Throughout my life, especially at the start of my teenaged years, I feel like i’ve suffered from a phobia by a name that’s not familiar to everybody’s ear, but recognisable by its definition. It hasn’t hindered my life massively, so I wouldn’t say I suffer from it in a sizeable amount, however its gotten to a point sometimes where it gets me down. I’m sure everyone has those moments of self-doubt or questioning but for me, it’s been something of a recurrent thought.
Atelophobia is the fear of not being good enough, or imperfection. By definition, atelophobia is classified as an anxiety disorder that can affect relationships and makes the person afflicted by atelophobia feel like everything they do is wrong.
It happened when I was in year 11 at school, just 15 years of age, I became one of the first people in my family to attain 12 GCSE’s of A*-C. Followed by a two year Sixth Form leap when I achieved 3 A-Levels and now, at 21 years of age, I became the first person in my family to attain a degree. This isn’t boasting, if anything, this has become somewhat of a label upon myself in my family. Sure, to the ordinary person, all of these educational achievements will be seen as fantastic, incredible, amazing, but what comes with all of this is a pedestal that you stand on, that you don’t want to stand on.
My family see me as this “can-do-no-wrong” person, so whenever I do something wrong or pick up a bad habit, it’s seen as worse for me in comparison to anybody else, because i’m this “prized child”, that should be perfect and act perfect all the time. It’s what (and this sounds ridiculous) celebrities say about themselves. Yes, they achieve these incredible things but deep down they’re only human, blah blah blah. Now, i’m not comparing myself to a celebrity in any manner, but what i’m saying is, when you achieve things, sometimes you become somewhat of a perfectionist and in turn, a massive worrier.
I over-analyse absolutely everything. I go to a party or a family barbecue for the first time and whilst i’m in bed that night, i’ll be thinking for a good hour about what I said to the new people I met that day. Whether or not I made a good impression. Furthermore, this has caused me to have trouble sleeping, for nearly 10 years. For this reason, I can’t just lay down to sleep and nod off, it just doesn’t happen that way. I’ll pick up my phone and read texts I had sent that day or look at my tweets and decide if that should really be on public domain. I just over think absolutely everything in order to have myself perceived in the best possible manner.
On top of all of this, atelophobia makes you overbearing, you need to be constantly reassured that what you’re doing is good. It makes you look naggy, it makes you look insecure and it makes you look like you don’t have your shit together. When really, you’ve got it all figured out, but you just need to know whether it’s right.
Taking all this into account, I pretty much always feel like i’m just not good enough. Fantastic, yes, I achieved a 2:1 at University but I know at the back of my mind that if I put more effort into it, then I could’ve easily achieved a first. Brilliant, I made it through university without a scratch, oh wait, that’s a lie, I started smoking, that shouldn’t have happened. Wonderful, I now have an incredible partner who takes me 100% as I am, but sometimes, I know I could be that less overbearing or worrying. But to be honest, at the end of the day, that’s just me. And i’m sure there are another 7 billion people on this planet that also think that they’re not good enough.
The way I get round my atelophobia is by weighing up the positives and negatives. The way I look at it, I achieved these amazing things and I did it all by myself and to whoever is reading this, i’m sure you’ve done wonderful things in your life too, that you should be proud of. Because you know what, those around you think that too.