Psychologist, Author, Speaker, Feminist and Women Circle Facilitator.
About 10 years ago I found myself in the midst of a personal health crisis. I was struggling for energy almost constantly. No one in the medical profession could give me a straight answer as to why. So I had no other choice but to embark on my own healing journey.
I started with diet and counselling. I made a tree change, moving my inner city lifestyle out to the leafy, slower paced outer suburbs. I experimented with lots of different ways of eating including macrobiotic, vegan and raw foods. These all helped a lot. However, I still felt like I was on the verge of being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At the time I had been eating out quite a lot and had been undergoing some quite intensive psychotherapy. This psychotherapy had been very helpful, however, the length and duration of emotional purging of past traumas, coupled with me trying to complete a Master’s Degree, working part time as a psychologist and planning a wedding had left me feeling extremely burnout.
I remember at the time being completely lost and confused as to why I was tired. I had no concept of how much was a reasonable amount of things to have on my plate or how to really truly care for myself properly.
I then got pregnant. My husband and I moved house and I had a bit of a melt-down. I was told quite sternly by my partner to stop and take it easy. The pregnancy was a blessing in a way (apart from the obvious reasons) because it caused me to cut down and then stop work and think about my well-being more. The year after my baby was born I was a vegan and by the time she was one, I was extremely physically healthy, yet still tired, after being back at my university course (lucky she was a good sleeper!!)
So the long and the short of it was that I slowly learned, through counselling and taking better care of myself nutritionally, why I had reached that point of burnout. There was certain things about the way I was viewing the world that was affecting my interaction with it and causing me to overburden and stress myself to the limit on a regular basis. I learned that these were patterns that had developed over the course of my young life to become personality factors.
These personality factors are what I want to talk to you about. How they are formed and how they can be undone. As part of my Master’s thesis I also met and interviewed 10 people with chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia about their experiences with these illnesses. I saw that these people had common behaviours and personality characteristics. I started scratching my head. I also saw lots of clients in my practice who present with anxiety and had these same characteristics underneath this symptom. Then I began helping them to get better.
* This is an excerpt from Honor’s book Killing the Perfectionist Within: A Self-Help Guide for women struggling with Perfectionism, Anxiety and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. To purchase please visit the shop tab.
Honor Newman is a Psychologist who practices in Tecoma and Melbourne CBD. Book now on the home page.