Impostor Syndrome

I haven’t written anything in nearly two months.

In my defense, it has been a really chaotic two months. I left my job of 13 years…not just a job, a second family. It was time to go, I knew it was, and an opportunity presented itself, so I jumped on it. I was mentally in a place where I had the confidence to make the leap, and I’m honestly happy I did.

But…

It’s almost one month in, and while I’ve received many compliments from the people I work with and clients about how happy they are to have me, how well I’m doing, how much customer communication has improved since I’ve been there, I feel like a complete fraud.

I’m terrified that at any second someone is going to realize that I’m all charisma and charm and little substance in terms of understanding the more technical aspects of my job.

It’s difficult, I’m in an industry I know nothing about and there is so much to learn it is completely overwhelming. I feel like I’ve done fairly well learning the software systems, but the product still eludes me. There’s just so much, so many different options and modifications, and no real way to understand those options without bugging the people around me to give me details over and over again.

And everyone is so busy, when I ask for details on products, I’m terrified that I’m bothering them. I know I’m bothering them, but I have had no real training in the product, only the software used to quote, sell, and track the product, which unfortunately gives very little detail about the product. I’ve had no actual training other than “This is how you look this up, this is how you run this report.”

I think I’m catching on well, but I feel like I’m just managing to cover up my lack of understanding with charm. In reality, I know it is impossible to be an expert, or even fairly well versed, in something you are completely unfamiliar with in less than a month, but the anxious perfectionist in the back of my head is starting to raise its voice.

My inner anxious perfectionist voice

I’m starting to feel as though I’m learning things slower as I get older. Then the paranoia kicks in and I think it’s because of too much drinking and mind altering drugs when I was younger, or that my anxiety and depression medicine is somehow inhibiting my learning process.

The last one sends me back to a period when I thought I could handle my anxiety and depression through shear force of will, because the idea of chemically altering my brain for more than a night or two at a time felt like I would be diminishing my mental capacity.

I don’t know that the zoloft and klonopin are keeping me from learning things as fast as I should, or if it’s just that I’m getting older. I’m not about to come off the meds to find out, but I do wonder if I’ve traded a quick intellect for emotional stability–and I’ve wondered a time or two which one I prefer.

I suppose I’ll take the not crying in an office bathroom and the inability to move from the couch for anything less than basic survival over feeling like an impostor because I’m not catching on to things as quickly as I feel I should.

Maybe I’m just being sensitive to the stress of those around me. Whatever it is, I wish it would stop.

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