Imposter Syndrome and unstable sense of self.

Fear is something we all face, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

I know as a youth, one of my biggest stumbling blocks was a fear of failure, which continually led me to ever-seeking approval. I sought approval from my parents, my teachers, and my peers, and this constant need for approval did me no favours. Because of how I handled my fears and my insecurities, I was bullied un-mercilessly.

The bullying lasted through my teenage years, and even as an adult I had a very unstable sense of who I was. I struggled in my relationships, work and intimate. Looking back, these struggles stem back to the fear that ran through me for most of my life. That fear led me to have a very unstable sense of who I was, which is a major indicator of Borderline Personality Disorder.

The frustrating part of this is, it didn’t seem to matter at how well I did at a job, I was never content with my work. I felt like I had to do things better and cleaner than anyone else, just to prove I belonged. When I didn’t meet that totally unrealistic expectation, I felt like a failure, an imposter, like I didn’t belong. This feeling would lead me to redouble my efforts. Here’s the thing, it didn’t matter what anyone said, I constantly sought approval, yet it was never good enough for me.

This pattern followed me through my entire career on the ambulance, and when I went off in 2013 due to developing PTSD, I took it as the biggest failure ever.

It’s taken nearly seven years, but I am mainly in recovery from the ptsd, though the symptoms of the borderline still flare and give me grief sometimes. I’d like to say I am a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and that I don’t look for approval any more. I’d like to say that I don’t feel like an imposter anymore.

I could say it, but I’d be lying.

To be honest, I’m my own worst critic. M has commented a few times that I spend ay too much time in my head, kicking my own ass. I still seek approval more than I should, but that is tempered by the fact that I don’t do it anywhere near as often as I used to. I’m also way more aware of when I’m doing the behaviours.

My schooling is a case in point. Every essay I submit, I look at and question whether it’s any good, and even if I do get the marks with it, I wonder how I got them. It’s taken some time, but as I settle into my new role as a writer/reporter/photographer, I am realizing that I’m not an imposter, despite what my insecurities tell me. I’m sure I still bug my editor more than I should, but I try to remain cognizant of that fact, and keep it to a minimum.

The las few years have been a long, rough, road. However, I’m making my way towards balance, and that’s all anyone can ask for. Thanks to my readers for following me on this journey.

Kevin

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