Needing to be “perfect” all the time

by Christine on May 22nd, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany:

I need to be perfect. All. The. Time.

I always kind of knew this in some way, but I always called it being “a little odd” or “anal retentive” or “OCD.”  I never really put it like that: “The need to be right all the time,” but it’s true. I have an obsessive need to do the best possible job at all time and be as perfect as I can be at all times.

It’s crazy. My life is good—really good! But if 11 out of 12 things are going well for me, the one thing that is off-kilter will send me spiraling into a depression or an anxiety attack. It can be as small as having dishes in the sink or being late for an appointment (which, as it happened, is what triggered me yesterday).

And it’s not just my mood that gets affected. I have a hard time forcing myself to try new things that I think I’ll suck at (note: remember when I tried playing flag football this fall and got tackled within 30 seconds? And I vowed never to play again?) or, for example, I have a hard time going to sleep if I have laundry waiting to be finished. When I throw a girls-night party at my house, I get so crazy over cleaning the house, having the right food, games, and party favors, that I exhaust myself and spend so much time in an anxious fit that I don’t spend any time socializing with my friends. It seems that everything becomes a casualty when I get obsessive about having everything just right.

Why do I do this? Obviously it all stems from my childhood, but two different things have contributed to this. For starters, I had an overachieving older brother that my parents pretty much hero-worshipped. I knew I could never be as popular, handsome, smart, or talented as him, but damn I sure tried to live up to his standards. Why? Because I wanted to my mom’s acknowledgement and respect. Which I rarely got. I remember one time I got a report card with all As and a B-, and my mom’s reply was “you need to try harder. This isn’t good enough.”  And so I just kept trying harder. (It’s no surprise that I eventually “figured the whole school thing out” and graduated with a 4.0 for my Masters Degree.)

The second reason why I do this is a little more complicated. I was often…harassed or verbally abused, especially if I stepped out of line or did something noticeable. In fact, I would say I mastered the art of being invisible and staying off the radar. Nothing gets you noticed faster that fucking up a task, so I worked my ass of to get shit done right and done well to avoid a future confrontation. I remember one time I was asked to go out and mow the lawn, and I was so afraid that I wasn’t doing it right – all those pesky long-grassed trimmings at the edges of the lawn—that I subsequently spent about 5 hours trimming all the edges with a pair of scissors until my fingers bled. All so I didn’t get yelled at for not doing it right the first time. When I was in middle school I got teased for having blingy hair-scrunchies and different clothes (I nearly got my ass beat once for wearing a new brand of jeans, Guess Jeans, that nobody heard of). So I just learned to dress tidily, usually all in black or solid colors, nothing noticeable or offensive. Boring. Yes, I was very, very boring.

This perfectionism OCD-ness has reaches in all areas of my life. My work needs to be done just right before it goes out the door. I will get depressed and hide in the bedroom if I forget to pick up the gallon of milk hubby asked me to get after work, or forget to pick up the dry cleaning. I berate myself for not calling my family enough and not being a good enough daughter.

This whole innate desire to get it Just. Perfect. definitely can be seen with my weight, self-image, and food issues. I realize now that I’ll never look in the mirror and like what I see. Something will always need to be fixed. (I spent a solid hour at work looking up information on getting plastic surgery done on my eyes, to eliminate the bags under them.)  The fact is, even after a year of “maintenance mode” following gastric banding surgery, I still don’t feel confident that I have my body under control. I also don’t feel that I have my eating under control. (After missing my pysch appointment yesterday I consumed 4 candy bars and cried in my car.)   

And when my weight fluctuates over my Goal Weight (125 pounds), even 3 pounds or more, I berate myself, find myself tottering on the line of depression.

I know that being obsessive about getting it just perfect all the time is toxic and not healthy. But knowing that and stopping how I feel are two radically different things. I don’t know how to change my attitude, perspective, and goals.

Obviously I will bring this up to my doctor the next time I meet with him. I’m not really sure how to get over this, but at least I’ve recognized it.

 

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My first official 5k run/walk!

by Christine on May 18th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise

Yesterday I participated in my FIRST official 5k run/walk!  I walked, so my time isn’t impressive, but what’s important is that I did it and finished it! It was a workplace team challenge, and I competed with my co-workers. Afterwards we all went out for a beer. It was a fun time!

Weight holding steady at 126. I’m pleased about that!

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4 Year Wedding Anniversary!

by Christine on May 7th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Exercise

In celebration of four years of wedding bliss together, hubby and I decided to head down to the New Jersey shore for the weekend.

I’ve been living in Upstate New York for 10 years now, and although I’ve been to Atlantic City before, I’ve never explored the shoreline. In fact, I’ve always had a very poor opinion of New Jersey, since my first experience there was finding myself in Elizabeth and Newark. I realize this makes me sound a little bit ignorant, but my opinion was surely reversed after this weekend.

First we drove way down south to Cape May. I LOVED CAPE MAY! It’s fantastically beautiful and laid back and relaxing. I would love to stay there sometime during the summer and use the beaches. We passed about 6 couples getting married on the beach there….just perfect!  I had the most delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder I’ve ever had!

Beautiful Victorian houses all throughout the town. So much to see and admire!

This is the Inn of Cape May. We randomly chose this spot for lunch. The dining room overlooks the ocean, and they had the best Manhattan Clam Chowder! Yum!

After we were done exploring Cape May, we drove slowly up the coast and stopped to look at all the cute towns. We stopped in Wildwoods, which has a huge boardwalk with lots of carnival rides, tshirt shops, etc. A fun place for kids and a fun place to visit (but I personally wouldn’t want to stay there).

They deep fry EVERYTHING there! Every 2 feet you ran into a little shop that will deep fry anything you can think of. I had never had a deep fried Oreo, and hubby loves Oreos so we had to give that a try…

MEH.  Disappointing.  Maybe a triple-stuffed oreo would be good, but I just found it lacking in flavor overall. Very dry. Fun to try, but I definitely won’t be doing that again.

We stayed the night at Bally’s in Atlantic City.  We got an upgrade to our room since they screwed up our reservation, and our room was very spacious. The best part by far was the use of the pool facilities ($10 per room, per day). Sunday we spent all morning swimming, sitting in the hot tub, using the saunas, etc. It was fantastic!

Dinner on Saturday was at Rainforest Cafe. I got fish tacos, but for some reason my gastric band wouldn’t allow me to keep a single bite down. It’s frustrating to waste money like that.

Lunch on Sunday we found a real gem — the Red Square, a Russian restaurant. It has walls (well, columns) made of ice! They have a bajillion types of vodkas, and a freezer where you can put on a bunch of russian furs and wrap up and go into the freezer to do a shot of your choice of vodka. Very swanky and fun! I ordered the shrimp cocktail, and it was divine! HUGE shrimps and a delicious mango salsa. So yummy. The Caesar salad was amazing too. Yummy all around.

I drank my face off, got lots of walking in (and climbing on rocks on the beach), gambled a little (and came home with money in my wallet!) and had a brilliant time!

Happy Anniversary Honey!

Weight-wise, I’m hanging in there constantly at 130 pounds. I shouldn’t be annoyed at that, but to be honest I’d be a lot more happy at 125.  All my clothes fit, but I feel like my body shape is kind of changing somehow. My butt and legs just feel bigger to me, and I feel like my pants are tighter in those areas. It could very well be all in my head, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m gaining weight. I get really panicky about it, but when I step on the scale it’s still within the maintenance zone. I’m finding it hard to rectify how I feel and the number on the scale. Since I know I have disordered eating issues and self-perception problems, it’s safer to rely on the number on the scale rather than how I feel, but it’s hard to ignore the feelings entirely.

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