Sunday, 17 May 2015

P E R F E C T I O N I S M ; A MENTAL ILLNESS?

From a young age I was singled out as a perfectionist. My teachers would praise me on my above average intelligence. From primary school onwards I was placed into higher sets and as a result, began to measure my success on my competitive standing; how my grades ranked against others. I was impressionable, having not yet reached an age of independent thought and thus formed behavioural habits that distort how I view myself in ways outside of my intellect even now e.g self image.


This is one of the many issues with education I feel is corrupting creative, evolving minds. To rank all individuals of different abilities, different strengths, solely on the ability to take a test, not on the way in which the test was studied for, is inflicting all young people. To put it bluntly, half of young adults finishing school think they are idiots, and the other half are setting themselves up for a lifetime of fault finding and unworthiness at this strive for unattainable perfectionism..


Although the term 'perfectionism' is not often directly associated with mental health or even considered a disorder in itself, a recent epiphany has allowed me to reflect on my past and acknowledge many self depreciating habits that have formed due to this behavioural trend (ingrained in my schooling years). 

For one, In the past decade or so I developed a disorder known as Body Dysmorphia. (A real pain in the ass that one.) My perfectionism evolved to the stage where my physical appearance, specifically my weight/body shape became the sole indicator of my emotive state, and the 'perfectionist' that I am -or perhaps was- you can probably guess, I was almost never content. As my self image plummeted -mainly due to media propaganda in my early teens- my eating habits also took a turn for the worst and I developed unhealthy obsessions such as calorie counting, severe food restriction and purging after meals. (...I know this post is rough going at the moment folks, but try to stick with me..)

In only very recent times have I become a conscious enough thinker to acknowledge these feelings regarding my self image as irrational. And although the feelings still linger and affect my behaviour, I can now deal with my disorder in a much healthier way and can sometimes even override the emotive outcome of my disordered subconscious thought process, through internal analysis of those thoughts! Amazing what you can achieve with self awareness, discipline and conscious thinking

By summarising my own experiences growing with this prescribed personality trait, I hope to inspire insight as I share with you the actions I believe must be taken in future; We need to nurture our children -and all younger generations to come- with new, positive ideals, that praise our imperfect individual selves. We need to stop telling children what they are good at but start praising them for their efforts instead. We need to stop feeding children one ideal of beauty and instead teach them to acknowledge kindness as beauty. Let's put an end to the idolisation of celebrities ranked on appearance! 

We need to recognise that inspiring perfectionism in young humans is cruel. We should not just classify a child with that shitty word and all it's connotations and then encourage their unknowing desire to be forever unfulfilled with self criticism! We need to become better advocates for self love not only for the children of tomorrow but the people of today. 

For those of you who read this post as self proclaimed 'perfectionists' like myself, know that with conscious thinking and practice, you can become more self accepting and forgiving of your imperfections. I'm still working on this, but if you feel like a post on overcoming perfectionism might be useful, do let ya gal know. I'll try my best to give a little insight.

And just remember folk, that the word 'perfect' is but only an idea of an ideal, and I for one feel warmly that in nature, the term miraculous is the only fitting word of description. 

So yes, you are miraculous, now go make yourself a cup of tea.

Mika x

5 comments:

  1. Mika, I have been following you since your were about 15, even before pastel apparel (deeeedicated follower over here!) and I think you have grown up into an incredible and beautiful woman - The fact that you have moved away from the standard blog and youtube mould and sharing experiences like this with your followers. Perfectionism can often be must more of a defect than a virtue. My best friend suffers with anorexia and she, unlike yourself, has not yet managed to become conscious of what was happening to her. You are an example to follow and I hope you carry on to share your experiences and AMAZING selfies with us!

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  2. Awesome post girl! This spoke to me in so many ways as I myself deal with being a perfectionist and my biggest critic! You've written some really encouraging and thought provoking words. I'm glad you're learning to get through it, I hope some day I can learn to aswell, because being a perfectionist can be so controlling! And I completely agree with you about the whole putting children in sets thing at school, it's not fair; instead of celebrating the child's creativity and differences they are hindering it! Definitely something that needs to change! Loving your blog! :)

    Heather Xx
    100waysto30.co.uk

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  3. Self-love is so so important. It's very easy to beat ourselves up, especially for not being what is the norm of 'ideal'. Mika, I'm so glad you took to this blog as a platform to further reach out and talk about such issues. Issues that are genuine, and really exist in our prominent society.
    It is honestly a great thing you are doing. Every word here is oath, and you should be very happy with yourself that you are spreading good vibes. x

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  4. Love this, agree with so much of what you are saying! Adore your youtube and blog! x

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  5. You write so beautiful! Can't wait for more blogposts, hope you achieve your goal about blogging as a full time job :) Much love xx

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