You are praised for “having it all together.” You are rewarded for your tenacious drive, unwavering commitment, and high quality of work. You live to see your tireless efforts come to fruition as you smile and revel in each achievement.
But I see you.
You close your door and struggle to process the millions of self-destructive thoughts that creep through your barrier of having-it-togetherness.
They race through your cluttered mind and overcome all rationality, running wild and out of control. You desperately gasp for air, but to no avail. You cannot take in enough oxygen; the simple act of breathing is too difficult—labored and frantic. There’s a distinct lump in your throat blocking your airways as your chest heaves with the sobs you attempt to stifle. Everything is numb, save for the tingling sensation that travels down your body. You feel trapped. Terrified.
I see you.
Each day is a tightrope walk, a delicate balance between the carefully curated illusion of perfection you have created and the overwhelming panic that engulfs you underneath the facade. The looming fear pushes you past your breaking point time and time again. Yet you say nothing, do nothing.
There is only persistence. There is only busyness. There is only striving for the goals you failed to accomplish the day before.
There is no sleep; insomnia is a familiar companion. No time for rest, no time for discussion, no time for relaxation. Your needs would be a burden on others; calls for help a sign of weakness. You know only the harshness of self-criticism and the ever-present pressure that you place on your own shoulders for the unattainable goal of absolute flawlessness.
I see you.
You would do anything for others and are unable to say no to someone else’s requests.
The thought of upsetting another person is gut-wrenching, unthinkable. You crave the approval that comes with pleasing those around you, even at the expense of your own time, health, and sanity. In the endless quest for perfection, you lose yourself. You lose your own desires, hopes, and wants amidst a sea of those belonging to others. You lose your ability to make your own decisions and express your own ideas. You exhaust yourself, but you never, ever quit.
I am you.
Someday, I hope you see the value and beauty that come with being the most natural version of you. I hope you let yourself make inevitable mistakes along the way, while adamantly refusing to punish yourself for them. I hope you come to understand the importance of your flaws and that you own each one, knowing that they make you special. I hope you live life to the fullest without letting the worries, fears, and anxieties consume you. You are capable of that. And you deserve that.