Personal / therapy

Weekly Insights

{Ventura, California}

I am a perfectionist (sometimes to a fault) and most of my writing is edited at least 10 times until each and every word is as perfect as can be (at least in my mind).  One of the reasons that I don’t post more frequently is due to my perfectionism, because I’d much rather NOT post than write anything that doesn’t meet my standards.  So I am trying really hard to let go of my strong inner self-critic.  Even during residency, my psychiatry supervisors would find me at the clinic after hours typing notes documenting my patient visits.  However, the reason I was there late was not due to having a pile of tasks to complete — it was because I took way too long typing and perfecting each note.

During my training, I recall a free association exercise that my psychoanalytically-trained Program Director had us do as part of an intro to psychoanalytic theory.  Free association is a psychotherapy technique where a patient talks or writes freely about whatever comes to mind in relation to a specific topic, with the goal of bringing unconscious thoughts to the forefront or the emergence of repressed memories, which can provide valuable insight of a patient’s problems.

So, with this exercise in mind, here goes my attempt at free associating by typing nonstop for 3 minutes whatever comes to my mind regarding the following topic: lessons learned from this week.  And, go:

that it’s extremely hard to say goodbye to several of my patients.  a part of me wants to take all of my patients with me to my practice, though I know that it’s probably in some of their best interest to stay within a system with resources to monitor them more closely.

I am sad and exhausted usually by the end of clinic because i didn’t realize saying goodbye would be harder than I thought.

i hate feeling lazy when I get home, but I’m so tired that all I want to do sometimes is lay on the couch and watch shark tank, hotel impossible, or other reality tv-type shows mostly because I don’t want to think.  But then I feel bad because I feel like I should be cleaning my house, writing a blogpost, exercising, going grocery shopping, going out for a run, or anything else that makes me feel like i’m not being useless.

i wish I had the energy i once did because I feel guilty knowing that I need rest, need more sleep, get injured when working out, takes me longer to recover from workouts and pretty much anything that makes me aware that i’m getting older.

i look at other bloggers and wish that I blogged more often like them, wish it didn’t take me so long to write wish that i could go eat a cheesecake or something that was fattening and sweet like a lot of skinny bloggers posting food shots on their social media sites as if they actually eat those things.  how much of reality is blogging anyway, how can we believe anything that people actually write or say and how i can we tell if someone is being authentic or not.  i can’t be fake and maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to write yet at the same time I don’t know how my image will be perceived and that takes editing that i wish i didn’t have to do.

Thought of the Week:  Interesting that my recurrent body image issues and fear of judgment appeared in this post.  Perhaps a sign that I should process this material with my therapist?

20 thoughts on “Weekly Insights

  1. Your genuineness comes through your writing/ perfectionist tendencies or not. That is one of the favorite things I feel in relationship to your blog. You are the real deal. There is a large dose of humility in your heart..don’t ever loose that. (and I would LOVE if you do more “free association” writing/ and not worry about cleaning up your writing 10 times…just a few times is enough to get the spelling and major grammar stuff cleaned up. DM

  2. Pingback: Free Association On The Topic Of My Help | heart to heart

  3. So, I’m wondering if you’re feeling guilty about leaving your patients. You start your free association talking about leaving them and then go off into other directions. And as a regular reader of your blog I find these other directions mostly familiar territory–therefore, less threatening for you. Is it not the case that in psychoanalytic therapy we are always looking for what the patient is avoiding?

    • Hi Tom. I still believe that if u werent a lawyer, you’d be a psychologist (or something in the mental health field). The guilt of leaving my patients is definitely there. I’m sure my therapist would have me process that aspect, but may possibly somehow relate it to my core issues of fear of judgment. I believe issues relating to my profession tend to be a bit easier for me to talk about, which is probably why my mind went there 1st when free associating. I actually found it interesting that my mind even went to the issue w/ body image, so it’ll be interesting to hear what my therapist thinks about that.

      • I look forward to the day when you post about enjoying a piece (or two) or cheesecake. You seem to chalk this up to body image, but for me the reference comes after a litany of self-criticism and now for punishment you’re going to deprive yourself of that earliest and most basic of pleasures. One day, and I hope sooner rather than later…do you prefer blueberry or cherry cheesecake?

        • true, i didn’t think about the deprivation aspect. i actually bought and ate a cupcake this weekend, though i don’t respond very well to the high sugar content 🙂 if i had to choose between the two, i prefer blueberry

  4. My son’s elementary school principle once told me not expect perfection from my children but only excellence in what ever they do, it makes their life and mine so much more enjoyable. No preference here ………. I love cheese cake 😉

  5. I’ve been meaning to comment ever since this post went up! I hate being late (that’s my own perfectionism talking) with my favorite blogs. I’ve been sick with my first bad fall cold – I always get one in October, and I was up half the night coughing. (The only really bad things about my MAOI is that I can’t take hardcore cough medicines..I could be wrong about this, but it looks like every OTC cough med is a big no, no!) ANYWAY. I drank expensive honey instead, a.k.a. Zebras Cough Syrup.

    I digress! I thought this was yet another one of your very brave posts for letting it all hang out. I love how real you are – how you don’t pull the doctor persona wool over your eyes, or ours for that matter.

    Anyone who worked in your position would be exhausted after a shift; I don’t care if she’s a decade younger! 🙂

    I got a kick out of reading the variety of your comments to your post, i.e. Tom (who I thought was a pdoc, by the way!) & DM. Very intriguing.

    As far as the frequency of your posts, I like how you don’t bombard us with (imperfect 😉 just kidding) posts. I’d rather read one thoughtful post a week as opposed to 3 or 4x/week. That’s too overwhelming for me and my schedule. ( I’m a bit of a hypocrite because sometimes I post more than 1x/week, but for the most part I’ve stuck to that.)

    Anyway, I’m out of it while I write this but I want you to know how much I appreciate you & your profound, real, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking insights.

    In two words: you rock!
    :)))) ((((hugs))))

    p.s you look so healthy in your pictures; thank God you’re not a “Skeletor” so I give you permission to enjoy a nice, high-quality piece of cheesecake soon! Of course what’s most important is that you give yourself permission, so I encourage you to do that too!

    • Hi Dyane! lol i love your digressions…it’s an honest way of showing how your mind processes and thinks 🙂 I hope that you’re feeling much better and rid of the cough!
      I truly appreciate your validation of my insecurities and fear of imperfections. I splurged on chips (i tend to prefer salty over sweet most times) and half a cupcake in the last few days and didn’t feel too guilty about it, so i’m improving on the “giving myself permission” piece 😉

      thanks so much again for your support and encouragement!

  6. First of all, thank you so much for being a loyal follower of my blog. After reading this and discovering our common factor of perfectionism, (and cheesecake) :), I feel honored that you take the time to read some of my posts. My mind races much like yours in that I always have a “to do list” demon on one shoulder reminding me constantly of the things I “should” be doing…

    However, one of my favorite lessons in my group therapy sessions was learning how to avoid the “should” demon and as a result, be less judgmental towards ourselves. It isn’t easy to do, especially if you have ever had your face smeared across the front page of a state-wide newspaper claiming that you just drowned your son in a bathtub and are now facing second degree murder charges….ah, but that’s just my reality and I feel like God wouldn’t have given it to me if He didn’t think I couldn’t handle it (okay, so I pop 24 different pills a day, but I AM a survivor)…lol.

    Yes, I will always have people scorn and criticize and judge me harshly as nothing but a “baby killer” that has out-witted the doctors and “faked” my insanity…but, through the years, I have learned to lean on a Higher Power and that in the end, my heart and soul will only be judged by the one that knows me best, God. Sorry if I’m getting a bit religious here, I don’t do that too often; however, I believe a person’s fear of judgment is closely tied to their fear of death/mortality. So perhaps taking a peek into that issue will help you as well, not that I have a paper plastered on my wall calling me an “expert” – (but I could find that newspaper clipping…).

    Anyways, thanks again for this post. It helps me to feel like no matter how difficult an individual’s past, we all have some of the same issues. God Bless! – LaVancia

  7. Have a cheesecake for God’s sake.
    A perfectionist like you a) Will never change b) will always do good; so…
    c) Have cheesecake!

  8. I love this post. I write a monthly blog and can relate to being a perfectionist and additionally wanting to write something that is quality, meaningful and to my standard. I love your writing and my perception of you is genuine, heartfelt and honest. P.s Eat the cheesecake 🙂



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