Saturday, 15 December 2018
Mental Illness Imposter Syndrome
One of the worst things about mental illness is sometimes you feel like you’re not ill enough.
There are days where you can’t find the energy to get out of bed despite all the things you need to get done because the weight of all those things is heavy like a monster sitting on your chest. A true nightmare.
There are days where one minute you’re at work by your desk and the next you’re headfirst into a panic attack, tears are streaming down your face, and you feel like you might be dying.
There are days, awful days, where you feel like the world is looking at you and trying its best not to throw up at the sight. You feel every eye on you, every glance judging your body, your face, your hair, your thoughts, your feelings and tearing them all to shreds. You hear the words “you’re worthless” repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated in your head until it’s just what the inside of your head sounds like all the time.
Still, you don’t think you’re sick enough. There are people who want to die, people who hurt themselves and yeah sure you may have hurt yourself before in one way or another but the way you did it doesn’t count, not really. You look around until you can see all the people who must have it so much worse than you, and you beat yourself up for being so selfish as to think you might need help.
You don’t get help, nothing changes, and you continue to be ill. Or worse, you get iller, and by the time you think you’re ill enough you reach out for help you are considered too ill for the help you have the ability to access, so you’re stuck.
The point is that no matter how ill you are, whatever that means, mental and physical Illnesses need treatment of some kind. You can’t just carry pain and pretend it isn’t there until it goes away. It won’t stop hurting until you address the pain in some way. From the moment you call your doctor to book an appointment, to the waiting room, to the doctor’s office, to the diagnosis and through the prescription there will be this ugly little voice in the back of your brain that says “one day they are going to find out I’m not really sick, I’m just weak.” You have to somehow trust that the voice is your own insecurity finding a way to stop you from getting better. As for whether that voice will ever stop I’m not sure, I’m still in the process of figuring that out for myself, but acknowledging it is an important first step towards conquering it.
I’ve written a bit about treating oneself with kindness and giving to yourself the same love that you would give to friends or family. I strongly believe that “If you can’t love yourself you can’t love anybody else” is a myth, and that many people learn to love themselves through the love they have for other people and the love they receive in turn.
Consider how you would feel if someone you cared about told you that they are worthless. The way that makes you feel is how that voice in the back of your head should make you feel. If you can’t stand the idea of your friend thinking they are worthless, there is no reason you should suffer those feelings in regards to yourself.