We all have standards. Sometimes they’re surpassed, sometimes they’re maintained, sometimes we don’t quite reach them by a whisker….other times we get nowhere close.
I’m at the ‘nowhere close’ level currently.
I was surpassing them.
“Those standards”…those standards that I, and only I, came up with.
No one else is beating me up for anything.
No one else is wagging their finger or doing the British tut tut thing.
I am tut tutting myself….for being shit in practically every way.
Shit is quite globally negative isn’t it? Shit is universal, unpleasant, distasteful, foul.
Everyone though including the Queen of England defacates. President whoopee cushion over in the states arguably shits the most of all world leaders, and in the loudest trumpiest fashion. So why do I equate myself with performing shit and being shit for failing to attain those standards that I myself decided upon?
My standards are not standardised.
Meaning they are not the same standards you have. We don’t live by the same standards. (You only have watch an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show for proof of that.) My current standards are also not the same standards I will aspire to meet or exceed in 6 months, 12 months, 2 years or 5 years.
I don’t know what on earth is actually in my five year plan, but I know I’ll be aiming for standards far higher than my current ones (which already are too high for me to attain today). And the standards I have now are way higher than a year ago. A year ago my aspiration was to not attempt to kill myself again. I consistently was smashing that standard, so naturally I upped it to further dizzy heights of aspiration. My current standard has increased it’s way up Maslow’s hierarchy of need pyramid to the “stay alive and also try and be generally happy and successful at life” level. Maybe self actualisation could be my five year standard 😊
Aside from this, I have standards that flexibly vary at different points of my monthly cycle. I have a pre- menstrual standard, and a ‘rest of the month’ standard. If anyone who knows me is wondering why I’ve increasingly been acting like a dick lately, check your calendars and you’ll find its probably exactly four weeks ago that I last acted like a dick around you.
I drop my standards for about 9 days of every month, but even with my pre-menstral lowered standards, I still feel like I’m not meeting them. For 9 days a month I tend to feel like the biggest failure who’s ever walked the planet.
I’m feeling that now.
Like a failure.
In therapy last week we had a chat about my tendency to move goalposts a lot….to achieve something, then set myself higher challenges and aspirations without enjoying my success as I go along.
I never let the grass grow under my feet. I bleed myself dry with my aspiring and my striving and my pushy drive towards perfectionism.
I know I’m doing it. But knowledge is not power….That’s because I’m working against psychological drivers that are FAR more powerful than any power insight can exert.
My strength as a mentally unwell patient was always “insight.” I know this as it’s on my written medical records, and also every mental health professional who’s ever worked with me has clearly communicated that to me which emphasised that I have the insight bit nailed. I am not a mentally ill ostrich.
Your life may be shit and you might feel like you want to die…. BUT AT LEAST YOU HAVE INSIGHT, they would say (paraphrasing). Sometimes I sarcastically suggested I throw a… “at least I have insight” party for myself, all concerned friends and relatives, and my entire mental health team. [Picture insight canapés, a decorative “I’m a mental patient with insight’ banner, and us all snaking round in a line doing the mental illness insight conga]…
But as I said, the psychological drivers that drive my thoughts, feelings and behaviours exert a force far stronger than insight.
I have a personality disorder. Inflexible behavioural traits that are highly resistant to change and cause immense suffering and strain. If I asked you to change your personality I think you’d protest…because personality is resistent to change.
I want to live by “normal person” standards. Not PTSD or BPD person standards. Just like I wish I had non pre-menstrual standards all month round (which annoyingly I can’t have).
I won’t accept myself. That’s my problem. I won’t accept my “shitness”. I won’t accept what my insight tells me-[that my perceived failure isn’t actually failure at all. I am doing less well today, but I was way exceeding my standards only days earlier, which skewed my expectations of myself to attain and maintain that level of immense fabulousness.] I was becoming ‘standardised fabulous’….so because of that I raised my expectations…then because of many contributory factors my mood dipped and now I feel shit.
That is insight. My ability to know that what I’ve just described is happening.
But insight does not stop me feeling shitty.
External reassurance also doesn’t work either.
So I’m left feeling inconsolably shit-insight or no insight.
My standards are NOT standardised.
There is absolutely nothing standardised about my expectations of myself-except their totally consistent ability to make me feel fucking AWFUL.
And for me, right now anyway, feeling awful comes as standard.
Not having the comments on here…don’t feel chatty, sorry. 😔…I’ll leave you with some mental health drawings that are far better than mine sigh