Imposter Syndrome and other bad days

I’m having a depress…

Me

Today I want to talk about Imposter Syndrome and very bad days. First, Imposter Syndrome is defined as a psychological pattern when one doubts their abilities, talents, skills, and accomplishments and has an internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. I’m here to say it, my friends…I feel like an imposter.

Imposter Syndrome

man holding a sign that says, "fraud"
imposter syndrome

Most days, it depends on what I’m doing. When it comes to art, and even journaling, I feel out of place. Drawing, painting, and creative journaling are all pretty new to me, so I never really feel like I’m as good as everyone else. That said, I’ve always felt very confident in my abilities as a writer. I, of course, have always held myself back and never given a real go of it because I’m scared to death that I would never be able to manage success, but that is for a different post. Tonight I want to talk about the voice in my head that tells me I am not good enough; that I do not belong in circles of success.

A few months ago, I mentioned to Dr. W that I have this annoying voice in my head. She immediately asked whose voice it was. “Uh? Mine?” I replied. “Nope,” she said, “it’s not your voice. We aren’t born with that voice. Someone else put that voice in your head.” She was right, for the most part, but not about writing. I have only ever gotten positive feedback as far as that goes. Even when my teachers and parents were berating me for being…well, me; they were still always telling me how great a writer I was.

I wanted to be a movie star until I was about 26 or 27. I had an agent and did a few student films and commercial auditions (I held myself back there too because, yet again, I am petrified of actually being successful) and I made it a real dream. My dad hated it. “It’s not realistic,” he would say. “Why don’t you focus on writing? You could definitely make it as a writer.” I had an English professor encourage me to join the school paper and to continue forward with a journalism major because he was blown away by the quality of my work.

Yet, every time that I post a blog post and I know that it’s about to be on Twitter, Facebook, or WordPress, I can’t help but see myself as a fraud; someone with no right to be here. My work feels amateurish and I become convinced that this is a crazy endeavor. I keep telling the voice in my brain to shut its mouth and it keeps pushing right back. I keep pecking away at this keyboard and it keeps laughing at me. It’s a vicious cycle and I don’t know if it will ever end, even if I do manage any level of success.

I started searching tonight for ways to break the cycle and I found  ImposterSyndrome.com. The first step that they recommend? Break the silence. Push through the shame of feeling like an imposter and simply talk about it. I want people to know that this is a real thing and that we are not alone in this. Other people feel this way too, many more than we could ever imagine. Talking about it sheds a light on a problem that a lot of people don’t even know exists; they don’t know other people feel the same way, no matter what endeavors they are chasing or have captured. There are billionaires who spend every day thinking that they only got there by pure luck and will one day be found out as frauds. When people talk freely, stigmas are busted. That, my friends, is why I’m here to begin with.

I’m going to keep doing some research on this. I have no advice to offer here as I am also trying to learn how to fight this feeling that I am not good enough or smart enough; the feeling that I don’t have enough go-power to make myself a success at something that I love. If I do succeed, I worry that I don’t have what it takes to maintain any level of success. I suspect that comes from my childhood and being told I would never be anything because I was lazy, flighty, ,and petulant. I was the, “you have so much potential if you could only live up to it,” kind of kid. I guess maybe the idea of having to live up to so much “potential,” is what scares me. Probably. Definitely. Anyway, I’ll do more research and follow up on this later.

Another bump in the road

Another thing I want to talk about is bad days along the mental illness recovery path. I am very much at the head of my path, having just got my official diagnosis a few months ago. I’ve taken but a few steps towards recovery. Sometimes, I feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace. I try to remind myself that it took me 38 years to get to where I am today and I’m not going to be able to fix it right away. I have to unlearn old behaviors and learn brand new, healthy ways to cope. One day at a time, right?

I’ve been having a lot of anxiety, but I’ve noticed that sometimes at night, a blanket of depression just folds over me. That is what is happening today. I got some possibly bad news earlier in the day and it’s something that I believe will really negatively impact me. First I sat in my anxiety all day and then I realized that I want to rail against the issue, but I can’t do it on a public forum. It involves the company that I work for and I can’t rail for fear of losing my job. This also sucks…feeling muzzled about something so important. It is very much something that impacts my mental health and the issue at hand is completely relevant to my blog niche; something that needs to be changed within society to make meaningful room for people with mental illness. That is for another day, I suppose.

I digress. I was sitting here, feeling very low and on the verge of tears, and I decided to write about it. The things I’ve been writing lately have felt a little stiff. I want to provide you with fact-based information, but in doing so I feel like it’s lost a little bit of its personal touch. I want to give you a real idea of what it is like to live with mental illness and the truth of the matter is this: No matter how hard you fight, no matter how many coping mechanisms you develop, no matter how many traumas you process…there are still going to be days where your brain just sort of takes over. There are still going to be days where you don’t feel in control; days where you just feel bad.

Hopefully, I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel more prepared to face the day. I have therapy with Dr. W tomorrow; I’m glad, relieved even. I plan to talk to her about all of this. The last time I talked to her about Imposter Syndrome, she told me to cuss out the voice that tells me I’m not good enough or strong enough. So, tonight, I’m telling that voice to fuck right off and I’m using this post to do it. I will not let Imposter Syndrome or depression or anxiety or the voice of my stepmother get in the way of what I am trying to do here. Not now and not ever.

Love and light. Keep fighting the good fight. 💜💜

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6 Comments

  1. Such an incredible post, Amber! I may not know you, but I do believe in you! Thank you for your courage to step forward and share your thoughts on a syndrome so many of us wrestle with! I know that I do, big time! In fact, your words were eerily familiar to my mind.

    When you talked about how you’d tell your brain to shut up and keep typing away, I got it. Problem is: that gets exhausting, doesn’t it? When we continuously go through the cycle of believing, then rejecting, then feeling like a fraud — it wears us down, continuously! That’s one of the hardest parts – the energy suck.

    “I was sitting here, feeling very low and on the verge of tears, and I decided to write about it. The things I’ve been writing lately have felt a little stiff. I want to provide you with fact-based information, but in doing so I feel like it’s lost a little bit of its personal touch.” — This part was powerful for me. I wonder what (if any) the deeper reason is for why we feel ‘technical’ writing is stiff? This resonated with me.

    I wonder if it’s because our personality types connect more with the empathetic and emotional side of our hearts? And as a result, we feel fraud-like when we begin to write from the logical, technical side. I’m curious about your thoughts on this?

    Thank you again for sharing. I pray your 2021 brings many breakthroughs for you so that you can live in freedom from these lies that taunt you. They are just that — LIES! Love headed your way! You’ve got this! ❤
    Holly recently posted…How A Gratitude Journal With Prompts Can Transform Your Mind + Our Top 5 FavoritesMy Profile

    1. That’s a really good theory and would make perfect sense. I write about the topics I do because I feel so deeply for the people that are experiencing them. It would make sense that the technical parts of the writing don’t necessarily fit with the emotions that I have on the subject.

      I’m glad that it resonated with you and I thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Getting feedback from people like you helps me to fight back against my brain when it decides to lie to me. I can’t express to you how much it means to me. Thank you so much for taking the time. 💜💜

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