Personal reflections · Psychology and mental illness · Recovery · Religion and Spirituality

Doing Enough

I struggle a great deal with being human. For many years, I bristled at people who said to me, “you’re a human,” wondering what on earth they meant. People go through life with a wide range of definitions for humanness.

As a young child, I was taught that to be human was to be flawed. To be human was to be sinful, in need of the salvation that came from Jesus’ torturous death. This made me feel incredibly broken, wrong, and it gave me a fucked-up relationship with the concepts of torture, death, and pain itself. I got the idea that God wanted me to suffer because the bible repeatedly says that the righteous will be subject to suffering.

At the same time, I had a very small idea of how big the world is. This gave me a skewed perspective on how much of an impact I could have on the world. I’ve written extensively about this, but the main thing I want to address is that I never feel like I’m doing enough.

There are a lot of reasons for this – I’m a recovering perfectionist, I have OCD, and part of my PTSD came from having adult responsibilities as a child. My mom often left impossibly long to-do lists for me while I was babysitting numerous siblings.

“Enough” is a difficult concept to grasp for me. How much work is enough? How much rest is enough? These questions are complicated by my mental illness and chronic illness.

It haunts me that what I can do is never equal to what it seems like must be done.

But I often see others who, like me, are pushing themselves too hard. We work until we’re disabled or just plain burnt out, or both. It feels like nobody else cares as deeply as we do, and there’s so much to do.

I don’t know if there’s a precise answer, but when I stop and look around, I see that there are a lot of other people who do care and who are doing what matters.

It’s not just me. Together, we can get closer to getting done what must be done. It’s never been and it never will be the accomplishment of just one person.