘should’ a lot. Should is a horrible word that adds too much pressure on us. Like I should have a boyfriend now, I should be happier, I should have a better grade, I SHOULD be better. Truth is I shouldn’t be anything than who I am right now. Instead of dreaming my life away with unreal expectations I need to be accepting all that happens currently and be grateful for it. This last few months I began to remove the word should from my vocabulary, and it has allowed me to live in the moment more.

Next, quit comparing ourselves to everyone else. Nobody on this planet leads a perfect life and everyone is facing their battles. Some people I thought lived the best lives, actually were struggling just as much as I was. Stop comparing your behind the scenes to people’s edited and perfect life they show online. News flash: very few will share the bad parts of their life on the internet. I share some of mine, but I don’t share the nitty-gritty, simply because I don’t think that’s what people need to know about me. I’m a sucker for thinking that just because someone looks better than me in their no-makeup selfie means they lead a better life than me. They don’t. Your self worth is worth more than other people’s social media lives. If you’re struggling, in particular, with comparing, take a social media break. Sometimes I’ll take a week from Instagram and I have seen how much better I feel in myself. Social media has ruined some of our generations, I am telling you now the pictures on my Instagram are not how I look every day. I will take between 20 and 100 shots to get the ‘perfect’ Instagram images. The pictures I post I will scrutinise myself because I don’t think it is good enough for my followers to see. Truth be told none of you cares if I look a little chunky or if my pose is ‘awkward’, but the worry that I am not posting the perfect feed did lead me to be stressed. Now, while I’ll still take many shots, I post photos that I like of myself, even if they aren’t Instagram Perfection. Just remember as you scroll through the feed tonight that people will have spent hours on that photo, even their ‘woke up like this’ selfie.

Change your stance on your expectation. This is hard because if you’re anything like me you’ll give yourself incredibly high standards for what you want from life. This leads us to kill our self-worth when we (or others) don’t get to them. Instead of having our expectations as absolute goals, make them a guide. So that means if you don’t reach it there is less disappointment. If there a goal, just because you haven’t got to it today, doesn’t mean you won’t achieve it in the future either. The only true absolute goal is to prioritise self-love and continue to grow to be the best version of yourself.

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Fight the inner voice that makes you question your achievements. Just know that what you have achieved now is the best you could have done in this state you’re in. I used to think for so long that when people said just do your best, that it meant the highest grade, but doing your best actually means do as well as you can in this situation. I got an A in my GCSE maths exam, which was my best then, if I resat it now I would 100% get a better grade, but that is because I have 5 more years of maths knowledge since then. Justify your actions to yourself by reminding yourself that whatever you’ve achieved is amazing and is one step closer to something even better. When I didn’t get the GCSE results I wanted no-one is going to ask me about them once I finish university this year. Lose the thought of you can always do better and replace it with thinking the things you have achieved currently are incredible.

Learn to say the word ‘No’. ‘No’ scares me and I’m not sure why. However, saying yes to every situation leads me to do an average job for everyone, instead of a good job for select jobs. Remember when saying no you do not need to justify yourself afterwards.

I guess this was a lot of rambling but what’s new on my blog. This next year I want to learn to accept the events of life for what they are and stop overthinking them. Which is going to be harder than I’ve made out it to be. I’m going to learn that perfection isn’t going to ever happen and that I should roll with what happens. I can’t change the way people treat me or how life treats me but what I can change is how I approach situations. I can change the craving of perfection and instead crave situations to bring me some happiness. After all, happiness is far more important than a ‘perfect’ life.

All the love always,

Queen Clo x

 

 

 

A letter to those who are strong but struggling

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The mind can be a scary place to live in, it tells us every day that we have to be strong. That we have to keep fighting. It tricks us into thinking we shouldn’t be weak. It tricks us into wanting to fight our battles alone. In reality, fighting our battles alone is a sign of weakness. Life can be tricky and it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to put up a front, so others don’t worry if that will get you through the day, but it is not okay to do this permanently and avoid our problems. Avoiding our issues makes us feel a lot worse about ourselves.

I think a big thing to remember when suffering from anxious thoughts while also being a strong person is remembering that life won’t always be this scary. Just because things are scary doesn’t mean you aren’t strong either. I remember for so long that random little things scared the crap out of me. With the right support and kind of a fake it till you make it attitude I managed to pull through. Trust me losing anxious thoughts was not an overnight process and it took a lot of work, but I got there eventually. I still have bad days and I still struggle to do the simplest things some days. But it’s fighting through the anxious thoughts and remembering you are in control. When your anxiety makes you freak out and tells you the whole world is a scary place, remember it is scary but you are capable of creating solutions. You are capable of breaking through and one day you will be free of your thoughts.

To the one who is strong but is absolutely petrified of never finding love. I feel ya. In my whole life, I have had one boyfriend and let me tell you, it was a disaster. Dating is horrid and quite frankly I am scared I’ll be alone forever. If someone asks me how dating is going I will 100% joke and say that I love being single because that’s the strong girl inside of me pretending I don’t care. While I love some areas of being single, I also hate it. I hate the feeling that I am going to die alone and that I am undesirable. In my heart, I know that when the right person comes along I’ll be everything for them, but it is still hard to pretend the setbacks don’t hurt. People will come and love you, then leave as if nothing happened. It kills you but you have to keep your strength. People nowadays don’t seem to stay around, they just flirt, let you catch feelings and then leave. You have to use your strength as power and move through every ending. I know as a strong person I wear my heart on my sleeve but it does sometimes mean I break my own heart. I break my heart by imaging what could be, and they have no idea. No idea how deeply I care for them. I guess it’s learning to let others in, no matter how strong you are it is important to communicate your feelings and not be scared of the consequences. On the same note, I went through a stage of dating people for the sake of it to try to mask the feeling of being alone, and it was the worst thing ever. In the end, I felt even more hopeless at love and felt broken. So if you’re dating for the sake of it, it’s truly not worth it. You will find the right person but it will take time. Keep your standards high and keep loving yourself while you wait.

I sometimes feel like I don’t belong. For example sometimes when at work I feel like an outsider. That everyone around me is best friends and I’m just there. I sometimes feel that I’m disliked and while I know this isn’t the case, it’s hard to let that escape my mind. If you feel like an outsider too, remember that you are placed in places for a reason. You have a purpose and while sometimes it may be hard to see why to know that there is some reason you are there. If you keep focusing on not feeling you should be there, you miss out on the enjoyment of being in the place. I find work can be hell sometimes but really there are many small giggles and friendliness that I feel along with every shift. It’s remembering that although sometimes I don’t feel like I fit in, that a lot of people in the store probably don’t either and that there are still opportunities to form friendships with others to feel like I do. For my whole life I have never ever fitted in and to be honest I always thought of it as my weakness. In reality, the fact I never fit in is my strength. Don’t force yourself to fit the social norms, you being different may feel like the worst thing in the world but really it’s what makes you loveable.

If you’re someone who does everything for everyone else and wonders why no one does anything in return. Pause what you’re doing and reevaluate. Reevaluate whether you do these task for others for your own happiness or because you feel you have to. Sometimes when you decide to be strong you put others feels before yourself. It’s time to prioritise yourself. Take a breath and remember that while it’s okay to do things for others, you shouldn’t feel you have to. Learn that it’s okay to put yourself first for a change and you deserve all the love that you willingly give to others.

I think it’s so hard to try to be strong all the time and while sometimes your strength may be an act, soon it won’t be. Soon you will realise that you don’t break as much as you used to, that you don’t cry about the small things and that life is getting on track. Eventually, you will see these issues as learning curves and not the disasters they feel like right now. The scars you have will remind you that you fought bravely and you have (and will) always be strong. But remember that showing your sadness is no form of weakness and it is always okay to ask for help.

Each and every day is a new day to bloom, we grow and we learn for all the experiences we face. While you may be struggling right now, life will get better and as cliche, as it is you just have to hang in there. You are strong and keep going! Remember my Instagram is always a place to talk if you are feeling alone.

All my love always,

Queen Clo xxx

Being a warrior and less of a worrier- What happened in January?

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It is hard to survive when your brain is always at war with itself.

For as long as I can remember I have always tried to fit in, to be normal; to be liked by everyone and to never cause a fuss. I have this constant fear in my mind that I will never be normal. That no one ever likes me really, that I just seem to exist. It’s hard because I have some of the most incredible friends and family in the world and sometimes it STILL feels like the whole world is against me. It is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have anxiety what it’s like to live in constant fear. It is difficult to explain that a simple walk to the canteen fills me with dread. If you ask me why it does, I know my answers are illogical, but it doesn’t stop the fear from consuming me.

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When I was in my teens at maybe 15, my school sent me to some group therapy for self esteem issues, but all it did was make things slightly worse. It was hard to sit in a room and listen to people who seemed to have real issues that were worse than mine. I dismissed myself having poor mental health after this time as I felt I had no reason. When I reached sixth form the GP put me on beta blockers to deal with exam ‘stress’. I think that was when my panic attacks became most apparent. That things in my head were not as normal as I had tried to make myself believe. For the remainder of my sixth form education I tried to dismiss things that were in my head. How could anything be wrong when I have the most amazing family who love and support me? It wasn’t till I came to university that I realised that just because my life seemed amazing, didn’t mean that things in my head were always amazing.

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My anxiety controls me some days. It will tell me that my world is falling apart and even when I know that things are okay, my brain still tricks itself. It always comes at what feels like stupid times: when I am at dinner, when I am walking to my friends or when I am watching tv. What could possibly be wrong when I am watching TV? As I write this now I know that these things should be fine but sometimes they are not. Sometimes I just have to ride the wave of the anxiety and hope I am feeling better. I find it hard to cancel plans, and when I do I will sit and overthink about what I am missing out on, making my anxiety worse. So sometimes I will force myself to do things and then regret it. It is hard to find the balance of pushing myself and breaking myself. Thanks to some therapy, I learnt some tricks to deal with the stress of life, but it can be very impossible some days to apply the logical things.

I find life very difficult to process. I hate change and regularly obsess over decisions that will impact my life. I have to discuss problems over and over again before my brain can make sense of things. It can lead people to get bored of me but it’s hard to figure things out when you don’t always trust your brain. For instance, it is incredibly hard to decide if texting a boy back is the right decision, it seems trivial but sometimes small things like this will consume me. I just want to be loved and so texting a boy back I like may seem small but also I’m scared that if I go wrong I’ll be left with rejection. For bigger problems I have rang my parents way too many times, craving for them to make the decision for me. Big decisions scare me. The pressure that the choice I will pick will be wrong consumes me and leads me to shut down. I crave other people’s opinions on decisions in hopes they will solve the problems for me. Which I know they can’t. It’s hard when you are so fearful of your mind sometimes to pick an option. I know that if the option I pick is wrong, I will beat myself up about it for ages and freak out more when making another decision. I am trying to get to grips with everything happens for a reason, but in the moment if I can’t see the reason I just assume its been the wrong decision.

My anxiety has and will sometimes kill friendships/relationships. I fixate on what others think of me, I get obsessed with situations and want to be loved by those I love. My brain needs reassurance in some form that I am loved and cared about, when I don’t get that my brain freaks out. Deep down I know that all my friends love and care for me deeply, but some nights my brain manages to convince itself that they don’t. It is incredibly difficult to explain to people that while I know they care about me, sometimes my mind clouds that and I just need them to tell me or show me they do a little more. What I have struggled with is the fear that my friends will get bored of constant reassurance. It is hard because some friends just don’t get it. Which is fine, how can they understand that my brain convinces itself that everyone hates me. I know that sometimes they get sick of having to check that everything’s okay, so I will try to shut myself away. I am incredibly fortunate that some of my friends notice and will love me a little extra. I find it hard when friendships don’t work out how I have overthought them to.

I struggle to let go of friendships that are no longer healthy because I feel like there is something wrong with me. I blame myself and worry that just because this one friendship hasn’t worked out, that all my other friendships will fail too. So, even when I am being treated poorly I will still force myself to love them and hope things change. I am aware this isn’t healthy behaviour, but it is hard to change a stance I have had on friendship for 10 years. I recently discussed with my therapist that when I was in school I didn’t have many friends, or many good friends, so sometimes having good friends worries me. I am not sure how to be a good friend back, I am not sure why I suddenly deserve friends that love me. It sounds silly that my brain worries about having good friends, but I spent so long hoping to have friends who cared and it is scary to think I could lose them. I learnt to say thank you instead of sorry and it really is a much healthier mindset. I used to think I had to apologise for the way I was feeling but my friends have taught me that some of these thoughts are normal and I shouldn’t be ashamed of them. So this paragraph is finishing with a shout out to my TFL girls, Jade, Lucy and all my other incredibly wonderful friends. I am a mess but thank you for always loving me. Thank you for knowing the right things to say and for holding me a little extra when you don’t. Thanks for understanding that sometimes I find life extra challenging, but you take me under all your wings and walk me to dinner or take me home from the clubs. Thank you for helping me answer phone calls and knowing I will never ring unless I am really struggling. Thank you for accepting that I have to be ridiculously early for events and never ever late. I truly didn’t think I deserved friends who loved me this much.

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University culture is drinking, and sometimes that is the worst thing for me. Firstly, I panic that a group of people will judge me. Secondly, alcohol controls how you think and can lead my brain to freak out over unnecessary things. The constant battle at the minute is wanting to go out in case I miss out on things but also sometimes going out and getting too overwhelmed. I don’t want to go deep into this point, simply because I don’t really understand it myself, all I know is that this February I am limiting the intake in hopes it will save some of my sanity.

I could write a hell of a lot more about my anxiety but this post is already very long. Instead I will finish this section with some small points I missed. My brain sometimes fears the silence and so some weeks I keep myself very busy. I always try to do best by myself and by others. Life is challenging and everyday is a new battle. 

I can be hard to love but I promise loving me is worth it. 

My January review, January is always a hard month. It is the start of the year and I fill myself with constant pressure to make it perfect. This January has been far from it. There has been many tears, breakdowns and heartache, but there has also been a lot of joy too. I am determine to tackle my fears head on, and as I write this, even though I was incredibly anxious I managed to go to the SU today and still have a good time. 

January’s key events.

On the 6th of January my lovely mum dropped me back to uni. We went to Bills for our favourite breakfast. I miss family a lot when away but I know they are only a phone call away.

 

When my exams were finished I went and (awfully) played bowling with my friends. I only won the second game thanks to me being the only person to use barriers opps. Without them I would’ve 100% got 0..

On the 18th of January I held a senior res quiz. I freaked out a little worried that no one would turn up, thankfully people did. I got a little too drunk in viper afterwards.

Girls nights are always the best nights. We had a wine and dance party night on a Tuesday… future wine mums? I think sooo…

On the 23rd of January I went for a girly night out with some of the lovely girls I lived with last year. Turns out like bowling, I am also awful at beer pong. Will I ever find a ‘sport’ I am good at? Probably not, I will stick to my scrapbooking.

The 25th of jan I met up with Julia an old school friend and had a catch up about life. 

We got physical on the 30th of Jan and had a 80s workout themed social. Primark has some sick neon clothes in at the minute, so managed to find myself a last minute outfit. While also finding some bargains (a £1 skirt… yes please). The dance girls have been so important to my wellbeing this university year, every Wednesday is filled with a lot of love and a lot of fun. They really have become my family away from home and I am incredibly grateful to have met them all this year.

The last day of the month I visited a restaurant called Chakra with my blogger friend Ana (https://fadedspring.co.uk ), we had the most amazing Indian food and spend the whole evening gossiping about life. The perfect end to the month? I think so.

So to end, while anxiety plagued my brain I still managed to live. I had some ups and some downs, some days the bad out weighed the good. However, just because some months bad wins, it just means the next month you have to fight a little harder to make the good win. One thing I know for sure is that anxiety will not rule my life, I will win this fight eventually.

I would love to hear any tips and tricks you have discovered to help you live a little easier, so please do message or comment them. Just remember Jan is the Monday of the year, and so if it was rubbish, its time to make February your best month yet….

As always…

All the love,

Queen Clo xx