My deepest struggle was the need to be perfect.
It almost destroyed me.
I’ve never thought of myself as a perfectionist – to me that meant things around me had to be perfect. My struggle was that I had to be perfect.
Everything I did, everything I said, my hair, my face, my body, the way I acted – it all had to be painfully perfect.
I don’t mean the fake eyelashes, big lips, perfect makeup, and perfect clothes – those are accessories I didn’t care too much about.
What I deeply cared about was showing up perfect as a human being. I strived for perfection in my beingness.
It’s hard to explain as it was more of an undercurrent sensation of needing to be perfect.
When I was 12 years old, I had the “couldn’t-get-out-of-bed-I-was-so-sick” with Mononucleosis for about 4 months. I was taking a cough medicine called Dextromethorphan (DXM) for that whole time.
Without knowing it, I was allergic to it.
At high doses, DXM can produce psychedelic symptoms including mania, panic, extreme agitation and anxiety, hallucinations, and out-of-body sensations.
I suffered from all those side effects AND I developed severe OCD because of it. For me, OCD was there to protect me from dying, which I was so deeply afraid of.
That was how I lived – if I didn’t do ‘these OCD things’ I would die (the funny, not so funny thing is that I watched the Exorcist around that time – the scariest movie ever, followed by the Omen).
At bedtime every night I would take the cough medicine and a few hours later I would be hallucinating, out of body experiences, tunnel vision, followed by mania and panic – I thought I was possessed, like in those movies. That was the only explanation I could come up with in my young mind.
(The irony is not lost on me that I now enjoy psychedelics, hallucinations, and out-of-body sensations – but that is not part of this story!).
That time of my life was a living hell. The onset of OCD was a way for me to control my out-of-control life and make sense of my world. (It took about a year for the Dr. to figure out I was having an allergic reaction).
I told no one what I was experiencing, although my parents did notice crazy behaviour from me. Perhaps not the most aware parents but it was the 70’s!
One day, at the age of 13, I thought I would either literally go crazy or kill myself – neither were sensible options to me – and I literally stopped my OCD behaviors in that moment.
To this day (I am 56 years old) my life has been dictated by an underlying current of OCD – until a mic drop moment a few months ago, when my EFT coach Corby (https://www.radiantcoresolutions.com) said this to me during our session: “Odette, it’s like you’ll need to do 10 Hail Marys”.
How did she know?
One of the OCD behaviours was to do 10 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers at bedtime – perfectly – or I would have to do it all over again.
I went to a Catholic school, what can I say! (This is not a forced down my throat Catholic upbringing, I just choose to do the prayers to mitigate being possessed)!
Fast forward, right after my first daughter was born in 1997, I became gravely ill and eventually diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, after my second daughter was born in 1999.
The hardest part (for me and for them) was being a single parent while under the influence of OCD and managing the often-crippling times of my AI disease. I apologize on a near daily basis to them, as I am sure that was not a fun way to do growing up.
Self-forgiveness is a lifelong learning!
From 2012 to 2019, I was trapped in the dark night of the soul.
In six-month’s time, both of my parents died, a significant blended family relationship ended and living with hellish auto immune trauma because of stress, I hit my rock bottom and stayed there.
But I had my OCD to keep me afloat and strive for perfection!
In 2019 I came to Costa Rica for an Ayahuasca retreat, my first plant medicine journey ever.
For over a decade I tried everything to ‘fix myself’ and I would feel a little better with each one of them, until I embraced the notion that I don’t need fixing.
I need healing.
I had deeply ingrained emotional trauma that came from my need to be perfect, needing to unload my OCD ideologies that I thought were keeping me safe, so that I could pave the path to self-love.
But first I needed to move through self-doubt, self-sabotage, and self-judgement – no easy feat as those falsities were my identity since the beginning of my time.
Here are the steps I took these past few years and especially these past few months, allowing me to move away from those feelings and embrace these:
- Unconditional self-acceptance.
The best part is that I am still not perfect!
I am a hot mess at times, and I love, accept, and embrace all those parts of me that make me the truest version of me. Warts and all.
This message from my heart to yours is simple:
- Learn to live from your heart.
- Learn to live from your purpose.
- Learn to live from joy.
Life is messy. Get dirty!