Like many people, I have felt the burden of perfection for most of my life. I was raised in a cult and we were taught to be on a constant quest for spiritual and emotional perfection. Oddly, physical perfection was discounted and we were strictly prohibited from wearing makeup, or dressing anything but modestly. By my mid-teens I had broken free from them physically, if not yet emotionally, and entered the real world, dressed in a purple anorak with frizzy hair. I was already 5’11’’ and very skinny, and the world, it seemed, didn’t respond well. The bullying began just as my acne emerged. I was not popular or pretty.
Fast forward a few years into my mid-twenties and I was starting to find my footing in life a bit more, but still struggled emotionally. Acne still plagued me, along with an accompanying sense of self-doubt, huge amounts of anxiety and depressive episodes, and vast self-esteem issues. I travelled obsessively. At 26 I was in a serious accident in Australia. I was hit by a campervan and impaled on a tree. My right leg was almost completely crushed and I was bleeding out. Luckily I was near a hospital, which saved my life, but doctors battled to save my leg. It was touch and go for weeks. I finally returned to England, where I would be on crutches for months and in constant physio. My leg had been saved but I now walked with a constant limp, and the wounds from the impact and various surgeries had left long, jagged scars down my thigh and knee.
I’m 38 now and whilst I still struggle to be completely accepting of myself, I have come a long way. I’ve had reconstructive surgery on my scars and Roaccutane finally cured my acne, but it’s the emotional work I’ve done on myself that has made the real difference. Next year, a month after my 40th birthday, I will finally get my qualification as an Integrative Therapeutic Counsellor. My own journey with therapy has ultimately helped me manage my anxiety, my past, and my quest for perfection. My journey continues…