In Academia there is a prevalent feeling referred to as Imposter Syndrome–the feeling that you’re a fraud, that you don’t belong. It’s a feeling that, despite any evidence to the contrary, you don’t deserve to be where you are and don’t know why others think you’re worthy or valid to be where you are. It makes you question yourself, your abilities, your worth.
And I feel like having undiagnosed health conditions is the same, in a way. An Opposite Imposter Syndrome.
It starts because I know something is wrong. But then test after test shows nothing conclusive; doctors ignore me, or throw up their hands in defeat; symptoms are not constant and leave not only doctors but me questioning their validity. Am I experiencing these things, or simply making too much out of something normal? Am I actually sick? Is there something actually wrong?? Am I actually a hypochondriac?
Unlike Academia, where I continue to have evidence supporting my abilities, here all I have to reassure myself is that I am doing what I can to feel better… I am visiting doctors and pushing for tests because I do feel poorly and do want to be taken seriously. I have been correct twice about conditions that were hard to diagnose (endometriosis, gastroparesis). I am feeling these things, which are a departure from my normal; and once they become my normal I do almost forget about them to the point that I don’t even think to mention them to doctors anymore.
But then I still question things, like:
Do I want to feel better?
I mean, my obvious answer is I do. I do. The two years I had of endometriosis relief have been wonderful, and I am certainly not enjoying those symptoms returning in anyway. I would love for them to be gone forever. …But I don’t… I don’t know if I know how to be healthy any more. If I was to wake up tomorrow and be completely healthy, what would I do? How much of my time would I spend just waiting for symptoms to return? Which I guess it just comes down to adjusting to changes. I’ve adjusted to these changes, I would adjust to being healthy again, and would enjoy it.
Am I sick enough to behave like I behave? Am I using being sick as an excuse or am I actually doing things according to my limitations?
…I kind of lost my train of thought here, and my brain is a jumbled mess. I guess it all comes down to: questioning yourself sucks.