The psychological experience of believing that one’s accomplishments came about not through genuine ability, but as a result of having been lucky, having worked harder than others, or having manipulated other people’s impressions, has been labeled the impostor phenomenon.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

I’ve spent years struggling with this. I’ve so often wondered: why me? I just… did something. It wasn’t that important, it was just that I had an idea, or that I guessed something right, or I just did something that for me was the right thing to do. It wasn’t special. And when people told me it was special, or that I was special for it, I tried to pass it off. Not out of trying to seem humble (which I tried to pass it off as) but because I didn’t think I really deserved the praise. And every time I made a mistake, and it got pointed out, I saw it as proof of just how wrong everyone was to find me as being something special.

It’s been decades of feeling like this, of the sense that I’m just useless and going along. It’s been a thing gnawing at me, telling me that I am not just a failure, but that I am destined to fail, that I shouldn’t try because someone will find out that I’m really just faking everything. It’s something that gnaws at me. Since I was diagnosed a few years ago with chronic depression, I wonder if they’re related, if the feeling of uselessness and being a fraud is part of the whole issue with depression and what goes along with it.

It’s something I’m going to be struggling with for a while. And there are lots of people out there who are, too. Maybe someday we can all stop feeling like impostors and feel like real people.

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