I've noticed that a lot of us vulvodynia bloggers are overachievers. I don't think overachievement correlates with vulvodynia; I think it correlates with blogging about vulvodynia. We take everything we do to the next level.
I haven't been an overachiever in a while -- due to my "mild-to-nonexistent" depression -- but I started out that way, and I haven't stopped trying to overachieve. Which I don't think of as overachieving. I think of it as just doing what everyone else does, right?
Overachieving isn't a problem as far as wanting to go beyond average. The problem is when "over" turns into "unhealthy." Perfectionism is one form; chronic denial is another.
In denying the degree of my depression, I'm saying that even though there are all these facts about depression, none of them apply to me. In turn, I'm saying that everything I do and feel is a choice. I blame my depression on me.
Which in turn makes me believe I have a corrupt personality. Who would choose to live this way? If I'm making the choice, what is wrong with me?
For a long time, I thought I could control my vulvodynia. Clearly I had done something wrong in my life; if I rectified whatever bad choices I had made, my vulvodynia would go away.
Food turned into pure and impure. If I ate purely, I'd make up for all the badness I'd done to my body by eating impurely.
Or if I'd just not had sex in a certain position, the pain never would have started. If I hadn't had sex casually. If I hadn't liked sex. If I had been more pure.
I think the underlying issue is control. In perfectionism, in chronic denial, in overachievement, we want to believe that we have a choice, even if it means we are bad to have chosen differently. But sometimes we don't have a choice. Really, really, really don't have a choice. I have severe depression, and I have pain that I didn't have any hand in creating.
I hate the thought of having severe depression. To me, severe depression is the people who left school mid-semester.
Oh wait, that was me.
But I never flunked out or got probation.
No, but I also had a sturdy disability document (for bipolar disorder) that made my professors accommodate me. Without it, I would've flunked at least three semesters.
But wait -- severe depression means disappearing, not being able to work---and I've always been able to work---
I can't even respond to that one here because I'm so embarrassed.
My wiser Esther swoops in at this point and reminds me that this isn't a shortcoming; it's a difference, and the key to a better life is figuring out which kind of life works for me.
My AmeriCorps term is up in August, and my host-site supervisor says they would like me to return for another year. I would like to return for another year, when I'm feeling good. When I'm feeling bad, I don't even want to go back tomorrow. I am so tired of fighting for it. I feel like I'm back in college -- my worst days, which I thought I had left behind for good.
My supervisor is very understanding and accommodating. She says I've done well, that my 60% is someone else's 100%. Overachievement.
I'm bonding with my service and those I serve. I will miss them if I don't stay for another term.
But I don't want to be unstable either. I CAN'T be. Should I keep doing something that makes me sick? Me first.
If I could find the right meds...level out...
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
-- Carl Jung