Social Anxiety: Always feeling like a fraud

Social Anxiety: Always feeling like a fraud

I don’t believe I have full blown social anxiety. I was never diagnosed with having an anxiety disorder. However, sometimes I do have anxiety over going to work, interacting with people and being in traffic. I’m not so much worried about being around people, although I don’t like people very much. I am the type that can sit alone at the house without leaving for days on end. I don’t have many friends, and I seldom go out on weekends. You could even say I’m a bit of a hermit. But what causes me a great deal of anxiety is something called “imposter syndrome.”

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is the persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” Individuals often doubt their accomplishments and feel unworthy. These feelings are persistent despite evidence to the contrary. Those who experience this phenomenon believe they do not deserve what they have achieved. They often attribute their success to luck. Additionally, they may believe their accomplishments are the result of deceiving others into believing they are smarter than they actually are. People with imposter syndrome remained convinced that they don’t deserve the success they have. Often times those who suffer are unable to take a compliment.

Sufferers often feel as though they do not belong. They fear they will be unmasked at any moment. It often appears after an especially notable accomplishment. These may include admission to a prestigious university, public acclaim, winning an award, or earning a promotion. But perhaps the most limiting part of dealing with imposter syndrome is that it can limit our courage to go after new opportunities. Those who suffer may not explore potential areas of interest and put themselves out there in a meaningful way. Not recognized as a mental disorder, imposter syndrome is an individual experience. Symptoms are associated with depression or social anxiety disorder.

I often find myself feeling this way. For some reason, I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that I am a fraud. And I feel this way everywhere I go. At work, I worry about my coworkers and colleagues. Likewise, I even worry about it at church and school. While attending church, I feared everyone would discover I was faking a relationship with God. While attending college, I always felt I was too stupid to even be there. I felt like everyone else was smarter than me, and I would slip up exposing myself.

Impostor Syndrome and Social Anxiety

Impostor syndrome and social anxiety can be closely related, even overlapping. The symptoms can be identical. People who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may experience symptoms similar to imposter syndrome. SAD causes intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated or rejected in a social or performance situation. Those suffering from SAD may worry about acting or appearing anxious and awkward. As a result, they often avoid social settings and situations. Behind phobia, Social Anxiety is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder.

While I do have anxiety similar to SAD, it is not persistent. I can go out in public and interact with people. I am capable of having conversations, and being in a group. I’m able to interact with others in a productive manner. Any social anxiety I do experience is not debilitating. I am capable of overcoming my anxiety and functioning normally if I put effort into it. But I just can’t shake the fear of being a fraud.

IamThePatRatt – The Bipolar Hacker
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