Waiting for the bad things!

No matter what I do I’m always waiting for something bad to happen. I’m waiting to screw up at work or waiting to hear someone talk shit on me. Everyday and every second this is going through my mind. I’m in therapy and on medication but I can’t seem to shake the paranoia of something bad happening. Can anyone give me some helpful words or reality check? Medicine is putting me in a better mood all I need is this paranoia to go away. Please help???

Sounds like Impostor Syndrome to me. Do you feel like you’re in a place in life you don’t belong, and people will eventually figure out that you don’t belong? That you have no idea what you’re doing in your career but no one seems to notice it yet?

I struggled with Impostor Syndrome for years, and only in the last few months has it gotten better. I felt like a small, wet, naked man inside a grand bronze statue. How can they trust me with this responsibility at work? What if they figure out I’m not as good as they think I am? Or worse, what if they already know? Thing is, this is really common, and I bet most of your coworkers feel the same way. We see the successes of our peers, and focus on the mistakes we make.

As far as making mistakes at work, I don’t know where you work, but I do know that some places and industries can be far less forgiving than others, i.e. the customer service industry. But if they fired people every time they made a mistake, there would be no one left to work. I had a boss tell me once “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything worthwhile.” I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my career, but never the same one twice. Mistakes are learning opportunities. They may be embarrassing in the moment, but they’ll quit mattering as work goes on, precisely because work keeps going on.

As for the people, I know the feeling well. When my depression drove me to drop out of college, I didn’t want anyone to see me or recognize me. I felt huge shame, like everyone knew. But after awhile I figured out that people were too caught up in their own insecurities and worries to judge me. That helped me gain confidence. I also knew that there were people who talked shit about me, and what I figured out is that they didn’t reduce my standing in the world. Does it feel good? No. But you control your destiny, not them. Fuck 'em. The people who care about you don’t talk shit about you, they’ll support you. The people who talk shit about you don’t care about you, and you’d do well to cut them out of your life as much as possible.

I know that doesn’t necessarily help the paranoia. It’s really hard to rationalize those feelings away. But consider it something to help debunk the “facts” that you’re doomed to screw up at work and that people are talking shit about you. That’s a start for what it’s worth.


Thank you this does help a lot.