I have mentioned several times over the years about how I have a Type A personality and how I believe being a perfectionist and overachiever has contributed to my illness. I would love to see a study done on this theory because I’m sure there are many just like me who developed ME/CFS, FM, or both who pushed their bodies past the breaking point.
It has been proven that stress is a contributing factor to both ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia in making the illnesses worse, so why wouldn’t stress from being an overachiever be a possible cause? Being an overachiever is nothing but a bunch of stress and Lord knows I am a stressed person most of the time. Have you ever asked yourself why you are an overachiever and/or perfectionist? I remember being like that ever since I was a little girl. My first memory of being an overachiever was in 2nd grade. My teacher had a reading contest where the person who read the most books throughout the year would receive a prize at the end of the year. I picked up reading really quickly and I read a tremendous amount of books that year and no one even came close to the amount of books I read. To me that was the beginning of my overachieving ways.
When I found something that I could do well, I would strive to be the best at it. In middle and high school it was music: violin, piano, and singing. I would have to try out for every solo, every talent contest, and musical ensemble that existed. When I became an adult, I tried to be the best I could be at work. I would work more hours than anyone else. I would come in earlier than anyone else and I would be the last one to leave. I would get promoted easily because I wanted to do everything perfect and because of this, I was depended upon heavily.
I also could never say no. Anytime someone wanted or needed something, I was there whether I had the time to do it or not. I would only have a day or two off every other week and those days were usually spent doing stuff other people said they needed me to help with. I was completely miserable and extremely unhappy. I only lasted at that pace for a couple of years.
I really worry about our kids and how they will end up being as adults. They are expected to know more and more at earlier ages and this can be very hard on them. My son is a perfectionist and I hope that he does not end up like me. One of my biggest fears for him is that he will end up with ME/CFS or Fibromyalgia.
I have to say that I have learned how to say no and that is not a problem for me any longer. I no longer have to clean my house every single day but you will never see my house dirty. I am just not as obsessive about it now but I will always be a neat and clean freak.
Are you or have you been an overachiever during your life? Do you think you became sick with ME/CFS or FM because of it? Were you a people pleaser and not able to say no? Let me know!