I am a recovering perfectionist. I spent years 0-25 of my life doing everything humanly possible to be the perfect daughter, student, friend, employee, partner, boss, tenant - you name it. I hadn’t the faintest idea of my own interests or aspirations, which made it very tempting to launch myself headlong into whatever others wanted from me. The slightest oversight amounted to failure, and failure was not an option. (Which is not to say I actually succeeded, but I sure as hell tried.)
At the same time, I’d been sick as long as I could remember. Not clearly diagnosable-sick, but always under the weather and frequently sidelined by mysterious physical ailments without warning.
At some point in my mid twenties, the coping strategies I’d been using to balance these two competing challenges - unwavering achievement and chronic low-grade illness - began to buckle under the pressure. It began imperceptibly slowly, and then quickly accelerated into a full-blown nervous breakdown.
While I couldn't identify this causal chain at the time, what started off as stress, exacerbated by a period of severe calorie restriction, gradually turned into chronic inflammation and unrelenting pain. That eventually became a dependence on OTC painkillers, which caused leaky gut and an array of food sensitivities. Those, in turn, led to multiple nutrient deficiencies, which, paired with lifelong self-worth issues, plunged me into a deep depression. Dragging sleepless for days on end, 2 am panic attacks, and hours of lying immobile on the ground because it felt like every inch of my body was on fire. Trying to hide the truth of what was happening to me, because I was frightened and ashamed and it didn’t fit in with my carefully constructed identity. Hair falling out by the handful. Blacking out in busy public places. Having to release the dream of ever being a (biological) mother. Having to step back from my lucrative tech career and many relationships because I could no longer count on my body or my brain to show up to the job. Eventually, having to leave a marriage whose foundation had crumbled under the weight of it all.
After years of compartmentalization, denial, and neglect, my body and heart had finally gone on strike. It needed attention. I needed attention. It was time to pay up on my lengthy tab of running nonstop to achieve and conform and accommodate everyone except myself.
I got serious about studying the underlying physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual components that landed me in this situation so I could be a better consumer, patient, and ultimately to give others the help I wish I had found sooner for myself - because nobody should have to go through an experience like mine alone. Along the way, I became a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, an ICF-trained personal development coach, and immersed myself in the teachings of Buddhist psychology, mindfulness meditation, and somatic awareness practices. There are many roads to healing; these are simply the ones that, after much experimentation, have been the most effective in my own journey.
I am perpetually in awe at how many incredible individuals I encounter with similar stories - of accidentally losing self, purpose, and vitality in the process of striving so desperately to "get it right." My greatest joy is being able to use what I've learned to deeply connect with them and serve as a mirror to their inherent goodness - helping each client set themselves free from the relentless hamster wheel of perfectionism and achievement to simply savor the beauty of what's already present within them.
Everyone's story equips them with a unique gift to share with the world. Mine is to help unlock yours.
The work of self-examination and piecing together a life reflective of your truth is not for the faint of heart. Approached sincerely, it will likely require some major - and scary - shifts in your status quo. There will always be another layer to that damn onion. What I can assure you, from personal and professional experience, is that the life you find on the other side of all that work is absolutely worth it - beyond anything you could have imagined at the outset. A life filled with purpose, beauty, connection, and wild joy is actually possible. My dream is to play a small part in setting the rest of my tribe free in the same way.
Whatever challenge has set you on a search for answers, whether we work together or not, know this: you are not crazy. You are not broken, or destined to stay stuck forever. This can get easier. You are not alone.