Battling the Impostor (Syndrome)

In this article here, the New York Times talks about something called Impostor Syndrome.

There are too many descriptions and definitions of Impostor Syndrome, also known as Impostor Phenomenon or Fraud Syndrome, but the general idea is that a person feels as though they are a fraud or undeserving of the good things or the success they are achieving. Get a good grade? Must have been a fluke. Your friends laughed at your joke? They didn’t want you to feel embarrassed, so they just laughed to make you feel better. You have friends? You wouldn’t if they knew “the real you”.

Your blog is getting a lot more views and attention than you thought it would and people actually want to read your writing?

There must be some kind of mistake.

At least, that’s what my brain tells me. It’s hard to fathom why anyone, much less more than 250 people would bother to spare a glance at anything I’m putting out. The topic of chronic illness and mental illness is something that is becoming more and more mainstream, so starting a blog about it right now felt a little silly to me. It wasn’t a desire for a following that got me to break down and finally do it, but a desire simply to write and get my thoughts and feelings out of my brain and into a different place. Then I achieved 92 views in the first day.

“Impossible,” my brain told me, “they found it by accident.”

“How could they find it by accident? I only shared it to my private Facebook page.” I replied.

“Then that’s why. They are your friends. They feel like they have to at least look at it. To spare your feelings.”

I watch my stats almost constantly, stuck somewhere between awe, pride, and horror when I see the numbers climb each day. People are seeing my words, reading my thoughts and feelings. It forces me to face the reality that I am, in fact, a real person. I exist and I am capable of something.

It dawned on me that this is exactly why I want to write. I’m not the only person that feels this way. There are millions of other people battling the voice in their minds, whether it’s a whisper or a shout, that tells them they don’t deserve their success or their happiness or even their life.

But we do.

We deserve our successes. We deserve our happiness. We deserve our friends and the good moments and the happy memories and yes, we even deserve to live. More than that, we deserve to live well.

So celebrate your good moments, whether that means you stand proudly and smile when you win some prestigious award, when your book goes on the Bestseller list, when your movie becomes a blockbuster, when you become a big star.

When you get a good grade, when you talk to that person you’ve had a crush on forever, when you smile at your crush, when you’re able to get out of bed, when you make the healthier choice. When you take care of yourself instead of pushing too hard and making unhealthy choices.

We deserve it all.


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