Past Perfect


It has been a very hard week. After some more obsessive, hypochondriac googling, I have undiagnosed myself with ADD, and I have decided that I probably have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) instead. The last time I saw her, my psychiatrist hinted that this might be the case. Procrastination can be caused by ADD, but I think mine is more likely a result of OCPD. I probably also have a bit of comorbid depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder (BPD) thrown into the mix.

Can I just apologize in advance for my obsessive navel-gazing about my mental health? If I was a first-time reader of this blog, I would fucking hate it. There is nothing I dislike more than self-absorbed people waffling on about their mental health issues on a blog or forum. “Get a grip!”, I feel like yelling. “Stop being so fucking self-obsessed!”. But, hey, I guess what we hate most in others is just a projection of what we hate in ourselves.

In my defence, I think I’ve been spending so much time trying to diagnose myself online because I desperately just want to know what the fuck is wrong with me. My psychiatrist has only really committed herself to saying a “mood disorder” which could be anything really. She has also made vague noises about OCPD and BPD, which is great because who wants to think that they have a personality disorder?! That just makes me feel like there is something innately and irredeemably fucked-up about me because, ultimately, how the fuck do you change your personality?!

Maybe you’re wondering why it should matter what the diagnosis is. After all, I’m on an antidepressant (Prozac), and that can help target any number of mental health issues regardless of the official diagnosis. Sure, Prozac might not “cure” me of a personality disorder, but it should help with the comorbid anxiety and depression. I think the reason a diagnosis matters to me is because I’m tired of struggling on alone. I want to find a support group for my specific issue, and a therapist who has training in helping people like me (whatever “me” is). It hasn’t been enough to just go to therapy and talk about my issues. I feel like I need a game plan. I’m drowning, and I just don’t know what the hell to do to save myself.

When it comes to the crunch, all of my suffering comes down to perfectionism. It is ruining my life. There is no doubt about it. I know it is, and yet I am powerless to stop it. That probably sounds overly-dramatic, but I am honestly not kidding. Over the last couple of days, I’ve found myself starting absent-mindedly at the wooden beams supporting the roof on the patio. It occurred to me that I could hang a rope from there and kill myself. Oh, don’t worry, I won’t actually do it but, yes, I do think about suicide because I have reached breaking point. I am so, so, so tired of being me and trying to be perfect.

My perfectionism touches every single aspect of my life, no matter how important or banal. As an example of the banal, let me tell you what happened when I walked into my SLAA women’s meeting today. Nearly everybody was wearing cute summer clothes and sandals. I had been too depressed and disorganized to do any washing, so I turn up wearing the only things that were clean – jeans, a turtleneck and trainers (“sneakers” to you Americans). So what? No big deal, right? Yeah, of course not. But except that this happens:

OhmygodwhyamItoomuchofalosertodothewashing?

Whatkindoflosercantgetittogetherenoughtodothewashing?

WhydontIhavenanycleanclothes?Whatthefuckiswrongwithme?

ImaloserImaloserImaloserImaloserImaloser

Iwantbeautifulsummerclothesandsandals

IwantIwantIwantIwantIwant

ImustbebeautifulImustbetheprettiestImusthavethenicestclothesthenicestsandals

ImustImustImustImustbethemostbeautiful

Imustbeperfect

Whatkindofaloserwastestimethinkingaboutclothesandshoes?!

IamsofuckingshallowImpatheticImstupid

My head is filled with such nonsense all day long. I cannot take it anymore.

As I read more about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder this week, I learned that people with this disorder often have trouble with relationships. Nah….you don’t say!!! I made life unbearable for MM because I expected perfection from him, too. There were times when I would come home from work, and he wouldn’t have done the dishes, so I would just smash them all on the kitchen floor in a temper because I couldn’t stand the chaos of it all. Oh, I am my mother’s daughter. This is how I grew up. There were no smashed dishes but there were impossible standards of cleanliness to meet, and all hell would break loose if I failed. I was also supposed to be beautiful and smart, and I was. I was. I was. I was. I still am. But it was/is never enough.

I can’t believe that I would put another person through the same hell that my mother put me through. MM wasn’t innocent by any stretch of the imagination (he has his own demons) but there can be no doubt that I was incredibly emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive, and that I broke his spirit. I needed him, and yet I hated him for being too weak to leave me, and I made him pay – for my father’s sins, I guess, of being too weak to protect both himself and me from my mother’s tirades.

Now that he is gone I sometimes miss him dreadfully, which is ironic given that I spent the last half of our relationship plotting my escape. He is understandably angry about some of the things I did in the marriage, but I, in turn, feel angry and betrayed because I-did-not-do-any-of-them-on-purpose! I don’t want a “Get Out of Jail Free” card because I know what I did wrong. I’m not making excuses. But, still, nearly ten months after the break-up, he calls me “a monster”, “evil” and blames me for his drinking, and his abusive treatment of me, which apparently only ever happened because he was “provoked” by me.

I don’t think it’s fair that he blames me for everything but, despite feeling this, I can’t help but obsessively analyze my personality to find evidence that maybe (God forbid!) I am a really bad person, after all. That was what he told me for a large part of the relationship. And I believed and accepted it because, well, I was very, very mean to him, and who else but a bad person would be mean?!

Despite this, I wish he was here to give me a cuddle and tell me that everything will be alright. I wish I had somebody in my life, I wish I had a family. I feel so desperately alone, and, although reaching out to my SLAA sponsor and friends/acquaintances helps, it’s not the same thing. I want somebody there who really cares about me; who would stay with me through thick and thin.

I am so sad that I don’t have that.

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11 thoughts on “Past Perfect

  1. Pandora Viltis May 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm Reply

    This will sound silly, but I wish I had the right words or a magic wand to erase those terrible thoughts from your head. From what I’ve seen about you, none of then are accurate assessments of who you are.

    • petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm Reply

      I wish you had a magic wand, too. 🙂

      On a good day, I don’t think the things MM said are true. I think that I just really hurt him, and that he’s expressing his hurt through anger. Unfortunately, that was a big problem in our relationship, as we both expressed pain through anger.

      • Pandora Viltis May 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm Reply

        My first husband was kind of like that, even years after we split, claiming I’d ruined him for committing to anyone else. It was all bullshit. He was the one who emotionally cheated on me several times, a few of them with my younger sister!

        • petrichoric May 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm Reply

          My ex has the right to be angry, but he doesn’t have the right to be so resentful. It’s not good for him, and it’s not good for me either. But the divorce will be finalized soon, so we’ll have no reason to ever contact each other again. Wow, your husband emotionally cheated on you with your sister? Do you still speak to said sister?

          • Pandora Viltis May 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm Reply

            Actually, I don’t really talk to my sister but not because of that. More because she is in my parents’ pocket and a drama queen. But she was always shutting it up in front of my boyfriends (my now husband included). It was really irritating. All her boyfriends were losers and she had more guys than I did, so why did she have to pursue mine too?

            Your ex does need to get over all the blaming. He’s a grown-ass man, so if he needs to take ownership in what bothers him about himself, not lay it all on your door. He seems kind of weak of character to me.

  2. Pandora Viltis May 12, 2013 at 1:19 am Reply

    I thought of another thing… if you hadn’t been obsessed with researching what might be going on with you, you might never have stumbled into my blog and asked about alcoholism. So I, for one, am glad you did ask those questions. (And that it turns out you aren’t an alcoholic 😉 )

    • petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm Reply

      Now, that is very true! I’m very glad we met!

      I think I’m just going to have to accept that, at this point in my life, it’s OK to be self-absorbed and obsessed with finding out what’s wrong with me. I just want to heal myself, and get better.

  3. arekino May 12, 2013 at 10:41 am Reply

    It sounds like you’re being haunted by your mother’s ghost. You’re already speaking in tongues 😛

    So what happens if you’re not perfect? What if you’re a mediocre human being? What if you strove to be mediocre for the rest of your life? Would your mother’s ghost yell at you?

  4. lifeismisery May 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm Reply

    You can change the way you think about things.

    Blaming something on a mood disorder or some sort of mental illness is such a crutch. Almost everyone has these sides to them (at least the best of us do), but you are the one in control of yourself. You are the one who controls what you think about.

    Don’t blame yourself for your egotism, self absorption. If you don’t think of yourself, who else will? Also you need an ego to survive in this world, and these days there are fewer Atticus Finches’s in the world and more guys from Jersey Shore, so you are no worse then anyone else.

    You’re not a bad person, you’re just in search of healing.

    And remember we have limited time in this world, you have a limited amount of time being as young as you are, you can’t spend all your time fussing about these things that debilitate you, you’ve got to take action. And thoughtfullness is action, but fight through those thoughts that inhibit you.

    • petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm Reply

      I see your point about not blaming everything on a mood disorder or a mental health issue. After all, popping a pill is not going to solve all of my problems. I need to do real work to change. However, on the other hand, I do think that I have a mental health issue that is ruining my life. I know it’s not my imagination because my mother had the exact same thing. She was obsessed with everything being perfect, and spent all day, every day cleaning. The woman never relaxed, and always had a manic energy to her. Who knows whether my environment taught me to be like her, or whether there’s a genetic component, but the reason behind it doesn’t really matter. All I know is that I’m suffering, and that I need specific help to get better.

  5. platypusbrain July 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm Reply

    Oh man. Literally everything you say is like word for word what I am going through. There is so much ambiguity and it really really p—es me offffffffff. I would like to have one clear answer thankyouverymuch so I can know FOR SURE that I am doing the right thing, that I am clever, that I can stand up for myself (because I am right), that I am beautiful. None of this wishy washy stuff, but For Sure. Right? Gargh. How do these people deal with the ambiguity it makes my insides feel like roasted cat testicles and then I get angry with myself for not being able to be okay with that feeling. Hmm. Also, there is such a thing as this mental illness – I can see what lifeismisery is saying and I have tried to be like ‘oh lets just screw this, who cares?’ but then the next moment I am just getting really peeved with the fact that I’m not sure whether I did something because I chose to or because someone else told me to (which would make me a walkover oBviOusLY). Obsessiveness is there. And it needs to be overcome, especially if it is sucking your joy. Uno question – is prozac helping in any way? I’m considering it but I don’t like medication, so I’ll only take it if it actually does something! In your self absorption you have helped lots of others hey hey! (so is it *really* selfish dooeeeooooo?)

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