This week has been rough for me. So you might think that when a client offered unsolicited compliments on my work for my new supervisor, it would have been welcome. It wasn’t.
Depressive episodes make you doubt everything, even whether you’d ever be happy again. Even if you know these are lies, you still can’t see past them. And compliments actually make it worse. Compliments don’t align with the lies whispered to you by your depression, and you are sure that the person complimenting you is the one lying. Or else that they are very mistaken. You are sure you are a fraud and it is just a matter of time until this fact is found out.
And even worse is the smiling politely, asking yourself if this is what people not trapped in darkness do. And you spend so much energy politely smiling that the darkness just pulls you down deeper. And it becomes harder to focus on your work and now you are sure they will discover you for the impostor that you are.
But they don’t. The world keeps spinning. And you keep telling yourself that this will pass and eventually it does. Compliments may poke the demon, enrage it even. But like I said, the demons and the darkness pass, and eventually you’ll be left with the compliments and the truth, which is that you are not an impostor, and that you shouldn’t listen to any of the many lies that come from your mental illnesses.