On Monday I wrote about what holds me together and gets me through having such a demanding life these days. I realized after I recorded the video you're about to see that I left "changing my expectations" off of that list. During my pregnancy I developed a serious case of OCD. We're talking nesting on steroids, people. It was intense. Baseboards and particles of dust feared me, ok? I couldn't rest until everything was neat, arranged, and put away, all in it's proper place. I rearranged items in my cabinets & fridge, rearranged furniture in my house, rearranged my clothes and closet....you name it I did it. Everything had to be clean and if it wasn't I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn't doing my job. I felt that if everything was perfect around me and I had control over where everything was, then I'd be the perfect girlfriend who would make the perfect wife, and I'd be the perfect mother to my kids who could do and be all. Notice how many times I just said perfect? I was a perfectionist to the extreme and I pushed myself to strive for and meet these standards and expectations I thought would make me, well....perfect. Perfection=acceptance, being wanted, being loved, having control....pretty much everything that was the opposite of how I perceived myself. I naively thought it would go away after I had Alex, but it really only intensified and became part of my experience with PPD & PPA. I would go through days where I was so depressed and anxious I couldn't clean, and then I would clean incessantly because I was depressed and anxious. Cleaning became my worst enemy and my best coping strategy depending where I fell on the mental illness spectrum each day. It was both a trap and a way of release if that makes sense.
Working as a social media consultant full-time. Attending school full-time. Taking care of my newborn/infant son and my three year old. Keep a spic and span house AT ALL TIMES. I pushed and pushed and pushed myself to the breaking point on a daily basis. And boy did I break. Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. Intrusive thoughts. Pain. GUILT (so MUCH guilt!) Anger (i.e. RAGE) Highs....and lows...the pressure I felt and put myself under to appear perfect, in control, and having it all together was intense.
So my life was pretty messy. I was pretty messy. But I thought I could clean it up on my own. I was wrong.
It's taken some painful therapy sessions, hard talks with myself and medication to realize that I'm a mess....AND BE OKAY WITH THAT. It's also taken these things to recognize that what I was striving for is unattainable and very unhealthy. A huge part of my recovery process from PPD/PPA was realizing that I had some very unhealthy expectations & standards for myself...and that I needed to change them. ASAP.
Even living with BP now, I've had to change what I expect out of and for myself and my family. Doing so has helped me release the valve on the pressure cooker I put myself in and has helped me ditch my quest for perfection.
I'm not super mom and I'm not super woman. I don't have it all together and I am so far from perfect it's a joke, really. But that's okay for me these days. I've realized there are more important things to be concerned with....like my children....my homework...painting..."me" time....
So to prove to you that I've come a long way in the ditching perfection department, and hopefully encourage you to not be so hard on yourself, I'm giving you a peek at my messy apartment. Taping this wasn't easy and neither is publishing it...but hey, having a messy house doesn't make me less of a person or mother...and it doesn't make you less of one either, so cut yourself some slack, okay?