Perfectionism and DepressionJanuary 17, 2022 2022-03-31 23:47
Perfectionism and Depression
Perfectionism and Depression
Perfectionism and depression go hand-in-hand. There is a significant overlap between perfectionism, anxiety and depression, OCD and certain eating disorders. Unlike the diseases just mentioned, perfectionism is a personality trait. This article will look at why perfectionism means you are more likely to have a mental disorder. We will be explicitly honing into perfectionism and depression here.
Whilst perfectionism is a personality trait, depression, on the other hand, is considered to be a mental illness. Mental health experts, psychiatrists and psychologists have specific diagnostic criteria for diagnosing someone with depression.
Mental health experts and researchers state that about 20% of us have features keeping with perfectionism. However, for most, perfectionism is overall a positive thing. For some, however, perfectionism is driven by low self-esteem or low self-worth. When perfectionism is driven by low self-esteem, wanting to impress others, it can be viewed as maladaptive or unhealthy.
Chapter 1:How Perfectionism Can Trigger Depression
With unhealthy perfectionism, there is underlying low self-esteem and critical self-doubt. These alone are factors that can contribute to depression. When a perfectionist fails to achieve their goals or is stuck unable to complete a task to their expectations, there is a deep sense of shame, worry and failure. This, in turn, can trigger sadness, fear about others opinions and a wish to hide.
All of these thoughts, behaviours and feelings can contribute to depression.
A perfectionist can alternate between feeling stuck and depressed versus active and wanting to achieve. This almost yo-yo effect, swinging between the two extremes, can lead to frustration, disappointment and stress in relationships.
Perfectionism, anxiety and depression, are interlinked, where one can contribute or worse than the other. If you are a perfectionist, I know someone who is a perfectionist. Have you noticed how perfectionist take tendencies can impact mood and feelings?
Chapter 2:Being a Perfectionist Is Tough
Especially with maladaptive perfectionism, where the focus is on the end goal, perfectionism quickly leads to burnout and exhaustion. Perfectionists are unable to greatly enjoy the process or journey. They struggle to celebrate small wins. In addition, perfectionists are poor at taking time off, relaxing or spending long periods with friends and family.
We all need to rest, have downtime and enjoy ourselves. Humans are social creatures. We are certainly not machines. Sometimes maladaptive perfectionism means the person works themselves to exhaustion and burnout, leading to depression.
Chapter 3:Perfectionism and Depression, Social Factors
With unhealthy perfectionism, often, a person wants to impress others. They want to be noticed, leave a good impression, win the other person over. A perfectionist can end up working extra hard to impress others. However, this can be a trap when the other party does not acknowledge or appreciate the efforts made. This can leave the perfectionist feeling rejected and with a bitter taste in their mouth.
Perfectionism, anxiety and depression are also linked by perfectionist preferring their own company and wanting to work. Maladaptive perfectionism means missed opportunities to socialise, make friends, form partnerships and work together. Because a perfectionist misses out in the social realm, it can make life, in our increasingly connected world, more complex.
Chapter 4:Perfectionism and Depression Thought Patterns
Often very dark and self-critical thoughts drive perfectionism. “I’m not good enough”, “nobody cares” are examples of negative call beliefs which can push someone to unhealthy extremes of wanting to achieve. In some ways, this situation is similar to depression.
Depression is characterised by negative thinking, also called cognitive distortions. When someone is depressed, the thinking gets quite gloomy or pessimistic. They feel hopeless, helpless and stuck.
As you can notice, both depression and perfectionism are associated with a certain type of negative thinking.