Anyone who writes regularly is familiar with the dreaded writer’s block. I even made a post about it back in November. Yet what I struggled with over the last day or so as I tried to write this post was even worse. It was impostor’s block.
Impostor syndrome, as some call it, is the common companion of depression and anxiety. It convinces you that nothing you do is good enough. Nothing you do is worthy. So when I sat down to write this post, I had plenty to write about. I could have written about the holidays, I could have written about the weather, I could have written about a lot of things. Yet I didn’t feel like I had the right to write about those things in a blog about mental illness. I didn’t feel like it would be worth putting pen to paper. And part of this impostor’s block has come from the fact that I’ve actually been in a pretty good place the last few days.
Now, those without depression might scoff at this and say, “of course you were in a good place, it was Christmas.” Except that holidays can be particularly difficult for people with mental illnesses and they have, at times, been difficult for me in past years, so it wasn’t just because of the holidays. It was just that sometimes my mental illness lets me have good days. But even those good days can cause trouble.
They can cause trouble because I am more likely to be social and outgoing when I am having good days. And this is what people typically think of when they say, “oh but you don’t seem depressed.” And these sentiments can then feed the impostor’s syndrome in your head, convincing you that you don’t have a problem, convincing you that there are people with real depression and whatever you have isn’t worthy of comparison to them, so why are you even bothering to write about it?
But impostor’s syndrome, like everything else associated with mental illness, lies. I am worthy of writing about my experience, we all are. Mental illness fears having its story told, that is why it tries to stop us, tries to trick us with our good days. The fact is writing about the good days tells people without mental illness that just because someone seems in a good place one day, doesn’t mean they aren’t still struggling. It tells people who do have mental illness that it is okay to embrace those good days. And, for everyone struggling in a dark place right now, writing about the good days serves as a reminder that those days do come once you’ve weathered the storm.
So take that impostor’s block.