“Perfection made me nearly lose everything” – Mandolin’s fight against anorexia

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When we read the following words written by YOU-user @mandolin_summer, we stopped in our tracks:

“Everything that is valuable and lasting takes time. It is built up in small moments, tiny changes and micro-actions that gradually transform a hum-drum being into one of extraordinary beauty.”

Read about @mandolin_summer’s fight against anorexia, perfection and how she learned to live in a new way.

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“There comes a time in every successful life, I believe, when one realizes that you can’t change everything all at once. You can’t become a success overnight. You can’t make your existence worthwhile in one fell swoop. Everything that is valuable and lasting takes time. It is built up in small moments, tiny changes and micro-actions that gradually transform a hum-drum being into one of extraordinary beauty.”

The pain of perfection

“I struggled with that concept for a long time. I thought I had to be perfect from the start and, when I couldn’t achieve that perfection, I funneled my frustration and feelings of inadequacy into an eating disorder that threatened to destroy my life. I went from a healthy (though perfectionist) young, successful doctor to a woman who weighed a mere 70 pounds and was on the brink of death. I took a leave of absence from my career, returned to live near my family and felt like a complete failure. At the end of the worst stages of my anorexia, I came to realize that my quest for perfection had driven me instead to nearly lose everything I loved. Only the threat of death made me finally accept that I couldn’t be perfect and had to learn to be happy with my imperfections.”

…I came to realize that my quest for perfection had driven me instead to nearly lose everything I loved.

“At the beginning, I thought I could change everything at once. I thought that it was a simple matter of deciding that I was going to eat “normally” again and was going to stop exercising like a maniac. In some ways, I thought the disease was like a switch I could turn on and off. The advice I got from family and friends echoed this misconception.

I realized over the following year that nothing could be farther from the truth; anorexia is an insidious thing that has its roots twined around my entire soul and no single change will ever “cure” me of it. Though some would see this realization as freeing, I became angry with myself and felt even more of a failure.”

Small steps. Every day.

“Enter YOU-app. Though I had been able to gain weight and return to a body much closer to normal with the help of my therapist and nutritionist, my mind was obviously quite a long ways behind.

YOU-app helped me overcome the feelings of failure that had accumulated during the first years of my recovery by introducing me to a way of thinking about my life that was completely novel. YOU-app taught me to embrace small changes and steps as a means to making way for a big change. It showed me a way of living that says “I’m going to try to make a tiny difference today and see what it feels like.”

It also gave me entry into a community that has taught me that it’s okay to be honest about my struggles and to admit that I can’t always make even the little changes that I need to. That acceptance and warmth is what keeps me coming back to the app every day. It’s what makes YOU such an important and beneficial part of my life.”

It showed me a way of living that says “I’m going to try to make a tiny difference today and see what it feels like.”

“I’m not perfect and I never will be. I’m an anorexic and I haven’t been able to recover from that disease immediately. I’m a normal human being who is learning, day by day, how to make my life just a tiny bit better. Who is taking one step at a time away from my disease and toward a healthy life.  Who is beginning to believe that I am beautiful in the eyes of God and of others, no matter my self-perceived flaws.  

And I am a lot happier because of that.”

 

[email protected]_summer, Florida

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Have you ever felt like Mandolin? Tell us in the comments.

Like the concept of small steps for a happier, healthier you?

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Nora Rosendahl

3 Responses to ““Perfection made me nearly lose everything” – Mandolin’s fight against anorexia

  • This is amazing and I so admire Mandolin. I am struggling with this right now, seem to be in a never ending loop and I want it to stop.

    • Nora Rosendahl
      2 weeks ago

      You’re not alone, believe us. And in many ways, it’s difficult to ever completely rid yourself of perfectionism. It’s the same here – you can never be perfect at not being a perfectionist (what a paradox, huh?). But speaking as a long-time recovering perfectionist – just know that life gets so so so much better when you become even a little better at it 🙂

  • Really enjoyed this awesome article, this is the first-time
    Ive left a comment however , I have activated and shared it with my own social networking followers – all the best with the
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