Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters: admitting to Impostor Syndrome

Coffee image for Film Stories' regular mental health column
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A few words on Impostor Syndrome, and how admitting to it is no bad thing…

Hello and welcome to our mental health discussion spot on the Film Stories. This is a weekly, regular place where we stop and breathe out for a bit, and talk about things that may be affecting you or people around you. No magical words or solutions are offered here: just a recognition that life is a sod sometimes, and it’s good to chat about stuff.

This time, our old friend returns: Impostor Syndrome. Treating it as a proper noun too, given how omnipresent it is. I’m a fully paid up member of the Impostor Syndrome club, not least as someone who writes about film and TV, despite living in a place called Halesowen, over 100 miles away from where most people in the UK in this industry tend to be,

I’m not as young as I once was. When I first started writing things and putting them online, there was a certain innocence about it. I didn’t quite know what I was doing, but I figured I’d just try things and see where we got to. I always had the nagging feeling that I’d be found out, and I’d look around me and see all these people who seemed to know what they’re doing, and who were better than me. But I kept going.

Now, I still write things and put them on the internet. And whilst age has given me a little bit more of a protective cloak, it’s still a vulnerable one. I still don’t quite know what I’m doing. I figure I try things and see where we get to. Not a day goes by when I don’t have at least a quick check in with Imposter Syndrome, and the fear that I’ll be found out.

Many times, I have been found out. Examples?

I wrote about Doctor Who in one particular instance, and missed something that was right before my eyes. I’m never too far away from being reminded of that and, of course, it stings a little every time.

I did a review of a piece of software for a technology publication and, again, missed something that was blindingly obvious to pretty much everyone else it seemed, just not to me. Lost my writing gig over it, and the Imposter Syndrome grew.

At the moment, I’m trying new things again, and stepping into another world where everyone around me seems to be totally on top of what they’re doing, whilst I sit here and flounder around.

No matter how long someone’s been doing what they’re doing, I’m convinced that Imposter Syndrome is hiding there somewhere. Feel free to admit your own in the comments. In the end, what harm can it do?

None of this is presented as an answer to anything, primarily because I don’t think there is one. Instead, I think the more people acknowledge their Impostor Syndrome, the less power in the end it holds. Thanks, as always, for reading. The very best to you all. This column will return next week…

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