When I was in graduate school and starting my internship at a mental health agency, I struggled with anxiety and feeling like I didn’t know enough to start practicing as an LPC in training. I called a good friend of mine from high school and she introduced me to the “phenomenon” of Impostor Syndrome.
“Impostor syndrome” describes a situation where someone feels like an impostor or fraud because they think that their accomplishments are nowhere near as good as those of the people around them. Usually, their accomplishments are just as good, and the person is applying an unfairly high standard to themself (and not to others). It’s especially common in fields where people’s work is constantly under review by talented peers, such as academia “
As a therapist, I struggle with this on a daily basis, on a broader scale. How can I possibly help anyone when I have so many questions about happiness, love, depression, anxiety? But I think that very question is why I CAN be empathic, present and authentic. I have been blessed and simultaneously cursed with infinite sensitivity which makes my role as a therapist dually rewarding and inspiring and also very complicated.
I thought a lot about how writing this blog may impact my career. I know that it could be conceived as a boundary issue to go public with my “story”. I decided to go public because “counselor know thy self”. I am being more authentic now because I AM being human and hopefully empowering women to feel open to share their experiences with loss, mental health challenges, pain and all that comes with being a person.
For me, I think I struggle with Impostor Syndrome as it can translate to our loss of Anders. I feel that others stories are sadder, more heartbreaking, more challenging, etc. I know that could be my wall of protection against my pain and suffering. But knowing and feeling can sometimes coexist but not intermingle. I thought I felt Anders kicking the other day, I needed to find a reason “why” I was experiencing this and started reading about Pseudocyesis, false pregnancy and other body phenomena to explain what I was feeling. Truth is, I knew the answer, and giving it a name that has a scientific nature is not helpful. The feelings I am feeling are grief and they are to be expected. They don’t occur in a linear fashion and they can knock you on your ass if you don’t take care of yourself. I am really mad I don’t get to hold Anders in August and feel that love that Mom’s talk about. When I feel him inside me, like a phantom limb, it doesn’t scare me but reminds me of how it felt to have a baby growing inside of me, having to sleep in different positions, take care of myself, eat well, rest, pause….things I am going to continue to do just for me. Anders taught me so many things when he hung around in my uterus and I am forever grateful to him for it.