"Perfect Healing"

  • 5 Replies
  • 190 Views
*

Ambassador

  • Member
  • 16
    • View Profile
"Perfect Healing"
« on: September 21, 2019, 07:34:49 AM »
Hello all. Lately (entire past year to be honest, but especially the last couple weeks) I've been struggling with a sense of anxiety and internal pressure to "heal" perfectly. Specifically, using techniques I learned in therapy and practice each day in a manner that is right. Part of it is using flashcards which direct my thinking to a certain thing and then I envision or try to feel warmth towards it. But what has been happening with increasing strength lately is I feel a sense of dread and worry as soon as I pick up the cards; worry that if I don't do it right and perfectly, it'll get worse and worse and eventually undo all the work I've done, backfiring everything and causing more problems than it solves. This compounds when I remember it's supposed to be (more or less) effortless and natural and that stress blocks it.

I often have a sense that I'm subconsciously waiting for some epiphany or life-changing breakthrough to happen in healing and therapy, some undeniable marker that my healing is complete, and that I can relax and be normal again. Or that I'm somehow slowly drifting from a healthy path, despite my efforts and marked progress. There are a million ways to heal, but my mind tends to think that because I still have symptoms, something must not be working right (or I'm not doing it right) and I either need to try much harder or try some other tactic.

Overall it just gets to feel overwhelming, and makes it difficult to enjoy and be optimistic about healing practices. Any advice on handling perfectionism would be appreciated.

*

Gromit

  • Member
  • 255
    • View Profile
Re: "Perfect Healing"
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2019, 04:46:21 PM »
 :heythere: Ambassador
I had a look at your posts because you are obviously new. This post really spoke to me.

A few years ago I did a course in meditation, my T thought meditation would be a good idea and it was something I could do for my CPD (continuing Professional Development). The first day started with a practice that the tutor led us through. At the end of the day we were told to practise that practice every day until the next session, in a months time, if we could. When I tried I had this fear that I would not 'do it right', I hadn't written anything down, I might forget something. It was just body scanning, up and down. After some days of procrastination I realised I just had to do it, to try. It didn't matter if I didn't hear the same words the tutor used, in my head. Doing it was the thing, not doing it 'right'.


Have you tried telling your T about the struggle? If they have introduced the flash cards then they may be aware that there may be resistance to using them.

When you have CPTSD from childhood, as I do too, there is no 'normal' as such to return to, we don't know anything but what we experienced and some of it was before we had the language to describe it. My dysfunctional family life was 'normal' to me until I mixed more with outsiders and realised that other people did things differently. Recovery, for me, is trying to recognise the things I do which do not serve me well, accept them, and try to do something else. It is ongoing. I wish I could flick a switch and be healthy, but sometimes I see people, like my FOO and realise how far I have come and you say you have recognised progress too.

I recently discovered a guy called Jeff Foster, he writes some inspiring stuff, it may help. You are doing the best you can, don't think you do not belong here because your experiences is not exactly the same as someone else. Look for the similarities instead.
G


*

Blueberry

  • Member
  • 5881
  • Baby steps count!
    • View Profile
Re: "Perfect Healing"
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2019, 06:03:46 PM »
I agree with Gromit about telling your T that you feel overwhelmed as well as about the sense of dread and worry when you pick up the flash cards. My T is always interested in that kind of reaction. He says the process gets interesting when things don't work.

Dealing with perfectionism - you can certainly read about and try to lessen the Inner Critic: https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=2592.0 It might also just help you to know that perfectionism is a problem for many of us with cptsd. I'd sort of like to heal all in one go too, except I know that too much healing all at once tends to throw me off balance. What happens instead is that I heal bit-by-bit, step-by-little-step. Then there are steps backwards.... That seems very common on here, so it might help you to know you're not alone in that.

*

woodsgnome

  • Member
  • 1578
  • I did not wish to live what was not life
    • View Profile
Re: "Perfect Healing"
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2019, 07:23:06 PM »
Part of this can be what I call the 'someday all will be well syndrome'. Kinda true, in some respects; but we want to rush the process, and fall into the perfectionist game, following all the steps faithfully until it dawns on us that whoa -- I'm lost, again. I must be doing this wrong. Maybe, but probably not. However, I've only learned that after lots of tramping around.

I've tried all kinds of approaches, techniques, readings -- eastern, western, native, and more. At least I seem to have some sort of inner  pull that doesn't mind the roaming so much as wondering if I'm there yet -- then realizing I probably was, but just not all at once.

It's very tricky, and panicky, though. The expectations of a definitive endpoint can become exasperating, even desperate. In the end, I'm finding a unique path, except it's terribly hard to explain and I don't have a 7 step process I can recommend (wish I did).

I think it's like Blueberry has noted, that the big picture may draw us in, but it's the small steps where the changeover begins -- begins, which is not close to a fireworks-worthy grand ending.

It's been so long, so hard, and that seems pretty discouraging. Maybe, but the best trait to work on seems to be cultivating a sense of patience, and of course a diminution of the tendency to self-judge.

There've been occasions when I thought I was doing something terribly wrong, and it turned out to be the opposite. So with patience, I'd just add it's okay to be surprised sometimes, in ways never expected. This has gone both ways for me, and although the negative elements of surprises were there, they at least provided a place from which to start anew, which is all we can ever keep doing it seems.

This may all sound impossible or radical, I don't know. What I do know is the trip out from the despair of cptsd is itself a process of unlearning the old and creating the new. Some elements from before might hang around, but perhaps they can be worked into the new picture emerging from all those discarded elements.

Main thing is -- there's no perfect way that will always fit everyone's dynamics. Part of the outcome, though, might be learned en route to the new you that is being crafted; also  by you. Lonely, but even that can work into learning self-acceptance.

*

Jazzy

  • Member
  • 484
    • View Profile
Re: "Perfect Healing"
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2019, 11:21:05 PM »
There are some great replies here. The only thing I can think to add is that it is easy to get caught up in the method, and doing the method right... but the method doesn't really matter so much, as what the outcome is. Its better to be healing, but not doing things perfectly, than it is to be stagnant, but getting all the details right.

I know this is much easier to say than to practice. I agree with the others that you should give feedback to your T. Perhaps this is a blockage you can work through and heal from, or perhaps the flash cards simply aren't a help to you right now, and a different approach would be better.

*

Ambassador

  • Member
  • 16
    • View Profile
Re: "Perfect Healing"
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 08:02:49 PM »
Thank you for all the clear and thoughtful replies. I've thought of them the past few days and they've been helpful, if for nothing other than resetting my mind to recognize progress isn't always linear or obvious. I haven't had the chance to talk to my therapist yet (that'll be another week) but have used simpler methods, remembering that it's about the effort rather than precise actions, which has helped. So thank you.