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Is perfectionism the problem behind chronic fatigue?

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firemonkee57

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In the current issue of P&P a report outlines the role of perfectionism in chronic fatigue and in other medical disturbances such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Biopsychosocial models of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) posit that personality and stress have predisposing and perpetuating roles in the persistent and unexplained fatigue that characterizes this functional somatic syndrome. Studies indicate that many CFS patients are characterized by an achievement-oriented and perfectionist personality, and that such tendencies coupled with self-criticism drive these individuals to work beyond the point of exhaustion in a way that may initiate or perpetuate chronic fatigue. Although research indicates that CFS patients use maladaptive coping strategies more than healthy controls, it is unknown whether this is true relative to other chronic illness groups.


Is perfectionism the problem behind chronic fatigue? - Medical News Today


Don't worry the almighty CBT will save the day!!
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Don't worry the almighty CBT will save the day!!
Har har har. ;)

It's an interesting theory.
I would say that I get some of these issues (IBS/Fatigue) but that actually, i'm not currently a perfectionist.

However I did used to be really bad for perfectionism, until I learned that it was better for my sanity if I learned I couldn't make everything perfect or as it "should be" because life's not like that.
 
LORD BURT

LORD BURT

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I think there is some truth in it. There is a push to for people to achieve perfection, and it is really impossible. I guess it would be nice for people to relax more and enjoy life at a slower pace.
 
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notrealname

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Wow...I was JUST thinking about this...

In my case, yes, absolutely. I had very, very bad perfectionism (still have a pathological level of perfectionism, but I used to work 16 hours a day...). Workaholism plus anorexia will knacker you the f*ck out, as will the relentless self-criticism and obsessive thoughts barrelling through your head a million miles per hour every day.

This is odd, because I was actually just coming around to feeling sorry for myself. The dating thread in the depression forum reminded me of how desperate I felt while dating around six months ago and I started trying to work that out again, and I remembered it being really obvious at the time - how it was just an exceptionally rare experience for me to meet someone I wanted to date. Then I thought 'why?' and I remembered that it was because I was basically floored for six years. I had to quit an MA I was good at, which would almost definitely have expedited my career (people with a hell of a lot less talent than me have done a lot better than me through that MA...sounds boastful, but in this case just true), because I couldnt' stand up through the demonstrations. I lost jobs, I lost friends because I would sleep through the day and miss appointments (and work). I didn't have a social life anymore because I didn't have the energy, and in the end I had no leisure time at all. I'd come home, miserable, obsess about something for a while, try to do something I enjoyed but feel so fatigued my limbs were like lead and then I'd sleep for 15 hours and wake up feeling like I'd been on a transatlantic flight. There were times during those 5 years when I would go to work and try to take my coat off and it would actually hurt. My heart would pump like crazy from the effort and I'd feel completely wiped out and have to have a rest for a while. I constantly felt on the verge of collapse. I can remember about 18 months ago I had my first experience in years of being able to socialise after work. I was knackered, but the really big thing for me was that I managed to walk the 5 minutes from the tram stop to the pub without sitting down for a rest and waiting for some energy to return. The worst part was that no one cared. My Mam has fibromyalgia and God forbid anyone ever suggests she 'buck up', but that's what I was expected to do. When the fatigue first started, she blamed me for it and got angry at me for being a burden because I nearly collapsed at a bus stop and phoned her to drive me home. My father told me I was a failure and that 'only drama queens have chronic fatigue', so I never called it that. I called it anxiety and I worked through it. For five years. And nobody gave a shit. And it wasn't until tonight, when I really looked at that, that I realised two things: 1) That was my 20s. 2) That was really traumatic. It's almost like the full extent of it has only just hit me now that I feel well.

Anyway, totally derailed that. But through therapy it was found that the main causes were very extreme perfectionism, chronic stress, totally unmet social and emotional needs, and the inability to feel my own emotions, which basically presented themselves as physical states instead. I had all the symptoms of chronic fatigue and never called it that because I was certain it was psychological for me and I didn't want to upset anyone with CFS who felt it was physical. It made more sense to speak to people with mental health problems.

Anyway. I think I just wrote all this because it's just hit me tonight just how hard all of that was. I feel like I've lost so much through it. All those years I could have been living. It's over now and I need to focus on the moment, but there have been quite a few times this year where I've felt like I'm really mourning for all the time I lost and all the opportunities I lost with it and how I feel like I had to start my life again when I was 27 and the fatigue finally dissipated.

Anyway, I'm going to stop being a boring ranter on here - I'm doing it way too much at the moment because I'm procrastinating a bit over stuff I really should be doing. Sorry all!
 

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