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To ask my fellow type A perfectionist people a question?

(24 Posts)
BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 18:17:14

Do you have areas of your life that you are completely laid back and casual about? Or have you ever gone through a period where you have been really laid back and a bit apathetic about everything?

I have always been a typical type A person. I am a hardworker, organised, meticulous, studious, a perfectionist. Up until 6 months ago when I graduated from my master's I had spent my entire life in education. Since then I feel like I have lost myself a bit and I don't really recognise myself anymore. I seem to have lost drive and feel like I am coasting along lacking ambition, motivation and self-discipline. I am sure it has been compounded by lockdown but it was also the case before lockdown too.

I am not sure whether it has arisen from burn out or whether I am struggling outside of academia or whether it is maybe a symptom of depression so I was just wondering if anyone else who has a similar personality type to me has experienced anything similar?

OP’s posts: |
whocanibe2day Fri 29-May-20 18:22:36

I recently did a test (didn't know what it was for at the time) and I came out as severely depressed!!!

Get yourself a job, get exercising, get a routine. Don't fall into a depression, because it's a cunt to get out of.

Dinosauraddict Fri 29-May-20 18:28:15

Unfortunately I don't have any areas of my life I'm relaxed about - my career, DS, DH, finances, family, education etc are all meticulously planned and driven forward at pace (often to DH's annoyance)!

WindsorBlues Fri 29-May-20 18:33:57

I'm a type A girl. I'd a breakdown summer 2018 as awful as it was it helped me see that I can't control and make perfect every single aspect of my life.

A good day during the breakdown would be I'd manage to get out of bed to the sofa where I'd just stare at the wall all day but I slowly came to realise that the world was still going on around me even through I wasn't up at 0600 in the morning burning myself out so I could make my life and everyone's else's perfect down to the smallest detail.

I'm still a work in progress mediation is key taking 10 minutes out of my day to clear my mind, taking the time to excersize and I learnt how to say no to people's requests of it didn't suit me.

Graphista Fri 29-May-20 18:38:32

I was like you op. I'm currently rewatching desperate housewives and Bree is the one I was most like. I'm more Lynette these days!

What made the difference? A nervous breakdown! Sorry to be blunt but it's true.

Literally until 2 days before I screamed for help I was little miss perfect:

Single mum with no support network yet I had a spotless house & garden, well maintained (if old banger) car, dd was dressed in perfectly co-ordinated outfits, no debt, cooked from scratch every night, full time undergrad student achieving high marks and attending all contact hours, organising and supporting other students, working part time, voluntary charity role...

You get the idea!

Completely unsustainable!

When the mental health team came to do an assessment and asked me to describe a typical day & week they were gobsmacked!

One actually said it was a miracle if not had a breakdown sooner!

I went from all that to having to be undressed and walked into a shower! To being incapable of deciding which tin of beans to buy in the supermarket, to forgetting how to work a cash machine!

I tell you this as a cautionary tale.

DON'T be me.

Perfection is an illusion, nothing and nobody is perfect and trying to attain that will send you round the twist!

What is important to you? Prioritise the important stuff, lower your standards and give yourself a break.

The laundry basket doesn't have to always be empty, the house doesn't have to be visitor ready permanently, beans on toast for dinner won't kill anyone.

Likewise nobody is indispensable at work and working extra hours/putting in more graft than you are paid for or appreciated for is pointless.

I lost almost everything material as a result of the breakdown, felt tough at the time but taught me things don't matter.

Health, loved ones, a fulfilling life are what matters.

I know how hard it is to change BELIEVE me but it is possible.

Joolsin Fri 29-May-20 18:48:36

I am a complete perfectionist in certain, very specific areas (mostly anything to do with paper, such as work, filing, drafting and editing, making things, wrapping presents, map-reading!), and laid-back to the point of catatonia about many more (my mantra is "Oh well") and there's not much middle ground. My daughter is pretty much exactly like you, OP, and and she has to work hard (in a Type A way!) at times to ensure she doesn't spiral down. Routine, structure and list-writing is key for her.

BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 18:52:17

whocanibe2day

I recently did a test (didn't know what it was for at the time) and I came out as severely depressed!!!

Get yourself a job, get exercising, get a routine. Don't fall into a depression, because it's a cunt to get out of.

That is what I worry is happening, I think I am slowly falling away from the person I was and losing all the good habits I had.

OP’s posts: |
BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 18:54:22

WindsorBlues

I'm a type A girl. I'd a breakdown summer 2018 as awful as it was it helped me see that I can't control and make perfect every single aspect of my life.

A good day during the breakdown would be I'd manage to get out of bed to the sofa where I'd just stare at the wall all day but I slowly came to realise that the world was still going on around me even through I wasn't up at 0600 in the morning burning myself out so I could make my life and everyone's else's perfect down to the smallest detail.

I'm still a work in progress mediation is key taking 10 minutes out of my day to clear my mind, taking the time to excersize and I learnt how to say no to people's requests of it didn't suit me.

I have noticed that there have been days during this lockdown where doing the bare minimum in a day (showering, brushing teeth and making three meals for myself) feel so difficult. I have been journaling throughout but I do think going from being in a stressful, high-paced environment with my master's do having no structure or routine has had a bad impact on me.

OP’s posts: |
flamegame Fri 29-May-20 18:55:24

Doesn’t this sound like you are rudderless as lacking a new post education goal?

I try and remember that not everything requires total focus - I can be a perfectionist about one thing at a time but not everything. My dh otoh and my dd either want to be the best or quit the game on all bases and it’s mentally impossible to sustain without periods of checking out

BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 18:57:09

Graphista

I was like you op. I'm currently rewatching desperate housewives and Bree is the one I was most like. I'm more Lynette these days!

What made the difference? A nervous breakdown! Sorry to be blunt but it's true.

Literally until 2 days before I screamed for help I was little miss perfect:

Single mum with no support network yet I had a spotless house & garden, well maintained (if old banger) car, dd was dressed in perfectly co-ordinated outfits, no debt, cooked from scratch every night, full time undergrad student achieving high marks and attending all contact hours, organising and supporting other students, working part time, voluntary charity role...

You get the idea!

Completely unsustainable!

When the mental health team came to do an assessment and asked me to describe a typical day & week they were gobsmacked!

One actually said it was a miracle if not had a breakdown sooner!

I went from all that to having to be undressed and walked into a shower! To being incapable of deciding which tin of beans to buy in the supermarket, to forgetting how to work a cash machine!

I tell you this as a cautionary tale.

DON'T be me.

Perfection is an illusion, nothing and nobody is perfect and trying to attain that will send you round the twist!

What is important to you? Prioritise the important stuff, lower your standards and give yourself a break.

The laundry basket doesn't have to always be empty, the house doesn't have to be visitor ready permanently, beans on toast for dinner won't kill anyone.

Likewise nobody is indispensable at work and working extra hours/putting in more graft than you are paid for or appreciated for is pointless.

I lost almost everything material as a result of the breakdown, felt tough at the time but taught me things don't matter.

Health, loved ones, a fulfilling life are what matters.

I know how hard it is to change BELIEVE me but it is possible.

Wow, thank you for opening up and sharing, that was really powerful. I hope you are doing better now.

OP’s posts: |
Ginbunny1212 Fri 29-May-20 19:01:11

I am a type A and did my masters full time as working over 3 years. Not great. I tend to be more type A when I am stressed. It’s a way to gain control. I recognised this when I burnt out last year. Panic attack in a shop.

I am now more relaxed around my life to the point of horizontal. Work still type A, bit that’s more I want to ensure a good standard. Realised I couldn’t control everything and something had to give.

Enjoy being relaxed in personal life and people say I am more fun And better to ge around.

BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 19:01:29

Joolsin

I am a complete perfectionist in certain, very specific areas (mostly anything to do with paper, such as work, filing, drafting and editing, making things, wrapping presents, map-reading!), and laid-back to the point of catatonia about many more (my mantra is "Oh well") and there's not much middle ground. My daughter is pretty much exactly like you, OP, and and she has to work hard (in a Type A way!) at times to ensure she doesn't spiral down. Routine, structure and list-writing is key for her.

What you wrote about your daughter is very interesting that she has to work hard to prevent herself from spiraling down. I think that is maybe what is missing from my life. When I was university routine, structure and to-do lists were built into my life naturally because I had so many things to juggle. I never really purposely created a routine or to-do list it was just a natural side-effect of being a busy student. I think that the reason I am struggling now is I have not put into place any kind of routine or structure to my days, particularly now during lockdown. I guess because I don't currently have that many external responsibilities I never felt it was worthwhile to create a routine and I feel like that has left me kind of coasting through the days, weeks, months with no structure.

OP’s posts: |
letmethinkaboutitfornow Fri 29-May-20 19:02:35

Was / Has been Type A - always perfectionist, everything planned out, borderline OCD... then pandemic happened and I lost my job!

Turned my whole life upside down - so understand what you mean by lacking of motivation (when it was your normal before), when you can barely get on with the basics (shower, brush teeth...) and before you had everything planned out with daily to-do lists... it sucks. No advise just yet. flowers

Neverender Fri 29-May-20 19:03:13

Of you have a job? A purpose? If not then losing that and not replacing it with anything is bound to make you feel meh

BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 19:03:35

flamegame

Doesn’t this sound like you are rudderless as lacking a new post education goal?

I try and remember that not everything requires total focus - I can be a perfectionist about one thing at a time but not everything. My dh otoh and my dd either want to be the best or quit the game on all bases and it’s mentally impossible to sustain without periods of checking out

Yes I definitely think that the uncertainty of being a graduate contributes a lot to this. I am definitely similar to your DH and DD. Even when I tried to relax with baking it ends up me trying to perfect my baking technique rather than just embracing it for what should be just a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

OP’s posts: |
BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 19:06:17

Ginbunny1212

I am a type A and did my masters full time as working over 3 years. Not great. I tend to be more type A when I am stressed. It’s a way to gain control. I recognised this when I burnt out last year. Panic attack in a shop.

I am now more relaxed around my life to the point of horizontal. Work still type A, bit that’s more I want to ensure a good standard. Realised I couldn’t control everything and something had to give.

Enjoy being relaxed in personal life and people say I am more fun And better to ge around.

Yes when I am stressed I become much, much more of a perfectionist. I never really considered it as a way of control before but you are right, it definitely does give an illusion of control.

That is great that you have learnt to be more relaxed and easygoing with your personal life.

OP’s posts: |
Neverender Fri 29-May-20 19:06:58

I'm also getting divorced. Working full time. Have a 3yr old. And doing an MBA. Stress is addictive if you ask me...

BalletPinkRoses Fri 29-May-20 19:08:55

letmethinkaboutitfornow

Was / Has been Type A - always perfectionist, everything planned out, borderline OCD... then pandemic happened and I lost my job!

Turned my whole life upside down - so understand what you mean by lacking of motivation (when it was your normal before), when you can barely get on with the basics (shower, brush teeth...) and before you had everything planned out with daily to-do lists... it sucks. No advise just yet. flowers

I'm so sorry that you are going through a difficult time. However it is reassuring to hear that someone else has also gone from one extreme (perfectionism) to another (struggling with motivation). It makes me realise that it is probably just a natural reaction from going from being busy and stressed to suddenly having no structure. I hope things start to get better for you soon.

OP’s posts: |
flamegame Fri 29-May-20 19:13:20

Sounds familiar! Don’t attempt baking with children!! You need to think about the hard thing, the new goal post education. Attempts to control other things are likely diversionary.

Presumably you have a job target?
Is there any additional skill you could learn online to augment the search?

It takes years to learn to relax, it usually comes from having so many balls in the air something has to give.

letmethinkaboutitfornow Fri 29-May-20 19:14:00

@balletpinkroses - ditto! It is also reassuring to know that I am also not alone. It`s been tough... But we are not alone flowers
You know the good thing about being at the bottom of a valley? The only way is UP! unless you start digging

LynnThese4reSEXPEOPLE Fri 29-May-20 19:37:43

I'm very type A, and I have found that occasionally letting myself be spontaneous is so beneficial to my mental health. Yesterday, on a whim, I drove for an hour to go and have a socially distanced walk with my mum by the sea. It was so much better than the vacuuming/washing/childcare day I would have otherwise had.

I'd recommend trying something different every now and again!

DontStandSoCloseToMe Fri 29-May-20 19:55:16

I'm fastidious about my job, I take it very very seriously and there are live our death consequences if I don't, I put a lot of effort into my relationships, making sure DS is stimulated and engaged with different activities, choosing a nursery was like a sport, my garden I take great pride in, I cook from scratch consistently and I'm not talking jars of dolmio, my finances are appropriately organised so we're getting the best rates on investments and the best deals on utilities etc. Holidays are planned efficiently. My house is where I'm slack, it's clean and fairly tidy, I pick the toys up every night, run the hoover round etc, but I'm not ironing bedding, I'm not bleaching the woodwork and doorframes etc, I change my bedding every week to ten days, I'm not hiring a rug doctor every other month (TAAT) , we have high ceilings and there are a few cobwebs that have been up there a while if you know where to look, I'm not looking for tips from Mrs Hinch, I also wear little make up, I keep my eyebrows tidy, my hair cut regularly, wear BB cream mainly and a smudge of mascara if I'm going to work, I have no idea about contouring , hd brows etc! I used to be better with cleansing, exfoliating etc pre ds but I prioritise other things now

Oriflamme Fri 29-May-20 20:00:15

Briefly, OP - I was Type A about work (not about much else!) until I too burned out and had a breakdown. In some ways it was the best thing to happen to me, as it helped me to discover aspects of myself which I’d ignored, suppressed or disregarded, and now my main goal in life is very different from before and the pace of life is a lot slower and much more sustainable.

Graphista Fri 29-May-20 23:55:19

"Wow, thank you for opening up and sharing, that was really powerful. I hope you are doing better now."

Depends on your perspective.

I'm housebound my main dx are ocd and resultant agoraphobia.

BUT I don't care what others think and if I don't get done what I intended to on a day I don't beat myself up about it.

It's been nearly 15 years since that first breakdown and I've had long periods of being well and functioning but haven't managed to maintain it.

There's a real gap in mh services from being under the intense care of the community mental health team to being left to manage pretty much on your own unless you tell the gp when you start going downhill again which NEWSFLASH type A perfectionists tend not to be good af.

Hence my cautionary tale. Much better to nip things in the bud than let them get serious.

I've found mindfulness, yoga and guided meditation useful

Quite honestly I wish I'd learned to relax as a child but I had type A parents too!

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