Our director Dr Celin Gelgec went to hear Dr Brene Brown speak on her recent tour of Australia on the power of courage and empathy in dealing with shame and vulnerability.
Whether a child or an adult, most of us can relate to a time that we felt anxiety in getting something ‘right’, or even more so, ‘perfect’ - it could have been a sand castle that, as a child, we wanted to show off to our parents, or an art masterpiece in primary school, or an assignment or letter that just didn’t read as well as it should. Either way, most of us can relate to something just not working out to plan. Would this make us a perfectionist? Well, it would probably depend on how frequent this happens and the intensity of it. As human beings, it’s normal to want to succeed and do our best. So, is there a bad side to perfectionism?
Although we can all feel sad, down, or be in a bad mood from time to time, whether things don’t go as expected or someone hurts us, or we lose a loved one - depression is not just that. People who experience depression may experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time, and at times for no apparent reason. It affects a person’s physical and mental health. It impacts on how a person thinks about the world and themselves. Similarly, children can experience depression.
Anxiety is a normal feeling and often helpful in dangerous situations. Anxiety can help us avoid danger, triggering our 'fight or flight' response. When we cross the road, it’s anxiety that makes us look both ways, when walking alone in the dark, it’s anxiety that makes us be cautious, and when having an exam, it’s anxiety that pushes us to study in order to pass. Anxiety only becomes problematic when someone feels anxious often and disproportionately to a threat, and it gets in the way of living life. In such cases, anxiety can turn into an anxiety disorder.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt your friend was speaking to you in a way that was humiliating you or putting you down, but you didn’t know what to say in case a fight would occur? or your boss was piling work on to you and you couldn’t say no even though you knew it would case you lots of stress, because what if he fires you, you may think? Being in situations like these are tricky, however, there’s always a time, place and way to have these kind of conversations for it to be communicated effectively and avoid the ‘drama’ that can come from it.