Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Strive for progress, not perfection."

On Wednesday I received an email saying I've received ethical approval for my research! Which is super exciting, right?! Well, mostly. I haven't had much time between now and then to think much about it, to be honest. It was a busy week. I've been doing some job shadowing, which I did Wednesday and Friday, and Thursday I worked all day. My plan for today was to tackle some more literature for my research, which I did this morning. But first thing when I woke up this morning, got out of bed and looked at everything I still have to do between now and the end of September, I panicked. Without ethical approval I couldn't move forward with recruitment or anything so I'd just been playing the waiting game. Now it's time to actually coordinate going to day centers and support groups to try and recruit people. I'm nervous about what I'll do if I don't get enough participants. I do have a back-up plan, but I so want this research idea to work for me, I just wish that I had more time. I had a bit of a freak-out this morning when all this was going through my head. Thinking things like, 

I'm not good enough
I'm not working as hard as I should be. 
I can't complain about this stressing me out because I chose to do it.
If things don't work out, I will be letting everyone down.

And on and on and on. The old familiar voices that make me want to crawl in a hole and hide rather than face the things I need to do. Rather than work on my dissertation I wanted to avoid it, even though, of course, avoiding it would just make me more stressed out. So I left my flat and went to my favorite coffee shop, where I wouldn't be tempted to distract myself with watching an episode of my comfort shows, reading, listening to podcasts, or sewing.  And as soon as I started reading an article, I started to feel calmer because I knew I was chiseling a hole in what sometimes seems like an insurmountable wall between me and that completed twenty-thousand word project. I spent a few hours there, and then came home to relax before my driving lesson. Feeling only marginally better, but at least knowing that I'd made some progress.

But I think what was even more eye-opening about today is the realization of the progress I've made in taking care of myself. I call myself a recovering perfectionist, because I don't beat myself up nearly as much as I used to--but some days it is still a struggle with self-doubt and anxiety. The difference is that it does not control me now. It's still painful and scary in the moment, but "the moment" is not never-ending. And in these moments, even though I can't make the feelings go away completely, I can try to remember that the self-doubt and the heavy thoughts are not the truth, and that there are proactive things I can do to quiet them down. Like talking to the people I love and admitting that I'm feeling this way, because even just not being alone with those feelings makes them a little bit lighter.

Deep breaths (and maybe a glass of wine with dinner tonight). 

No comments:

Post a Comment