I’ve been a perfectionist as long as I can remember. I’m a self-pronounced “praise junkie,” and I learned early that overachieving reaps positive feedback. My record reads like this: High School Class President, summa cum laude university graduate. A smart, handsome, husband by 25, a PhD by age 26, house in the ‘burbs, three kids by 30. Killin’ it-right?
But, something wasn’t right. I was diagnosed years earlier with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2003. Three months after I met my (now) husband, a MRI showed that the double vision I had experienced the previous summer was actually not caused by Lyme’s Disease.
In reality, it was a chronic autoimmune disease that was attacking my central nervous system. And, there was no cure.
At first, I acted as if someone told me I simply had a bad cold. I continued to live the 100 mile-per-hour speed I had known pretty much since birth.* I spent years injecting myself (with help from my amazing roommate, and then my hubby) with MS approved drugs-which had less than stellar success rates and along with serious side effects-would be my insurance against disability.
Then, I decided the drugs were doing more harm than good and dove head first into holistic healing. Diet, supplement, acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki-I tried it all. And, of I did it to a degree that was unsustainable.
Years went by, and I had an amazing son, Jackson. Two years later we welcomed boy/girl twins, Ava and Logan. In my life as a young parent, I tried(and often still try) to follow every parental advice book, struggling to get it “right.” Making mistakes just meant I wasn’t working hard enough to get it right. Despite this, my oldest child never slept through the night, and was eventually diagnosed with Central Apnea (his immature brain stem forgot to tell him to breathe?!)
Still, I just kept going. Jackson got an apnea monitor, I got an Ivy League postdoctoral fellowship.
My best friend jokes that my twins are another example of me doing everything over the top. After Jackson’s health concerns, and my own, Matt and I decided to only have one more kid, even though we always hoped for a family of 5. With the surprise of the twins, God had other plans. My pregnancy and their birth was uncomplicated, and their infancy was exhausting, but healthy. So I kept going-In their first year of life, I decided to refinish my kitchen cabinets (myself), paint almost all the walls (and stairs!) in my house, refinish salvaged furniture, and jump on the DIY bandwagon.
God clearly was sending another message to me when my youngest developed Sensory Processing issues at age 2, requiring more energy and attention than I thought I had left.
Logan entered Early Intervention. I spent hours on top of his group therapy and Occupational Therapy working with him. I researched diets and complementary medicine techniques that helped kids with sensory issues. I did the same for my MS, going overboard with removing all chemicals from our lives (baking my own GF bread, making my own soap and lip balm). Did I mention we lives 100s of miles away from family, and my husband works A LOT?
I tried to do it all. And, I was actually pretty good at it in spite of everything.
But, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t healthy.
I was stressed out, tried, and unable to meet ridiculous goals and pressures that I (and only I) had set for myself.
Something had to give.
So in September 2015, I began what I dubbed “my Type A recovery” I asked myself,
What if, I left the perfectionism and overachievement behind? What if I just tried to find some balance in my life?
What if being happy, having fun, and living a good life was more important that living a perfect one?
This blog is my anti-perfect journey. I’ll share my balanced Eastern/Western approach to treating my MS, my parenting ups and downs, and little tidbits I discover along the way–articles/blogs/books that speak to me. I hope to share ideas and products I have found helpful to ease the perfect burden, etc.), recipes that fill my 80% healthy eating goal, and ways I’m hoping to just have more FUN in my life.
I hope you come along and see what it’s like to get smacked in the face by reality when overachieving is all you’ve ever known, and perfectionism is all you ever accepted.
*ironically I was born two weeks late, and very casually. Perhaps I’ve been making up for my lack of effort ever since 🙂