I am a fraud

I’ve been meaning to write this post in a while. Everytime I write a post or read someone else’s blog about their mental health or comment on their blog a little narrative pops into my head. I suspet Fi would call in Bitchface talking. You may call it something else. Anyway, it seems right to get it written down, then maybe I can move on…

My confession. I am a fraud. I have no right to write this blog. You should not be reading it. You would be disgusted if you knew what a fraud I am. I am not on any medication, I have never been admitted to hospital, I don’t have an official diagnosis, the one time I saw the doctor about my anxiety he had a little chat and sent me home. I cause my own problems by being so disorganised and then make them worse by running from them instead of facing up to them and then I have the audacity to call this anxiety. I am an insult to all those brave bloggers who have genuine and serious problems and are working hard to cope and make their lives better whilst challenging stigma, raising awareness and campaigning. I am lazy and whiny.

There, I think that’s about it, I may have left something out but you get the general gist and it’s of my cheast. Feel free to be utterly disgusted and never read this blog again.

So why am I still writing rather than hanging my head in shame, shutting down the internet and doing some long overdue cleaning and paperwork? Well, there is always another side to the story. I find it really easy to read other peoples blogs and fill with compasion and write (over)long comments about how they need to ease up on themselves and cut themselves a little slack. So I guess I should do the same for myself. Unsurprisingly, this counternarrative of myself is harder to write, but time to stop the prevaracating….

I am not a fraud. I have never claimed to be more seriously ill than I am, to be on medication I’m not on. Mental health issues are not a competative sport. The experiences I write about are real. Yes, this blog does give a twisted view of my life, seeing as how it focuses on the problems I have with anxiety when my life is so much more, but that’s the point. To think about the anxiety, be aware of it, stop forgetting about it on my good days/weeks, disect it, unpack it, find strategies to do stuff better. And whilst it isn’t my whole life, it is a part of it, sometimes far too large a part. Last summer I nearly went back to the gp after hubby pointed out that if I was in paid work I would be off sick and have had to gone to see the gp already. (I put it off 2 weeks until school started to ease childcare/gp issues and then got on an upswing so changed my mind). And I need to get used to the idea that it’s a big part of the reason that I left my last “proper” job to be a full time parent, even though it wasn’t officially on the list. There are other ways it’s impacted my life, but I’m not up to a list right now (that last one was hard enough). No, I’m not writing an amazingly inspiring blog that is stigma busting, awareness raising and campaigning. I probably never will, but then hey, no one has to read it if they don’t want to. And right now I don’t think I could if I wanted to, because I can’t even talk to anyone face to face about this apart from my husband and that communication is patchy at best.

I think the real reason I started writing this blog is because I couldn’t find one I related to. Neither the GP nor I think I’m depressed (which is good), so as interesting as some of the blogs about living with depression are, I don’t completely relate to them. And I don’t have social anxiety, I’m not anxious about talking to people face to face (unless I think I’ve let them down) or going out in public (OK, I was once really anxious about walking through town, because I was convinced I was going to bump into one of the people that I was sure I’d let down and so was avoiding, but that’s not normal for me). I think I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Actually what I have is something bad enough to periodically cause knots of anxiety so big in my stomach that they skew my thinking and ability to cope and generally screw up my life and my sleeping patterns and make me cranky and shortempered (sorry family) and yet mild enough to pretend its not there the rest of the time, hide it from the world (fairly successfully I think (although how should I know) apart from infuriating people who are trying to get in contact with me at the wrong time and presumably think I’m really badly disorganised or just plain rude) and generally pull off an act of being a fairly functioning member of society.

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14 thoughts on “I am a fraud

  1. Whew. This is a doozy! πŸ™‚

    I don’t mean to make light of your post at all. But yeesh – you have raked yourself over the coals here. I won’t challenge each of your points, but I will say that there are approximately 57 statements above that are not being fair to yourself. You don’t have to be raising awareness and championing a cause to be worthy of blogging. You don’t have to be hospitalized to have mental health struggles that hamper your ability to fully enjoy life. You don’t have to be…well…I said I wouldn’t challenge all of the statements, so I’ll leave it at that.

    I think maybe the tagline to your blog is a good place to start as you process what you’ve written above. “Learning to turn the tables on my anxiety so I’m no longer in its shadow.” If blogging helps you to get out what’s in your head, and come up with approaches that lessen your anxiety, then it’s a success. If it helps you to connect with some people – whether they’re depressed people or agoraphobes or purple people eaters πŸ™‚ – then it’s a success.

    Tag – you’re it. πŸ™‚

  2. Human brains are weird. I believe both things at once. Of course I believe that my blog is genuine, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write it. I just have this little nagging voice every time I write that says I’m a fraud, and I guess I believe that too, just less. How much less depends on the day. I’m not sure I’m going to get rid of it. Or maybe if I do get rid of it I’ll be all fixed (whatever that means) and not need ot write the blog anymore.

    Thanks for your lovely positive comment. I know my head is not in such a great place today so maybe that’s why part of my brain has now decided that last nights post was a pity peice fishing for compliments and as such should be deleted. Sigh.

    • In my very limited experience, blogging can be a bit of a strange beast. It feels good to write this stuff, but then there’s the “oh shit” moment when you realize what you’ve written, and what must people think, and why am I blogging anyway?

      The beauty of it is that you’re creating a record of how you’ve felt and how you’re processing things. And if people judge a post to be a pity piece, or fraudulent, or whatever – they can choose not to read or comment. The other thing that strikes me is that when you have a virtual community who understands roughly what you’re going through, then there’s a pretty good chance that in a post when your Bitchface (thank you, Fiona! πŸ™‚ ) has taken over, someone out there will be in a positive place and can help you see that. And when you’re feeling positive, you can help out someone who is in the hole.

      I’ll probably read this comment tomorrow in the light of day and wonder what the hell I was trying to say and who am I to think I can comment on these things like an expert?!? So not to worry – we all have the same stuff.

      • ha ha, I am the queen of long incomprehensible comments full of mixed metaphors, so I know that “what was I thinking when I wrote that” feeling (in fact I started this blog to stop myself cluttering up sunnyscattereds comment stream_

      • Clutter up my comment stream any time!! You’re far nicer than the trolls I currently have hounding me. I love that you both get what I mean by Bitchface – I guess that means she’s not unique to me?
        Also, yes, massively second guess some of my posts. Have only ever deleted one, despite being sorely tempted at times. Went through a brief spell of thinking I’d stop blogging entirely, mostly when I changed jobs and was freaking out that people in the office had seen it and were judging me accordingly (I realise they may well have been but I guess that’s the chance we take). Therapist also pointed something out to me, and it might be helpful for you guys too – I have no idea who’s reading the blog, and who may be relying on it t help them through. That blows my mind a lot, believe me, but she has a point. Woo, look at me rambling now πŸ™‚

      • Sunnyscattered – I like your therapist’s idea that you have no idea how your blog is helping people out there who aren’t commenting or sending you messages of undying gratitude. πŸ™‚

        I’m not really sure why I’m blogging, which I know is strange to say. But as I think about your therapist’s point, one reason occurs to me. I think it would make me feel better about all of my awful Stuff if I thought that it was helping someone else. That maybe my highs and lows and lows and lows aren’t just to torture me – that they are benefiting someone else even in a small way. That sounds much more altruistic than I intend it – I’m not really happy to suffer through depression for someone else’s sake – but given that I have to go through this, wouldn’t it be nice if it helped someone? Anyway, that’s neither here nor there…just a thought.

  3. Pingback: Bad Brain on the defensive | A is for Anxiety
  4. Oh my goodness, you sound so angry 😦 I’d definitely call that Bitchface.
    ‘My confession. I am a fraud. I have no right to write this blog’ – No, you are not. You have a lot going on in your head and in your life, and if writing helps, go for it.

    ‘You should not be reading it.’ – I’ll be the judge of that!!

    ‘You would be disgusted if you knew what a fraud I am. I am not on any medication, I have never been admitted to hospital, I don’t have an official diagnosis, the one time I saw the doctor about my anxiety he had a little chat and sent me home’ – I think the key point here is ‘the one time’. It takes time to get any class of a diagnosis (and my god can I say that with certainty), definitely more than on visit. You haven’t been on medication or in hospital because you have either found ways to cope, or haven’t brought it to your GP’s attention enough

    ‘I cause my own problems by being so disorganised and then make them worse by running from them instead of facing up to them and then I have the audacity to call this anxiety’ – Bitchface. With a megafone

    ‘I am an insult to all those brave bloggers who have genuine and serious problems and are working hard to cope and make their lives better whilst challenging stigma, raising awareness and campaigning. I am lazy and whiny.’ – Again, Bitchface. Again, with a megafone. You have a really lovely way with words, and have been so incredibly supportive of me. You may not relate fully to what I write about, but you certainly understand it and offer really good insight. You are also labouring under pretty extreme anxiety by the sound of things, and working hard to make your own life better. We’re all on the same journey (although by different routes)

    I’m sorry for picking apart Bitchface’s thoughts, but she’s being way, WAY too hard on you. You’re doing your best, that much is very, very clear. Go easy on you, please. Talk to yourself the way you talk to me x

    • At some point I wrote about a post about exactly this. I had been communicating with a friend who was having a hard time, and I had all these beautiful, wonderfully supportive things to tell her (yay me! πŸ™‚ ). And then it occurred to me…what if I could say these things to myself? Wow.

      Some day, when I’ve done everything on my to do list and the kids are all happy and the house is clean and the bills are paid and my skin has cleared up…I’d like to go through the exercise of actually writing a compassionate note to myself. Saying the same kinds of things I said to my friend. I wonder what it would feel like to write that – and perhaps even more so, what it would feel like to read that on a bad day. I suspect that it could be quite powerful.

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