Emma Chamberlain Talks Anxiety, Burnout, and Perfectionism – Vogue

I’ll end up getting into these ruts where I’m working for six months straight and having no joy in my day-to-day and it sucks and I’m lonely and it’s just like, stop. Those are moments when I start to get sad and realize like, “Okay, we’re going down a bad path here, things are starting to get a little sour.” Then I’ll really lean into planning things. It’s all about planning things to look forward to and be excited about. Whether it’s a barbecue, a dinner with friends or going on a little trip, just giving myself something to look forward to, and that will hold me over for another week. Then it’s like, okay, what else can we plan? Finding things to look forward to helps me more than anything. I’m lucky that I have a close circle of friends that don’t make me anxious because I get anxious around most people.

What are you looking forward to now?

I’m actually not looking forward to anything. I’ve been having a hard time recently because I have a lot on my plate, I’m moving soon, which is not exciting, it’s stressful and uncomfortable and I have a lot of work I have to get done simultaneously. There’s nothing fun on my calendar for the next, like, six months. I’m being brutally honest here!

I appreciate your vulnerability!

Yeah, I’m not really excited for anything and it’s not feeling so good, but I’m going to plan something soon. My birthday is coming up, so I’m going to try to take a few days off for my birthday and I want to enjoy that experience.

It’s interesting how much perfectionism came up as your primary source of anxiety. Everyone loves you because of your vulnerability and imperfection. We love you because you’re real.

That’s a great point, but it’s interesting because perfection to me is not what it would be for someone else, right? Perfection for others might be never having a zit and a perfectly symmetrical face, or whatever the fuck, but for me it’s actually more of a moral perfection. So never having a moment of pettiness, never having a moment of resentment. I want to believe that I’ve never wronged anybody, that I’ve never hurt anybody’s feelings. Nowadays I’m so careful about how I am with others, but you know, you can’t control everything that you’ve ever done. I’m putting so much pressure on myself to only have a positive impact on the world, and that may be great but it’s made me isolate myself because I have this phobia of accidentally hurting others. It haunts me but I’m learning to realize you can’t do good either if you don’t talk to people out of fear that you’re going to hurt them. It’s so bizarre.

I could talk to you for another hour but I know you have moving to do, so thank you for showing up and for your vulnerability; it’s really brave.

I really enjoyed talking, it was like my therapy session of the day and it’s nice to have somebody who can actually relate!