The Imposter Syndrome Voice

When I get into a depression, and as I’m coming out of it, my Imposter Syndrome Voice (ISV) decides to rear its head. My ISV can hold me back quite a bit when it decides to exert itself on my brain. Some of my friends call this Voice “brain weasels” and I think that’s a really good term for it, too. Right now, even, that voice is saying “Oh, you shouldn’t bother writing about this because everyone else has written about it and you’re just noise so maybe you should just delete this and watch more YouTube.” (Run on sentence intentional.)

This can be the voice that says I shouldn’t bother talking to anyone, either. It’s the same voice that will tell me that I’m boring, or that I don’t have anything worth saying, or, on the worst days, that people think I’m horrible and they don’t want to be around me.

I know that Depression is a liar, and so the ISV is, too, but somewhere along the line, my brain decided that it was easier to listen to the lies rather than believe reality. It’s always been hard for me to not think that an argument, disagreement, or mistake is the end of the world (or relationships, or employment, or whatever). I could have days and days of happy, good, joyful things but if I make one mistake, I’ll end up obsessing about it, thinking I’m this horrible person and everyone hates me, regardless of all the good that has happened.

Intellectually, I know that there are a lot of you out there who go through this, too. My wife and I share some similar things around this and we talk about it a lot (and I know she still likes being around me because she married me *grin*), but in the middle of a bout where the ISV is in control, it’s hard to see outside of myself.

I suppose I’m not sure how to work with this. Do I try to banish this voice, or do I embrace it and acknowledge that this is a part of me, or both? Is this voice more of a Check and Balance that keeps pushing itself too far? Or maybe I just need to disconnect it from the reactions I have to criticism and challenge?

I’m writing about this because I want to make it less of a Voice and more of a Thing I Can Control. One of the first witchy things I was taught was that if you can name a thing, it makes it a real thing that you can deal with. Whether I can do that, I’m not completely sure, but I know I need to do something because I’d like to be able to do my art without as much anxiety as I have now.

(This is more of a noodle to help me sort stuff out. I do exercise, meditate, take vitamins and other physical things of that nature to help with my anxiety and depression, so please no advice about those kinds of things, thank you.)

3 thoughts on “The Imposter Syndrome Voice

  1. There are actually some pretty well established methods around this, if you’re interested. The short answer is basically:

    1: Recognize that a Brain Weasel is an internal helper that sucks at their job (i.e. a broken coping mechanism for a situation you’re no longer in)
    2: Figure out what their job was supposed to be (i.e. what are they trying to protect you from?)
    3: Thank them for trying ever so hard.
    4: Discuss a change in job description with them (i.e. what would be a better way to protect you?)
    5: Remind them, gently, that you’re the boss and they have a new job description, when they backslide.

    -E-

    1. I think you saw it already, but I named and described a bunch of mine. I haven’t gotten to the job redesign phase, yet, but I’ve gotten to the thanking them for the alarums part, and it’s already helping me with the named ones.

      Hell, even just getting to a point where I can go, “Oh, that’s THIS Weasel” and am thus picturing an earnest, doofy cartoon character instead of an ominous, amorphous threat goes a long way.

      -E-

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