One of the most common sub-categories of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is perfectionism. While some might think, “there is no way perfectionism could be a mental illness,” it is actually very debilitating and can interfere with daily tasks. Perfectionism is often paired with eating disorders, difficulty starting things, lack of motivation etc. It has also been known to cause feelings of self-doubt, stress, negativity, depression and even suicide.

When dealing with perfectionism, one experiences feelings of self-doubt and criticism, leading to the thought that nothing will ever be good enough. Perfectionism is common in college students and careers with a heavy workload. Due to the fear of a product being inadequate, many “perfectionists” will suffer from procrastination, causing more unnecessary stress. As a college student, I have a lot of experience with this.

I am an English-Writing major, so often I will have at least one paper due each week. I too, am a perfectionist. Before writing down a sentence, I have to make sure that it is cohesive and clear. This makes the task of writing more difficult for me because rather than writing down thoughts and fixing them later, I require myself to do all of the thinking in the beginning. As I have gotten further along in my college career, and with my own anxiety, I have learned several tips for coping with these feelings—many, involve acceptance. Perfection is only a concept, nothing can ever be perfect. Rather than striving for perfection, I suggest striving for your own, personal, best. There is no shame in challenging yourself and wanting to produce the best work that you can. Obviously, circumstances will be different when discussing perfectionism in terms of body dysmorphia or low self-esteem. It will never be as simple as writing words down on paper, it means re-wiring the way that one looks at themselves. Although it will take work and time to heal from eating disorders or related feelings, it is still important to remember: nothing will ever be perfect. The way that we think/talk about ourselves manifests within our bodies. Try to move from negative to positive thoughts and always be kind to yourself.

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