The Lies Anxiety and Imposter Syndrome Tell
I’ve always been an anxious type of person. As long as I can remember I worried about damn near everything. Most of the time these worries were in my head, and I could keep them there. I’ve always been asking myself “Am I Good Enough?”
But as I got older, the worries got bigger, bigger than me, bigger than my ability to handle them.
I didn’t start medication until I was 30 for them. I did have CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), which helped me keep the creeping anxiety under control, until one, well, asshole decided to make a comment about something that I was rediscovering a love of. Something that I hadn’t been involved with for a very long time and that set off the OCD that I’d been able to keep tamped down with the things I’d learned in therapy. To say it was a living hell would be accurate.
It was about 18 months after that I finally went in for mental health help. I’ve had the same doctor since then, thank all that is holy, and we have managed to find medication and therapy techniques that work.
But, even with this, I’m always fighting imposter syndrome. I never will be good enough for myself. I never will live up to the potential that others saw in me (Hey, teachers, PLEASE do not do this to your gifted children, or any children in fact).
When I own up to achievements, I feel like I’m going to be exposed as a fraud any minute. It doesn’t matter that I’ve worked my ass off to get there. And that I may deserve it. No amount of convincing me is going to work. It’s not a humble-brag or anything like that. At least for me, I can say that I don’t see my achievements as something that I’m happy with. I can always do better, I can always be better.
This perfectionist streak, fuelled by anxiety, is a blessing and a curse. Nothing is ever done for me when it comes to my creative work. I could spend years (and have) on fixing an opening paragraph. I’ve spent three weeks trying to figure out a way to say that a light was hanging on the horizon. Because to my anxiety, I’ll never be good enough.
Now, this may sound like I’m whining about it. I want to end by saying that this was my journey with anxiety and being good enough. I’ve learned and accepted that I can be good enough without being perfect. I am learning to accept me as I am, more and more every day.