Mental health

MHAM: Inside My OCD #2 – Self Doubt & Imposter Syndrome

Many people may not realize that OCD can cause immense self-doubt. It’s one of the more upsetting parts of having this mental illness.

The self-doubt tends to go in line with the checking compulsion. I closed the door, but did I really? I saw myself turn off the light, but did I really? What if I saw myself switch off the light, but I didn’t actually do it?  It’s those inner thoughts that lead me to go back and check. Those inner thoughts start out with doorknobs and faucets before quickly moving to bigger things.

It’s difficult to manage the self-doubt part of my OCD when it comes in response to things in my life, schoolwork, and job. It’s particularly upsetting when it morphs into Imposter Syndrome AKA that little voice that says “You don’t belong here, they’re going to find you out, you’re a fraud!” despite all signs pointing to the exact opposite. As I continue to place more work into writing articles for different sites and building my brand, the self-doubt is unreal. For every moment of praise and support, I have a whisper in my mind that tries to bring me down and make me doubt my abilities. I try hard to combat this because writing is the only thing that brings me such a large amount of joy and peace next to Disney.  (That’s why I’m working on ways to meld the two).

I’m graduating and, when I’m in circles of people in the profession, I’m filled with the overwhelming feeling that they’re going to find me out. Like they’ll know I don’t belong despite earning my MLS. I don’t have what it takes. If I’m hired, someone will surely see and want me gone because I don’t fit.

For many people, feeling self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome is nothing new. They feel it, usually get past it over time, or manage to ignore it well enough to handle their business. For those of us with OCD, it doesn’t go away so easily. It doesn’t take kindly to being ignored. It morphs into compulsions and it creates obsessions and it makes us exhausted from trying to combat it.

Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of my days fighting off the thoughts with tools I learned in therapy. Sometimes that’s enough to help it back off so I can carry on. Other days, I can’t ignore it and I spend the day ruminating and obsessing and…well…just stopping. I find it so obnoxious because it makes me doubt what I know I can do. It’s like having the hiccups when the thoughts start bubbling up. I have moments of quiet and this *hiccup* here comes this intrusive thought about someone I look up to telling me I’m terrible at what I do. It’s frustrating, but nothing that I can’t manage it thanks to the help I’ve received with my counselor.

Even just writing this post, I’m filled with doubts. As if I’m not OCD enough to write this post *insert eyeroll*. In any case, I reiterate what I think I said in my Inside My OCD #1 post, having OCD is not this simple thing people believe it is that makes you cleanly and quirky. It’s actually a bit of a jerk.