Home Personal Development How I Claimed My Right to Belong While Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

How I Claimed My Right to Belong While Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

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Trigger Warning: This post briefly mentions sexual abuse.

“Don’t be afraid to try something new just because you’re afraid it won’t work out. You will never get the chance to play.” ~ Lori DeShane

2022 was the hardest year of my life. And survived a brain tumor before that.

My 30th year started innocently enough. I was living in Long Beach with my boyfriend at the time and had a nice ring on. The relationship developed quickly, but it seemed like kismet. Unfortunately, we broke up around June. And that’s when the madness began.

I think it was the intense summer heat that somehow made this buried sore pop up from under my pores. Except the pain didn’t evaporate. I remained stagnant and felt suffocated.

I had unbearable memories of being sexually abused as a child. A strong sense of helplessness came over me. I had nightmares every night, and to make matters worse, I woke up feeling horribly embarrassed. All of this has driven me to suicide.

Before I knew it, I was in the hospital every two weeks for severe depression, PTSD, and the most severe anxiety tracing my bones.

This intense. The almost trance-like experience of going in and out of the hospital seemed the only way to deal with life. I felt broken. I gained a lot of weight and regretted shaving my head. My self-esteem plummeted.

I felt like I no longer belonged to society. Growing up in the punk scene, I used to have this superficial notion, but the experience of being constantly outside a mental hospital was beyond “fringe.” I felt very alienated.

I had a lot of hospitalizations in 2022 and lost myself. Guardianship was now on the table. I was horrified and angry at the situation that fate had given me.

In my last hospital stay in December, I suffered a tortuous throes. I had been taken off most of my benzos and was severely withdrawn by myself in a psych ward room. His hands and feet were always covered with cold sweat.

I was so nervous that every sound outside the door turned my head upside down. The girl next door sobbed super loud with a real “boo-hoo” and went on for hours. it eroded me. I yelled at her to stop, but she cried even louder.

If there is hell in this world, this is it. Gritting my teeth and staring out the window, I told myself that this would be the last time I was in the psych ward. No matter how miserable I was, I just dealt with it. I didn’t want to get involved with this anymore.

So I made a promise to myself to really get better. Hope was hatched by that intense pain. I knew I had a long way to go to heal, but I had no choice but to climb.

After that last hospitalization, I entered a housing program that helped me develop new habits. There was a sense of healing and community there. I felt a mentorship connection with one of the workers who was a recovering drug addict.

I’m glad I’m finally getting better at it. I shouldn’t have gone to the hospital so much, and probably should have connected to one of the residential areas first.

Sticking with therapy and dealing with some of the issues that were plaguing me made it easier this year. We have grounding technology.

As a result, I was able to go back to work, even though I still had a strong sense of anxiety. But before I go to work, my head is full.

All of this I am going through is commonly known as “impostor syndrome”. Basically, I feel like I don’t belong where I go to improve my quality of life. I am afraid that I will be

As a result, some days are harder than others when it comes to showing up at work. I have a mini panic attack on the toilet. It has an overwhelming sense of surrealism.

I’m glad I got out of the merry-go-round of fate, but sometimes putting on a happy face and trying to appear healthy and well-adjusted is overkill.

And I know my situation is not the only one where people experience imposter syndrome. Others who are racial or gender minorities at work can also feel like they don’t belong.

I realized that this is a universal experience, a feeling of not belonging. It is also a syndrome of low self-esteem. I try to work on this in baby steps every day.

There are a few things I try to practice to feel more secure where I am trying to succeed.

Ask yourself, “Why not me?”

There is a saying in Buddhism that when suffering, instead of asking, “Why me?”, we should humble ourselves by asking, “Why not me?” But I think this also has to do with a sense of belonging.

If you feel like you don’t belong, ask yourself, “Why not me?” Despite all the challenges, why shouldn’t you belong when everyone else does? This kind of thinking levels the playing field.

Remind yourself of your worth.

I could spend hours thinking about why I didn’t or didn’t deserve it. But consider why you have the right to be there. I deserve a salary like everyone else. No matter what my experience has been, I am worthy of working and cherishing the sense of belonging that is provided through my colleagues.

I try to tap into my inner resistance.

For many, this is harder than it is for others, but if my larger goal is to improve my life and feel like I belong to society again, I’m going to have to face all the mental resistance I feel. I know it’s worth the challenge.

Cherish the time you connect.

Sometimes I feel really connected to my colleagues at work, even though I doubt we have the same mental health history. I try to savor those connection times because they keep me going. Feeling connected is important because we are social beings.

Rest assured knowing this will go away.

I’ve only worked at this job for a few weeks, but the feeling of imposter syndrome is starting to fade. If I had known this from the beginning, I wouldn’t have been so worried. If you are also experiencing this in some way, remember that emotions are temporary and will fade once you find your footing.

Make peace with your past.

Everyone has a past and some feel more embarrassed than others. But don’t confuse it with the right to belong to society and be a contributing member of society. No. That doesn’t mean it should be defined or limited by the challenges of the past.

Validate your hard work.

It would be nice to move forward with only denial, but as long as we know the truth, that is impossible. You know what you went through and how it affected you. I validate my experience in the struggle by going to support groups after work. It’s knowing that there’s a time and place for an unprecedented and marginalized part of yourself.

We all put on a brave face to be accepted, but no matter how hard we’ve struggled, we deserve to belong.

Don’t let your struggles define you. Instead, validate the fact that they empowered you to get where you are.

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