My Perfectionism Is Suffocating Me

Published: April 30, 2014
Dear My Perfectionism Is Suffocating Me,

Dear TeenHealthFX, Lately, I've been overwhelmed. I'm involved in sports, the school play, church, etcetera. I have loads of homework. I feel frustrated and trapped when I don't get the perfect score or the perfect grade. My perfectionism is suffocates me in a way. Adolescence is so overwhelming. How can I balance out my life with a simple but high-striving schedule?

Dear My Perfectionism Is Suffocating Me,

It sounds to TeenHealthFX like what gets you into trouble and causes stress is not adolescence or your schedule, but rather the perfectionism that you are constantly striving for. FX thinks it would be helpful for you to speak to a school counselor and/or reputable private therapist (such as a clinical psychologist or clinical social worker) so you can get a better understanding of why it is so important for you to be perfect in all that you do. If being perfect in everything is an issue for you, moving out of adolescence or adjusting your schedule isn’t going to change things – because no matter what phase of life you are at, how much is on your plate, or what you are working towards, the pressure you put on yourself to achieve perfection will wear on you.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.