The Perfectionism Police
Perfectionist. Obsessive. Nit-picking. Workaholic. Scared of failure.
These traits make me feel sick.
They remind me of bingeing: bingeing on life.
Wanting to get everything done, in a very sick sort of way.
In an: “I’m-out-of-control-need-to-keep-going-can’t-take-a-break-I-deserve-to-suffer-sort of way.”
Perfectionism is so elusive.
People think it’s good – but they don’t understand how perverted it is.
It is a desire for power that strips you of all power.
It is a dream – but it’s actually a nightmare,
Because you don’t get to wake up before you fall.
Perfectionism is so dysfunctional.
You think you are getting stronger – but you are actually losing strength.
You have an assignment to finish.
But you don’t get to choose your pace.
The Perfectionism Police choose it for you.
These minions in your head.
They call the shots.
You are forced to stay up all night.
They make you finish this assignment at knifepoint.
No breaks. No food. Not even water!
You are SO thirsty – absolutely parched.
You are completely empty. Hollow.
There is NOTHING left to lose.
You sneak some water from the tap in the bathroom.
But then they catch you!
They turn the lights on.
“What are you doing,” they ask.
“I’m so sorry, I just had to,” you respond.
The sobs are rising in your throat.
You know you are in big trouble.
Now you are drowning.
They make you drink until you are completely distended.
The pain is insurmountable.
Then you rupture.
They are your demise: The Perfectionism Police.
(Athena Milios is a Greek-Canadian psychiatric researcher and writer based in Nova Scotia, Canada. She holds an undergraduate Degree in Medical Science and a Master’s in Psychiatry Research, both from Dalhousie University. Athena has been living with mental illness since the age of fifteen. She strongly advocates for mental health in her community. She is the author of several psychiatric publications as well as some creative writing pieces, including poetry and short stories.)
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