Personal Update – Imposter Syndrome

One thing not everyone talks about in regards to mental illness is the imposter syndrome that can come with it. For those who don’t know, imposter syndrome is kind of what it sounds like–where someone in a position feels like they don’t deserve to be there, like they’re a fake, like they have no right to call themselves this or that or whatever. It’s used a lot in the writing world, I assume the rest of the artistic world too, where an indie writer might say they have imposter syndrome because they don’t feel like they should call themselves a writer because there are other writers more successful than them. That sort of thing. Mental illness can cause the same feeling, in my experience.

I described a bit about my last month or so–the mood cycling and a bit about how it’s affected my relationship and me. Well, this is to add to that I guess. I revealed that the episode caused issues with my guy, where I’m not sure if he wants to stay or not at this point. This is causing me to experience a level of imposter syndrome.

I’ve felt this a lot throughout my years of being sick. I feel it when my dad says, “I didn’t realize you felt that way. You always seemed really happy,” or when my grandparents strongly imply that I don’t deserve SSI. When Social Security denies me for SSI, not citing strong reasons for doing so, as if they think I’m just faking it or my mom is pushing me to fake it or whatever they think I’m doing there at that hearing, in those letters, despite whatever it is they think I’m doing at home that disproves my claim. I don’t usually feel it when I hear of someone who’s had similar experiences or arguably worse experiences, but that is a common cause of it in a lot of people for whatever they feel it for.

Lately I’ve been feeling it because my mental illnesses have, once again, stolen something majorly important in my life from me. They have stolen someone I love, a relationship I valued above most other things. A relationship that gave me strength and security and a sense of belonging, something I’ve never really had. I don’t think it’s a guaranteed loss yet exactly, but I do know that it’s in serious jeopardy now, largely due to my mental illnesses. Or is it me? That’s where the imposter syndrome comes in.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really sick or if I really am just faking it, that every issue I’ve had with it was really just me. Maybe it’s not an illness preventing me from functioning. Maybe it’s just that I really am lazy like some of the people think. Maybe I want attention? Maybe I want to feel special? But surely I, of all people, would have an idea of it if I were faking it–wouldn’t I? How would you fake something this major without realizing it? It’s cost me jobs, relationships (romantic and platonic), milestone experiences, an education, a whole life. Surely I wouldn’t just pretend to lose all of that to gain–what? What have I gained from it? But at the same time… what else am I supposed to blame for all of this? I can’t blame any other person, I can’t really blame my upbringing or even my life in my youth. I had everything as a child. If I hadn’t had Chiari, if I hadn’t started experiencing mental health difficulties at a young age, some might have called my life perfect, for where I was. Maybe that’s why it seems like it’s hard for my grandparents to accept that I’m so brutally crippled. The only person actively involved in all of this that has never once seemed to question me is my mom. And I stress her all the more for it. Maybe if I stopped faking it somehow, I could make her feel better? But I’m not faking it… I don’t think I am anyway.

These are thoughts that run through my head regularly. This is imposter syndrome, or at least a form of it, and it can hit hard in a lot of things–including mental illness.

When I type these posts, I cry a lot. It hurts to recount how these things have shaped my life and shaped me as a person when I, like anyone else, deserved a normal life more along the lines of what I wanted for myself.

The Appeals Council for SSI has an average processing time of 15-18 months right now. My appeal was put in in July. I have somewhere around 10 months before I hear back from them. At this point, despite the strong appeal my attorney put in, despite the major support from my treating psychiatrist and support from previous doctors… I don’t have high hopes. I feel like they’ll say no again because obviously the ALJ knows more about my diagnoses than my psychiatrist. Pretty sure she’s just a judge, not a licensed medical professional. Yet she substituted her own medical opinion for my psychiatrist’s, who is a crazy old man licensed in a lot of stuff.

So yeah. Imposter syndrome. Feeling it pretty heavily right now as I think about my failed relationships and Social Security’s repeated denials.

Something has to work out someday, right?

Published by Rawry

I'm just a writer and gamer living in the middle of nowhere..

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