How do I deal with feeling like an imposter ?

ok so I don’t know if some of you guys experience this kind of self-doubt, so let’s go back a few steps I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with ADHD by a specialist but I keep getting this feeling that I’m an imposter I’m trying to blame all my shortcomings on ADHD, maybe this expert is wrong and I don’t have ADHD, maybe I made him believe I have ADHD with my answers, and finally maybe I want to have ADHD so I can feel better about missing an important meeting or procrastinating work.

does anyone else feel this way? and how would you deal with it?

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Sounds pretty much like what people have described imposter syndrome as to me.

In my experience, it’s always the people who are scared of faking it who have ADHD, anxiety, depression, or whatever else. I don’t know why but there is correlation. I’ve experienced it myself. I don’t remember exactly what I did to deal with it other than just riding it out.

There isn’t really much on the internet on this specific aspect of ADHDness (maybe it’d make a good video? :thinking:) but I did find a Reddit page for you.

Anyway, you’re not alone in feeling like this! I know people who’ve gone through the exact same thought tracks (and have myself). So even if we have no idea what to do about it, at least we can be clueless together? :sweat_smile:

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Thinking of yourself as an “Imposter”?

Not uncommon!

FRAUD” . . . I looked at this concept a bit differently . . . a previous post of mine . . .


Interesting that you use that word to describe how you feel about yourself sometimes. The same / similar meaning word has been used by a number of people in this forum.

I am now retired. I obtained a BA degree (major in sociology) and a masters degree in social work (MSW). In both cases, until I was actually handed each of the diplomas, I was uncertain whether I would graduate . . . Thinking that I would be discovered to be a “fraud".

Having a steady and positive sense of self-esteem, I think, is difficult for many people with ADHD. Typically, performance in the same task (for a “brain”) can vary greatly from day-to-day, even from hour-to-hour . . . unpredictably.

That makes it difficult to gauge one’s capabilities. Resulting in uncertainty, thinking that one is giving others a false impression, of being smart and competent, . . . while actually being a fraud, an imposter . . . fearing that someday, that will be “discovered”!

PS: Your post is fascinating . . . and long! Too much for me to read through [right now]. Reading, staying focused, being patient enough to completely get through any written piece . . . that’s my ADHD in action . . . So don’t take it personally. My tendency is to quickly scan a piece (and even with that . . . not completely), until something jumps out at me that grabs my attention.

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I dealt with this, too, telling myself that while I had the same kind of struggles as someone with ADHD, maybe I didn’t have it.

Oddly, it was my admission to myself that maybe I was “faking it” by trying to act at a neurotypical that was the beginning of my path towards getting an ADHD diagnosis.

That’s been my experience, too.

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I was diagnosed in 2019 and remember feeling the same way! I felt like because I could see patterns in the testing process that somehow I could have conceivably pulled the wool over the eyes of the tester (even though there was concrete evidence from looking over my results packet that I did not).

It honestly took me going to therapy and talking to others with ADHD to calm that part of my thinking down. I think some of it is that my therapist is very direct and I trust her and her judgement, and because I’ve come to the conclusion that even if I am tricking everyone somehow and my diagnosis is wrong, it doesn’t change the fact that I do have these symptoms and it is important for me to find a way to manage them. With your examples of missing and important meeting or procrastinating work, those usually have some blowback (having to explain to the person in charge of your meeting why you weren’t there, make up the extra work all at once on top of other responsibilities, being out of the loop with your coworkers or peers, getting into trouble with a superior or teacher, poor grades or performance reviews) and I personally don’t think that anyone would choose to do any of it on purpose. It isn’t the easier or “lazy” route because all of the consequences come back to bite, and having ADHD doesn’t (in my experience at least) let you off the hook for those consequences. You just have to find strategies that might be a little unorthodox but allow you to live your life with fewer of these stressful events in the first place, and/or allow you to respond better to them.

I hope some of what I’ve found to be helpful is helpful to you as well, or that you are able to find a good way of coping with those feelings soon! I remember how difficult they can be. Take care!

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it is the loneliness that brings me here, unfortunately, the environment that I’m in doesn’t have any sort of ADHD awareness, so I don’t have anyone close to talk to about these problems. even if they try to be supportive or understand what I’m going through somethings they say always uncovers that they don’t believe the struggle that I’m going through and that they’re trying to fake support and although I notice this I appreciate their effort but still I find myself lacking somebody who knows how difficult it is to wake up every morning and try to persuade your brain to start working on something or finishing a simple task, or even stay interested in a 6+ month project.

Sorry for rambling but the reason why I’m here is to find some companionship and vent some of the frustration that I feel daily to people who might understand my hardship.

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yeah going to a therapist after I’ve read, watched, and researched ADHD extensively, I was confident that I do have ADHD and when I was being diagnosed I tried so hard not to “Metagame” lol, and forget what I’ve learned and just be extremely honest and give examples with my answers so that my diagnoses would be as accurate as possible. but still, my relentless brain would tell me you must have cheated and made them believe you have ADHD so it’ll be your excuse every time you screw up. ( which I never do really, I never use ADHD as an excuse for anything) first, because no one will get it and second so that I don’t feel worse about the situation.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my post I really appreciate it, I also felt the same way about my BA and Master’s degree.

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I will try this actually never thought about my situation this way, an interesting point of view thanks!

So is feeling like a imposter blaming yourself and you’re smarts instead of adhd and its not all you’re fault…? If so I think I’m kind of experiencing the same thing-

“Imposter Syndrome” is feeling like you are misrepresenting yourself.

Until I entered my 40s, I thought it myself as neurotypical, and that the persistent issues I had with inattentiveness, distractibility, time management, organization, etc were due to a combination of:

  • Dietary inadequacy (I thought I needed to find just the right combination of supplements to help my memory)
  • Education (for years, I thought that I must have missed the one lesson in “how to keep on schedule” in my college orientation class, and also training on decision-making strategies, since I struggled with being very indecisive)
  • Self-discipline (for three decades, I was self critical that I must be lazy, a habitual procrastinator who couldn’t be disciplined enough to maintain attention)

A few years or so before my diagnosis, after I’d met several people who were open about their ADHD, I finally admitted that I might have it. My diagnosis was actually a big relief that I didn’t have to live as an imposter neurotypical anymore. Of course, I have occasionally had bouts of Imposter Syndrome pop up since my diagnosis, but they are rare and haven’t affected me in several months.

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I, personally, am not really looking to make any friendships here, so I don’t think that I can really offer you anything except perhaps advice. You’ll find people here, so that’s good. It’s just a bit slow compared to some forums.