Thursday, 26 May 2011

Learning from your mistakes...............

My name is Maggie and I'm not allowed to make mistakes.    Well that is not quite true, I am allowed to make mistakes, but only if they have no negative impact on anyone else.  And mistakes teach me one thing; I am useless, rubbish, crap............

If I make a mistake, if I break something, if I spill something, if I forget something, then I beat myself up about it.   I hate myself for making a mistake, it mean I'm rubbish, I'm weak, I'm letting people down.   It's a strange conundrum, I know I'm not perfect, but I can't make mistakes and let other people down.   If they are relying on me, or even if they're not, I feel I must do everything for them.  But at the same time it is unrealistic to expect people to help me.  I should not ask for help or support, I should not ask for a favour.  Not only is it imposing on others, it is also a sign of weakness.  I should be able to do everything for myself and shouldn't expect to rely on others.   I'm terribly British, stiff upper lip and just get on with it, that kind of thing.

I'm trying to be better, I'm trying to ask for help when I need it. However sometimes I slip, I should have asked for help with childcare tomorrow, but I haven't.  This means I will have to cancel my counselling appointment, and it is the last one covered in my private health insurance.    Then I guess I am either on my own, going with NHS, or carry on paying ourselves for help.  We can afford the latter, but I don't want to mention it to my husband as he isn't massively supportive about counselling.   Therefore I will probably end up going with the former.  I've liked counselling, it's really good to talk to someone, and this way I don't feel like I'm burdening someone, she's being paid to listen to me.   I can't talk to my friends much, I feel like I'm bothering them.   Again this is a sign of weaknesses from me and I can't be weak.

This unwillingness to ask for help and this belief that I cannot make mistakes and must take responsibility for everyone and everything  has contributed to my depression.   It becomes an overwhelming burden on myself and I'm trying to deal with.    

Anyone fancy babysitting tomorrow morning....................


  1. I can very much relate to this. It gets to the point where I expect that I'm going to screw up, because no matter how hard I try, I can never do anything well enough... not that I know what the standard for "good enough" is.

    If you lived on this side of the pond, I'd be more than willing to babysit :)

  2. My goodness, this post could have been written by me, if only I'd get off my bum and actually use my blog (and yes, I beat myself up about that too!)

    I read an interesting take on this attitude of having unrealistically high expectations of oneself, recently. The writer suggested that perfectionism was a kind of arrogance - when someone demands more of themselves than they would of other people, they are saying that they are/should be better than everyone else. I could see the logic, and it has helped me to turn the tables on my self-hatred a wee bit.

    As for counselling, I've found talking therapies in general to be really useful in managing and understanding my mental health problems (I have a long history of depression, and have also developed social anxiety in recent years). I'd encourage you to phone around first thing in the morning and try to find a babysitter if you can - I'd offer to take your little one to mums & toddlers with my son, but suspect you're nowhere near me (NE Scotland)! Try to do a mental turning-of-the-tables to convince yourself to ask for the help you need - if a friend/relative needed help to be able to attend an appointment, didn't ask you cos they didn't want to inconvenience you, and you then found out, you'd be annoyed, am I right?

    But most of all, please please be gentle with yourself!

  3. Thank you for the babysitting offers! I have to be honest and say I wimped out of asking anyone to help, I don't know why and now I am avoiding phone calls from my therapist. Arrgghhh, but it is lovely to read your comments

  4. Yes I can relate to all of your post too. I am my own worst critic and I give myself a terribly hard time for not "getting things right". I try so hard for perfection and yet constantly remind myself how useless, worthless and far from perfect I am. Intellectually I know that the demands I expect from myself are unrealistic but emotionally I feel a failure if I am anything less than perfect - unsurprisingly I feel a failure all of the time.