When High-Functioning Perfectionism Breaks Down

When High-Functioning Perfectionism Breaks Down

When High-Functioning Perfectionism Breaks Down

Are you a high-functioning perfectionist? Being highly successful and very good at what you do is something to be proud of. But the unfortunate reality of being high-functioning doesn’t always make it easy to recognize your imperfections or realize when they’re negatively affecting your life. High-functioning perfectionism can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, exhaustion, hopelessness, and loneliness – and it can feel like nobody truly understands what you’re going through…until now. Here are some signs that might indicate that your high-functioning perfectionism has taken over your life.

What is high-functioning perfectionism?
Some people have trouble identifying or describing it, but most of us know a perfectionist when we see one: They’re those colleagues who are always striving for excellence. The ones who double-check their work and worry about making mistakes. The overachievers who seem to take everything in stride until something goes wrong, and then they fall apart. In some ways, high-functioning perfectionists can be even more difficult to deal with — because they hide their self-doubt so well. High functioning perfectionists often over-prepare, over-do, and leave themselves no time to recover mentally and physically from the demands of the standards they hold.

How can we cope with it?
Learning to deal with perfectionism is a process of teaching one’s self that ‘just enough’ is good enough. That one’s best effort cannot be given to every single activity engaged in or you will begin to struggle to do your best when it really counts the most. It’s making choices about what deserves our effort, time, and energy – and that can be a hard process to begin. Let us know if you need help with perfectionism, our efforts can help you learn to align your behavior and time use with your values.

‘Just Right OCD’: A little-known form of OCD that’s more common than you think

‘Just Right OCD’: A little-known form of OCD that’s more common than you think

‘Just Right OCD’: A little-known form of OCD that’s more common than you think

The term ‘OCD’ is often associated with people who are obsessively clean, with an excessive attention to detail, or who have a compulsion to order items in their environment. But not all people with OCD fit this stereotype. In fact, one of the lesser-known types of OCD is called ‘just right OCD,’ and it’s actually much more common than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about this form of the condition and how to cope with it successfully.

When something needs to feel a certain way, so you do it again.
Picture a seven-year-old child. He’s eating with his hands, on an airplane. His mother tells him to use silverware, but he doesn’t want to. He continues using his hands until he gets to just where he wants it—the just right point—when it feels perfect for him to eat with silverware again. That’s what just right OCD is all about: getting things to feel just right before moving forward. It’s not about perfectionism; rather, it is about seeking out and finding comfort in the way that things ‘feel.’ Often there is either a certain sound, sensory feeling, or emotional feeling that the suffer feels must occur before the task can be started or completed. It’s not about “perfection” or order – it’s about what feels ‘just right.’

Repeating, repeating, and waiting for that feeling.
People with ‘just right’ OCD often have difficulty explaining why they feel they need to do something repeatedly. They may set down a cup repeatedly until they think they’ve heard the right sound when the cup meets the table. They may wait for the right feeling when the cup meets the table or even the right mood or thought to pass as they set down the cup. Suffers may find themselves in endless loops of repeating tasks. This form of OCD also tends to be confusing for clinicians with little expertise in OCD as well, because the individual often may report no clear fear of something bad occurring if the task is not completed to ‘just right’s’ satisfaction. Often there is a diffuse discomfort or a sense that something negative but unidentified may occur.

Feeling safety even though it’s not ‘just right’ through exposure
In exposure therapy, a person with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) will challenge their fear by repeatedly coming into contact with something they fear. For example, if they are afraid of germs, they may go touch door handles several times to help them learn that germs aren’t dangerous. With ‘just right’ OCD, instead of trying to neutralize obsessions it’s a process of becoming comfortable with discomfort so you can return to a life of meaning, rather than seeking momentary relief.

Relationship OCD: A form of OCD that often damages the relationships where we most seek to be certain

Relationship OCD: A form of OCD that often damages the relationships where we most seek to be certain

Relationship OCD, or ROCD, refers to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms centered around relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers. As can be seen from the symptoms below, ROCD sufferers obsess over fears that they’re not in the right relationship or that taking some step in the relationship will be the wrong step. In an attempt to protect themselves from relationship failure and ensure their happiness, individuals with ROCD may sabotage their relationships or inadvertently damage them over time.


Common Triggers
Relationship OCD symptoms are typically triggered by an event or situation in a relationship, such as asking a partner to move in together or getting married. It can also be triggered by something a partner does or doesn’t do. For example, if your partner has been spending more time with friends and family than with you, you might start questioning your place in their life. Or if they don’t respond to a text message right away, you might begin worrying about whether they still love you. If you have ROCD, any change in your relationship could potentially cause anxiety. This is because when it comes to relationships, certainty is everything. The idea of not knowing what will happen next is terrifying for someone with ROCD. Often ROCD suffers will chose to end relationships they truly value, in order to be certain not to harm the other person or to be sure they aren’t making a wrong choice that cannot be undone at a later time.
First Steps
If you suspect you have Relationship OCD, seek help from a professional with speciality in OCD. Clinicians without experience treating OCD may often inadvertently worsen the condition by providing reassurance or engaging in debates with clients that cannot come to real ‘certainty.’ This may also lead to a tendency for clients to seek out clinicians to make the important decisions in their lives for them, in order to feel more certainty or less responsibility for the outcome of their decisions. This condition should not be managed on your own. Your therapist will help you use Exposure and Response Prevention therapy to work on facing relationship fears without resorting to reassurance seeking or other safety behaviors. Don’t let Relationship OCD become a barrier to finding a healthy relationship. Recovering means learning how to face uncertainty without fear—you can do it! And remember, treatment works!

Dealing with your Anxiety
Step 1 – Reaching out for help. The first step in dealing with relationship OCD is to reach out for help. You may want to reach out to an OCD specialist prior to discussing ROCD in detail with the individuals whom it involves in your life. For example, loving partners often have great difficulty understanding why doubt exists and can sometimes take offense or behavior in ways that worsen the doubt with the best intentions. If ROCD exists, an expert clinician is likely to be willing to support you in explaining your symptoms to the individuals whom your doubt targets in ways that better help you potentially preserve the relationship and gain real support from your relationships that help you reduce your ROCD symptoms. One thing that is not typically recommended, is ending relationships simply to feel more certainty in the moment – ROCD typically attaches itself to different relationships. Therefore, ending relationships to reduce momentary discomfort can set up a cycle where symptoms arise again with a new relationship which in turn causes the individual to again end the relationship.

Moving On Through Treatment
Relationship OCD is an insidious condition in which sufferers are plagued by thoughts about their relationship. These thoughts almost always focus on whether or not their current partner is the right one, and thus cause ROCD sufferers to have a difficult time moving forward with intimacy in their lives. It is possible, however, for those suffering from Relationship OCD to move on with their lives if they address their symptoms early enough. The first step toward doing so is recognizing that you may have Relationship OCD. Treatment for ROCD with an expert therapist should involve exposures to help you face your uncertainty and may involve meetings with family or important relationships, should you want these, to help your supporters understand what you are going through.
5 Tips for Modifying Your Sleep Behavior for a Better Night’s Rest

5 Tips for Modifying Your Sleep Behavior for a Better Night’s Rest

Sleeping well can mean the difference between being alert, focused, and productive during the day and suffering from headaches, decreased cognitive function, and feeling irritable and moody. Unfortunately, many of us are getting less sleep than we need on a regular basis. If you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re tossing and turning all night, it might be time to make some behavioral changes to see if that helps. Here are five tips for modifying your sleep behavior so you can get a better night’s rest!

1) Go to bed at the same time every day
Consistency is key when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Try setting a regular bedtime, and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you establish your sleep rhythm. Even if you only manage to get seven hours of sleep per night, that’s better than eight hours on some nights and five on others!

2) Wake up at the same time every day
If you’re looking to improve your sleep habits, consider waking up at the same time every day. Maintaining consistent sleep hours is key to better quality of sleep. It will also make it easier to go to bed at a regular time each night, which in turn makes falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer easier.

3) Know how much sleep you need
The amount of sleep you need can vary, but it’s generally recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. The best way to determine how much you need is by trial and error—when you’re sleepy, it’s time to go to bed. If you aren’t sure what your ideal amount of sleep is, start by trying out a few different amounts and working your way up or down from there until you find something that works for you.

4) Prepare your mind and body
Setting your brain and body up for sleep is crucial to getting quality shut-eye. To prep yourself, turn off screens 30 minutes before bedtime, spend a few minutes relaxing (try deep breathing or reading), and establish a bedtime routine. And try setting specific wake-up times so you don’t have to worry about hitting snooze over and over again.

5) Go outside before bed
Countless studies have demonstrated that exposure to natural light helps regulate our internal clocks, making it easier to fall asleep and get better sleep. Spend some time outside before you go to bed each night—even if you just walk around your yard or look out your window. The outdoor air can help reset your circadian rhythm, which will make it easier to sleep soundly at night.

Habit Reversal: Treating Tics & Tourette’s

Habit Reversal: Treating Tics & Tourette’s

Tics are involuntary muscle movements or vocalizations that can affect the face, body, and even the limbs of someone with Tourette syndrome (TS). Tourette’s has recently gained more recognition as the famous singer, Billie Eilish, has been public with her experiences of Tourette’s and her symptoms can often be observed (by her report) in her performances. For many people with Tourette’s and involuntary tics, the involuntary movements or vocalizations experienced can be distressing and embarrassing. If you suffer from Tourette’s or tics, there is help. As with any repetitive muscle movement, it’s possible to train yourself to resist performing the tic that results from an urge. Treatment by habit reversal works by teaching you to recognize the urge to perform the tic, wait until it passes, and then perform an alternative response that doesn’t result in the tic.

What Are Tics?
We all have unwanted habits that crop up now and then. We might find ourselves biting our nails, twirling our hair, or tapping our feet when we get stressed. These are called tics. A tic is an involuntary movement or sound that people make repeatedly and cannot control. Common examples of tics include shoulder-shrugging, nose twitching, blinking eyes rapidly, tapping fingertips together, sniffing sounds, clearing throat and facial grimacing. Tics can be annoying for those around you, but they aren’t usually harmful. They may go away on their own within a few weeks or months. But if they don’t, it can help to talk with us about treatment options.

Where Do My Tics Come From?
Your tics can come from your body’s attempt to relieve stress. Many people who have Tourette syndrome also suffer from anxiety and stress. So, if you notice that a lot of your tics occur around certain stressful situations, it might be good for you to learn how to relax. Tics also may increase in frequency when we are more ‘unaware’ or bored or experiencing certain emotions. It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with tics is different.

Why Habits Work To Stop A Tic?
When it comes to a tic, your brain is doing exactly what it wants. Trying to force it not to do something can only make things worse. But, if you’re able to break down a tic into its individual components, you can reduce and even eliminate that tic by encouraging alternate behaviors and reinforcing them through repetition. This process is called habit reversal therapy or HRT.

How To Form A New Habit That Prevents Involuntary Movement
Here’s how to turn those involuntary movements into voluntary ones. It might sound counterintuitive, but it works—and has been used successfully for decades by psychologists and therapists. In fact, habit reversal is one of two behavioral therapies that have been shown to be effective in treating tics and other repetitive behaviors in children and adults (the other being habit-reversing drugs). It can also be used for a wide range of other conditions, such as nail-biting, hair pulling, skin picking, and even self-injurious behaviors like head banging or self-hitting.