imposter syndrome

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    Community Voices

    ADHD Newbie

    <p>ADHD Newbie</p>
    7 people are talking about this
    Carly Fox

    The Importance of Youth Involvement in Disability Advocacy Movements

    As my advocacy work continues to gain momentum, I’ve begun to find myself one of the few, if not the only, youth in the room – which is a big change from my work at NEADS, a by-and-for post-secondary disabled students group. And while I could celebrate punching above my weight and breaking down barriers, I’m not satisfied. I don’t think I will be satisfied until I am joined by my disabled peers at every committee, staff meeting, consultation, or working group. Youth have always been foundational to social movements, the driving force behind the wider societal changes happening as I write this and you read this. And yet, we are discredited due to our age, discouraged from what we feel is a lack of experience, and discounted in our advocacy work. After writing that, I’m realizing it’s not the most encouraging start to what is supposed to be a call to action. What I mean by the opening is that things are hard, the odds are stacked against us, but we will continue to fight, lead, and succeed together as we work for a better future. I want to get into my personal experience as a youth disability advocate, why I believe youth are essential to any social movement, the power youth hold, and how youth can get involved in the disability rights movement. It’s shaping up to be a long one, so bear with me. And now more than ever, I encourage your feedback, your interaction, your connection – as youth, our numbers and our shared experience are our greatest assets. Quite honestly, life is getting weird. Weird in a very fun, very cool way, but definitely weird. As I begin to take on the role of International Chair for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), I’m getting invited to some higher-level, kinda terrifying consultations and working groups – in one of these, I’ll be working at the same level as one of my university professors. That does not feel like a normal thing to do at 20. Or at least, society and social norms tell me that’s not normal. And while I will undeniably feel out of place, inexperienced, and imposterish, I will still go. I will still speak my mind. At IDW ’22, I spoke on reverse imposter syndrome: knowing I am definitely not supposed to be there based on others’ expectations, but being there and being loud anyway. Because what are they going to do about it – publicly discredit me? Who invited me to this gig, anyway? Maybe it’s not the most fun feeling – feeling out of your depth, unqualified, and out of place – but I believe that by us going to these opportunities, being loud, and being proud of our age and who we are, we will create space for more meaningful and authentic youth engagement and participation in decision-making processes. And maybe I can’t bring decades of experience and hundreds of professional connections to my work, but I can bring my youth, and the many undeniable assets that come with it. Whenever I feel discouraged due to my age, I remind myself that youth have been foundational to social movements for decades. Youth were behind the 504 sit-in, the climate justice movement, the Arab Spring, Euromaidan, and countless other incredibly important historical movements. We are the driving force and the front line of social movements around the world – from protesting to grassroots organizing. And this trend is only accelerating – youth today are getting involved in social movements and civic action earlier than ever. What was once reserved for college students is now being carried out by elementary schoolers. Literal children are organizing walkouts to protest violations of their rights and to demand change, and while it is beyond encouraging, it’s disappointing they feel compelled to start so young. Today’s youth are better educated on their rights, more empowered by changing social norms to stand up for themselves, and more connected than ever through social media – all of which build upon past generations of youths’ work. And youth aren’t just behind protests – we’re the canvassers, volunteers, and staffers that keep community organizations and political campaigns afloat. We are the ones working 12-hour days, double shifts, two to three jobs, and volunteering on top of it. And while we are the ones essential to organizations and campaigns’ success, we go uncredited, underpaid (if paid at all), and uninvited to meaningful decision-making forums. I believe we as youth have a lot of reasons to participate in social movements. Due to our age and position within society, we both have the most to lose and the most to gain. We are the ones that live with the consequences of the decisions being made today, and the decisions that are often made without our full and equal participation. There’s a growing criticism of youth involvement in protest and social movements – but this criticism largely ignores the fact that, when excluded from traditional or conventional decision-making processes, protests or social movements are our only option to speak our minds, voice our opinions, and make the change we want to see in the world. When we are included in key discussions, it is often through youth-specific forums hosted by adults. And in my personal experience, while the connections I’ve made with my peers at these forums have been invaluable, our (unpaid and uncredited) input is rarely meaningfully heard and impact fully incorporated into end results. Those of us who are included in these forums also often come from highly privileged positions – to be involved in these forums, you often need connections, resources, and support. Even if these forums adequately incorporated their participants’ perspectives, the whole picture would continue to be missing. Maybe I’m biased, but I believe youth have this undeniable power, and I have seen it in action nearly every day of my life. We know today’s context best – while we might not have lived through historical precedents and past similarities, we are fully immersed in today’s context as it is, and we are not weighed down by what was and what could have been. We know the world around us, and we pick up on the changes. Often, we are at the forefront of innovation. Take social media – a now-essential tool for advertising, entertainment, education, entrepreneurship, and organization. Youth are dominating the field in all its forms. One thing I always bring up around older generations is how my generation has deeply benefitted from growing up in the online age – with constant innovations, breakthrough ideas, and changing platforms, we know how to keep up with the times and adapt to new contexts as they develop. (Of course, social media is not all good, but that blog is for another day). Our youth also gives us something to fight for – as I’ve said, we have the most to gain and most to lose, and we will live with the consequences. Like all generations, we want to enjoy full, meaningful, fulfilling lives – and youth is the best time to secure that for ourselves. Our youth also makes us visionaries. Yes, we can be naive (and it would be naive of me to deny this), and definitely not the most reasonable or pragmatic at times, but we push the agenda forward, incorporate new, innovative ideas, and never take no as an answer. Our youth sustains us in our darkest hours, because we know that within our lifetimes there is so much capacity and potential to change. And you can go ahead and discredit our optimism and idealism, but we know more than anyone else that we are the ones that will live with the consequences of our failures and our successes. Youth today are also exceptionally experienced and qualified, even when we don’t believe it ourselves. In this economy, so many of us have to work multiple jobs and pursue diverse additional experiences to stay competitive and afloat. Take a 20-year-old and a 30-year-old: the former started work at 14 and worked multiple jobs at once, while the latter started their career at age 24 after finishing a degree. Despite the 10-year age difference, both have six years of work experience – showing how age is not an absolute qualification. (Also I can’t believe I incorporated math into this, so sorry everyone.) I believe that one of the greatest things holding my generation back (besides ageism, economic instability, climate change, and shifting labor market demographics, I’ll just stop now) is our self-doubt. We are so quick to perceive ourselves as unqualified, so quick to compare ourselves to our much older competition or colleagues, who grew up in phenomenally different circumstances. But we are qualified. I have firsthand witnessed the incredible, impressive, and somewhat excessive qualifications of my generation. We work day and night, just so we can work harder the next day. We have incredible experience that wasn’t even available to our older colleagues when they were our age. And in a world where relevant skills, experience, and qualifications change so fast, maybe we should re-evaluate this self-doubt. Maybe, our youth makes us incredibly qualified in today’s context. As long as we keep buying into the idea that we are not ready, not qualified, not experienced – we will continue to be excluded from mainstream discussions, continue to be excluded from decision-making processes, and continue to be nearly invisible to those in charge. And yes, this is a gross oversimplification, but isn’t it so wonderful to believe that just by believing in ourselves we can change all of this? And now, the call to action. Point blank: we need disabled youth at the frontlines of our disability rights movement, and more youth in all elements of decision-making processes. We are qualified, innovative, and experienced. We know what we need, we know what needs to be changed, and we know what kind of world we want to live in. Undo reverse imposter syndrome – sign up for forums, discussions, and conferences. Either get your foot in the door, or break the door down. Claim a seat at the table, or pull one up yourself. The worst thing those in power can do is say no, and if they do, we find alternative routes to make change. In my work with NEADS, I have seen my disabled peers excel. My peers are qualified, bold, powerful, intelligent, moving, and demanding the change they deserve to see in this world. Let’s use our youth-dominated spaces to foster connections and support that will sustain us as we begin to move into older generation-dominated spaces. Let’s use our youth to introduce innovative and imaginative ideas. In my work with CCD, I fully and transparently plan to usher in a new era, where youth participation and leadership is central to the organization. CCD actively wants youth involved, wants youth to lead, and wants to empower us to do so. Without the encouragement of Heather Walkus, CCD’s Acting Chair, I would have never considered applying for International Chair, and I would love to return this favor by empowering my peers to join CCD alongside me. Don’t let me be the only disabled youth representation. I am actively asking my peers to prevent me from getting cool opportunities and life-changing experiences. Stop me! Please! Because if I’m the only representation, I am not being good representation. To my disabled peers, please get involved however, wherever you can, in whatever capacity works best for you. Whether that’s through the #MyNEADS Community, CCD (especially the International and Youth Committees!), or municipal, provincial, federal, and international politics and decision-making processes. We are stronger together – and once a few of us get in, let’s make sure everyone gets in.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Hello 👋🏽
    I struggle really badly with imposter syndrome and my work.
    My logical brain says, stop you can do this you’re just as qualified as anyone else
    the other side says, why are you even trying, that’s stupid, they are all gonna laugh, you’re gonna fall flat on your face, there are so many others better qualified, they just pretend to like what you are teaching and will be laughing and talking behind your back…
    It is exhausting and debilitating and I’m tired.
    #ADHD #ImposterSyndrome #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #PTSD

    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    What are reliable and credible resources for students with mental health?

    As someone who is currently working working and paying for school and would like to receive help for mental health . What are some resources available for students that are relatively low cost but widely available and accessible for students with disabilities?

    What are some resources that you use to seek support?


    Community Voices

    I would first like to say thank you to my support system of my family, friends and co-workers.

    I’m greatful that I am in a graduate program especially for my major of speech language pathology.

    I began my journey of becoming an speech languag pathology in January. I am also working as a SPED TA . I am doing my graduate school work virtually.

    I have noticed that it’s hard for me to manage all of this at once. I noticed when I’m in school I feel like I’m drowning even though I’m only taking two classes and the stress of making a B- or better this a requirement for my major has taken a toll on me mentally. I love my major and the knowledge I am gaining. I just feel like I don’t belong in my major or at my university because it seems inaccessible but it I want that to be the reason why I make a difference.

    These feeling of sadness, imposter syndrome and anxiety are scary for me because it’s all new to me as someone who loves learning.

    I am hoping I am not alone in these feelings?

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    Community Voices


    I absolutely never realized how much danger I was in. I’m not sure what mental illness I have for sure except major anxiety and depression. It’s difficult to tell what’s trauma and what’s “mental illness”. I have a lot of trauma. My life has been hell this past year after moving back home with my parents.
    I now realize just how much danger I’m in and I can’t keep ignoring it.
    I got in 3 car accidents almost back to back in a few months and probably gotten 15+ tickets this past year from not paying attention. I’m disassociating I think while I’m driving. My mental health is hanging on by a thread. I’m scared af of the outside world bc I feel it’ll only mirror the things I’ve seen at home, but something has got to give. I no longer have a car now, but the second i get one I have to leave.
    My plan is to sleep in my car. For some reason i feel that it’s safer than going to a shelter? Chicago is not a fun place. Not a safe space either. I don’t have a safe space anywhere and that’s what scares me. Everybody wants something from me. Even therapists are no longer safe, my last one was insanely unhelpful. Cut our meetings short, talked about her family often, kept trying to get me to work at her friends job. Just insanely unprofessional. I worry that im just looking for attention but is that a bad thing? I need someone to help me. I don’t have any family or friends and shelter just can’t be my only option can it?
    I guess I just don’t completely understand the severity of my situation although my body sure nows it isn’t good. I can’t stop taking to save my life. I don’t know hot to breathe properly anymore, I’m tired all the time, rocking 24/7, pain in my upper back, constant jumpineas and looking over my shoulder but i feel like this is a role I’m playing just to make it out of this house like I’m on a heist mission? I don’t want this to be my personality. I’m scared that when i leave i won’t know how to adjust & be the person i want to be without an insane case of imposter syndrome or maybe i just am an imposter? Maybe i like the abuse? Maybe i like being pimped out bc of the perks it gets me? I know i was taught to hate myself at a young age and I am self aware and do know better but it’s hard to do better for some reason. I feel like i have to prove a point and not to myself.
    I really do want to live. I want my parents locked up for the rest of their lives, but it won’t be my doing bc i just want to forget about them. I want to leave this house and never remember this life. But how in todays economy? I guess I’ll just get a van and wish for the best? Hopefully depression doesn’t keep me down for too long cus i still got bills to pay ;)

    Breaking the Stigma of Living With Ulcerative Colitis

    The doctors told me I had colitis when I was 13. Shortly before I was hospitalized, I had started to lose the color in my lips. The blood had retreated from my mouth like from the flesh of a corpse until only embalming gray remained. I wasn’t able to walk a full block without stopping, a little hand holding me up against the wall, to catch my breath. Anemia, but when the crowd of nurses and doctors holding clipboards huddled around my hospital bed, they made it clear that was just a symptom of the disease — literally. Ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease. Inflammatory bowel disease. My first reaction was fear. The word “disease” terrified me. The word sounded like other people, like sick people, like tragedies, like death. It tasted like a term that would make classmates afraid to be around me, treat me differently. That is how I learned to understand disability — as the Other. This Other, my Other, was pronounced with heavily sedated words that felt like IVs and blood transfusions. There is a reason these words say absolutely nothing about what IBD is actually like. Much like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, “colitis” and “Crohn’s” are names people use to avoid describing the actual essence of these conditions. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to elucidate what colitis is without clearing their throat. These terms are euphemisms conveniently utilized because most people are uncomfortable enunciating the actual lived reality of IBD. We’re the same, those of us who live with IBD. We tacitly agree to use this medical journal language no one actually comprehends to spare the population the messy details. And by population, I mean people without colitis — people who haven’t doubled over in pain as black holes ingurgitated their intestines, who haven’t squinted at their shit in a toilet bowl to see red blood stream through canyons of brown, whose insides don’t scream up their esophagus through gritted teeth that everything is OK, who don’t become nauseated at the mere scent of Febreze in closed bathrooms, who haven’t raised their shaky hand asking to go to the restroom a third time as people eye them like they’re freaks, who haven’t felt minutes hunched over on toilets drag across cold sweaty skin like nails on a chalkboard. Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? We have as little control over the way the discourse about us is conducted as we do over our own bowel movements. We cannot speak into words our sometimes daily experiences without subverting the norms of our society. If we did speak up, we would disturb. The nature of our lives is disturbing. To conceive of our lives, the abled are forced to conceive of all the messy bodily functions that they spend most of their time avoiding. So, to spare them, we hide in plain sight. We pretend nothing is wrong. We pretend we aren’t in horrific pain or, if we are not, that our lives aren’t shaped and molded by the reality that pain can strike us at any given moment. Disabilities like colitis are often categorized as “invisible disabilities.” The Invisible Disability Project defines that term as “a disability that cannot be easily seen or measured; often discounted or not respected.” While that does capture the core idea that our lived realities are often dismissed, I challenge the concept that these disabilities are necessarily invisible. The way we interact with and mobilize our bodies manifests in distinctive physical actions. These movements are not invisible, especially not to our loved ones. If a disability is made visible through attention, then the factor that defines that type of disability is not a lack of visibility, but rather a lack of perception. Just because abled people don’t pay enough attention to recognize our bodies doesn’t mean our bodies are invisible. We aren’t invisible just because you specifically cannot see us. Colitis is not invisible as much as it is unspeakable. That enforced silence — which abled society requires of us — not only infects regular daily conversation; it continues to contaminate academia. Even disability studies have a hard time discussing those of us with IBD. Dr. Cindy LaCom, in her journal article “Filthy Bodies, Porous Boundaries: The Politics of Shit in Disability Studies,” wrote that “… there is the very difficulty of finding a grammar and vocabulary to discuss shit and its metaphoric place within Disability Studies. Identity categories are notoriously liminal, and though standpoint theory offers some strategies for articulating one’s situated knowledge, there is still a tendency to locate one’s self within artificially rigid boundaries. Thus, Eve Kofosky Sedgwick can identify herself as a straight woman doing queer studies, and Robert Young can identify himself as a white man working in postcolonial studies. But I cannot identify either as “PWD” or as a “TAB” (person who is temporarily able-bodied). I am neither or both, depending on the moment and my state of health. Do I thus revise and articulate my identity category on an ongoing basis? Like shit, which disturbs so many cultural norms, people with Crohn’s disease (and “disease” is itself a medical and existential category which often resists stable definitions), can disturb identity categories and raise complex questions of power, transgression, and the damning issue of the imposter syndrome which are hard to critically deconstruct.“ The social model of disability posits the mistreatment disabled people experience as what makes us disabled. We are only disabled because society is structured in ways that make us disabled. We don’t need to change; society should better accommodate us. On the other hand, the medical model conceives of our conditions as something wrong with us, something that needs fixing. Society is not the problem as much as how our disability forces us to be different from abled people. In my view, colitis is a dual monster. On one hand, society does not accommodate us. We are barred from language. We have no power over how we are discussed. We quite literally suffer in silence because of the way our bodies function, physically. If we react naturally, like screaming in pain randomly or sprinting to the bathroom, society views us as freaks. That stigma is often maintained not only by figures of authority but by the henchmen of ableism — our abled colleagues, classmates, coworkers, friends, intimate partners, everyone who finds this behavior weird or looks at us strangely. Social oppression has real, material impacts on how we view ourselves and our relationships with our bodies, as do the medical bills that can stack up and entrap us socioeconomically, tickets we pay for the privilege of not developing cancer from our 25-times greater chance. The way the capitalist and social systems tolerate but never accommodate us is part of the dual monster. On the other hand, colitis can be breathtakingly debilitating. We share most in common with those who have chronic pain, except our pain is a shadow that can pass over at any moment. It’s an inconstant constant. Colitis shapes every moment of our lives whether we’re in remission or not because the possibility of pain never goes away. We live with that medical reality that, given the chance, I would love to escape. That’s the second part of the dual monster. In my head, I’ve named the dual monster “Colin.” Colin and I have an ongoing abusive relationship. He is an alien parasite and I’m his host. We’re stuck with each other: I can’t cut him out of me (yet) and he can’t survive outside of me. Over the 11 years since diagnosis, we’ve gotten better at living with one another. At the moment, we have a mutual agreement. I continue to feed Colin infusions every several weeks. He prefers these infusions to pills, and has ever since his greed for my attention expanded. In return for infusions, he won’t devour my intestines from the inside. I’m afraid every day he’ll change his mind and gnash his teeth into my stomach lining. But for now, the dual monster is satisfied. Colin and I don’t have a very healthy relationship, but it certainly doesn’t help that whenever I show signs of Colin’s abuse, people feel uncomfortable. As if their discomfort in hearing about the abuse matters more than the abuse itself. Since the dual monster and I began our relationship, some things have changed. People have started to hear the sanitized euphemisms of “ulcerative colitis” and “Crohn’s disease” more often. Usually, they’re pronounced by the lips of suburban white people in television commercials from Big Pharma companies. But pharmaceutical commercials, while doing the absolute bare minimum in raising awareness of IBD’s existence, do little to actually advance the status of people who live with the dual monster. The commercials embrace the comfortable silence preferred by abled society through portrayals of irrelevant parks and lawns while droning over the laundry lists of side effects that whatever new food for Colin they produced may have. Pharmaceutical “representation” is nothing more than profit-seeking commodification. There have also been some high-profile cases of Colin wreaking havoc on our bodies. Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, was forced to resign from his position in 2020 when his relationship with the dual monster deteriorated to a point that he could no longer carry out the duties of his office. This is perfectly understandable. It is quite literally a matter of life and death that Abe find a way to develop a better understanding with Colin — with his own body. But the cost of abled people understanding colitis through the resignation of a prime minister is that, rather than decrease stigma, it only further deepened many people’s suspicions about the worth of us as disabled people. Rather than force people to interrogate why holding political office is inaccessible, the response of many abled people was the opposite — to wonder if people like us are simply unfit for office. I hope to see cures for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in my lifetime. I hope to no longer live in the shadow of pain. But in this society now, we are disabled. Colitis — or Colin — is a dual monster of both physical illness and social oppression. And while more people seem to be becoming aware of Colin’s existence through the marketing campaigns of Big Pharma and the personal struggles of political figures, these have not fundamentally changed our status. We need to break open the silence completely. Comfort levels need to be deconstructed and discomfort confronted. People who avoid staring at shit have to compel themselves to stare at shit. As long as we shy away from discussing uncomfortable bodily functions, people who must live with Colin will suffer disproportionately from the stigma. Breaking the silence is neither our responsibility nor a task we with IBD are capable of completing. We are forced into silence at every turn and should not be expected to carry that burden further. No, destigmatizing conversation about bodily functions is something that must start with people without IBD. So do it. Speak about the unspeakable.

    Community Voices

    Mobility aids and Imposter syndrome

    I think it’s time for me to get a mobility aid. I struggle standing and walking due to dizziness and fatigue. I am afraid to bring it up to my mother because I don’t think I communicate the extent of my struggles.
    This also comes with a lot of imposter syndrome and I feel like I am over exaggerating if I use a mobility aid.

    Any tips on how to go about this?

    #Mobilityaid #Fatigue #ImposterSyndrome #crutches

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    Community Voices

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