I received a couple of messages in the last month asking me why I hadn’t written any blogs recently and why I hadn’t spoken any further around the topic of loneliness after being quite open about it last year. The main reason is; I’ve felt a bit embarrassed to, and I hate to say it when I’m the first person to tell anyone they should never be ashamed of their mental health struggles, but I was ashamed. I felt like I had said way too much about everything and people were judging me. I felt like I had this label hanging over my head and that people thought I was pathetic or pitied me and to some extent I felt like I really wasn’t helping myself. I also felt that it would deter new people from wanting to be friends or whatever so I erased a lot of stuff from social media and hoped everyone would forget that I’d ever been open about my anxiety and depression.
I hate the term and know that it instantly incites an eye roll, but I’m also really struggling with imposter syndrome at the moment. I don’t feel like I’m very good at anything and don’t really know where I belong or what I should be doing. I guess it’s a common feeling at my age, but it seems to be getting worse. Everything I do, I feel I should be way better at and I don’t feel like I excel at anything other than being a bit hopeless really (which I know sounds like me fishing for compliments but really isn’t).
Take writing about music for instance, I absolutely love doing it and find it’s one of the only things that gives me any sort of pleasure at the moment, but every time something gets published, I cringe and think about all the things I should have said and how more eloquent I could have been. I compare my writing with others and not only think it’s flimsy but a bit desperate and lacking in any skill whatsoever. And perhaps that’s a music thing, I always feel like a bit of a fraudster because I don’t in any shape or form fit in to the scene or hang out with the cool people, despite really wishing I did. Whilst I love going to gigs too, I get paralysed by that fear of sticking out like a sore thumb and often completely talk myself out of going to them because of that fear. Only today I had to cancel an interview with a band that I adore because the fear of making an idiot of myself or saying something stupid came over me and caused me to go into a complete panic attack.
It’s so difficult to know how to be yourself sometimes especially when you’re not really sure who that is or if you’re fighting with who that is. I constantly feel like a fraud because I know I behave in ways or do things sometimes just because I know someone wants me to or because people may like me better for it (they never actually do of course). There’s this constant feeling of heightened anxiety that I’m going to be found out, that people are going to see past me and realise that I’m actually a bit of a dick. There’s also that thing, especially with new people that may come into your life, where you don’t have any mutual friends or the luxury of them knowing your family or anyone that can vouch for you, and as soon as you do something silly or say something a bit over the top or annoying they ditch you because there’s no-one to say, “yeah she’s a bit annoying but once you get to know her she calms down”. And that’s something I’m acutely aware of, and something which I agonise over a lot at the moment to the point of beating myself up over ridiculous things like thinking I’ve posted too many Instagram Stories in too short a space of time meaning that everyone is going to think I’m a weirdo……
4 responses to “The Imposter”
I understand completely where you’re coming from and i feel exactly the same way. So many instagram posts I’ve deleted or never actually pressed publish because I’m worried about how I come across. I’ve just been listening to the audiobook ‘loneliness’ by Vivek Murthy and also just read this article with an interview about you. https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2018/05/198255/loneliness-young-people-millennials You words describe exactly how I feel and I just wanted to let you know that I feel 100% on the same page. (I rarely comment on blogs but I just wanted to share that virtual hug).
I understand you. I used to think everybody were judging me. But then I realized that nobody truly cares about anything, except for themselves and perhaps some others. The best example was myself, thinking obsessively about myself, or what others were thinking about me.
Once I stop thinking about who is thinking what, everything was easier.
I hope you are doing fine. Thanks for your blog and writing! 🙂
Hi Michelle – I found your blog after reading the ‘What it’s like to be young and lonely’ post on Refinery29. I just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I related with it. As a young and lonely person with a job in another city that waits for no one – Tokyo – pretty much most of it rang true. Hope that you’re hanging in during the pandemic. It’s been a struggle for me and clearly not the best time for mental health anywhere in the world, but I hope that we can get through this.
Also, I think it’s very brave that you are able to speak about your experiences. Please remember that your courage does not go unappreciated and that reading your content is helping someone, somewhere derive hope as they plough on with their struggles. Stay well!
I live in Alaska. I’d like to say hi, your blog is very open. It takes great courage to have that fortitude to open up like that. I’ am very proud of you!