Impostor Syndrome: The Millennial Crisis

Yesterday, I took the day off work and it was glorious; massage and a manicure was definitely what was needed with my sciatic hip giving me jip but in between my activities, I flicked onto This Morning where there was an Irish lady declaring that she believed mental illness and poor mental health was being caused by us all talking about it too much and almost giving us the anxiety and other various mental health disorders; however I disagree. Since, I do believe, that we’ve only got to a stage where someone seeing a therapist is as normal as going to the hairdressers. We’re no longer horrified at the thought of it but accepting the fact that we all talk and need to in order to deal with problems, issues and trauma. I thought, today i’d touch upon a subject that i feel doesn’t get discussed but something that becomes a recurring theme in my therapy sessions.

Now, the bizarre minds amongst us might consider this to be oversharing and be strange of me to share this; but unless we share these things we will never open the lines of discussion up. Back in 2017, I experienced bullying in my adult life and never did I think grown men and women could bully another person. Especially, since they were no Brad Pit or Cameron Diaz’ to look at. I honestly believed that as you got older, your mind got older and you no longer believed that bullying was acceptable. But, there you go. You learn something new everyday. This experience, left me fucked up to put it, quite explicit. Why? Well, I’ll tell you now for one. It happened at my most vulnerable and they knew this, which makes it even worse. It was only when I saw a CBT counsellor that I accepted that I had been bullied and was still reeling from the affects of it, yet even 2 years on; the impact of those bullies still haunts me to this day. It’s  worse than the childhood bullies. I believe this to be, because it has since left it’s scars both in my professional and personal life; it’s knocked my confidence and my sense of self worth. The worst part, is that you’ll browse over these images and see sass and creativity but what you won’t see is behind the scenes when I’m doubting myself and pulling my self worth out. I begun to see a therapist on a regular basis because talking to an objective person who doesn’t know you from Adam is incredibly beneficial. After 2 sessions and 110 minutes later, she knew that the experience had left me with something called impostor syndrome which affects a massive amount of people in this day and age with most of us claiming to have had experienced some form of imposter syndrome.

Disclaimer, I still see a therapist on a weekly basis, no shame in the same way that thinking that season 20 of Top Gear was when Richard hammond looked his absolute best. 

Imposter syndrome is when you and I constantly doubt our abilities, achievements and talents on the basis it’s luck or we’re a fraud, we feel a fraud in our lives, experiences and work. We feel that at work, at home or out on a date we’ll get found out and the people around us know we’re hiding something. In reality, nobody thinks that or is assuming you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter that I wrote a book, became an award winning blogger and write a magazine column because even with all these achievements, I still feel a fraud and will doubt my abilities whether it’s at work, in front of a camera since I feel it’s down to luck or I’ve done something wrong, illegal or incorrect to get to that point. When, I wrote my book, people bought it and then slid into my DM’s to tell me how they liked it; I still said that they were saying it as a joke and it was all some kind of nasty comment- in hind sight they were delivering praise to the book. So, why and how do we deal with this?

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”

Experts believe that this negative thinking pattern is most common for successful and talented women but also in those who suffer from anxiety. So, it’s a win then. A woman and suffers with a case of anxiety, couldn’t be more apt if it tried? I do believe, that in a society where we share/know our friends’ movements based on social media, unhealthy thinking traits like this one, are going to be common. How many times, do you compare yourself to a girl on Insta?? Daily, hourly and probably right after you’ve read this you will. You’ll spend the next 10 minutes scrolling. My therapist, suggested the following and although I still think of myself as a fraud on a daily basis when at work, home and when I’m writing; I do feel that actioning the below, is one way of dealing with this unhealthy thinking style.

Celebrating Success

When I’ve got a new job, got a new car, wrote a new post or something positive has happened, I want to share it. Why? Well, to know that the pride I’m feeling isn’t abnormal and is quite right to be thinking. The other day, I went up to London during rush hour and I managed it; I’d spent days before anxious about it because the last time I went on a train at rush hour, I collapsed on the train. This time, I didn’t collapse or have a bad experience. So, i want to shout about that, I don’t want to sit in shame about the whole thing. I want people to know about my achievements, because if I was a real fraudster, I wouldn’t want to share them. I want to combat these emotions by attacking them. What fraudster, puts a phone in a strangers name and then writes about it on social media?? 

Screenshot Positive Feedback

Every time I receive positive feedback from clients, managers or even friends I’ll always screenshot it, because it’s that reminder that you’re doing fine and it’s not in your imagination. It’s about being in the moment and embracing the positive feel good feeling. It’s about being able to scroll back in a weeks time when you’re feeling as low as apple bottom jeans and know you’re ok.

Does it help? 

Every time I doubt myself or the positive situation I’m experiencing, I have to get hold of myself and say ‘doubting the experience by thinking that you’re in the wrong or it’s all one game to get you’ is not helping the situation. It’s in fact hindering you and not allowing you to do the above with embracing the moment.

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