At 24, Georgie Dent had the world at her feet – but within a year she found herself in the midst of a nervous breakdown, suffering such crippling anxiety that she admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital. In her new book BREAKING BADLY Georgie shares how it all fell apart, and how she rebuilt her life.
If you wanted to make your life better what is the one thing you’d change?
I was sitting up on my bed in hospital, using a meal tray as my desk, staring at those two little words. The question about making my life better had been posed at the end of a group therapy session earlier, and my answer, underlined in my notebook in lead pencil, shocked me.
I was scared all the time.
What was I so afraid of? Failing? Being disliked? Being seen as inadequate or incompetent? Did these things even matter? Why was I holding myself hostage to fear?
My whole life, I had been holding myself to impossible standards. I didn’t know there was a name for that paradigm at the time, but enlightenment came in a workshop on perfectionism run by Victoria, a psychologist who ran group therapy sessions.
‘We are going to explore perfectionism today, and before we begin I want to get a sense from you about how it might be impacting each of you,’ she said. ‘Put your hand up if you have ever felt like nothing you do is good enough.’
I practically snorted, inadvertently, as I shot up my hand. Several other hands went up too.