Perfection is unattainable

Dahlia White Perfection (photo from Wikimedia Commons.org)

I saw Lynn today and admitted my feelings of shame, stupidity, embarrassment and sadness. I wasn’t sure how to tell her I mixed alcohol with the klonopin (and subsequently fell down and got seriously bruised) so I went about it the long way, weaving a story of what led me to drink more wine than is typical for me.  The usual stresses: kids, family, love, loss, etc. I really have a high expectation for myself and when I do something downright stupid I am my worst critic.

When I’m at the therapist’s office I always have this 3rd person approach. I watch what I say, what she says and what we both do. Lynn was trying to play it cool and not show shock or much of anything. I was explaining things dispassionately so I wouldn’t put all my raw emotions on her table. I saw her eyes go down to my arm and the bruises before I was ready to get to that part and I was aware that she already knew. She said, “It’s not quite as bad as how you judge it in your own mind.” Lynn told me I like control and perfection and when triggers occur and I react less than what I would like, I beat myself up.

I admitted I find it difficult to disclose my vulnerability, frailties and weaknesses to others. I showed her my bruise and she did not react.

Lynn asked, “What were you afraid would happen when you told me?”

You would immediately think of your own liability and whether it is a bad idea to be prescribing medications to me.

Lynn agreed that was important and said she has warned me not to mix the klonopin with alcohol. I assured her I knew the risks, as it is also written all over the prescription bottle and accompanying pamphlets.

I felt the need to tell her, I have never taken more than what you prescribe for me, one pill a day is all I’ve ever done.

See. Look. I’m still a good little patient.

She told me if I ever drink just don’t take the klonopin that night.

I think her approach was to try not to make it as big a deal as I feel it is. She was diffusing some of my anxiety and tension by trying to lessen my sense of transgression. It somewhat helped but I’m still walking around with a couple huge bruises on my arm that are embarrassing.

That conversation all occurred within the first 5-10 minutes and then my therapist and I got down to some heartfelt conversations. She asked what feelings or thoughts were occurring when I turned to wine as my escape. I will save the rest for another day because my sense of shame makes it difficult to go on. I’m still processing my mistake and trying to figure out how to forgive, forget and move on.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (taken from the book I’m reading, If Life is a Game, These are the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott)

8 responses to “Perfection is unattainable

  1. southafricanwhitegirl

    hey.
    your last three posts were so touching.
    your vulnerability makes me want to cry -for myself.
    I’ve been feeling so STUPID lately and beating myself up real bad about things I did YEARS ago. i suppose its like your shame in the bathroom except mine is so outdated! i just dont know how to forgive myself other than to try and FORGET somehow.
    i had NO idea you had a twin.
    they say that bond is really deep?
    cant you stay close by connecting on the Net at regular times?
    i think its really important.
    your bruised arm made me feel so sad for you.
    you poor sensitive soul

    • “Hey” right back at you. Don’t beat yourself up for your past — look at the good things you have now.

      Your sympathy is touching and a bit scary. I don’t let people know that I’m vulnerable so exposing myself (especially with the photo – gulp!) is way out of my comfort zone.

      I am a “poor sensitive soul” but no one knows it but me. Isn’t that a line to a song??
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2MCptNzNlg (Not feeling torn apart by love but I like the beginning).

      Somehow, across all the miles I think you do understand me. Thanks!

  2. I am glad you found the strength to talk to her about this incident. In the broader picture the things that these mental health professionals see and hear in the run of a week would probably shock us all. I guess it is really no surprise that our personal failures, things that seem to make us horrible people in our own minds hardly elicit a response from a therapist. I am sure she wishes you would not drink and take klonopin, but on the other hand I suppose you are probably not the first patient she has had do so. I am in no way trying to minimize your troubles and your concern. We are after all trying to improve our own selves, but maybe if we too could judge ourselves in a broader context we would forgive ourselves easier.

    • I know what you mean that I must judge myself in a broader context. That is what Lynn tried to tell me. I have a good life that I can’t see right now. You know that saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” I need to step back and look at the big picture. I am having trouble with that right now.

  3. Sounds like you have a great therapist, that is awesome 🙂 and figuring out how to “forgive, forget, and move on” is probably one of the hardest things ever. If only we could all do it easier! But, intending to do it is the first big huge step. Then, maybe it gets easier! 🙂 Good luck!

  4. southafricanwhitegirl

    we need more smiley faces in the world!!! 🙂

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