From Chaos to Calm. Imposter Syndrome Or Antidepressants?

Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s not a physical disease or condition. It’s more of a mindset.

It’s where a reasonable person is pursuing or has found some degree of success in a field, but she feels like any minute the world is going to find out she is really not as successful as “they” think she is. Somehow things have worked out up to this point, but deep down she is pretty sure this could only be temporary. The success she’s had so far must be a fluke. Insecurity has convinced her: she is an imposter.


Are you nodding your head? Does this sound familiar? Or are you frowning? That’s silly, the confident reader says to herself. Of course I am capable and I’ve earned every minute of it!

I’m sure plenty of people do not suffer from imposter syndrome. Or maybe some people have it pop up now and then in various pockets of their lives. Writers and entrepreneurs talk about this issue frequently. Maybe it’s because when you’ve been dreaming of achieving something for so long, there’s some part of you that becomes convinced it is unattainable. Working hard for years and years toward something that seems so out of reach can do strange things to our brains.


Recently I found myself pondering a degree of success I’ve had and I realized I may have a bit of imposter syndrome happening in an area I wouldn’t have predicted. The thing is, while money has been tight and there have been some stressful weeks, lately my daily life has lacked some of the chaos I had grown accustomed to.


From Chaos to Calm! Imposter Syndrome or Antidepressants? Processing why things are going well.


We still have crazy schedules that seem to pile on top of each other.

We have to be four places in a two-hour span, or out till after 10 for the softball game.

Or I forget I’m supposed to be making dinner or to wash the uniform in time for the game.

There are definitely at least three baskets of unfolded clean clothes that I am ignoring right at this moment.


HOWEVER, I feel like things are going pretty good. The last couple weeks I’ve managed to stay on top of the kitchen mess before it turns into a trainwreck. I vacuumed the living room again – that’s twice in the span of two weeks! My email box was finally cleaned out and I’ve found time to water the plants regularly in the midst of this suffocating heat we’ve been having.

It’s a funny feeling.

There’s no doubt part of our current success is due to the age of the kids. They are getting bigger and require less maintenance than before. Fewer spills, falls, or that thing where the toddler dumps out all of the baskets of toys just for kicks. Don’t get me wrong. My living room has two train tracks set up in it right now and when I went upstairs for kids bedtime last night the hall was filled with Lego vehicles blocking traffic. But I have a 6-year-old who will be cleaning up his piles today before we leave for our errands, and yesterday he even took some toys up to his room when I asked him to.

So, progress.

It’s got to be helpful that I don’t have bookbags coming home every day filled with papers I need to sign and completed homework that gets scattered unless I can collect, review, and pitch it within the first 5 minutes it’s made its appearance. It’s helpful that we don’t have to get up early and catch a bus and that we have air conditioning because otherwise I would be a heap of melted goo and accomplishing zilch.


Or is it that my new antidepressants are making it so I don’t care about the piles that DO exist? The anxiety about dumb little things isn’t eating away at my sanity complicating every task before me. The kitchen got clean last night after dinner and I even had 10 minutes to sit and relax before the game.

Is it BECAUSE my mind wasn’t assailing me with an onslaught of ‘what-if’s’?

Is it BECAUSE I wasn’t feeling bombarded with the lists that exist but in reality can wait?

Oh my, is this what a life lacking anxiety feels like?!


In case you are wondering, this realization is happening in real time AS I AM WRITING THIS. I’ve been feeling like I have it together the past week and I’ve started to get skeptical. It’s an amazing feeling but one also accompanied by the sneaking suspicion that this is all a fluke. That at any minute it might shatter and I’ll be back to feeling like a failure again.


This unfamiliar territory of calm and satisfaction is confusing, but a delight. Whatever the source (and I’m growing more convinced that I have my doctor to thank!), I’m going to try to enjoy this current status of feeling like life isn’t a constant battle. I’m going to soak up the sunlight and clear thinking and willingness to complete the list. My insecurity may be lurking right beneath the surface, but maybe I can accomplish a few more things before it rears its ugly head again.


Have you had a similar experience where you have transitioned from head-chaos to calm?
Or do you suffer from imposter syndrome? What have you learned? Share!



4 Responses

  1. Brenda Waz says:

    This is a great article. My favorite thing about your writings is how honest and relatable you are. I completely know the feeling of overwhelming and almost paralyzing anxiety that comes with what feels like an unending task list that is NEVER finished. And I feel it has gotten worse as of late, and I’m not completely sure why. Strangely, however, I have found that I don’t really have those feelings on the days where I am not working in my house. Which doesn’t make sense…,you’d think it would be worse after being gone all day and coming home to the same unfinished tasks. But maybe in my head I’m giving myself a “pass” to not do it all because I’m doing “real” work on those days? Does that make sense? And I also feel like I’m more.focused and productive when I get home on those days, despite not even being there during the day! I guess I would never have thought that my chaos to calm solution was to go work MORE, but here I am :/

    • Angie Wagner says:

      Actually I think that has happened to me at times too! Maybe it is that we are giving ourselves a pass. I think too when someone else is telling me what to do there’s less chaos in my head – I just follow directions. When I’m in charge of myself though, I have a harder time. Seems silly. Am I an adult? lol I take direction well. I think if going to work helps, then we do it!

  2. RandomMom says:

    So I realize that when I start to feel like I have it SOMEWHAT together instead of feeling like a flailing train wrecked ball of anxiety and emotions…I slow down! Literally, I wipe the kitchen counters a little more slowly. I skip a day or two of laundry. ..I get this eerie feeling that something MUST be wrong or about to bust loose since I’m calm, and not spazzing. WOW this was eye opening. Thx sis.

    • Angie Wagner says:

      Thanks for sharing! It’s so interesting to hear how our experiences vary on this topic. Is awareness helpful? I think it can be but some people would rather not dwell on all this…

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