Monthly Archives: February 2017

Perfectionism and eating disorders

Hands up who is perfect? ………………………………………………………………………………..Waiting.

Yeeeh, it’s a loaded question? I mean, how do we know what constitutes ‘perfect’. Who dictates this? How do we know when we’ve reached it?

Are we supposed to be feeling ‘perfect’ just the way we are, or is ‘perfect’ an unrealistic ideal we’ll never reach?

After pondering that question… and then pondering it again….I still couldn’t come up with the perfect answer!!!!

I did find a quote this week from Julia Cameron that said, “perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again”. And yet, in my quest to be recovered, my loved ones were always telling me…”you’re perfect just the way you are”. Well, tell THAT to Julia! This is so confusing!

I am starting to understand that there really is a big difference between the healthy and helpful pursuit of excellence and the unhealthy and unhelpful striving for perfection. But when does one morph into the other and how will I know the difference?

Is it that the high standard or goal I’ve set is unrealistic? And how will I know if or when it is has become unrealistic? Tennis great Serena Williams considers herself a perfectionist. Has it done her any harm? When did she understand that her seemingly unrealistic goal could become reality? What’s more, has she now reached her goal? Is being ‘great’ good enough for her? When will she be ‘perfect’ in her eyes?

Eating disorders thrive on the obsession with perfection. It appears to be fertile ground for an ED to flourish in. So, perhaps when we start to chip away at our view of perfection, we may start to see our choices, behaviours and fears in a whole new light. It was comforting to find that a lot of famous people didn’t believe in ‘perfection’… and that they’ve done ok in life! They aimed high. They just didn’t aim for ‘perfect’ or let it get in their way.

Is ‘perfection’ getting in YOUR way?

I’ll finish with some quotes from some of those famous folk I spoke of, and wish you all a (redefined) perfect month ahead….

 

“Perfection has one grave defect: it is apt to be dull.” W. Somerset Maugham

 

“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.” Margaret Atwood
 

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” Michael J. Fox
 

“Imperfection is perfection”. Flume

PACE Newsletter

               

                               KEEPING PACE    

February 2017

 

Welcome to the February 2017 edition of Keeping PACE.

It’s been a busy start to the year with our Recovery Support Groups up and running again. We have support groups for Panic and Anxiety, OCD, Eating Disorders, Binge Eating and Hoarding across the metropolitan area. Support groups can play an important role in recovery, and our groups are designed to help people move towards recovery by providing support, information and management strategies. Information about our groups can be found on the Recovery Groups page of our website.

In January we welcomed a new Peer Support Worker to the team. Her name is Astrid, and she will be working in PACE while Alyce is away on maternity leave. Astrid brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to PACE, and we are extremely pleased to have her in the team. Astrid will be co-facilitating the Eating Disorders and Binge Eating Recovery Support Groups, and several Panic and Anxiety Recovery Support Groups.

Part of our role in PACE is to provide information about anxiety, OCD, eating disorders and hoarding to organisations with staff who come across these issues in their work with clients. We have already delivered several information sessions to organisations this year, and we have more booked over the next few months. Our sessions provide workers with information about a particular issue and how to support someone facing the issue more effectively. If you would like to know more about our workshops give us a call or send us an email.

Until next time, look after yourself.

Shane

Team Leader, PACE


National Eating Disorders Forum

The Butterfly Foundation was asked by the Commonwealth Department of Health to consult with services in the eating disorder sector to gain information about what would be needed to develop an effective national response to eating disorders. They were asked to provide a submission to the Department, who are in the process of drafting the next National Mental Health Plan. The National Eating Disorders Agenda Forum was held on February 6 in Victoria to bring together services who represent people with eating disorders and their families to discuss the submission. PACE was represented by the program manager, Nigel, who reported that the forum was a positive step towards the development of national plan for tackling the issue of eating disorders. Nigel appreciated the opportunity to attend the forum and contribute to the development of Government policies which will have a significant impact on the lives of our clients.


International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day. The theme for this year is #BeBoldForChange. The day is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women
  • declare bold actions you’ll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world

For more information visit www.internationalwomensday.com


State-wide eating disorder network for SA

A new network has been established in South Australia to bring together services who support people with eating disorders and their families. The South Australian Eating Disorder Network Group will enable services to communicate with each other and work together, which will result in better outcomes for clients with eating disorders. In PACE we realise how important it is for services to work together, and our manager, Nigel, has been instrumental in establishing the group.


The war we can never win 

When I was in high school, I used to dream about having Melissa Morris’ legs, Toni Oliver’s eyes and Amy Breyers hair. I liked my skin, my breasts and my lips, but everything else had to go. Then, in my twenties, I dreamed about slicing off pieces of my thighs and arms, the way you carve a turkey, certain that if I could cut away what was wrong, only the good parts – the pretty parts, the thin parts – would be left.

I believed there was an end goal, a place at which I would arrive and forevermore be at peace. And since I also believed that the way to get there was by judging and shaming and hating myself, I also believed in diets.

Diets are based on the unspoken fear that you are a madwoman, a food terrorist, a lunatic. Eventually you will destroy all that you love and so you need to be stopped. The promise of a diet is not only that you will have a different body; it is that in having a different body, you will have a different life. If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being.

Although the very notion the hatred leads to love and that torture leads to relaxation is absolutely insane, we hypnotize ourselves into believing that the end justifies the means. We treat ourselves and the rest of the world as if deprivation, punishment and shame lead to change. We treat our bodies as if they are the enemy and the only acceptable outcome is annihilation. Our deeply imagined belief is that hatred and torture work. And although I’ve never met anyone – not one person – for whom warring with their bodies led to long-lasting change, we continue to believe that with a little more self-disgust, we’ll prevail.

Taken from “Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything”, by Geneen Roth


PACE Service

Centacare Catholic Family Services

413 Grange Rd Seaton SA 5023 | T: 1800 809 304 or 8159 1400 | E: pace@centacare.org.au | pacesupport.org.au