imposter syndrome

Join the Conversation on
imposter syndrome
2.2K people
0 stories
230 posts
About imposter syndrome
Explore Our Newsletters
What's New in imposter syndrome

I'm new here!

Hi, my name is BohemianBluebird13. I'm here because I have chronic pain (and imposter syndrome) struggling to keep it together today


1 reaction

5 Things Not to Say to Someone with Bipolar Disorder

You need to calm down. I mean, does anyone really want to be told this? Probably not, but it’s even worse when you can’t control how excited, loud or energetic you are. When someone is manic or hypomanic, this is definitely not something to say to them. Mania and hypomania can cause the person to speak more loudly, speak over people, have tons of energy while getting very little sleep, make them hyper focused on a topic or project, or cause really severe irritability. None of these things are controllable, and odds are, if they could “calm down” they would, they don’t need to be told.

Just snap out of it. This could be something said to someone during a manic episode, but I think it’s more likely to happen during a depressive episode. Depression is very poorly understood by a lot of people. They tend to think if you try hard enough to be happy, or do x, y, or z you can go back to being your normal self. That’s just not the way it works. Depression isn’t a choice, and it’s not something that just affects someone’s mood. It can cause physical weakness, problems maintaining proper hygiene, hypersomnia (sleep too much), grogginess, poor judgment, and a whole list of other symptoms. It’s not as simple as just, “snapping out of it.” Just don’t say it to anyone suffering from depression; it only adds to the guilt and hurt they are feeling.

I’ve never seen you depressed or manic, so I don’t think you’re bipolar. Leave the diagnosing up to the medical professionals. Just because someone thinks they haven’t seen someone with bipolar either manic or depressed, doesn’t mean they haven’t. People with any mental illness can get very good at masking their symptoms. Seeming perfectly okay to others while absolutely falling apart on the inside. Statements like this also feed into imposter syndrome which a lot of people with bipolar disorder suffer from. Imposter syndrome can take on different forms, but in bipolar disorder it usually means that someone feels as though they aren’t actually sick, or don’t actually have bipolar disorder. This is the main reason a lot of people with bipolar disorder will stop taking their medications at some point in their life. When they’re well or manic, it’s easy to think everything is good, that they were just faking their illness, and they’re not actually bipolar at all. Statements like this make it even harder to push those thoughts to the back of their minds.

Try harder. This kind of goes hand in hand with, “just snap out of it,” but it is different. This directly implies that depression or mania are within the person’s control; that’s just not true. Yes, there are things people with bipolar can do to reduce their symptoms, but nothing is going to cause someone to come out of a depressive or manic state aside from medications or time. Others may argue with me on that, but that’s been my experience.

Your life isn’t bad, you shouldn’t be depressed. This statement says to the sufferer that their depression is based off of life events; that’s not the case. Depression is cause by a chemical imbalance in the brain. There can be a catalyst that starts a depressive episode, but someone could have the best life ever and still become depressed. Depression is out of everyone’s control. No one can just smile more, or think happy thoughts and cure depression.

10 reactions 2 comments

Open Letter

“Are you okay?”

How do I explain to you that the answer to that question has never been “Yes?”

I don't know what okay means. I have spent my whole life, as much of it as I can remember, trying to convince myself that I was okay, that the screaming hole of emptiness, of alienation, in my head was my imagination, that I was ungrateful for all I had, all I'd been afforded the opportunity to achieve and experience, if I thought of myself as anything other than “okay.”

But I'm, as My Chemical Romance say, not okay.

And all those times that I seemed okay to you, all those times that I appeared to be able to manage things and life seemed to be going well? I was not okay then. I had guilted and shamed myself so much for struggling so much that I shoved it aside, I carried it in my heart and my head, and I put on a mask of what I thought “okay” was meant to look like. But I was not okay. I was teetering. I have been for as long as I remember.

How to describe it?

I've called it Imposter Syndrome about my existence. I've called it a black hole in my soul that sucks everything in. I've called it BPD, ADHD, PTSD...I've called it Tom. This is just how I have always been. I have never felt good enough, despite repeatedly being told, and shown, that I was. I have never felt loved, or part of a group, despite the wonderful and vast array of friends and family I have been accepted into over the years. I have always felt like a letdown to the people around me, like I have not lived up to the potential that everyone else sees in me. I have always felt like a burden to be around, like I am included because it would just be too much trouble and drama to finally tell me that I'm not really wanted.

Even with my family. Sometimes especially with them.

I am not okay. What I've just written barely contains the daily torture of my mind. I don't believe the language exists for me to properly describe what it's like. It's good that it doesn't. It would be too much.

That was about as honest as I have ever been about anything.

#BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #ADHD #PTSD #Depression

13 reactions 3 comments
See full photo

New Episode Alert! Am I Actually Neurodivergent? 🤔

There’s a joke somewhere about four neurodivergent people walking into a recording booth and attempting to focus on the topic at hand. In this episode, Ashley (hi 👋) is joined by @camararollin, @jwertman, and @skyeg as they dive into the wide spectrum of neurodiversity, imposter syndrome in relation to identifying as neurodivergent, and how neurodivergence can often be misunderstood by the people who are meant to be the most helpful in supporting those individuals — namely doctors and educators. Additionally, find out how stacking diagnoses can feel like Pokémon evolutions (and of course, stick around to hear our favorite ones!).

Grab your headphones, your favorite beverage, and subscribe to Table Talk With The Mighty to hear more topics like this every Wednesday!

#Podcasts #neurodivergent #Neurodiversity #MentalHealth #ADHD #Autism #SensoryProcessingDisorder #chronicmigraine #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #BipolarDisorder

7 reactions
See full photo

When working hurts

#Depression #IntrusiveThoughts #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #PTSD I need your advice from the community. I have been invested in my work and happily committed to the team. The group often sees me as a leader, and they often verbalize how I’m not a supervisor or manager. In general, my friends often tell me I suffer from imposter syndrome and that I don’t give myself credit for all I do. This time, for the first time, I felt it was time for a Promotion I had worked hard to earn. I just got out of my alignment meeting, and I received recognition for all of my work, but no promotion was offered. I asked why if I lead the team and a project I’m in charge of, I can’t still get the promotion. My manager said I needed to be exposed in the construction phase to demonstrate capacity. After I left the meeting, I realized that a new member of the team was included in the work as supervisor, she came from another division with no prior experience in our program and construction. I was devastated and I feel that no matter the effort, I’m never good enough. So why bother?

9 reactions 3 comments

Wheelchair U Turn and Mental Spirals #EDS #Fibromyalgia

Well……the wheelchair was a flop! Not literally, that would have been very bad for my body, but it has not worked out as intended.

We purchased a wheelchair two weeks ago after a year of me struggling to keep up with my toddler at weekends. Half a day walking and I’m shattered, with all of my lower extremities screaming in unison “why are you doing this to us!”.

Initially I thought I had to accept this limitation, this restriction on my freedom, but as more plans were made for family weekends of fun , I quickly realised I would need more than stubborn willpower and painkillers to make it through a whole weekend. My body, even at the age of 36, just can’t cope with being upright and moving that long, no matter how many rest breaks I take.

So we bought the wheelchair. We used it on the Sunday around a gorgeous farm centre half an hour away from our home. The sun was shining, I had been up and walking all morning and now I was ready to try out my new mobility aid.

It took a bit of getting used to, there was a certain amount of screaming going down small hills, but I felt really good. Soon I was cruising around the farm next to my husband and toddler and I felt sweaty but pretty damn good.

When we got home I had the energy to play with my little boy on the living room floor and even managed to do some cleaning up at home. Sunday night was one of the best evenings after a day out that I have had in a long long time and I felt so relieved about my decision to get a wheelchair, until we got to Monday.

I woke up Monday morning with every joint in my body feeling like it was burning and crumbling simultaneously. I haven’t felt like that since I had the flu last year. It was horrible. Everything from my toes to my fingers and my neck was in agony, movement was agony, even speech was an issue - slowed and slurred (which is perfectly normally for me on a high pain day).

I saw my Osteopath on the Tuesday and we had a very honest and frank conversation about the wheelchair, my pain and what my options were. After a thorough check over she concluded my lower half (which is normally in tatters) was excellent and barely needed any focus. My top half however (neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, fingers etc.) was in a dreadful state. I think I looked like a porcupine at one point in our session as she placed her acupuncture needles.

I now realise that my body is wildly unpredictable. One day my elbows may be flaring, the next it’s my ankle and another day my jaw. It’s like a terrible daily lucky dip where you don’t know what’s going to break down next.

Using the wheelchair part time would not allow me to build up the muscle strength and memory for my body to get used to it. Using it all the time would result in muscle wastage which is also not great, so we returned the wheelchair.

I had mixed feelings handing it back. The uncomfortable feeling of those restrictions on me again and relief that I (hopefully) wasn’t likely to have another full body flare up any time soon.

I’m now exploring my options for powerchairs but it’s been a difficult mental journey doing that. Several times a day I have found myself in a disability imposter syndrome spiral, mentally saying to myself “your not disabled enough for this”, “you should just push through”, “what will people think of you” etc.

My husband is a saint and has pulled me out of that spiral multiple times over the last week. He helped me realise that what I consider “normal” is in fact not “normal” to the majority of able bodied individuals.

For example, when I stand, my knees hyperextend backwards. That’s normal for me because it’s what my body has always done but for him it’s not normal because your joints should not be able to stretch that far. He is in essence, my yard stick, for figuring out what “normal” should look like and feeling exhausted and in so much pain after half a day walking is not normal, especially when it’s been happening for a long time.

I’m still researching powerchairs but I’m trying to be kinder and gentler with myself now. It doesn’t stop the spirals from happening completely but I’m trying to remind myself that my body isn’t “normal” and if I need a little help getting from A to B then that’s ok.

19 reactions 7 comments

Imposter Syndrome #Trauma

Sometimes I forget I’m a DV survivor and I often doubt that I am. I was in that relationship for 3 years and it was hell. But because it wasn’t physical I doubt myself. I doubt my feelings and my experiences and it’s awful. I keep having memories and flashbacks of it all. But my friend tells me it happened so long ago and that I’m “choosing to live in trauma”. And it makes me feel so bad. I’m just feeling like an imposter today, can I even call myself a survivor?


The Truth about Depression Barbie

The Barbie movie is phenomenal. The scenery, the fun, the social commentary… Greta Gerwig deserves all the awards.

However, and I say this with a great deal of respect for the film, one part of the movie gave me pause. About half way through, as Margot Robbie descends into hopelessness over the toxic masculine takeover of Barbieland, there’s a fake commercial for Depression Barbie. The commercial emphasizes Barbie’s feelings by contextualizing them in a “real world” advertisement.

I have seen so much positive feedback on this plot point. For people who live with clinical Depression, there’s a deep empathy to the commercial. Sweatpants, ice cream, the cinematic masterpiece that is BBC’s Pride and Prejudice; these are tangible representations of the struggle to do what needs doing and be who we want to be when Depression looms large. In this respect, giving a pop culture shout out to a mental illness that’s still swimming in stigma, Depression Barbie is a game changer. While she would never be made in real life (and let’s be honest, there are some weird barbies that have come out over the years) she serves a purpose in the movie and in society.

My qualm is there’s a group of us that felt left out at that moment. And it’s not because we didn’t feel a deep connection and familiarity with the depth of Margot Robbie’s despair. The fact is, we feel like Depression Barbie, we see the world through her hopeless mindset, but we don’t look like her. We look like Stereotypical Barbie… although probably without the heels and monochromatic wardrobe. We put on our masks and go about our lives as if nothing is wrong. In this narrative, imposter syndrome runs rampant and we white-knuckle through our days, looking forward to the moment we can crawl back into bed and let our shields down. And sometimes, we do a pretty good job of fooling not only other people, but ourselves. I know there are a ton of us because we even have a name for it: hands up all my High-Functioning Depression peeps out there.
So why does this matter? Did I want a different portrayal in the movie? No. Do I think the scene does a disservice to those of us who struggle with our mental health? No. Do I have some sort of rating system for severity of depression based on productivity? Absolutely Not! Am I reacting to this more strongly than most? Probably.

I think we all have our own story. None of our experiences look exactly the same. It’s a small detail in the grand design of the movie, but it’s a meaningful point of clarification for me. As someone who struggles to validate my own experience, this inspired a reminder that High Functioning Depression is still Depression. I’m no better or worse than anyone else in the trenches with me; comparison has no place in mental health care. And if I’m not in sweatpants eating ice cream, I still deserve to be kind to myself. I don’t have to look a certain way to earn care or rest.
To use the movie analogy – my version of Depression Barbie is going to look different than yours.

5 reactions
See full photo

9 Tips for Coping With Impostor Syndrome



1. Know the signs.

We often overlook the signs of impostor syndrome that come up in our day-to-day lives. However, recognizing these signs is the first step toward overcoming them.

You might suffer from impostor syndrome if:

-You feel like you "got lucky" when you actually prepared well and worked hard.

-You find it hard to accept praise.

-You apologize for yourself when you didn't actually do something wrong.

-You hold yourself to incredibly -- sometimes impossibly -- high standards.

-You find the fear of failure paralyzing.

-You avoid expressing confidence because you think people will see it as overcompensating or obnoxious.

-You're convinced you're not enough.

2. Know you're not alone.

When you have impostor syndrome, some of the most important encouragement comes from realizing how many hugely successful people, both male and female, have built amazing careers even while regularly coping with it.

3. Distinguish humility and fear.

There's taking humility in your hard work and accomplishments, and then there's feeling overcome with fear because of them. Sometimes, simply being good at something can cause is to discount its value. But as Carl Richards wrote in a New York Times article, "After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?"

It all boils down to feeling unworthy. I like how Seth Godin put it in a blog post: "When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw."

But it is possible to feel worthy without feeling entitled, and overcoming impostor syndrome is all about finding a healthy balance between the two. Godin goes on to write, "Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory. We don't have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open or humble."

4. Let go of your inner perfectionist.

I recently wrote about how perfectionism, while helpful in certain contexts, can be a major roadblock for productivity. Turns out it can be a major roadblock for overcoming impostor syndrome, too.

Many people who suffer from impostor syndrome are high achievers; people who set extremely high standards for themselves and are committed to doing their best and being the best.

But perfectionism only feeds into your impostor syndrome. When you feel like a fraud, it's usually because you're comparing yourself to some *perfect* outcome that's either impossible or unrealistic.

5. Be kind to yourself.

"Take the pressure off yourself and stop trying to be the expert on day one." advises HubSpot marketing manager Jennifer Stafancik.

Impostor syndrome often manifests itself as a voice in our heads, berating us with negative messages like "you're not smart enough" or "you're a fraud."

Negative self-talk is a bad habit, and it can heavily influence our stress and anxiety levels.

6. Track and measure your successes.

When you feel like an impostor, one of the hardest things to grasp is how much of a role you have in your own successes. You might default them to luck or others' hard work, when in fact, your own work, knowledge, and preparation had a lot to do with it.

To help show yourself that you're actually doing well, keep track of your wins in a private document.

There are a lot of different ways to track these successes, and the metrics you use will depend entirely on your job. If you're a blogger, you might keep track of your posts' monthly average page views and watch them go up, or compare them to the team average. You might also keep a separate tab to paste kind words people have written to you via email, Twitter, blog comments, and so on.

7. Talk about it with a mentor and your manager.

No one should suffer in silence. Sharing your thoughts and experiences with someone else will make you better equipped to deal with your impostor syndrome. We recommend sharing them with both a mentor and your direct manager.

Your mentor will be able to help you talk candidly about your struggles with impostor syndrome, while giving you a more objective point of view -- especially if they work on a different team or at a different company. When you share your experience with them, you might ask if they've ever felt that way, or if they know someone who has.

8. Say "yes" to new opportunities.

It's impossible to say "yes" to everything, especially when you're feeling stressed or spread thin. But it's all too common for people who have impostor syndrome to turn down career-making opportunities because they don't feel like they'd do a good job.

When you're presented with a new opportunity, it's important to distinguish between the voice in your head saying you can't do it because you're not worthy and the one saying you can't do it because you have too much on your plate. The former is your impostor syndrome speaking.

But remember: Taking on challenging new work and doing well at it can open a lot of doors for you. Don't let your inner impostor turn down these game-changing opportunities. They can do wonders to help you learn, grow, and advance your career.

9. Embrace the feeling, and use it.

It's really hard to get rid of impostor syndrome completely -- especially if you've had it for years and years. The fact that hugely successful people like Maya Angelou and Don Cheadle feel that way after all they've accomplished is evidence that it can sometimes be a lifelong condition.

You can refer to this:

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome | Blog

A platform built on evidence-based principles, delivered by licensed clinicians, coaches making care accessible, effective and scalable.
1 reaction