I keep seeing this statement/meme/whatever-the-fuck-you-call-it that goes, “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man,” and I cannot figure out where this shit came from. Look, I’m a mediocre white man and I’ve got about as much confidence as a rabbit cornered by a pack of dogs, i.e. none. If you’re looking for a model for acting with confidence, try a 4-year-old in a Batman shirt. I wish I had a fraction of that energy. But when you deal with imposter syndrome, that’s really not in the cards.
Imposter Syndrome is a Whole Thing
In case you’re not familiar with it, the American Psychological Association says that “impostor phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success.” They continue, saying, “They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.” This ball o’ fun got a passing mention in last week’s post, where I referred to it as rejection sensitive dysphoria’s “close personal friend”. I think you see why I say that. I mean, it should be obvious that these sons-of-bitches work hand in hand to make my life as miserable as humanly fucking possible.
Anybody Can Have This Shit
Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I am not saying that imposter syndrome is solely an ADHD thing. Far from it, anyone can deal with this sucky-ass shit. What I am saying is that it is a part of life for a fuck ton of folks with ADHD. Why? Multiple reasons, really, from certain personality traits to living in a world that doesn’t take the way neurodivergent brains work into consideration. But there’s some internal fuckery going on, too. And that’s the doubting your abilities and thinking anything you may have accomplished is just pure dumb fucking luck. Not any particular talent or expertise on your part, the shit just fell into your lap.
It Will Fuck With Your Head
If you have ADHD, you’re going to work harder, like two or three times harder, than someone who doesn’t just to keep up. And, because you don’t live under a fucking rock, you’ll see other people just… do shit. Without any problems or procrastination, either. That, my friends, will fuck with your head in a very corrosive way. Because imposter syndrome will very quickly have you believing that you’re a faker, a pretender, a piece-of-shit con artist whose only real talent is making people think you’re a decent human being. And, if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, it’ll tell you they’re wrong. Or worse, lying.
It’s Not Complimentary
One big problem I have due to this shit is the fact that I cannot take a compliment in the spirit in which it fucking given. When someone says something nice to me, my response is usually some stupid-ass self-deprecating remark. One time, a trainer who’d helped me a good bit complimented my form when running. I came back with some stupid shit about how it was easy because there were no hills (I was on an indoor track at the gym). Why? Because I didn’t see myself as the kind of serious enough runner to be receiving praise from this person. Sometimes, I don’t even respond because I can’t figure out why anyone would compliment an obvious pretender like me.
I’m An Adult???
Another place it shows up is in this whole adulting thing. Not in the “can’t do it” way, but in the “you’re a pretender” way. Every now and then, I look around and realize I own a house, a car, I have insurance. I pay bills and think, “Holy shit I’m an adult.” And, then I wonder, “Who the fuck was dumb enough to give me a mortgage? Do you have any idea who you’re dealing with? I am in no way responsible enough for all that.” All of this runs through my head in spite of the fact that I pay my bills (on time, mind you), keep food in the house, and just generally keep myself and my family alive and whole. In other words, I do all the things our society says an adult does. But imposter syndrome, that son-of-a-bitch, is always in my ear, telling me I’m not really an adult, I’m play-acting. Saying it sucks is an understatement.
This Is Some Bullshit
Basically, I get to spend my life with a complete fucking asshole who constantly tears me down living goddamn rent-free in my head. Why? Because there’s no “cure” for this shit. It’s like luggage, once you get it, it’s yours. Forever. Okay, so the luggage analogy may not be what you’d call “perfect”. Mostly because luggage is actually fucking useful and you can stow it somewhere out of the way when you don’t need it. Imposter syndrome, that motherfucker, is always around, lurking. It chimes in with its bullshit at the fucking worst possible time. And, it definitely is some bullshit.
It’s Only Mostly Bad
So, yeah, there’s no “cure” and no definitive treatment, either. But there are things you can do. Like, see a therapist. They can help. Or learn to recognize your inner motherfucker when they start with their bullshit. And, when you hear that snide little voice telling you, “You know you’re not really a (insert appropriate descriptor), right?”, respond with a resounding “Fuck you, asshole.” You can also listen to, and believe, the people who care about you when they offer compliments and praise. I know it can be hard to believe, but they’re not lying or making fun of you, they actually mean that shit. Last, and maybe most importantly, believe in yourself. Know that if you do well at something on a consistent basis, it’s not dumb fucking luck, you’re actually good at it. Remember, this mediocre white man believes in you and has confidence that you got this.