**Some guest stories may contain eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your own discretion and speak with your therapist or support system as needed.
Caitlin Ward is a freshman at Bucknell University. She loves spending time with her family and friends who are there for her during every step of recovery. When she’s not busy with homework, Caitlin enjoys spending time with her dog and watching Grey’s Anatomy.
Perfection. Most people believe that being perfect is not realistic. That’s not me. I always thought I could be perfect. I was supposed to be the shining star of the family or the friend group, of everywhere I went. I tried my hardest at being perfect. I studied endlessly to get perfect grades. I always woke up early to put on makeup, put on a cute outfit, and do my hair even if I was up late doing my homework. It didn’t matter, I had to look like I was okay all the time, even if I cried myself to sleep because of my anxiety. The desire for perfection has always been a part of my life since I can remember. However, nothing I ever did made me “perfect” enough. I was thin. I was pretty. I was smart. I wasn’t thin enough. I wasn’t thin enough. I wasn’t smart enough. I felt like I lost control over my need to be perfect. I needed to regain control to become perfect.
So, I turned to food and exercise. I thought, you know what could make me more perfect, be the healthy one. Be the skinniest. Eat the least. Workout the most. So, I did. Most people would not be able to live this way. But, with everything I do I have such a high level of motivation to complete it with perfection. Restricting my diet really was not that difficult for me. Sure, I was hungry. I was tired. I missed out on a lot of social events. But, was I achieving “perfection?” No. I never achieved perfection. So, everything I did concerning food/weight/exercised needed to be controlled even more to make me more perfect. I would continuously cut down on calories and exercise more.