Is it just me?

Okay.  This isn’t a funny post so feel free to skip it.  I just need to know something and I need you to tell me the truth rather than just make me feel better, so please be honest.

I realize that I’ve accomplished a lot in life and deep-down I know that, but it doesn’t change the fact that I only have a few days a month where I actually felt like I was good at life.  I know I’m a good person (as in “not evil or intentionally arsonistic”), but I’m not very good at being a person.  I don’t know if that makes sense and it’s not me fishing for compliments.  Please don’t tell me the things I’m good at because that’s not what this is about.  It’s just that at the end of each day I usually lie in bed and think, “Shit.  I’m fucking shit up.  I accomplished nothing today except the basics of existing.”  I feel like I’m treading water and that I’m always another half-day behind in life.  Even the great things are overshadowed by shame and anxiety, and yes, I realize a lot of this might have to do with the fact that I have mental illness, but I still feel like a failure more often than I feel like I’m doing well.

My pride that Hailey is the best speller in her class is overshadowed by the embarrassment that I don’t have the energy to be a PTA mom.  I’m happy my first book was so successful, but I suffer with writer’s block so much that I’m always sure I’ll never write again and that I’ll never finish my second book.  I feel like from the outside looking in I seem successful and happy, but I can’t help but think that if people looked closer they’d see the cracks and the dirt and shame of a million projects that never get done.

Part of this is me.  I have depression and anxiety and a number of personality disorders that make it hard for me to see myself correctly.  Part of it is that I judge myself by the shiny, pretty people I see at Parent-Teacher meetings, or on Facebook, or on Pintrest who seem to totally have their shit together and never have unwashed hair.  They never wait until Thursday night to help their kid with the entire week’s homework.  They don’t have piles of dusty boxes in corners waiting to be opened from the move before last.  They have pretty, pastel lives, and they are happy, and they own picnic baskets and napkins and know how to recycle, and they never run out of toilet paper or get their electricity turned off.  And it’s not even that I want to be one of those people.  I fucking hate picnics.  If God wanted us to eat on the ground he wouldn’t have invented couches.  I just don’t want to feel like a failure because my biggest accomplishment that day was going to the bank.

I just need an honest assessment to see if this is just me (and if I need to just find a way to change, or to increase my meds) or if this is just normal and people just don’t talk about it.

Please tell me the truth (anonymous answers are fine).  How many days in a month do you actually feel like you kicked ass, or were generally a successful person?  What makes you feel the worst?  What do you do to make yourself feel more successful?

Please be honest.  Because I’m about to be.

I feel successful 3-4 days a month.  The other days I feel like I’m barely accomplishing the minimum, or that I’m a loser.  I have imposter syndrome so even when I get compliments they are difficult to take and I just feel like I’m a bigger fraud than before.  I feel the worst when I get so paralyzed by fear that I end up cowering in bed and fall further and further behind.  To make myself feel more successful I spend real time with my daughter every day, even if it’s just huddling under a blanket and watching Little House on the Prairie reruns on TV.  I also try to remind myself that most of idols struggled as well, and that this struggle might make me stronger, if it doesn’t destroy me.

I’m hoping that by writing and posting this it will make me face this head-on and make some changes, either by forcing myself to change the way I see success, or by forcing myself to get shit done and stop feeling such dread and anxiety every day.  I’m hoping that I’ll get hints from you guys about what you do to feel like a good, successful person, or what you avoid that I can try to avoid it as well.  I’m hoping to stop the voices in my head.  At least the ones who don’t like me very much.

Your turn.

PS. For those of you who are new here, I’m already doing cognitive therapy and I’m already on a lot of drugs for anxiety, depression and ADD, but I’m really fine.  Honestly.  I just want to be better.  I’m just struggling with being human and I could use some pointers.  My guess is that a lot of us could.

PPS.  When things get bad this song helps me.  It might help you too.  Put on your headphones.

PPPS.  The Oxford Dictionary says the word “arsonistic” doesn’t exist, but it totally does.  It’s the same thing as being artistic, but instead of being sensitive to or good at art, you’re just really good at arson.  Then again, this is is the same dictionary that just added “twerk.”  I question everything now.

PPPPS.  Sorry.  This post is all over the place.  My ADD drugs haven’t kicked in yet.  I’m failing at writing a post about how I’m failing.  I think I’ve just set a record.  A bad one.

3,648 replies. read them below or add one

  1. Truly, you are not alone. I feel like this all the time. (I have depression and anxiety also.)

  2. Maybe we’re both fucked…but I know exactly what you are saying. I feel like an imposter. I feel like any minute everyone will find out what a fraud I am.

    I’ve recently discovered there is a name for what I am, which is the adult child of a narcissist..I wish I would have learned this years ago. I’m still figuring out what that means.

    I love you read you. You’re hilarious. I see the pain though, because it’s familiar to me.

    Ragemichelle recently posted My Love Must Be A Kite.

  3. I feel the same way. So many days, I just choose to be proud of the fact that I didn’t burn shit down or, like, cut off a toe that day. A lot of it for me is that I’m a freelancer, and I don’t have tasks I need to complete each day. I wonder if that might be part of it for you too; without a set schedule, it’s easy to get to the drinking hours (uh, “night”) without feeling like you’ve accomplished much.

  4. It’s not just you. My times feeling good about myself vary.

  5. Wow, I could have written this. You are not alone at all.

    ilikebeerandbabies.com recently posted Eight Types of Toddlers.

  6. HAHHA..I love TO read you. I’m not even drunk.

    Ragemichelle recently posted My Love Must Be A Kite.

  7. Yup. 3 or 4 days a month, TOPS. No joke.

    xo,

    K.

    Karen from Chookooloonks recently posted summer hindsight 2013.

  8. If I have 3-5. days a month where I believe the good things people say about me, then it’s a good month.

  9. No, It’s not just you. I often have this problem. I’m a graduate student with a full time job but often I feel awful. I try not to let depression get the best of me but the only reason I’m still going is often because I have to not because I want to. I often look at the lives my friends are having and wonder why I can’t feel normal or happy or go out like they do. I actually kind of hate myself for it sometimes. but you’re not alone.

  10. I’m totes bad at accepting compliments too. I feel the same way you do about my work as an artist (arsonist?). I’m like, “People pay MONEY for something I made in my LAUNDRY ROOM? Why don’t they just make it in THEIR laundry room??” But they don’t WANT to make it in their laundry room. They want ME too. So I keep making stuff and let people smile about it AND I LET THEM GIVE ME THEIR MONEY. But it’s still weird that something I just ran off my printer and put in a cellophane bag and now LOOKS like a fancy greeting card is making people squeal and pull out their wallet. I feel like any minute I’ll be “found out”.
    Other stuff in life: I have good days and bad days like anyone but mostly good days. I think you should definitely try to work through the “I’m worthless and an imposter” stuff because no one should walk through life with those thoughts, no matter how common they are. But if you feel like a big fat faker because you wrote a funny book and people think you are amazeballs? That’s normal enough and, well, don’t add to your therapy bill but do try to accept compliments! Because you are amazeballs. Hope that helps.

    Kristina B recently posted Wedded Wednesday//Pretty ‘Maids All in a Row.

  11. Long time lurker, first time commenter here!

    I think you are spot on and pretty much sum up how I feel most of the time. I try to channel those feelings into something motivational — a swift kick to my motivational rear, if you will. Whether it’s about my training or my career, I always feel that I could be doing better, and if I had to quantify it, I only feel that I kick ass about a handful of days a month too.

    You’re not alone! And you shouldn’t feel internally or externally pressured to be ON 100%. You’re human, not a machine.

    -Amara

    Amara Poolswasdi (@amaravp) recently posted Week 4 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: Inspire Through Example.

  12. I feel I am productive about 2 weeks out of the month. The week that I PMS is considered hell week. I yell at my kids, freak out because I can’t get anything accomplished and just down right hate life. I often wonder how in the hell can other people be so ‘together’ and I feel like I am swimming in thick mud. Glad to hear that our insanity is normal ; )

  13. Really, I don’t feel productive by “days” — more like hours. I can get a good productive hour or two in at least every other day, but beyond those, I don’t feel like I’m ever really kicking ass nearly as much as everybody else seems to be doing. Maybe I just need to fake it more?

  14. It’s so not just you, sugar.

    I read this this morning, it may help: http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

    We heart the ever lovin’ fuck out out of you. Now go kick some ass 3-4 days out of the month. As for the rest — we do the best we can.

    Stace recently posted Blog hop: When you're strange.

  15. It’s so normal. Honestly. I feel like this a lot and just in the last couple of months I’ve seen discussion about this venturing out of the shadows. People are finally standing up and saying, “Hey, I feel like I’m Failing at Life most of the time.” You’re not alone. I wish I had a way to help but I don’t… still trying to figure my shit out. *hugs*

  16. I manage 5-6 days, usually. Maybe 10 in a great month.

  17. I feel like this ALL the time. You know what you are good at? Helping bring attention to the fact that depression is a REAL disease. Thank you for sharing your honest experiences – it keeps the rest of us from feeling alone.

  18. Can we email you? Is your email on your site and I am missing it? I’m sorry, I fail at blog comments..

    (jenny@thebloggess.com, but I’m already thousands – no joke – of emails behind. I don’t think I’ll ever get to all of them. ~ Jenny)

  19. Jenny. It’s not just you. Everyone thinks this way but most people are afraid to say it. You should read the blog post I wrote today. We are universally connected, you and I, and everyone else.

    Alie Kriofske recently posted Everything and nothing.

  20. Please watch this:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

    It’s about shame and vunerability and people who have their shit together and those who dont.
    It’s ok to be exactly who you are. You’re only fucking shit up if you compare your shit to others shit.
    And that’s a lot of shit.

    Be well. Be you. Know that we are pulling for you, existing with you, holding your hand and I know you’re doing the same for us.

    Katie

    (I’m super lucky that Brene is my friend in real life and she’s given me a lot of personal advice. She’s crazy helpful, but also incredibly together. Even when she’s not great she’s still productive and focused and getting shit done. I want to be like that. ~ Jenny)

  21. Look, you can’t compare yourself to people who don’t suffer from depression and other mental health issues. You are fighting a sort of ongoing, permanent battle. So many of your resources are going to keeping yourself together and functional, and you are doing a fucking bang up job of it.

    My mother has dissociative identity and anxiety disorders. She was addicted to meth, paranoid, and just plain nuts. She was barely there for most of my childhood, but I knew two things: 1. She loved me and 2. She wanted desperately to be there for me. She simply couldn’t. I didn’t need her to be on the PTA and to bake cookies for every kid I went to school with. I needed her to care about me. And she did.

    Don’t judge your parenting, your involvement, against that of other, unnecessarily put together parents. Judge it based on the health and happiness of your kid. And your pets. And Beyonce.

    whiskeypants recently posted !.

  22. I often feel exactly the same way. Very successful in my work life, but often wondering if everyone will figure out I’m just making it up as I go. Or feeling inadequate at home because my relationship with my wife and kids seems more casual than others, or I don’t do the handyman things around the house that other guys do, or I don’t have a constantly busy life outside of my work and everyone seems to brag about how they don’t have time to watch TV or play a game on the computer.

    I also suffer from depression, but after talking with others and getting honest info, this is VERY widespread. It seems we’re all suffering from envy that everyone else’s lives are perfect and wonderful, when the reality is they’re thinking the same thing about us! At our core we’re all a little insecure, some of us feel it more than others but most of us put a confident and happy face on and go about our lives. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

    Know that you’re not alone in this, and thank you as always for being brave enough to put it out to millions of people.

  23. I know how you feel. I’m 27 years old… no degree… no job… I can’t get hired for anything because I have no experience… and I just sit at home and feel worthless.

    You’re wonderful. I’ve read your stuff for a long time now. Your work makes me happy, and I had to stop reading your book so many times from crying with laughter.

    I suffer from depression and anxiety as well, so I know a lot of times when someone tells you that you’re special, you just ignore them… Or you simply don’t believe it.. But… You are very successful. You’re a great person, and I’d give anything to have an ounce of your talent.

  24. Honestly? The hardest part about growing up has been realizing EVERYONE is just faking it. As a kid, i thought once I hit a certain magical age (say, 25-30), everything would make sense and life would be swell and I’d be such a success. Then I hit those ages, and realized every.single.person. I knew as a “grown up” was just winging it as they went, exactly like I have been.

    Growing up is a lie. A big, fat, ridiculous lie. No one knows what they’re doing, no one feels successful and no one has any clue how to change it.

    That face is simultaneously TERRIFYING and comforting to me.

  25. You are struggling, and that’s OK. What’s that expression about we judge our behind the scenes by other people’s highlight reel? That’s all you’re doing. It doesn’t make you a good or bad person, but it does make life a lot harder than it has to be.

    We all have our own journey, so your won’t be just like mine. But I have felt like an imposter, like I was screwing up at life, like I was barely keeping up while everyone else was thriving. Then I got the black dog of depression to BACK THE F*CK OFF. (I wish I could tell you how to do this, but I can’t. Sorry about that.) Since being healthier, I feel more like I am doing a good job.

    Another example of how depression lies.

    For what it’s worth: your words have helped me, and my 15 year-old daughter (recently diagnosed with depression). Thank you. And, good job. :)

  26. i’m definitely fucked – maybe 1-2 days a month do i feel that way, if at all :

    you’re awesome. it makes me sad you don’t feel kick-ass as often as you should, but i get it. you personally helped me when i was really down once, and i thank you for that.

  27. Does come when you compare yourself to others ? cause that happens to me too !! I Mean almost all the time ><" but surrounding with people who are completely honest to you will help you to be pulled out of this phase which i believe its good at some extent maybe we should re-plan our goals or try to find out where do we have to put our efforts in ,, doesn't make sense , ok I'll shut up ! but one more thing you are not alone in this <3

  28. This is me, every day. I fail at everything. I cry every day. Technically there is nothing wrong with me or my life. But, I feel like I’m never good enough, I compare everything I do to others who are way more talented than me, and I’m scared to make any changes with my life. Hell, I just did back to back 10k and Half Marathon. I felt good after that, but the next day I went back to my spiral. I’m with you, I have maybe 1-2 days a month.

    This year I started writing in a Gratitude Journal every day. At the end of the day I writ down at least 5 things I’m grateful for. To be honest it hasn’t helped my attitude much, but I feel like if I can pull 5 good things out of each day, I’ll be okay.

    FWIW, even your non-funny posts make me laugh.

    Mindy recently posted Disneyland Race Weekend 2013 Part 3 - The Half Marathon.

  29. I feel the same way. I have been unemployed for almost two years now, and it seems like the job market is a constant uphill battle. I am on medication for depression, and I also suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem. There are days when I feel accomplished that I got out of bed and put on real clothes before my boyfriend came home from work at 5 pm.

  30. Imposer Syndrome every day. I’m a grad student surrounded by very smart people and I almost always feel like one day they are going to realize how stupid I am and then the gig will be up. But after talking to a few friends, we almost all feel that way (at least the people who aren’t narcissistic assholes do).

    Chin up love!

    Amy recently posted Tips for Easier Grocery Shopping and Dinner Preparations.

  31. You’ve put into words, quite brilliantly, what most of us feel like. I think you’re okay. More than okay. Sometimes when I’m feeling like you’ve described, I look to YOU to make me smile. See? You rock.

  32. Give or take a few differences, I feel like you were describing me. It is definitely not just you.

  33. Oh my god. This is me. Even when I KNOW that I kicked butt at something, I look at all the shit that I haven’t done and it brings me to tears. I can come home from a day of crossing major important stuff off my to-do list at work, and one look at the pile of mail on the table, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the messy face on my kid and I feel like an abject failure.

    You are not alone.

  34. It is NOT just you. Every day I think,”I am going to knock out this task list.” And every day, I fail. I feel like a failure. I feel like it SHOULD happen. I am so tired all the time. I barely sleep at night, so every evening I waste precious hours napping. Which of course leads to another sleepless night.

    I am great at looking like I have it together even when I don’t. And luckily have learned the art of being honest before its too damn late.

    One day at a time. And each day has to be taken one hour at a time. Otherwise, my head fills up with what else needs to be done instead of focusing on what I am doing now.

  35. It’s not just you. I would guess most people think I am that shiny, pastel person, but I’m not. I feel good MAYBE 3-4 days a month. I get through the basics, but spend way too much time curled up in a fetal position on my bed saying, “My kid needs me. I can’t not show up for life. My kid needs me.”

    I love you. I’m just trying to learn to love myself too.

  36. I feel like I did okay about 12 days a month.
    The other days, I’ve ruined everything for everyone.
    Hormones + exercise + sleep + giving myself a break + avoiding comparison
    all conspire in their own special ways to give me 15 or 20 okay days some months.

    I love you.

    Helen Jane recently posted Coloring Pages for Sale!.

  37. I have this issue all the time. As a PhD student, I’m constantly seeing updates of people getting publications, passing exams, and being extremely productive. And I sit here feeling like a failure for not getting work done. I think it’s a problem of social media feeds emphasizing positive moments over the constant struggle that most of us face. If everyday I saw people reporting getting much less than I perceive done, it might make me feel like less of a slacker. And the times I do feel productive, it’s because I’ve let other areas of my life slide–the house is a mess, I’m ignoring my fiance, or the litter boxes are disgustingly overflowing. I go to bed feeling extremely positive about my productivity maybe 5 times a month, and the rest of my days are spent agonizing over what I haven’t done rather than what I did accomplish.

  38. I have a lot of those days too. Where at the end of the day you wonder why you even bother because its not like you are actually accomplishing anything. But I have finally gotten to a place where if I can get through the day and be able to say “hey you got through today. And you kicked ass at just surviving another day” then I have accomplished a great deal. And hopefully tomorrow night I can say the same thing.

  39. Absolutely how I feel.
    Life is hard, life is complicated, and with it comes pressure from myself, family, friends, and acquaintances to be ‘on’ all the time.
    And the reality is that MOST houses aren’t pastel and clean, MOST houses have sticky couches, MOST houses have a bug or 3 in them somewhere, ants eating a jellybean behind a couch, a family of spiders hoping to escape a shoe, etc.

    But the constant stream of beautiful homes, clean rooms, neat crafts, and tips on organizing and getting it together make it almost impossible to not hate on yourself when you walk to bed and you have to step on dirty clothes because laundry hates you.

    The mental stuff probably makes it worse for you, but you aren’t alone!

    Susanne recently posted Fieldtrips (again): A (somewhat) TMI post of tips to get there on time...ish.

  40. Trust me, being on the PTA is WAY more trouble than it’s worth. And it’s a bit of a clique too. You’re better off out of there.

    And don’t even THINK about going down the school Governer route (or is that just a UK thing?). That’s even worse!!

    And who says it’s you that’s in the wrong. All these people with shiny hair and ironed clothes must have a complex because they feel the need to be perfectly groomed. At least some of us can go out without having to spend an hour getting ready…

    I’ve had bad times. I’m ok at the moment. I hide my depressive states though because my husband is bi-polar. It’s not easy but I know I can manage it. There are shitty days though. Nothing like you or him have to deal with though.

    Half the battle is won just by admitting how you feel and asking for opinions – that sounds so crap but it’s true.

    Fuck them all! Do your own thing.

  41. I force myself to get out of bed every morning. I force myself to go outside. I force myself to go to work. I force myself to not be uncomfortable around other people. I force myself to turn off the fantasy world of the internet where I’m somewhat popular. I force myself to finish a project even when that annoying little voice in the back of my head says I’m wasting my time and everyone is going to point and laugh at me for having done it.

    IOW you sound normal to me.

  42. well fuck – I never feel like I’m successful or kicking ass. I have a few moments a month, but never actual days. As for the taking of compliments, I’ve got the same thing. I had no idea is was a syndrome or diagnosable thing. And screw you spell check, diagnosable is too a word.

    daniel recently posted Going To The Goal.

  43. I often feel like I suck at everything. I am not sure what the average amount of successful days per month is, but I feel like a failure often. A failure at parenting, a failure at my job, a failure at writing, a failure at maintaining even a semi-tidy house… I leave dishes in the sink. I forget to rinse them out. I hate myself for it. I get mad and impatient with my daughter and snap at her. I hate myself for it. Why can’t everything come easily to me?

    I assure you that all those sparkly pastel people probably feel the way we do, too. I’ve come to find that a lot of people put on a good show of being happy and having their shit together, but they’re lying to themselves and everyone around them. I wish everyone would just admit their shit, because it sure would make the rest of us feel less lonely.

    Be kind to yourself, and big huge hugs to you.

    Natalie recently posted Halfway to Thirty: A Twenties Bucket List Update.

  44. You are 100% normal here, believe me. I don’t know everyone else deals with it; I make lists. Crossing things off a list makes me feel like I have some degree of control over my life. Less healthfully (but if one can’t be honest here, where can one?), I stress-eat.

  45. You are not alone. I might feel like I had a productive and positive day 5 days out of each month. With a full-time job, two kids, a husband, a hermit crab and a cat, there is a huge chance that I will fail in handling one or more of my responsibilities. Further, I feel like time is flying by and I’m not enjoying life as much as I should AND I feel like its only me that feels this way.

    When I try to go to sleep at night, the things that make me feel the worst are when I am not the best mom and/or wife that I could be. When I lose my temper or blow one of the kids off in conversation, I stress over mishandling things and how much better I should be at this. My only attempt at trying to be better is to get up every day and try again for one of those elusive and rare days when I “kicked ass”.

    You are not alone. The shiny happy people are just not talking about this.

  46. Yep. Sums me up as well. This is exaclty what keeps me from writing and putting my work out there. Even in my 9-5 job, I feel like someone’s going to figure me out any minute and lay my imposter ass off. As soon as you figure out how to fix this, let me know. I’m hopeful other’s who comment will be more help than me.

    Sean recently posted Where do you draw the line when sharing online?.

  47. This right here is why you are successful and why you should feel good – “I spend real time with my daughter every day, even if it’s just huddling under a blanket and watching Little House on the Prairie reruns on TV.”
    That right there is so much more than so many parents do.

  48. Definitely NOT just you. I honestly think this is a common thing with women in general. Who knows, maybe men too, but I think more so women.

    Laura recently posted FREE Shutterfly 8×8 20-page Photo Book!! (Just Pay Shipping!).

  49. i would say you’re doing better than me. i have one, maybe two, days a month when i feel like i did something right. And that’s a good month.

    you’re not alone. And i fail at even being able to give you tips and tricks because i have none.

  50. Ok first of all – it’s not just you.

    I feel this way all the time – I think most people (especially women) do. I think we have these visions of what we should be and do based on God knows what – and frankly, it’s exhausting. All of it – is exhausting.

  51. I’m frustrated every day that I haven’t accomplished anything. I’m jealous of your 3-4 days a month where you feel like an awesome do-er of things! I have a dream of being a published author, but every day it feels like I am not getting anywhere and not doing enough and I will never make it. It makes me constantly on edge. And parenting? Forget it. I always feel like a failure.

  52. Do you remember all those kids in high school that had it together? Well they didn’t – this is the same thing…if getting 02 in and out of your body is the only thing you did worth while that day …well GOOD for you…it’s something.
    on another note, you make thousands laugh, even when you feel like crying..I don’t think you realize what awesome sauce that is
    As for me tops 2 or 3 days a month I can say WOW I did something …BUT I know its more…the 2 or 3 days is what my brain tells me

  53. Your paradigm’s broken. Mine too.

    I don’t know how to repair it, but I feel you.

    Avid Bruxist recently posted The Bear.

  54. So here’s the thing. I think we all feel like impostors and losers. I think you feel like one more often or more intensely because of your mental illness.

    My house is a fucking train wreck. I do not have mental illness. I know when some people come over they will judge me harshly because of it. I also know that it is not my problem. I do wish I had the drive to get my house in order, I know I would feel less anxious about people coming over. But, it is clearly not enough of a motivator to get much more than the necessities taken care of so fuck the people that judge me because of my messy house.

    So much strength and love to you, you really really are so talented and gifted and amazing. I hope your journey gets easier for you, it is not fair at all that you have to struggle so much with your mental health. I wish there was something I could say to help.

  55. I don’t suffer from depression, but I can see a similar (if blunted) cycle myself. I’m super-awesome a couple days a month, and just-OK the rest of the time.

  56. I feel successful, maybe one day a week. 3-4x per month. I struggle to get everything done, and sometimes I can’t even get off the couch to do it.

  57. It’s not just you. Your description rings very true for me. I should probably consider myself a success–great kids, kids who have survived major health scares, a new career at 40+, whatever, whatever, blah, blah, blah. Yep, feel like an imposter most days. Dwell on all the things I didn’t do/did wrong instead of the good I’ve done in any given day. Although I also suffer from depression, so perhaps I’m a lousy comparison. Also, a lot of people who look shiny and happy are just good at putting up a front. I *know* this. Data point of one.

  58. Same. Same , all of it. It’s almost 3pm, so I really should eat something today, but I thought I’d write in support before I did that. HUGS for you and for me because living ain’t easy. Okay, off to find anything at all in my kitchen…

    Cyprienne recently posted WIP Wednesday for realsies + FO: Autumn Dewdrops Cowl.

  59. It’s not just you. Everyone is fucked up in their own way, trust me. Those pretty pastel people might just be barely holding their shit together!

    I feel accomplished/successful maybe 8 or so days a month. Usually just the weekends, when I force myself to tackle the never-ending list of shit to do. That list will never go away, ugh. No matter how much I cross off, more keeps being added.

    But you know what? That’s life. Even if you’ve only accomplished the “basics of existing,” you are still living, and that’s better than not being alive.

    Anyway, I can’t verbalize my shit very well so I will shut up now. Good luck with everything, and keep on keepin’ on :)

  60. I think too many people try to live a pastel life and not enough recognize that making it through the day is enough. I constantly feel like a failure and I think I have concrete proof of it. Too many of us go days with unwashed hair, but we don’t talk about those days, we don’t share those days, because we think the perfect life is what is expected of us.

    You are not alone.

    Chelsea recently posted Lost.

  61. I feel like I fuck something up EVERY SINGLE day. We all have mistakes we make, no one is perfect, you need Jesus, honey! :)

  62. You are definitely not the only one. I’m 30 and working in part time in a job that is not in my field. My perfect cousin and her perfect husband just brought their perfect first baby home to their perfect house. I’ve been with my boyfriend for six years, but we’re not getting married or having kids. (He’s divorced and already has a teenager of his own) I’ve been at my job for almost six years, but I’m not going anywhere. Not up, not horizontal. Just stationary. ( I even had to Google to make sure I wasn’t spelling the word for fancy paper) My boyfriend is patient with my insecurities and self harm and anxieties- he is the kindest and best of men. But that doesn’t stop the terror that he’s going to leave me for someone better and easier to care for. I read a lot and knit a lot and basically just live inside my own head because it’s just easier up there.

    Monica recently posted Wordless Wednesday: Last Day of Vacation.

  63. Yes. Yes, yes, YES! I feel like this ALL THE TIME TOO. You are not alone. xoxoxo

  64. Sometimes simply existing is enough of an accomplishment. No need to add anything else.

  65. No, not just you. And I hate feeling (or not feeling) like this most of the time. I know I do way better with (the right kind of) structure – working from home imposes its own stresses. Tomorrow might not be better but at least it will be different. Blah blah blah.

  66. It’s not just you….I honestly haven’t felt successful in years. I’m not using my fancy degrees in favor of raising my niece alone and I’ve been taking care of my mom, who died on August 26th. I’m barely making ends meet and I’m scared all the time. I, too, judge myself by the shiny, polished people I see at my niece’s school functions and also by all of the cool vacations everyone takes that I can’t take, etc. One thing I do think is that people only show the best stuff on Facebook in a desperate attempt to keep up with the Jones’s, so to speak. Look at how great things are! I’ve figured this out! See, I took my kids to Disney World for a week and it was all sunshine and rainbows! Meanwhile, those few happy snapshots are not an accurate representation of the entire time they are meant to represent…..I think everybody needs to stop the bullshit of trying to one-up each other with false perfection.

  67. I always assumed everyone was leading lives of quiet desperation behind closed doors. Especially PTA moms.

    Even if it’s not true, I believe it like gospel. It’s how I sleep at night. The problem is, if you try and speak the truth, everyone trips over themselves trying to cheer you up or solve your “problem.” So you keep quiet about it and nervously hope everyone else is fucking shit up too.

    Mandy Fish recently posted This Syllabus Has 17 Pages..

  68. I feel like this all the time. I also have terrible Imposter Syndrome, like any day they’re all going to realize just how lousy I am. Enraged at having been fooled so completely for 20 years into thinking I’m great at what I do, the entire world will turn on me and I’ll be left shunned and alone. Forever.

    The comparisons are the worst. Everyone else seems to be so much happier, more successful, more capable than me. It’s only recently that I’ve tried to remember that I’m comparing myself against the outliers or (even worse) against fictionalized buffed-and-shined versions of regular people.

    I understand how you feel. I hope you find a way forward to coping. This view of ourselves isn’t right, no matter how hard it is to shake out of.

    Tony Noland recently posted #3WW - Disgust, pout, wad.

  69. I think that most people feel that way. I keep reminding myself that Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest (insert social network here) only shows us the highlight reel of our friends’ lives. AND to top it off, those “friends” tend to focus on the positive when posting so we feel inferior b/c our life isn’t sunshine and roses. However, people lie and exaggerate too…… :)

    I love your blog b/c of your honesty in your posts!

  70. My sister-in-law tagged me on FB with this article yesterday http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html?m=1. I think it speaks to what you are saying.

    As moms loving moms we are so hard on ourselves. It’s easier for us to see our “failures” than our successes because we believe them more. I frequently think I’m letting my life slip by without living to my fullest, or accomplishing all I could be. My fear is on my death bed I’ll look back and see a life wasted. Yet I haven’t had the motivation to make the changes I need to yet.

    This self-doubt can also be harder when you deal with emotional issues. You are not alone.

    You may consider looking into the Landmark Forum. It can really help with these types of issues. It’s amazingly powerful. I’ve been shocked at the transformations I’ve seen in people when I took it.

  71. I’m going to be Pot today and you can be Kettle. (Because I miss pot but I know if someone hands me a cup to pee in before they decide I’m awesome for that job I haven’t applied for, missing pot is what’s going to get me that mythical job.)

    Cliche that I think is appropriate: You are a human BEING. You are not a human DOING.

    Real Talk: I go home from my stupid, meaningless job on Friday and get into bed and generally don’t get out of bed again until Monday morning. And then I spend a week beating myself up for getting nothing done. But come Friday, all I want to do is get back in those sheets and never come out.

    I feel successful approximately never.

  72. I think people without those dx feel this way a lot of the time. Anyone who presents their life as perfect is a liar or uninteresting. You’re living YOUR life. You have a family that loves you, healthy friendships and you are a productive member of society. What more can anyone ask of you??

  73. You’re not the only one. I struggle with “did I do anything worthwhile?” conundrum. That and the “I didn’t accomplish X so if the house burns down tonight I’m screwed” issue. Of course I think the house will burn down every night. Another post entirely. Anyways, I read a story (probably off Pinterest) where a woman suggested each day putting a drop in your imaginary bucket for every good thing you’ve done. For me that includes showering, maybe cooking dinner, and 10 minutes of actually playing with my daughter instead of worrying about everything that could go wrong. Okay, truth be told I’m lucky if I hit all 3 of those a day. But surprisingly it’s helped. If I can say “at least I did x,y, and z” then I feel better about myself.

  74. We have about $2,000 worth of wood, taking up an entire stall in our garage, because we can’t seem to find the time to buy the requisite new lighting fixtures that have to be purchased to finish the project for which the wood is required.

    By the way…the aforementioned wood? It’s been in the garage for EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS.

    Also, I let my dog eat all the cat vomit she can find because I totally don’t have the time to clean things up.

    So, yeah, I get it.

  75. It’s not just you. I’m a “writer” who rarely actually sits down to write. I count any day in which I actually get a shower as a productive one. My daughter once offered a handyman some of the baby’s cheerios which had been sitting in a pile on the floor because “mom says they’re still mostly clean because they’re dry food.” But since I’m not dealing with depression, these things don’t crush me the way they can affect someone who is also struggling with finding the right chemical balance in their brain.

    Depression lies.

    Wendy recently posted Victorian-inspired Silver Rose Necklace with Photo Pendant by NerdyNecklaces.

  76. 4-5 days a month sounds about right. If I’m doing really great, maybe 2 days a week. My mom was a PTA mom. Know how she did it? Lots of cocaine and meth. I don’t recommend it, she died at 40 of an OD.

  77. I really have nothing to add but to tell you that you are not alone.

  78. And here I thought you were so competent! Because that’s what you exude. Imposter syndrome? Who knew there was a term for what I feel on a daily basis. Dear heart, you have published a book, I’ve been dinking around with mine since 2009. But I feel better on this cruise ship of life now that I know I’m not alone.

  79. I’m not depressed, don’t have kids and feel that way most of the time. Let’s say 4 days.

  80. Holy shit. Everything you just wrote, save anything about being a mom (being that I’m not one) is exactly how I feel every single day, right down to failing at being a person (I usually say I fail at life). I also have depression, but I think this is something everyone feels to some extent, but it’s magnified when you’re fully aware of your moods like those of us with mental illnesses so often are. Big love and know that you are not alone.

  81. Change your meds… Sometimes I don’t enough of one hormone and too much of another. I only feel good about myself two to three days a week. More than your doing, but still not enough in my mind. I have breakfast with the girls once a week and the helps a TON! Third party people asking for your advice and wanting your opinion is awesome at lifting moods. Chocolate is puppies help too…

  82. I think if you never felt that way, and were a hard charging CEO of Yahoo, I would NEVER read your posts. We love you and even when you are paralyzed by self loathing? You make us laugh. Because WE KNOW….

  83. Dude. I get it. My daughter kicks ass. Like, at everything. She’s 16. And I live in an area where a lot of the moms stay at home and volunteer at the school in one form or another. I’m tired when I get home. I do the minimum required. I feel like everyone is talking about me. I don’t go to their ‘socials’ because I feel like I don’t fit in… but I think that’s all in my head, too, but maybe not?
    You’re not alone. I feel you. I’m sorry you feel like this, but to be honest, it’s sort of comforting to know that I’m not alone, either. So thanks.

  84. I was excited that a famous person just followed me on Twitter. Now I’m back to feeling shitty. I don’t have days I feel good. Just minutes. And then I want to punch the girl with a french manicure that doesn’t look like she’s vitamin deficient .

  85. Oh this is totally normal, even among people who don’t particularly suffer from depression or anxiety, but especially among people who write. Life is hard. Beautiful, but hard. Writing is harder. I have that Gloria Steinem quote over my desk: “I do not like to write. I like to have written.” Almost everyone I know occasionally voices fears that sound very much like imposter syndrome. I think that’s totally normal, and perhaps even more normal among women? Who knows.

    Life is such a process. When we arrive, we probably die. Until then, we’re works in progress. This is what I tell myself. Cheery, no? :-)

  86. Jenny, I could have written this post.

    I feel successful at life about 3-4 days a month too. I have depression & anxiety and ADHD. I feel like a failure most of the time. I have no idea how those people look all cool and put together either. I have friends with 4 kids and they seem to handle everything just fine, I can barely juggle my one child without losing it.

    Being adult and mature and *caring* is hard. I think if we didn’t care so much it wouldn’t be so hard.

    One of the best things I ever decided was to stop trying to make my mother happy. I accepted that I was OK (finding my husband around that time was helpful) and if she couldn’t deal with my quirks, well, that was her loss. Society I have never given a fuck about. I *still* feel like a failure and a fuck-up. *shrug* WE exist, we are out here, and yeah, I bet there are more of us that we think.

    I love you Jenny. Be well.

  87. Holy cow. You have summed up my thoughts today perfectly. I am going through those same.exact.thoughts. If people only knew the 1000 thoughts in my head during a conversation with me, maybe they would understand what anxiety is like. Or how my mind is a broken record after the conversation because I think I have offended said person, and it replays in my head.
    Thank goodness for therapy and meds!

    Hugs and good thoughts heading your way from me!

  88. You are definitely not alone. I have major depressive disorder, anxiety, PTSD and ADHD. Most days I suck at life. I’m glad that I hold it together enough to keep the kids happy, healthy and all that — but for my own life successes — those 40 different first chapters to 40 different novels and the totes filled with papers that never get filed and the clean laundry that gets folded but never really put away … I suck at daily living that everyone else seems to take for granted. I have always been grateful to you… for your blog, your book and just putting yourself out there so that I get to know that I’m not alone. You need to know that you aren’t either. {{{hugging you in my heart}}}

    Melissa Olivero recently posted Last Post For August’s BlogHer NaBloPoMo.

  89. No, you’re not the only one.

    I think it might have something to do with our modern life. We don’t really HAVE to do anything. Our grandmothers didn’t have that luxury. If they didn’t plant a garden, we’d starve…if they didn’t can the stuff from the garden, we’d die over the winter. There were severe consequences for not getting shit done….and they were too damn tired to think about being successful. Success = Living. Failure = dying. Welcome to the modern world.

    Marti recently posted Evacuation!.

  90. I pretty much could have written this exactly, except that: a) my books haven’t ended up on the bestseller list, but having two books out still kind of feels kick-ass most days; b) I have four kids to make me like a failure when I can’t keep up with homework, and forms. Good God, the forms… *shudders*; and c) Well, there was something about taxidermy in there, right? There’s always something about taxidermy, and I’m kind of afraid of taxidermy. Wait, there’s nothing about taxidermy? Damn, my ADD must have been kicking my ass, too…

    Anyway, point being you’re not alone. I’m sure there must be moms/women/people out there who feel like they kick ass on a daily basis, but it sure ain’t me. Today, though, I’m kicking ass, so I’m going to enjoy that while it lasts (I give it an hour…)

    Cynthia Hill recently posted How Do I Get My Book Published? Part Three: Indie Publishing.

  91. I know exactly how you feel. Except, I get so caught up in the stuff I haven’t done, that I forget to spend time with my son. And that breaks my heart.

  92. No, it isn’t just you. I have maybe one day a week when I feel like I’ve done everything I should have and met everyone’s expectations. On other days, when I know I’ve dropped the ball somewhere, any compliment at all will make me feel guilty. I typically describe this sensation as “I’m bad at being a grown-up.” On my worst days I think that I’m worse than everyone else, but in reality I know I’ve probably really only known one person who completely had her crap in one sack all the time–and even she would say that she didn’t. The best “therapy” I’ve found is to listen to Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” on CD in the car–it helps me remember to let go of things.

  93. Oh, sweetie, of course it’s not just you. (Though you know that back behind the brain whispers.) My bff and I were just talking about how last night we both failed at dinner. I mean, to make any sort of dinner to feed our people. We fail at groceries and we just plain frequently fail at life. I always turn the wrong way and end up walking against a crowd, I always talk too loud and then shut up and don’t speak at all. I’m currently laying on my couch with my toddler parked in front of the TV just waiting desperately for him to go take a nap so I can have one too. Fail at life. But that doesn’t make me a less valuable person. It just makes me a person. Not only does depression lie, but Pintrest does, too. There’s no such thing as a perfect PTA mom. They go home and yell at their kids and praise God when they finally go to bed so they can get their drink on. Just like the rest of us. <3

  94. You are SO not alone! Some days, I have to call it a success if I actually get out of bed and let the dogs go outside. Oh, crap. I forgot to buy more dog treats on my lunch break. Anyway, I figure if you’re succeeding at 3-4 days a month, that’s a GREAT start! Next month, aim for 4-5 days. And if you need to feel better, just come back here and compare notes with the rest of us. Trust me on that.

  95. Before I even got to that point in your post I was saying “Imposter Syndrome”. It’s everywhere and I suffer from it, too. I’m a Manager in a wonderful museum, with a Master’s Degree and some days I’m all like “They pay me to make Slime? To play with fossils?”

    Of course, they also pay me to deal with tempermental co-workers, budgets and grant proposals.

    Sometimes it helps to list the good things and what you’ve accomplished. You’re friends with Neil Gaiman and Wil Wheaton, honey!

    You have overcome so much to go so far. You’re not a fluke. You can’t do everything? None of can. Please don’t beat yourself up over it.

    Love you.

  96. It’s not just you. I think everyone feels this way, Jenny, and we simply don’t talk about it. Listen, dear darling woman… you could sit on your sofa with a bag of Skittles watching movie channels for the rest of your life, and you would have been more “productive” than 90% of the rest of us out here. Why? Because you have given millions of strangers the gift of laughter. The gift of smiles. The gift of a tiny peek into that marvelous mind of yours.

    Breathe. Dance. Shop for enormous metal chickens. You are loved.

  97. I think 95 percent of the population would raise their hand in agreement to this. One thing I learned in therapy that stuck was that we can’t ever, ever compare ourselves to others. The ones who you think have it all most likely are so very unhappy on the inside. What we think is mundane would be a miracle for others. We have to take pride in the little things and keep plodding along. Couches need to be sat on. Little House marathons need to be watched. Be who you are meant to be, and rock at it. It may be collecting taxidermy, which you excel at. Who the hell cares if you’re not a PTA mom. There’s a woman out there made to be one, so let her rock the shit out of that. Now go on with your bad self and be awesome.

  98. I totally relate. In fact, we could be clones of the same people. I have depression, anxiety and ADD, but for added fun I have an eating disorder and a slew of other ailments. I haven’t even been as productive as you by having a kid. I underperform at my job and I’ve never really succeeded at much except getting out of bed in the morning and getting to work. And sometimes I don’t even succeed at that, I just call in sick. Just keep plugging away like the rest of us. If it helps at all, this blog makes my life sunnier. Even this post. and p.s. I thought by arsonistic you meant you put your arse on things. THAT should be in the dictionary IMHO.

  99. I must say that this post has really spoken to me. I feel like most days are just a struggle to survive. Overall, I’d say probably 5-6 days a week I feel good about what I did in the day.

  100. Oh Honey. It isn’t just you. I could tell you about myself, but honestly, I have no idea where to start and I have no idea how to phrase it.

    Just looked at the impostor syndrome link. JFC. It has a name. The fact that I fully expect to wake up some day and have the ENTIRE WORLD looking at me like “YOU BIG LIAR.” Like at any moment I’m expecting to be caught, that I’m one step away from being exposed as a fraud.

    So it isn’t just you.

  101. I meant to say more…but I’m at work and I’m on hold and I’m just not that fucking stealthy.

    Depression runs in my family and I’ve dealt with it most of my life. I don’t know how to make a decent decision and I have never trusted my own feelings. It’s so fucking ridiculous. For instance..I made iced green tea the other day. I liked it. My husband had some and he DIDN’T like it. I consider him the tea expert..(as if that matters) and my FIRST reaction was…Oh shit..I shouldn’t like this. Why would I like this?

    People who know me always tell me how strong I am, even my mother, and say they wish they could speak their mind the way I do..that they wish they could come up with the quick come backs the way I do..blah blah blah..

    I don’t feel strong though. I’ve just had decades to perfect the ability to fake it.

    I’m guessing this isn’t helping you much though.

    Ragemichelle recently posted My Love Must Be A Kite.

  102. http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

    Hi Jenny,

    I call this “Being an adult” syndrome. I’m very lucky in that my adult role models (My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins, older siblings, etc) have been very honest with me. I ran across the above blog post this morning on my facebook feed, and even though I’m not married, and have no kids, I think her point at the start is the crucial point. Find the things that you know you’re good at (loving your daughter completely) and focus on doing them and doing them well.

    This week, for the first time in over 9 months, I finally started working out again. And when I say “working out” I mean dragging my fat (literally, it’s okay, I’m working on it) ass around at speeds that a four year old wouldn’t be able to slow down to, but I’m doing it because I want to be fit. Not slim and model-like, just fit. Able to do the things I want to do without my body stopping me. Yesterday was the second day to exercise in this most recent attempt to be fit. I had to argue myself into it by reminding myself that while I hate the process of leaving the comfy bed and starting the workout, and I may not even really enjoy the workout itself, I deserve whatever measure of health I can gift myself with. And then I told myself that depression lies, and when it starts lying it’s time for me to start being awesome in spite of it again. And that awesome sometimes just looks like stumbling out into the neighborhood in cut-off-patched up sweat pant/shorts and a t-shirt and a slept in pony tail to move around some to gift myself with that fitness.

    I didn’t feel great about it when I was pouring sweat. I didn’t feel great about it when my legs were hurting all day yesterday. I did feel great about it when I thought “But I’ve now done 2 workouts in a row, I’m practically in a trend.”

    I like to take the bigger tasks that I need to get done (clean out my wardrobe) and break them down into tiny components, and then celebrate like I climbed Mt Everest for completing any tiny component. If anyone tries to point out that it wasn’t that big of a deal I just tell them to f off because *for me* it is.

    But all of that isn’t to say that I don’t frequently feel like I’m just pretending to be a responsible adult, and that there aren’t so many things that I’m convinced I suck at, or am worthless because of. I just have found that the best thing *for me* is to keep finding those tiny victories every day. Oh, and to post (annoyingly, probably) on my facebook page something I’m thankful for _every day_ even when I want the whole world to just disappear. I’ve found those small things that I’m thankful for “hot running water” sometimes is enough to be the bright golden thread that pulls me through to the next day which may not suck so much.

    Much love to you, and as I tell my younger friends “No one has it figured out. They just like to pretend they do. I still love you even if you are far from perfect.”

    Xoxoxo

  103. I’ve felt like a fraud my whole life. I can’t celebrate my successes, because all I can think of is “Whew! Slipped that one past them,” closely followed by, “Oh shit. I’m going to spend the rest of my life worrying abut when they will figure it out.” Every day is a race to stay ahead of whoever I think is going to figure out that I suck that day.

    I’d say I average maybe 1 day in every week to 10 days feeling like an actual person of non-suckiness. So yeah, 3 to 4 days a month seems pretty normal to me.

  104. No, it’s not just you. It may not be 100% healthy, but it’s 100% normal. I have maybe 5 “successful” days in a month, my wife the same. Every once in a while we line up, and have a little “we rocked it” mini-celebration. Most days we both feel like we could have done so much better if only we’d tried a little harder.

  105. Shit, I own my own business, my books do decently well given the oddly specific genre I write, I and my roomie are looking to buy a house. I’m pretty fucking successful, most people would be baffled to know that mostly I judge myself by what I haven’t done and constantly see a lack.

    I’ve got a closet that needs cleaned, I never bother to put my laundry away, I fucking hate doing chores and feel like a loser cause my roomie does them more, my many books will never be as successful as your one. I see A LOT of failure where in fact none exists, and some days I can figure that out, and some days I can’t. For every good day there’s like five bad, I swear.

    Mostly I try to ignore the voices, or distract myself until they quiet down for a bit. I write a lot, I read a lot, play with my kitties and play Plants vs. Zombies a whole hell of a lot. I also do a lot of cooking, because nothing is quite as relaxing/distracting for me as spending 8 or so hours making bread or pretzels or something from scratch.

  106. This is very common, and very sad, and very ingrained in our society, and I’ve spent the last several years just trying to accept the fact that even if I never do another awesome thing, I’ll still have value and be worthy of love, just because I’m me.

    Mental illness feeds it, for sure. But so do societal expectations of women. So do things that we learned, sometimes explicitly, but more often implicitly, from our parents (even the most well-intentioned parents). I learned that I had to EARN love — with accomplishments, with meeting expectations, with being “good” and “responsible” and “trustworthy” and all that stuff.

    And really, we’re all after love and connection. That’s what makes life worthwhile. But we get mired in shame, and fear we’re not worthy of love, and it puts us in a huge-ass emotional tailspin.

    I highly, HIGHLY recommend reading the work of Brené Brown. In fact, she has a book called “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Wasn’t).” Her work has changed my life and my view of myself, and I think it will you, too.

    Krista recently posted FYI (If you’re writing to teenage girls).

  107. I think for me it’s more than 3-4 days a month, but I wouldn’t say I’m batting over 400. I’m very active, so if I have a day when I can bike or run or swim and, like, not be the slowest one, that really helps. If I can do that and also not come home, shove all the food in my mouth and fall asleep for a few hours, even better.

    I think sometimes, when you know you’re seen as successful, it adds a bit more pressure to what that means for you. Like, for one person, having an article published is a giant success. And for me, several years ago, it was. For me now, though, the fact that I have not yet written (or even started, really) the book that I’ve been talking about for YEARS so very badly overshadows any other accomplishments that it just taints (hehe, taint) a lot of the good so in order for it to be good it’s got to be fucking GREAT, and I almost never actually see anything as fucking GREAT, but if I did, I bet it would be the most incredible thing ever. Know what I mean. I have a feeling you do.

    Kristen recently posted Florida: Because being the Sunshine State is a lot of pressure to live up to.

  108. This is *totally* normal, and I don’t even think it’s got anything to do with depression. I don’t have any (diagnosed) mental illnesses, and I could have written this post! I honestly think most people feel like this and just don’t say it. Currently, I’m not as successful as I want to be at anything. I’m a stay-at-home mom with a little boy who is six weeks old today, and I’m obviously getting even less done than before. I just do my best, and remind myself that I am, in fact, successful at *some* things.
    (So really, totally normal.)

    Amélie recently posted I feel like chicken tonight.

  109. I’ve been following along with your blog now for awhile, ever since Ryan from Pacing the Panic Room linked to your amazing Christmas miracle. And I loved reading your book. While I may not suffer from anything that can be diagnosed, I know that I struggle with feeling like a human, too. Maybe not for the same reasons you struggle, but the struggle is still there.

    It’s not easy to live a picture perfect life, it’s not easy to try to live that life. I’ve been on the trying side of things for awhile now, and I’ve come to realize that perception is reality. If I feel that I’m living the life that is perfect for me, then others will perceive my life in a more perfect state. Or else just be judgemental a**holes.

    I truly believe that most people struggle to maintain the image that they present. But I’m sure it’s at a cost in another part of their lives. What I know works best for me is to strive to be better, be it kinder or more focussed or more patient, and forgive myself when I fail. As long as I’m putting effort in, I’m doing alright. And the most important thing is that I don’t ‘try’ to the point where I stop being me. The people in my life love and appreciate me for who I am, and they appreciate me working on myself, but they wouldn’t want to see me do that to the point where I became someone else.

    Finally, I would give anything, absolutely anything, to have a mother that sat on the couch with me to cuddle and watch reruns on TV. My mother has struggled with many demons, demons that no one saw, and I don’t think she’s ever admitted that she could be more. Spending time with your daughter and acknowledging your imperfections will mean more to her than having a ‘perfect’ family, trust me.

  110. Honestly, I feel pretty good about my life most of the time. There are the bad days, but they’re more limited to 3-4 days a month. I feel like I’m doing pretty awesome for being me and being happy about this.

    Do I sometimes feel like others are better or something? Occasionally, but then I remind myself not to compare myself to them.. because I’m just not them. I’m me. :)

    Wishing you luck, love and hoping this honest reply helps.

    (It does. They all help, but this one makes me hopeful. ~ Jenny)

  111. It varies for me, month to month. Some months I feel amazing, others like ‘why am I even bothering?’ most days. But then, a friend, my wife (just married!), or a stranger says how much they liked a blog post, or enjoy seeing how my cartooning skills are developing, and it is all worthwhile.

    I’m on medication too, which helps. I find the best thing is to just keep creating (whatever) and sharing.

    While adapting my novel to a podcast, I stopped at one point. I was on the fence about finishing, when a dad emailed me and said he enjoyed listening to each episode with his son–how could I not finish after reading such a thing? Fans, either two or two thousand, are probably the best remedy.

    Daniel J. Hogan recently posted Post Wedding Quick Hits.

  112. Days where I feel like I got shit done and accomplished something? 3-4 a month.
    Days where I feel like I went through the motions and burned through yet another irreplaceable day in my life and got nothing done and let people down why am I such a lazy losery asshole? Probably 20-25.
    Remainder: Spent dragging my ass around forlornly in a bleak haze of misery and self loathing.

    It’s not just you.

  113. Not to be all “Me, too!” but… me, too.

    In good months, I get 7-10 days where I feel fab about everything, including myself. Most months it’s 4-5. I get very roller-coaster-y most days, and they are a mix of good and bad. Even when I look at how many things I accomplished in a day, there’s always the douche bag critic in my head that says, “do more!”

    One thing I started doing about a month and a half ago is a happiness journal. Every morning, along with my coffee, I write three things that happened the day before that made me some variant of happy. Happy-makers can range everywhere from “Had a nice, quick, catch up chat with Cyndy on Facebook yesterday.” to “I finally gave in and tried the chocolate croissants at the [my favorite] bakery. Holy shit, I’m glad I did!” to “Went on a hike and the weather was perfect for it.”

    And my “when all else fails” technique is to dose myself with intarweb cuteness. Here are a couple of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TugslL45aXk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM5hQ3Qtf-8

  114. Honestly, this all sounds fairly normal to me. It’s really hard for me to get to know people because I’m so totally socially awkward, but as soon as I do, they come bursting out with all the same feelings you described in this post. Because social media lies. Facebook and Pinterest lie. People WANT to have all those pretty shiny houses and a dozen DIY projects done to perfection a week, but most people don’t get around to it. Because they have lives and fears and worries and the basics of living to get done. And sometimes, the basics of living are all we’ve got in us, and I think that’s totally ok.

    I’m a freelance writer. Right now, I’m days behind where I need to be and my production is what helps pay the mortgage and keep my kid supplied with lunch meat and school supplies. On days like this, I think “I’m a horrible person. My writing directly affects my kid’s ability to eat, and here I am staring at the screen.” This is when I start putting crap on my to-do list like “take a shower” and “put the lunch plate in the dishwasher.” Because some days I need some easy wins, and some days, taking a shower is NOT AN EASY WIN.

    I used to think some of those PTA moms were super stars and wonder if I was broken. Then I got to know some of them, and I found out how they go home and drink a bottle of wine and cry because they are so stressed and they feel like they aren’t doing anything right. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

    I think we like to put on glossy masks for the world, but most people have the cracks and dirt and unfinished projects stuffed in a closet. And I have to say, I LOVE your blog because it’s quirky and fun. But I also love it because it’s honest, and you aren’t afraid of showing the cracks and the dirt. The world needs more women who show faces behind the masks so everyone else isn’t so afraid to show theirs.

    Sarah recently posted It's Been Zero Days Since the Last Work Place Accident.

  115. 3-5 days a month is a rocking success. I was going with 1: job, kids, husband all considered…

  116. Okay, first off, those women on pinterest with the “perfect” lives spend way too much time cultivating what looks perfect. It’s not realistic for people who work and try to spend time with their families. It’s just NOT possible. I mean, REALLY. I read something this morning going around on facebook where some woman had created a “back to school” diorama + special first day of school breakfast. That way lies madness.

    Second, I totally have imposter syndrome, too. I’m a PhD student & working full time, yet I still feel sometimes like I’m not really smart enough to do what I’m doing in work and school. Obviously, I’m doing it well or I wouldn’t be where I am, but it’s still there.

    As for feeling successful, I don’t really know what to say there. I have definite moments where I crack a piece of code or fix something and I feel like a rock star, but by and large I consider any day that I made it through a success. I may not accomplish anything worth writing home about, but if I made it through the day without injuring myself or others, it’s good.

    I think we all have some self-doubt going on – we are our own harshest critics, after all. I don’t think you’re alone in this.

    Kara recently posted Stash Knitdown Update.

  117. My honest assessment is that you’re a human being. Congratulations?! I don’t know a single person who wakes up and goes to bed each night feeling like everything they just did changed the world in the best possible way. Hell, I don’t even know that many people who wake up in the actual morning.

    I don’t think that what you’re feeling is unusual, particularly not for a parent, and especially not for a mom with a job and deadlines and goals. Life is overwhelming. Being ALIVE is overwhelming. Anything beyond “don’t die in a freak accident” on your to-do list is gravy, and if you make it to bed each night having only accomplished that one thing, then you’re doing alright. You get tomorrow to change the world again.

  118. Okay. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on your blog, but I’ve read a lot of it. Tons of it.

    What I want to tell you, and desperately wish I could tell you, is “Yes. You’re doing life wrong. You need to silence the voices in your head. Let me show you how.”

    Unfortunately, the honest-to-God truth is that I feel the same way you do A LOT. And the funny thing is (it’s actually not funny, it’s kind of sad) that I feel this way even when I actually do accomplish quite a bit in one day. Like, the days when I’ve cleaned my house or gotten a lot of freelance writing done or helped the kids with homework or volunteered at school or whatever… I still go to bed feeling like I could have done that day so much better. And the days when I *don’t* do any of these things (or do only one miniscule thing like get groceries or go to the bank), I feel like a total waste.

    I think the problem is that most if not all of us are really, REALLY good at putting shiny veneers on our lives. We’re pretty good at smiling and laughing and acting like we have it all together, but we never actually crack open our skulls and expose our darkest thoughts to everyone around us. We all want everyone else to believe we’re totally together, so we stuff those ugly parts into the closets, shut doors on them, and whistle innocently.

    I don’t know if this is the answer you were looking for — probably not. And if that’s the case I apologize. But I thought it might be worth it to let you know you’re not alone.

    (And, I don’t have mental illness. I don’t have any personality or anxiety disorders, unless you count social anxiety. I do struggle with depression at times but probably not like you. So I don’t think it’s just the mental illness… I think this could very well be just a part of the human condition.)

    Nicole recently posted Jesus Christ: Party Animal.

  119. Basically 3-5 days a month I really feel like I accomplished something worthwhile. The rest of the month I just coast through. I think it is because I do the EXACT SAME THING every day (kid gym housey stuff) So the 3-5 days a month where I have something else to do is when I feel better.

  120. I feel like I am barely making it through life most days of the month. Today, I actually feel like I am (somewhat) on top of things. (Although there are bills to pay, a house to clean, laundry to do, etc. Maybe I am not as on top of things as I think.) I think we live in a world where we only see what others want us to, and it looks like they have their stuff together. And I don’t, so I am a failure. I am a mediocre parent, at best, in my estimation. I utterly fail at being a good wife. I get through the day at my job, but I don’t know that I am excelling at it, by any means.

    I strive to live a life where my motto is not, “Ok, just gotta get through this day.” But I haven’t yet figured out how to get there.

    The meds and supplements I am on help the depression and anxiety not get the best of me everyday anymore, but it still sneaks in more often than I would like.

    What we need is more people to share their struggles so we know we aren’t alone. Thanks for being honest and sharing yours. If nothing else, we can all feel like failures together, and thus create a community where we feel like we belong. :)

    Chrisy recently posted Putting the Pieces Together.

  121. And you had 62 comments in seven minutes. :D

  122. OH, YEAH. Some months it’s more, but most months it’s that or less. I think we’re the norm. Really.

    I try to just have good moments in a day. If I can do that I feel pretty good. And of course there are days without them but most days have at least one moment that is good. Or at best OK. Thank goodness for pets and loved ones, am I right?

    Ann Coleman recently posted Extreme is NOT an Answer.

  123. The way I see it, you are only looing at your own dirt because you’re close enough to see the cracks in your public persona. You see the PTA moms, but you aren’t looking closely enough at them to see the cracks in their public personas. So they have washed hair and seem to be on top of their kids? I’ve noticed that no one is as perfect as the face they put on for other people to see. You seem to me to be an honest person and can’t deny your cracks. Personally, I don’t see that as a bad thing; just realize that other people are just as dirty but refuse to show it.

    Theresa recently posted Long Drives: Dealing with Carsickness.

  124. I have nothing to really add except that I was roommates with Hunter Bell, one of the writers of [title of show] my freshman year in college. Great guy, by the way. Still chat with him sometimes. Yeah – just name dropped. Sue me.

    Bryan recently posted GUEST POST: Author Laura M. Kolar.

  125. Most of the time I feel I’m just faking the confidence I appear to be showing. I have no clue as to what I’m doing. And I realized that goes for most people. I smile when I’m miserable and people think I have a pretty neat life. Which I really do have, on my good days. Other days I just want to hide underneath my duvet and pretend the world’s not spinning.
    Those people with perfect families, going to PTA meetings, baking cookies are just more apt at hiding their skeletons. As a kid I thought: When I grow up, I’ll know what I’m doing, just like all other adults. What do you know…they don’t know either.
    Yes you have problems. They’re part of who you are. You could be better. (So could I) On the other hand, we are where we are right now. Nothing in the world can change that. We’ve been where we’ve been, again, no changing that. Only the way you look at it and deal with it in the future is something you have control over. It’s very good to critically look at yourself. To want to better yourself. Make sure you don’t lose you in the process.
    And, on a lighter note, those soccermoms with their perfect ass, hair, kids and house do need us desperately. So they can feel better about themselves. Even the screw-ups like us have an important role to play in the system.
    Love, hugs.

    Linnie recently posted A Night To Forget.

  126. I have maybe 5-6 days a month where I feel like I’ve actually done something (anything) worthwhile. Most days, I feel like a slacker and loser because I don’t have a clean house or haven’t had time to do whatever. I feel like most days I’m just keeping my head above water.

    Most days, though, I just have to be proud that I didn’t turn all stabby when people use rampant apostrophes or make very obvious comments. Or I’m just proud that my boobs didn’t strangle me in my sleep. Seriously – that’s a thing. I can’t lay on my back because gravity makes my boobs head for my throat, cutting off my air supply

  127. Many many days I consider it a success that I’ve kept my kids alive. Anything else is icing. And the PTA gives me horrible anxiety. Most people hate the PTA.

  128. Honestly, I feel in adequate as a mom and blogger all the time.. Mostly the blogger side. As a mom b/c I don’t have my shit together like a lot of moms do.. Does it bother me? Sometimes.. but more not. As long as my family loves me and appreciates me that’s all i can ask for right? We all question our worth..
    As a blogger I struggle trying to decide if what I write about is even worth reading? Am I really being myself on my blog? Yeah I think so.. but prob 75% of the time.. It’s a struggle to decide if we are ever good enough for anything let alone ourselves. That prob makes no sense..
    I tell myself daily- “All I can do, is what I can do”.. See each day as a blessing to be alive and possibly try to do right by someone else if we can’t do right by ourselves.. That includes loving yourself. You are prob more confused by most comment..
    either way, I appreciate your honesty and want to tell you- You are worth it and you kick ass on a daily basis whether you feel like it or not.
    hugs from S.A.

    Candy @ Candypolooza recently posted Tommy’s Alive Day 5k Run.

  129. I’ve got some pretty hardcore depression and anxiety going on, and know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. I burst into tears when my husband finally got through to me that he doesn’t want me to DO certain things, he just wants me to be as happy/healthy as I can be, and if that means spending a day playing videogames and eating chocolate? As long as it works.

  130. Yes. I am not depressed – at least, not more than most people. I am a former cutter, though, and that is something I struggle with – even with more than 11 years of not cutting. I am outgoing, have a job in my field, work out regularly, am active, and am generally successful as people see it – and yet I am constantly baffled when people have the impression that I have my life together. Because it doesn’t actually feel that way.

    I’ve heard of this phenomenon through two metaphors that I have to remind myself of whenever I find myself comparing my work/self to others. One is that you’re getting my highlights reel – that’s all the public is seeing. My bloopers reel, my low points, are just not a part of my public face, and I think that’s true of most people (who aren’t professional bloggers).

    The other is slightly more entertaining – do the ducks on the pond *look* like they’re frantically paddling to move forward?

  131. Hmmm, I’ve never thought about how many days a month I feel good at life. But there are plenty when I don’t. The treading water metaphor really resonates. Sometimes I get very tired of working so hard just to maintain the status quo. I want progress! But life throws us curveballs and I’m afraid I let those steer me off track more than I should.

    Stacy recently posted Forty-fourward.

  132. I think that it is totally normal to feel that way. I know that I feel that way, and I know that a lot of my friends, whether they admit it or not, feel that way. I think that the “perceived perfection” is some BS we create to give ourselves goals. Aren’t those outdated anyway? Isn’t it better to be yourself and love your family and teach them to work hard and do your best? Maybe that means I am crazy too. I have boxes of crap that I haven’t unpacked (I think the cat peed on one), I have half finished projects all over the house. I go to school, I go to work, I come home I pretend to clean (do a load of laundry but never fold it), and I tell my daughter and husband that I love them. I guess I just have to tell myself that it is okay. I am not in danger of hurting someone if the dishes don’t get washed one day, and the fabric of space and time will not rip apart if I send my husband to ballet instead of going on my own because I am having a migraine (or worse, we skip ballet and have fro-yo for dinner). So if that is crazy then i am crazy too.

    Sarah recently posted Beer Brined Smoked Turkey-Cooking with Beer (and fire).

  133. You are definitely not alone, I bet you most of those PTA moms are just hiding behind a façade. Your talent in life is being you, and from where I stand..you are awesome!

  134. If you are feeling that 3-4 days a month you are rockin’ it, you are doing great! Most days are a struggle against the ridiculousness of life. I spend most of my days working on stupid client issues when I would rather be off flying a kite with the kiddos.

    My only way of muddling through has been using the kids as a barometer: are they happy? in relatively clean clothes? hair not obviously tangled? teeth occasionally brushed? I didn’t accidentally feed them the cat food? Then life is good.

  135. Self imposed guilt is the worst kind there is and I know A LOT of wives and mothers that suffer deeply because of it. I personally feel like I’ve accomplished something if I get my dishes washed….once a week. I get to the end of a lot of days and think ‘why the hell was I even awake? I didn’t do crap!’ Shiny, happy people DO exist, but most of us are just faking it until we make it. Maybe it’s the procrastinator in me that whispers it, but at the end of the day I always tell myself ‘there’s always tomorrow. We’ll actually accomplish something tomorrow!’ Most days I’m just happy if I can keep my world from looking like the latest episode of Hoarders.

    And BTW….I think I’m perfectly normal!

  136. You know what’s funny? I feel that way when I look at you. You have a beautiful GORGEOUS clean house, so nicely decorated. You’re a successful author and people love your writing and I can’t even keep my kitchen floor clean or shower most days. I’m always losing my temper with my kids and I don’t do enough and it’s NEVER ENOUGH. So at least you know you’re not alone.

  137. Go back to the first part of your accomplishments and skip the “buts.” And also, here’s a slap in the mouth because 99.9% of us want to be you. The other .1% are just angry, drunk readers who post mean comments in the middle of the night. Oh wait. Maybe that’s just on my blog.

  138. I feel like a tourist in my own life most days if I’m honest. I fail to get off to sleep most nights as I lay there thinking how I could have done things better that day or said something different. I probably feel pretty ok about myself about 4 times a week (not 4 days – just 4 times). If it makes you feel any better, it makes me feel a lot better knowing that someone as awesomely funny and as successful as yourself also feels the same way.
    We are the normal ones. Maybe those who feel great all the time are the ones who are really mentally ill? :-)
    Chin up. We think you’re fab xx

    TheDHW recently posted Last Days of Summer (but it’s not over yet) – that’s 2 song titles right there!.

  139. I am literally sitting in a waiting room to see a doctor to get some anti-anxiety/anti-depressants while i type this because hell no, it is not just you. Every single thing I do I think I have fucked up. I’m down to maybe one day every couple of months of feeling like I have succeeded at being a person properly. (Hence the doctor visit)

  140. I think everyone has the same reality. At leat I do and even though I’m into some meds and going to a shrink once every other week I am not depressed (at least not clinically) and most of the week/month I feel like an impostor. I work and I come home and think “another lost day” or “I’m completely over paid”. I hardly ever go out of my house after I get there and even though my boyfriend insists on how pretty and succesfull I am, I still feel like I’m failing on everything I do.
    I do feel succesful once in a while. But it is true. I have trouble being a person, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, a worker….
    My guess: Most people feel the same. They just don’t say it outloud.

    ps: you are great. I can’t say if you’re great at being a person or a mom, but i can say that you are amazing and have helped many many people around the world (I’m from Chile). Your book made me laugh and cry mostly because I felt identified with most of it (not the taxidermy part, though), and I’m sure many other people, feeling just as you feel right now, have gotten through it thanks to you. So, just be you. No one teaches us how to be a person, mom, friend, etc. You just are. And we love you for it.

  141. Zero days. I’m 33 and basically feel like every day is just passing time while I wait for my life to grind to the end. I have a loving spouse, a stable (if not rewarding) job, good friends, and enjoyable hobbies, and yet I don’t feel like I am accomplishing anything worthwhile with my life. So I’d say 3-4 days a month seems pretty good!

  142. It’s definitely not just you. When my kids were younger, I always felt like a winning day was one where we ate actual dinner and they’d gotten most of their homework done. Single mom, juggling two kids and one job and never enough money makes you feel like you’re the worst mom in the PTA bunch. Especially when those other moms look fabulous and have their hair and nails done.

    I think Pinterest is the devil. No one really can do that stuff. Or at least not all of it. Maybe everyone can do ONE LITTLE THING out of that whole big site? And the thing I can do? I can type you up a GREAT looking letter. Woo and hoo.

    Remember: every person you meet is putting up a facade of one type or another. They may have the perfect manicure, but have the worst case of “that not so fresh feeling.” All that effort they’re putting into PTA? is masking their unhappy marriage. Or whatever. We are all battling demons the rest of the world will never know or see.

  143. Fleeting moments of okayness. Not even whole days most of the time. But I just ride them like waves. And be thankful for all I have. (I also have GAD with occasional panic for fun). Maybe a little OCD that keeps me up and getting (most) shit done.
    Good questions; keep on doing what you can!

  144. Welcome to being human. I don’t have any mental disorders, mental illness or similar. And yet I feel a lot like you. I am not going to repeat the things you already said, I basically sum up my story thinking that the day I die, I will have not accomplished anything anyone will remember me by. Some days I am happy enough with being a good person, others I hate that I am nothing but that. But that is not your illness, it is just life. Just the perks of being human.

  145. “It’s just that at the end of each day I usually lie in bed and think “Shit. I’m fucking shit up. I accomplished nothing today except the basics of existing.” I feel like I’m treading water and that I’m always another half-day behind in life.”

    I have lots of days like that. Most of them, in fact.

    And those shiny, pretty Parent-Teacher meeting people? They’re not real; they can’t be. Probably robots.

  146. I feel like I just read a post that could have been written by me. It’s so easy to take everything on Facebook at face value, so to speak. But the truth is that on Facebook (and, most likely, everywhere else that is a social media thing) we tend to put our best foot forwards. We don’t want anyone to think that our lives might be less than perfect.

    The truth is that I feel accomplished about the same amount of days per month that you do. Some days it’s a few more, some days it’s less. Some days, just the fact that I got my laundry done is a huge deal, or that I made dinner, or that I went grocery shopping. I struggle to feel successful; I’ve been unemployed for a year and the idea of getting a job frightens me because I’ve been under an enormous amount of stress from illness in my family that I’m afraid that I will have a huge breakdown at work and will therefore be shortly out of a job again.

    I hope that this helps you in some way, at least in knowing that you aren’t the only one who struggles with this, Jenny.

    Jessica M. recently posted springtime; or, the return of the sun.

  147. You’re definitely not alone. I feel like I’ve accomplished something MAYBE 1 day a month. And that’s really pushing it to say even 1 day a month. I am living my life, coasting month to month to year to year without any accomplishments. Getting up, getting to work, and home again are often all I have the energy to accomplish.

    For me, that’s due to a yet-to-be diagnosed chronic illness, coupled with major depression, Avoidant Personality DIsorder, osteoarthritis in an ever-increasing number of joints, chronic migraines, and just head-to-toe pain (part of previously mentioned undiagnosed illness). For me – making it to & from work is a BIG accomplishment most days. Weekends? It’s damn near a miracle if I manage to leave the house to get to the grocery store.

    I can’t help but compare my current life with how I used to be – constantly road tripping and attending concerts and posting at livejournal multiple times a day… and oh how do I miss the “old me”. Current me is nothing but a disappointment to myself.

    Keiran recently posted God blessed Texas with his own hand, brought down angels from the promised land.

  148. You just hit the crux of my life on the head. Maybe once, twice a week I feel like, I got this shit handled.” Then something happens and I spend a day marathoning TV shows, barely remembering to shove pants on and pick the kid up from school. It happens. That’s what living with mental disorders does to a person. Acknowledging it helps you dig out of the hole a little, but the hole is a deep pit. You won’t ever have a solid week of, “Holy fucking shit, I’m amazing at life.” But you will get to the point where you think, “Good job, pig” at the end of the week.
    Your house is still standing. Your family is sticking by your side despite the mess inside your head. That’s what matters. PTA meetings are torture. Your kiddo knows you support her without it. Going to the bank is a miracle.
    Celebrate each achievement as they come. The big picture is not something a person with mental illness can dwell on. Step by step. Keep moving forward. And don’t hate yourself for the days where your forward progress is a crawl, hidden under your favorite blanket while dragging along a stuffed cow.

    R.C. Murphy recently posted Podcast-Thingie – Death, Bats, and Haunted Houses.

  149. 149
    Pamela moulder

    I honestly feel like a successful person about 2 days a month. My house is a mess and it smells like cat pee. I work a full time retail job (and have for 18 years, I hate it, but fear change) the best thing to happen in forever was Dragon*Con. Damn that was great! If it weren’t for my husband & cats I would have given up a long time ago. Knowing that there are people out there like me helps, too. Love you Jenny.

  150. I know exactly how you feel here. Feeling like I’m failing at life is a constant issue for me (and I have a good marriage, a nice – always disastrous – house, and two healthy kids). I’m on meds for depression and anxiety and they are helping, but they haven’t taken care of this problem. I can’t tell you how often I feel like I’m succeeding because I haven’t taken special note of those days, though maybe I should. But I do constantly feel like I “should” be doing more and if I’m not, I’m failing.

    Hugs to you. Your book had a very profound impact on me.

    (also, apologies if this posts fifteen times…I keep getting a wp error every time I click submit)

    Em recently posted Gmail Rage.

  151. the pretty shiny people we compare ourselves too, we don’t see their cracks & dirt just our own.

    i feel like i kicked ass a few times a month, the other days, i feel like i’ve been kicked in the teeth.

    i am my harshest critic though. when people tell me good job, success, etc, i kind of look at them like they are the devil.

  152. I haven’t felt successful in about a week. At all. I feel like I’m drowning. I’ve cried in front of a coworker, like, straight from a laugh to a cry. I am constantly terrified of gaining back the 50lbs I’ve lost (and I need to lose another 75 or more). Every time someone makes a nice comment about my weight loss, I feel like a fraud. I don’t have depression or anxiety, but I felt such social anxiety over the holiday weekend, I got a stomach ache and desperately wanted to leave a family event. I’m behind at work and again, when someone thanks me for doing something, all I can think of are the 30 other things I HAVEN’T done.

    What gets me through is knowing that it WILL get better. My life won’t be this pace for too much longer and my husband insisted we have a date night (we are so not those people) this week. And by considering how much I’ve learned (part of my breakneck pace is due to graduate school) in the past 6 years. So, the little things, and the long term success things, that’s how you make it.

  153. I admit, most days I feel like a complete failure; except at work. As long as I make it work 5 days/week, I call myself a success. But honestly, it’s all of the other things I NEED to take care of that I just ignore. I’m EXHAUSTED after working. I rarely blog anymore, because I don’t have the energy. I feel like I’m just living day to day and as long as I survive, I call it a win. I moved a year ago this month, and I still have boxes (dozens) that I haven’t opened to even know where anything is. I try to set up goals of things to accomplish after the work day, but I just don’t have it in me. On weekends when I’m home, I sleep or drink the day away with friends. That’s not winning; that’s wasting the day. And those damn boxes are still there staring at me from every room in the house. You are definitely not alone. I fake it through most days, but honestly, I probably only REALLY feel good less than 5 days per month. I hope you find your peace and continue to share your struggles and accomplishments. They truly help me to remember that I am not alone.

    Rachel recently posted Alone… and Happy!.

  154. I honestly deep down feel like you are inside my head writing my thoughts & feelings the way I never could myself. I censor myself so much online, not to be a faker, but to keep from being that negative depressing person that everyone avoids. I am in shock when people tell me they think I have things together and a great life, then I realize I have failed at even being myself for fear of driving people away.
    How many days a month? Are we counting whole days or just how many days did I have moments of fleeting greatness??

  155. First and foremost I think it will be amazing for you to recognize the fact that you literally JUST posted this and there are already 16 comments ahead of mine. I’m a fairly fast reader mind you. This is something I have also been struggling with lately. I have a birthday coming up and I feel like I should have something to show for my adult life. I should have accomplishments and be able to say more than I’m a divorcee who just squeezes by on life. When talking to a very dear friend of mine he pointed out that I do have things to show, I’m just not seeing them. I have a home and food and a good job that supports me, but more importantly I have friends who would drop anything for me in a second and have my back through anything I could possibly need. I’m not a very social person, so I have a few extremely close friends. But they are everything. You success in life doesn’t need to be what you get accomplished daily, or if your bills have been paid on time or being part of the PTA. Your success comes from the more important things, like your relationship with your husband and raising your daughter. You have people who care for you and love you deeply and there is a good reason for that. And not only that but you have touched and helped more people than I think you could even begin to understand. That is the success that truly matters in life. These are things I try to remember when I get dragged down by anxiety. Keep your head up. You are not alone and you are so loved.

  156. BEEN THERE. GO BACK FROM TIME TO TIME. This is the depression/anxiety talking.

    Two things that have helped a lot (besides therapy & tons of positive support from loved ones):

    1. Someone once told me: “You could sit on your bed for the rest of your life, accomplish nothing, and still be a worthwhile person, deserving of love.” (Not that you’d want to, or enjoy it, just that it wouldn’t negate your worth. Been chewing on that for years.)

    2. Jennifer whatsit on KPFA’s mantra: “Go easy; and if you can’t go easy, go as easy as you can.”

    There are many of us. You are not alone, and you are not an imposter. You’re a gem.

  157. As a fellow person, you sound…average.
    As a bipolar person and advocate, you sound…average.
    As a mom, you sound…average.

    These are all good/scary/annoying/hard things. You fall down, you pick yourself up. You fall down again, you pick yourself up again. The problem doesn’t come from falling down, it comes from refusing to pick yourself up.

    It sounds like you’re identifying issues and progressing towards them, and that is a monumentally good thing.

    shea recently posted Mothers of geeks, please read.

  158. Yep. About 3-4 days a month sounds right. Those are the days when I got the to do list done, and even do normal-tasks-that-I-rarely-do like putting away laundry before I wear it all again. I actually had that day yesterday. Got done a bunch of client work, emptied the dishwasher, and exercise. I also remembered to eat and went to bed on time. A fucking miracle day. The day before that all I could do was lay in bed and play SimCity and randomly fall asleep when my sims didn’t do stuff fast enough.

    Oh!! Last week I had a revelation (or revolution? both?) and decided that I didn’t have to go to the school picnic (always migraine-inducing for me) and I didn’t have to go to back-to-school night either!! Seriously changed my life last week. I still felt guilty but I emailed the teacher and she was nice to me the next day so I guess she doesn’t hate me. The PTA might hate me, though. I do field trips and library but no committees or fundraising because I would rather cut off digits. Oh well.

    Elizabeth Potts Weinstein recently posted The Problems With Using Contracts You Find Via Google Search.

  159. First, I totally subscribe to this. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html (I don’t mean Allie’s feed. I mean that cycle is totally me.)

    Most women I know have told me they have felt like a fraud. That at any moment, someone is going to come in the door and say, “AHA! We caught you!” and we all agreed that we’d be yep, game up. You caught me faking it! So we do feel like we’re not winning.

    Lately, I’m on a hyper kick, so I feel pretty accomplished most days of the week. (Accomplished not the same as winning) That said, “power Jen” days have a way of making my partner miserable. “You aren’t able to sit still!” “Why don’t you relax?” And, it makes me become a nag. “Other than a mess, what did you make in this kitchen?” So yay for the laundry being done, but was it worth the argument?

    As far as the shiny happy people in the PTA meetings… I used to think all the skinny girls had all the happiness. Now I’ve met so many that have problems that I realize skinny does not equal happy. So maybe they are shiny and happy on the outside, but who knows what lies beneath. Maybe I should stop watching Broadchurch.

    Hang in there. One day is better than no days. <3.

  160. Yes, I feel the same way. Most of the time I live in squalor because I can’t summon the energy to clean. I’m always behind on bills and taxes. Some days I don’t even want to get out of bed. You are SO not alone. Also, this: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html

  161. Imposter syndrome? What I’ve been doing exists? Geez, learn something every day. I totally suffer from this. I can’t imagine why anyone would compliment me *ever* because I feel like everything I do is completely unspecial.

    You’re not alone. I’m with you. I feel successful only a few days a month at most, though lately it’s been less than that. I think the worst is getting praise right now because I know I totally don’t deserve it. I’ve been such a horrendous fuck up slacker. To get out of it? That’s tough. Sometimes forcing myself to be productive, however small (cleaning the kitchen, unpacking a few boxes) can start me back on the road to productivity and usefulness for a little while. Inevitably I fail at something (can be super small like not cleaning the kitchen *well*) and I’m back on the couch playing Bejeweled for hours.

  162. I live in perpetual fear of failing or making myself look stupid, so frequently I don’t DO anything. Which in and of itself is a failure. But it’s the one I’ve learned to live with. My house is a hot mess. I have piles of things that need done and I shut it out because it’s too overwhelming and I suck at compartmentalizing. I don’t get enjoyment from finishing a segment of anything I want it all done and I want it done now. No one is as shiny as they look online, who would post all the bad shit that goes on behinds the lens of perfection… except you of course :) Society and media give an unrealistic expectation of what you should have/be/feel/look like so being happy with being you seems unacceptable. I don’t keep track of how often I feel like I’ve got my shit together but it’s not that often. I snap at the hubs & daughter too much when something freaks my anxiety out and the issue is pressed and then I feel like a horrible person for taking it out on them. To help I’ve started therapy and meditation on a site called HeadSpace. Remembering that the blue sky is always there no matter what sort of clouds roll in helps me keep it together. Lurv you lady. We’re all broken differently. I wouldn’t be nearly as self aware without your honestly.

  163. Honestly? I feel fucking awesome about three weeks out of every four in each month. However, those days and even those hours are not contiguous, and they are interspersed with periods of absolute, rock-bottom despair. Usually the awesome/despair corresponds to things like this:

    *the people I know and love are awesome/I have no friends
    *I am awesome at playing the trumpet/I suck at playing the trumpet (varies day by day, really)
    *I have a job and even though it’s not in my field, I am making money and making my way toward my dreams/ Who am I kidding, I’m treading water, making no progress, and inexorably getting older as my dreams drift further away

    I’m currently looking for a therapist to talk things over with. I find it’s helpful to remember that there’s no set way that things are supposed to be. They just are, for better or worse, and there are always some things I can change and some things I can’t.

  164. I feel this way all the time, that anything I did successfully enough to earn compliments or praise was just a fluke and I don’t actually deserve the praise that comes with it. I feel like most days I waste all my time, and even if I get stuff done, it wasn’t enough stuff, that I should have been able to do more and that I have totally failed at being an adult. There is also a tremendous amount of worry that I have failed at being an example to my kid, and that I should have been and should be able to be a better example of what an adult should be, rather than be this broken mess of a human.

  165. Are you looking at the right role models? Cos it sounds like the fake ones are getting your attention. Life is hard, PTA is so fucking overrated, trust me and getting your child/children into bed safely each night is an achievement in itself. We all know we shouldn’t compare and yet we can’t help but do just that. You is kind, you is smart, you is important, to quote The Help…..
    I think you rock. The End.

    Molley Mills recently posted You Promised! A Way to Keep Track of the Promises You Make to Your Children..

  166. You are lucky that you have 3-4 successful days a month. I can’t even remember the last time I felt successful. I guess the only time I feel like a success is when I see my daughter learning something or being polite, that MAYBE my goal i life is just to be a successful mother. But I have days where I lay in bed wishing I could be crafty, or be one of those amazing moms that always has it together. But honestly, I don’t think anyone does. Its all a lie, to look good on the outside. Everyone has something..everyone. It took me a long time to realize that. Life can suck, a lot. Don’t try to compare yourself to others, because you’re comparing yourself to what they want to project, not reality…so it makes you feel worse.

  167. Everyone thinks I’m okay because I get up every day and I go to work, but that’s usually all I can accomplish. I don’t clean, I don’t cook, I don’t shop, I surf the internet most of the day at work. I only pay my bills when the cut-off notices come. Basically I only do what I absolutely have to do. But I’ll usually greet you with a smile and look like I’m all together. I think there are probably more people like me out there – we can fake it just enough to get by. I’m on an anti-depressant, and that helps, but I’d still rather be lying in bed hiding under the covers than sitting here at work feeling like I can’t get anything done.

    Well, that was certainly cheerful. Sorry I don’t have more encouraging words.

  168. You’re doing much better than me! I’m stilling waiting for the day I can lay down at night and think, “I kicked ass today.”

    I’m pretty sure this is the way most people feel, but no one ever talks about it.

  169. The shinier people’s lives are on the outside, the duller they tend to be on the inside. Fuck the shiny people. You are a mom and a writer, which are the two best things in the world (I know, becasue I am, too).

    Chuck Baudelaire recently posted A Man Is a Man.

  170. I am much more the mocking-inspirational-quotes type than the inspired-by-quotes type, so this is weird for me, but two quotes have genuinely helped me lately:

    Comparison is the thief of joy.

    And

    Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to their highlight reel.

    Translation: those Facebook and Pinterest lives are curated, they’re not REAL real.

  171. 171
    Jan in Oregon

    OK – clearly this is a movement…. and we could sure rock a membership T-shirt, don’t ya think? ;D Yup. Me too. and Right On.

  172. Ok, so I know this is ULTRA long, but I can’t find just an email to email you.
    you’re freaking me out. About a year and a half ago, i wrote this post on a website I have since parked because I couldn’t deal with the pressure of writing fresh every day/week. I hope it helps (seriously though, its crowded in my head, how did you get in here?)

    Meet my monkey, his name is Normal.
    I have had an offensive, hairy monkey on my back the past couple of weeks. He happens to be what I call the “not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enoughs”. This particular primate has plagued me for as long as I can remember. Oh, I do manage to shake him off, often for long periods of time, but the little bastard is persistent and always manages to find his way back to me. He plagues me with self doubt and low self esteem and all around throws me right off the path I need to follow and I find myself stumbling and thrashing around in a nasty ditch of self-loathing and doubt.

    What kind of things are bothering me? Well, pretty much everything is the short story. My house always feels dirty and disorganized, my parenting skills are never kind or gentle enough, my marriage is not perfect bliss of love and security, my finances are never as organized as they should be, I should blog more and better, I should have all that wood piled up and the wood pile covered, my garden should be trimmed and tilled and ready for the winter, my garden beds are a ratty mess, those xmas lights are not going to hang themselves, I still have a ton of boxes to unpack, I have only been on the treadmill twice in the past two weeks, my diet is a joke, my clothes don’t fit right, I need a haircut…..well, I am sure you get the idea. Pretty much a battle of this running dialogue of this little enemy sitting on my shoulder and whispering all my failings into my ear.

    Now, before you say it, I KNOW that no one is perfect. Comparing yourself isn’t going to bring anything but unhappiness. Envy and jealousy is like taking a poisoned pill and expecting the other person to get sick. It is you that ends up with a twisted gut of anxiety and a whole lot of heartburn for the trouble. My brain knows without a doubt that these people that I am comparing myself to are not perfect. That perfectly organized person has a closet full of pizza boxes with fuzzy, crusty bits in the bottom that is just asking for mice….or that gorgeous girl that looks so coiffed and put together with the yoga bum that makes me want to have my first fist fight probably sobs into her glass of wine at night with her makeup slowly melting into a puddle. Oh yes, my HEAD knows that. And somewhere, my heart does to…but I feel like one of those toys of Dachshund’s that I had as a child. The kind with the wooden head and feet, the body of a slinky and the wooden bottom half at the end of the slinky? Except, my slinky has been abused and neglected and is all kinked and twisted. The head toddles along, but my heart bumps and jerks behind it, barely staying upright.

    My head is saying “everything has a crack in it, that is how the light gets in” (oh Leonard, you could crumble to dust in my chubby little fingers, I still want you are my mental lovah…” but my heart says “you have more cracks than a boiled egg and all your insides are leaking out, you’re a hot mess!”.

    My self-esteem is all covered in ape poop.

    And then something happened. This week, a friend I had in high school lost his two week old son. I cannot fathom the heartbreak.

    Now, I wish I could say that this snapped me out of my self-pity. I wish I was that mature. After all, how can I sit here and feel all depressed when I really have a good life and the health of my family? But my problem is not just self-pity. My problem is about personal growth, grappling with my demons and learning to deal with myself. It is about faith and learning and being present. It is just not that easy of an answer.

    But.

    At the same time, that nice, confident, intelligent and pretty part of me; the part that sometimes gets the upper hand and says to the world “f*** you, I’m awesome” is just strong enough to reach out bitch slap me across the head and tell me to get over myself. That part of me takes lessons from my very practical best friend who has literally had to slap me out of my funk a couple times.

    No one is perfect. In fact, we are all messed up inside. The real key is to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and SOMEDAY, I might just feel like I have it together. Or I may just grow up enough to stop caring and live my life.

    Who knew that the answer to my problem was on that trucker’s mud flap? I wish you all K.O.K.O people. Just keep on keeping on.

  173. I FINALLY just accepted that I have depression and started taking medication (AGAIN). I have to guess that during the work week, I’m happy to have one day when I feel like a productive member of my work community (I get stuff done on my work to do list, no one gets yelled at, no one gets fired, I don’t lose my cool, or drop the ball or ….). Usually the other four days are ones where I want to get back in bed and pretend I never woke up.

    Weekends are different. I usually have one day (Sunday), where I am an absolute vegetable and sleep most of the day. Saturday is my “me” day and I spend time doing things I want to do: shopping, reading, crocheting, visiting my family, hiking, skeet shooting, or nothing.

    I guess not including my “Me” day, I have about the same number of “good” days as you. I really wish there were more. I always get scared if I have two “good” days in a row, because god only knows that means Murphy is sneaking up on me and will pounce when I least expect it.

    As to those perfect, pastel, PTA moms – they aren’t, and I know you know that. They are struggling too and if they say they aren’t, they are lying. They just care so much about what other people think about them that they waste precious time hiding the real them from the rest of the world.

    You are so much better than them for sitting with Hailey and watching Little House on the Prairie re-runs. ((HUGS))

  174. 174
    crazyassmomma

    i think its pretty normal.

    most days i feel like im faking life. im just going thru the motions trying to get from one day to the next. because fake it til ya make it right??

    i have no idea what making it will consist of, i hope i know it when i see it.

    there are days when it takes all of my willpower to actually function and fake a smile. there are days when its not enough to fake it and i end up a hot crying blubbering mess all day long. and i cant explain it to people. they just wont get it.

    compliments from others? yea right. i dont take them well, and if i manage to outwardly accept it gracefully, inside im rolling my eyes calling them an insane mother fucker, because no way am i actually kicking ass at something.

    when i have a day of clarity — maybe 5x a month — i realize that i am actually pretty kick ass and that i really do have a helluva lot going for me and that i should be proud of myself. but then, i wake up again the next day.

    to try and feel better i try to spend QT with my kids. i try to get out and be social outside of my normal everyday people. when im able to do that, i feel better. when i stay in my house and in my regular daily routine, shit goes downhill fast.

    life is overwhelming. i think its pretty normal that people feel they suck at it. i think its more rare that you find ones that believe they rock at it. especially if you are a mom. im not sure that ive ever met a mother that doesnt constantly question her ability to do anything right. that doesnt feel like they are simply existing from one day to the next, at least a majority of the time.

    maybe im in the wrong crowd. maybe i just gravitate towards others like me. but, i really do think that the majority of people out there are faking it til they make it.

    keep your head up. youre fantastic.

  175. Nope, definitely not you. I feel like some days I’m proud that I emptied the dishwasher, and other days I just stare at the dishes in the sink and run away and hide from normal things people do every day. I usually read Ally Brosh’s post “This is Why I Will Never Be an Adult” because it cheers me up. Keep on swimming, you should be very proud of all your work!

  176. It’s funny, I’m actually going through a particularly bad period of this right now. I don’t know what I should be doing and everything I’m doing seems wrong, but everything I want to do, I just don’t seem to have time for. Maybe it’s something about fall?

  177. Having these exact troubles. It is physically painful somedays to feel so “behind” even though my 2 year old knows his ABC’s, shapes, can count to 15 and I work very hard every single day at my horribly depressing job. Yesterday, in fact, my whole brain felt like it was trying to escape my skull because I was so tense from feeling like constant failure. Everyone else seems to have great hair & a gym membership and I keep drying out my contacts with my constant tears. I am medicated for my anxiety but I am on the fence about anti-depressants after some bad past experiences.

    People don’t talk about it so I feel very alone with this. Thank you for saying something. It has genuinely changed my current mood. All I know to do is hang in there and try and wait for the moments without crippling self doubt and hope that, eventually, the good stuff will start to outweigh the bad again. I think the fact that we haven’t fully given up and gone waaayyyy too far into what I call the “grey zone” means there’s hope.

  178. Jenny, I am only successful in my mind 1 day a month. Sometimes less. One thing my cancer, depression, and soul crushing anxiety has taught me…is if you wake up, you are ahead of the game. You are successful. You woke up. So many others do not. I look in the mirror and remind myself of that everyday. I woke up today so I am successful in surviving my mental and physical issues today.

    @pariahsickkid71

  179. FYI, most people who put on the best displays of having it all together are actually floundering the worst, but keep it hidden better than some.

    Most of us (all of us?) feel…disjointed. Disconnected. Floating. I would seriously run away if it didn’t mean I would never see any of my loved ones again. I just need… something. But it’s not tangible, so what is it? Constant fulfillment?

    Blech. I had my shit together today at 10:30 am. I was so proud, I had to document it on Facebook.

    And then I spent the rest of the day wish I could go to sleep.

    tracey recently posted I'm not ready!.

  180. Imposter syndrome- this one is a biggie. Somehow, after achieving something brilliant, and people come up to congratulate , I feel weird. Personally I think, every time I do something remarkable- that it was a fluke and just blind luck. This used to bug me a lot in the beginning. But gradually the “just-got-lucky” things began to come often, so I have convinced myself that I’m spontaneous and I can do my work with conviction. I do have my grey moments still, but I feel much better, after coming in terms with this.
    Brilliant article by the way @TheBloggess :D !

  181. 181
    Jennifer Sims

    You are not alone. Personally, I relate to you on so many levels. Each day I check your blog because you have an uncanny ability to speak the truth. I am thankful for you and your thoughts. You have helped me realize I am not abnormal. I want to thank you for that.

  182. First, I hear ya. Really.
    Second, what I’ve discovered in life is that I have YET to meet a shiny happy got-it-together person. Even the ones that appear that way at the PTA meetings? No, they don’t have it together either. Honestly, after becoming friends with my sons favorite teacher and thinking she had the got-it-together life, nope. She may appear it, but she also has dysfunction in her life too. Does that make me happy? No, but it sure makes me realize there is not one human on this earth that has a got-it-together life and that makes me feel less alone.
    You aren’t alone! Lots of love to you!

  183. You are not alone at all. I am rhe same way. I only feel like I am useful a couple days a month. I think we are by nature like that. It massively sucks. But as you know all too well… Depression is an asshole and a liar. And needs to be beaten to a nloody pulp and then slapped with a class action lawsuit attached to a large trout.

  184. Here’s my pitiful take on the matter….
    Years ago I read that incompetent people thought they were awesome at their jobs because they lack the self awareness to see otherwise. People who are competent often feel like they are not doing well at their jobs.
    I think this translates to our entire lives pretty well. How often do we lay in lay in bed thinking “I should have done …” “I screwed up because this wasn’t right..,”Everyone else does life way beter than me”.
    I think that things torment you because you are a thoughtful, well rounded, intelligent person. And there are probably way more people than you think questioning and criticizing every aspect of their lives.
    Hang in there. When I can’t sleep because of the swirling thoughts in my head I’ll send warm thoughts your way. You’re not alone.
    Nancy

  185. 5 days a month tops. I take meds for mild anxiety and depression, but there is just too much everyday at the end of the day that remains undone. So yeah I leave clean cloths in a pile for a couple weeks; I leave the dishes for my husband, and I don’t clean the bathroom until we have guests coming over. I get my work work done more or less on schedule, I make sure we eat a decent dinner and I go to bed knowing everything will still be there tomorrow and MAYBE I’ll get a couple things more done, but probably not.

    5 days I feel like I have life by the balls. The rest of the time its treading water.

  186. My answer is that I chant a Buddhist chant, nam myoho renge kyo. I sometimes don’t chant much, sometimes a lot, depending on how much I feel like I suck at the moment and if I remember the last time I really sat down and chanted and how it made me feel more optimistic and how somehow things got better. I like to think of myself as a cynic. I like to think I’m a rational, reasonable person.

    Somehow, faith is what gets me over the horrible-mes.

  187. It is definitely not just you. Depression and anxiety and all the others tend to do that. And I think so many of us bottle it up and keep quiet because there are way too many people out there who really just don’t get it, and will tell you to “just snap out of it.” “Oh it’s really not that bad!” etc etc.

    I could be in a really good place mentally, and yet I still have never been able to shake the absolute certainly I feel that everyone around me hates me, and doesn’t want me spending time with them ever, and they only do it out of pity, or just to humour me. I’ve given up trying to explain that to other people.

    ….a suggestion for letting it out maybe? I have found that my crossbow and the local shooting range work way better than all the shrinks I’ve ever been to. ;)

    Mich recently posted you're looking happily deranged.

  188. I have days where I do not want to move from my spot on the coach and I want old episodes of any show that won’t stress me out. All it takes is for my anxiety to kick in and the sky is falling and the apocalypse is near. Then, I have days where I say “Oh, Hell to the Fucking Yeah” I made it bitches. I have a career, an awesome fiancee and people who love me. This is a monthly, if not weekly cycle sometimes.

  189. Like Sarah said above, it’s usually by hours for me, not days. On a really good day, I get laundry and supper, and dishes done, and maybe vacuum, but those days are rare. Most of the time I’m happy to get one major chore taken care of per day. I still manage to be a mostly happy person, but that’s just my own personality.

    You, Jenny? You’re doing better than you think you are. Just keep being yourself.

  190. You are so NOT alone. I also suffer from depression & anxiety & have spent the past few weeks (at the end of my recovery from surgery) unable most days to get out of bed. Today has been a bad day & I keep saying in my head “depression lies” which is something that you taught me to realize. Knowing I am not alone sometimes makes things easier. Thank you for being honest with us- its the reason we feel so connected to you.

  191. Not alone. I have a Masters in Clinical, so I shouldn’t be feeling this way at all because my JOB is to fix people like me. But almost every day, I feel like someone is going to point and tell everyone that I absolutely am as lost as everyone else. I don’t remember the last day I felt good about myself. So, yeah. Even therapists are fucked up.

  192. If it wasn’t for you, I would never admit this, but I have 1 or two good days a month. Anxiety and depression are lying liars that lie.

  193. 193
    The Original Lisa

    I’ve got all my shit together exactly 0% of the time, but I think you probably already know that. I mean, yeah, I might make a loaf or two of bread, but that’s only because I like to eat homemade bread. At the same time I’m doing this I’m pretending that the little girls room doesn’t look like an earthquake zone and that the toilet paper that Ellie shredded all over the kids bathroom last night didn’t happen. Basically, you aren’t as greedy as I am. See, I only get shit done that someone positively affects me. That pile of mail over there? I’m only diving into that if I think that the Netflix DVD is in it. The only reason my hair looks even half way decent is that I got the good genetics there and don’t have to do crap to it. You got the good nails and height, so we’re even. Also, you’re the best person at being absolutely ridiculous I know. Congratulations weirdo.

  194. You are a perfectly normal, highly intelligent, human being. High intelligence is often linked to depression and anxiety disorders… and highly intelligent people are the ones self-reflective enough to develop Imposter’s Syndrome. If a highly intelligent person does not have some amount of neurosis in this regard, s/he is likely a sociopath… so you have that going for you ;)

  195. Jenny, I’m ivy league educated, own a successful and award-winning business, have 2 darling children and a loving spouse. I’m not depressed, but I have all of those same feelings. I feel like I’m kicking ass maybe 3-5 days per month, and the rest of the time I feel like I’m just getting by or sucking. My strategy is to ignore myself, to attempt to stop judging myself against others, and to try to focus on the good things. Hell, I’m probably one of the people who you would look at and think I have it all together, but I’m just here trying not to suck just like everyone else. JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. We’re all frauds. Group hug people.

  196. Oh, let’s see… you have a husband who not only puts up with you, but loves you. I have no one. You have a beautiful, healthy, bright daughter, and I don’t recall you ever “admitting” to “guilt” or fear of your own mental issues even tainting the shadow of your child’s smile. I can’t have kids. You actually managed to write one book, and you are to able to maintain a blog with acceptable coherence of form and content. My brain hits dark grey walls after six sentences (on a good day) (and I cry when I see proof of what I used to accomplish). You say you have 3 to 4 good days in a month.

    I can’t remember a single day in the past 15 years. Many many days, my single achievement is not going back to bed after breakfast.

    Yes, please attempt a change at how you see success, and how you see your day. And no, it’s not just you. xoxoxoxo


  197. You are so normal it hurts. I am a mom, too. I am a shitty housekeeper. I hate cleaning out the litter box (my youngest child is 6 and I still use the excuse of being pregnant once upon a time in order to make my husband do it), doing dishes, or paying bills. I lost my job (best music teacher ever) which totally threw my life off course. BUT, you know what? Sometimes I vacuum and do the dishes in one day. I feel like I was successful. My kids were clean, fed and had lunches today! Check, success. I totally feel your feelings, too, and I want to tell you that I think it’s normal. At parents functions, we see people at their best. I am sure they are hoarders or only eat fast food or have some other secret they are not proud of. Nobody’s as perfect as they pretend to be. there are just not a lot of people that are as honest as you are. truth. Love you and love your posts. you are doing amazing.

  198. I have this problem – I think it’s actually UNIVERSAL – but I don’t have it as bad as you have it. Universal problems all live on a sliding scale, you see.

    I can’t go by days per month…I go by a week in general, or the last three months, or whatever. Because a DAY is not a success or failure (usually). A day is too small a thing to be a success or failure, and also too big a thing. Yesterday I did the dishes, and that was a success. I lost my temper, and that was a failure. Which one wins? Fuck that.

    General success? I find myself readjusting my idea of success just as often as I adjust my behavior. My house isn’t at all clean. Fine, I just think of my coolest friends, who also keep houses with tons of dust and old artwork in the corners and tables full of miscellaneous crap, like me. I also make sure I keep my dining room table MOSTLY clear…that makes me feel like a success. See? Clean house is bullshit, clean table is awesome.

    What makes me feel the worst? Failing the people in my life: arguments, lost temper, neglecting the kids or hubby too much (especially for something stupid). And sometimes, failing myself. Like you, I have a thousand-thousand projects that are half started, half off the ground, or just half formed. Let most of them go. (If they love you, they’ll come back, right?)

    My thing these days is rebalancing. I’m juggling a lot – family and kids, career, projects, personal ambitions, and on and on. I can’t take care of everything, or raise my kids exactly right. BUT I can let most of the house go, and more or less get everyone to help keep us in clean dishes and clothes, and no rotten food on the counters. I can keep the pets alive and pretty happy. I’ll go a long time neglecting something, start to feel bad about it, and take it as a signal that I should start devoting more time to that thing.

    To sum up: I probably feel better about myself more often than you do about yourself – you do have depression issues, and that absolutely affects you. But we’re in the same boat, and most of getting back to shore involves readjusting how we think, shoring up the good parts (especially with supportive people), and accepting that life is fucking messy.

  199. I feel the same. I think those 3-4 days are hormonal. Track it. I bet they are just after your period ends. It’s like that for me anyway. The rest of the time I’m constantly judging myself. I think that when we have so much access to a filtered version of other people’s lives (I.e. Facebook, blogs, tv etc.) we miss out on the reality of everyday lives. It is so painful. I try so hard to remind myself that what I see of others is only 1/4 of the story. We don’t see their messy lives. Hang in there. You are awesome.

  200. My goal is to suck 20% less than I did the previous month. So…if you feel good 3 to 4 days a month, shoot for 5. That’s all you gotta do…..you’re not alone…the rest of us struggle with it as well. Meds work too…..

  201. I go home nearly everyday with the feeling I could have done so much more. I also end nearly every weekend thinking why didn’t I do … I’d say my “Woohoo! I was productive today” moments happen about 2-3 days a month. Compliments about how hard I work are hard to accept, because I know how much time I spend doing little to nothing. Learning not to let the (alleged) shiny perfect life of others is difficult.

    I told someone the other day “judging yourself negatively is easier than with positivity, but you’re worth the extra effort”. It’s a struggle for everyone, me included.

  202. 202
    Email please

    Totally understand. I am behind, too. But I think I’ll email it anyway. I have a story to tell but it’s not cool to post on a blog like this. If you see it great, if not, then maybe it will help when you do see it, eventually. :-)

    Short answer, though, it’s not just you. At all. We’re all messed up.

  203. Happy shiny people on Pinterest are fucking liars: http://www.pinterestfail.com/

  204. There are plenty of days when getting out of bed is a huge challenge (mentally, physically, and emotionally). I WANT to be a productive person – the kind who is successful at work, has a clean house, cooks great meals, and has energy to do the things I want to do. That’s not usually who I am, though. Some of it is the anxiety, some depression, some personality and laziness, and some fear of failure (which begets fear of trying). You are a success everyday to the people who love you and rely on you- your husband, daughters, friends and fans love you. for being you. Your accomplishments are many, and you are an inspiration. And me? Well, today the anxiety was too great to drive into work, but I’m working from home and doing the best I can. It’s a challenging day, but I’m incredibly thankful for it.

  205. Hey Bloggess,
    I feel that way a lot. Only I don’t have kids or a career. I help out with homeschooling my husband’s girlfriend’s kids (we’re polyamorus) but other then that I haven’t done a whole lot either and have days, like today actually, where doing anything feels huge and difficult. There’s even a game night that I might go to, that I”m already having an anxiety attack over. Why? I don’t know! I kind of want to go but I”m scared. I took up knitting recently simply because I feel better about myself when I knit.
    This probably made no sense and I”m sorry. It’s been a werid week for me.

  206. You are totally not alone. I feel this way most days myself. I think Pinterest and other forms of social media are what people are aspiring their lives to be. But it isn’t real. Its all an illusion.

  207. Ok here’s what I think reading that and I’m being straight up honest with because you have brought so much laughter and sparkle to my life with your blog, I feel that I owe you the honesty you are asking for.

    While I don’t spend every day feeling like I accomplished something at the end of the day I also don’t have an abundance of days where I feel like I failed. BUT there are usually 5-7 days a month where I feel like a total abject failure, where I do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with my day (in my opinion) and go to bed thinking that I am a huge loser, a complete lazy ass and completely disgusting. I hate, loathe and despise those days. But they will continue to happen and I will continue to hate them. Prior to my divorce, I was lucky if I had 3 days a month when I felt happy and accomplished. I think it is perfectly ok that you feel this way, but I also think it might be worth exploring whether a different med or more of something might help, because really the world shouldn’t only be good a few days a month. The other thing that helps me when I get that way is to set a very small goal for myself each day, like go for a 10 minute walk or I will do one load of laundry or I will clean out one drawer in my dresser or I will be more present for my loved ones today, any little thing that you can make yourself do so that at the end of the day you can say to your inner demons “yeah, but I accomplished THIS so screw you”.

    And btw, I know it’s said all the time, but those shiny haired perfect seeming people? They have days like this too and theirs are probably even worse bc they most likely don’t have your sense of humor, your passion and your wonderful husband and daughter to fall back on. Hang in there, Jenny. I hope you can up the good day number by at least a couple.

  208. HI Jenny,

    I am with you on the picnics! It depends on the month, but I often feel like I have not accomplished anything on many day of the month (I would say 10 out of 30) , and that everyone else is pretty and shiny and has their shit together, and has managed to have kids (I forgot to have them until it was too late) and has meaningful jobs, and here I am with a Ph.D. and the best job I could find when I graduated was one that paid 6.50 an hour. ( I have since become a secretary and make more thank goodness, but now there is the shame of letting “everyone” down). I lose my keys, I run out of gas and have to be rescued, I occasionally set the kitchen on fire. And I can’t spell to save my life, which is ironic since my job is to send email. So in my book, you are pretty normal, except that you are brilliant and wonderful and loving. (Oops. we were not supposed to say that). But you are, and even the post you wrote today is so helpful. I hope it was cathartic for you and that you got some good responses.
    -Meg

  209. I would say I very rarely ever feel successful at anything. I have a great job, two degrees, a loving boyfriend, and good friends and family. But on my very worst days, I just know that no one would care if I died. Not like, I’m suicidal, but if I was in a car accident and died, it wouldn’t matter to anyone. On my normal days, I just think I’m worthless. I look like a slob. I show up to work with my hair in a bun that’s still wet from my shower, in slacks and a decent looking shirt, but I know I just look terrible and everyone is judging me. My brain tells me that with everything I do, with every event I oversee in my job, there will be a problem and everyone will blame me for it, and I’ll get fired or, worse, judged as an idiot and terrible at my job. Yesterday was an especially bad day. I wanted to crawl under my desk and cry, or throw everything in my office against the wall until it was all broken.

    I don’t say any of this out loud to the people I know because I’m not fishing for compliments. I’m not looking for someone to say “but you’re great! You’re the first woman in your family to graduate college and you have a graduate degree.” That’s not what I want. I want to feel like I’m good and I’m doing something to make this world better. I just don’t know how to feel that way. And that makes me feel even worse. Ugh, vicious circle.

  210. Yeah – I do fancy-schmancy things like cut sandwiches into shapes for my kid and make quirky valentines cards for my kid to take to school, but I have to force myself to mop once a month, at least once a weekend I nap while my son is watching TV (he is 6 – we are in the same room) and I go out with friends sans child maybe twice a year. I am not posting pictures of my dirty floor, me napping or me not going out on facebook. I seriously consider things in this way “Is this what you want to be doing or what you think you should be doing or what you think other people do?” before I make some decisions.

  211. Yeah, I feel truly successful about 5 or 6 days a month. You’ve got the right tactic in choosing to spend real quality time with your kid. Oftentimes that is enough for me to consider that day a check mark.

  212. You’re not alone. This week we had a massive crisis that required a last-minute change of schools for my potentially-ASD sensory-processing-issue change-averse child and I spent most of Monday evening weeping in bed and positive that I was the worst mother/person ever and that I was going to break my child.

    I feel that way a lot, not just about mothering but about life. I mean, I’ve got two master’s degrees (and the loans to go with them, hurray) and we can’t afford to buy a house, can’t afford to buy a car, and my job still requires that I be a receptionist for a third of every work day. I sit there stamping dates on things and thinking “where the hell did my life choices go so very, very wrong? I was supposed to be the GOLDEN CHILD!”

    I have depression too, am on meds that help a lot, but deep-down, I never feel successful. Maybe that’s it. I never feel as if I kick ass, ever. I feel much more competent than I once did, although I will never be a PTA star, but I never feel like I really, really nailed that difficult thing and WHOA LOOK AT ME GO, BABY!

    So it’s not just you and I love you for the fact that you’re so willing to say that you feel that way too.

    Heidi recently posted Still here.

  213. OK, so I’m a pretty weird person but I don’t, as far as I know, have any mental illness. But I do have some experience with it through my dysthymic and anxiety-ridden husband. There’s my disclaimer.

    I would say at least 7-14 days a month I feel, at least part of the time, like I am failing at being a grown-up. My hair doesn’t behave, the toilet clogs, I trip on my pants, I feel like my outfit is all wrong — and that’s the little stuff. We’ve been through unemployment for both of us, cars breaking down, family and personal crises, etc., etc. If I get into the trap of comparing myself to my friends I see them having babies (when I don’t feel like I should ever be permanently responsible for a tiny human), I see them with more degrees than me, more professional accomplishments, more community activities…

    So no, it’s not just you. Honestly one of the things I have to keep in mind is that NOBODY has it all together. Nobody has it all figured out. Anyone who says they do is lying to someone. Even the most put-together-looking lives have skeletons in their closet and no good, horrible, very bad days. I remind myself that I am smart, that I’ve been praised at work, that people love me for all my messiness and that it’s OK to fall behind or even fail sometimes.

    But I do think your depression and anxiety make this stuff worse for you. They lie to you and make you feel like your book doesn’t mean anything, like you don’t measure up to being a good mom or wife or human being, etc., etc. … it’s just not true. Sometimes, getting out of bed and facing the world and going to a parent-teacher conference at ALL is an accomplishment.

    Sorry for the tl;dr … it’s not just you, but you are truly an awesome human being. Just being your honest, funny, raw self is succeeding at humanity.

  214. I do not have anxiety or depression and i still feel like most days, all I did was tread water. Up-Work-Home-Cook-Clean-TV-Bed. Really? is that all there is?

    So, yeah. I am totally with you and you are totally normal. Maybe 3-5 days a month I feel as if I have really accomplished something.

    And I know it isn’t what you are looking for, but your daily posts are a HUGE accomplishment. Each day you post, you bring smiles to literally thousands of people. You make a difference. You make people happy. That should count as a kick-ass successful day.

    barbara recently posted hiatus.

  215. I’m not sure if this is “normal”, but you are pretty much describing my life. Calling your day a success because you made it to the bank? How about a success if you made it into real pants rather than sweat pants. Strangely enough, a cousin once asked me if I was one of those stay at home mom’s who always had makeup on and the house clean and something baking in the oven….umm say what again? I’m lucky if I shower. To some extent, we all feel as though we are not good enough, doing enough, sucessful enough. And depression and anxiety definitely make that worse and mess with your mind. I don’t know that I have any advice to give you, but just know that you are not alone!!

  216. This is me, everyday.

    I am actually proud of myself most days that I simply exist because laying in bed, and being numb, and staring at the wall I said I’d paint 6 months ago is better than pretending some days.

    The days I do make it out of my covers, and into a shower (if it’s a real good day) and to work on time (Whatever time that is) I count these as accomplishments.

    But as for feeling successful? I haven’t felt that in years.

    Bethany recently posted Throwback Thursday!.

  217. Jenny, sorry dollface but you are not that special. We ALL feel like that sometimes. sometimes all the time. I can’t make up my mind on what to do next, I love my blog but making it into a book scares the crap out of me. I get all “I’m not good enough” “Sally Field enough” “can’t make a decision enough-I’m a Libra” and who will read me enough all the time.
    I think it’s called being HUMAN. I totally trust all the things you say but you are seeking attention with a post like that and reassurance, which is not a bad thing. You are famous now, at what point in your life, you wanted it. NOW, pussycat you have to deal with it. Your second book will be good, bad or fabulous. It doesn’t really matter that much. It will not change the world or cure hunger or solve the problems in the Middle East. Yes, it seems like do or die NOW, but it really isn’t.
    I probably take all the same medications but mostly I think you know what’s going on deep within, maybe you just don’t want to deal with it. It’s a friggin anxious and intimidating world out there. Believe me, I could be President or Vice P. of the Anxiety Club. I try to work on it but if i focus too much, I get anxious about that!
    As my grown up children would say “Just chillaxe.” Wait till your almost 57 and you don’t have a little Hailey home with you. You’ll feel worse then, like I do. Guess what? We can’t do a damn thing about it. Love, your friend, Laurie F.

    Laurie F. recently posted Kellie Elmore: Free Write Friday, Favorite Childhood Gift.

  218. I think it is normal (yes, normal) to question and doubt yourself. To feel isolated. To think that everyone else has it all figured out or is doing it better, or is actually as shiny/perfect/pastel as they appear to you. Normal.

    I get a lot of stuff done in a day, but I always feel like it is the wrong stuff. I look at my friends, my facebook connections, the web, and feel that clearly I am doing something wrong. What is hard, is realizing (occasionally) that others might look at my life the same way.

    I feel that if you ask for help when you need help (which you do – and I don’t), if you try to come at life with love (even the stabby kind), and if you get done what you can do and let the rest go, then you are doing as much as anyone can.

    For my part, I work, but know I could be doing more. I spend time with my kids, while wondering if I should have stayed home to be there when they come home from school. I love my spouse, even though I sometimes wonder if he loves me back. I try to forgive myself and just move forward.

    Life is in the moving forward.

  219. I have no words of advice, or wisfom I can offer. This post resonates with my doul. I am where you are at, but worse. So messed up over a stupid man that I can no longer function. But before it ended I was feeling like you. Nothing I did was worthy…I was just a human being working, paying bills but not really barely existing. My parents are raising my child, I’m on a leave of absence from work and can’t even go back unless I quit drinking. And at this point I’m ready to throw in the towel. I try to write, I think there’s a book inside of me, but I can’t get the words out of my head and on to paper.
    You my dear, have that amazing gift and you have cheered me up on my worst days, as I’m sure you have many others. And that my dear is something!!

  220. It’s not just you. I have anxiety disorder and I spend a good part of my night going over all the things I didn’t do right in any given day. So much fun, let me tell you. Then again, it seems that you already know just how fun it’s not. The thing is, I don’t think many adults lay in bed and think “gee, I accomplished everything I ever thought I would by this age when I was a kid!” We’re all screwed up in some way. We’re all awesome in others. I tend to focus more on my screw-ups, but that’s the life of anxiety disorder.

    Nikki recently posted Not-so-Fun-Fact: A UTI Can Make You Think You’re Crazy! #AzoGirl.

  221. I’m probably one of those people that other people see and think are shiny and successful and put together. But I assure you that there are cracks, and there is dirt, and there are days when my biggest success is just making it through. I don’t think that any of us truly “have it together”; we’re just doing the best that we can.

    I saw this quote by Steven Furtick on Pinterest (I know — shut up) — “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” I truly believe that. We don’t see anyone else’s “behind-the-scenes”, because they carefully cull it and choose what is presentable to others — their “highlight reel”. But on the cutting room floor, everyone’s hiding something — something that makes them look a little less “shiny”.

    I know you aren’t looking for reassurance, but I will tell you that yours is the only blog I have ever followed, I got twitter largely to be able to follow you somewhere else, and you inspired me to obtain a giant metal chicken (Robert Downey, III — remember?), which my husband HATES, to display in our yard. You’re doing something right, Jenny — and probably more than one thing.

  222. Sounds about right–no days a month when depression is bad. I am getting a bit better, trying to believe that people who like me know something and that there’s something good there.

  223. So you say you’ve started a million projects but never finished them? Better than having a million ideas and not acted on any of them.

    Also: you do great stuff every day, even if you do nothing at all. I just finished your first book yesterday, and it has done wonders for my anxiety. I don’t feel so frustrated at myself for being better at expressing myself through written/typed words than through ‘normal’ conversation.

  224. I have not showered yet today. Really need groceries but can’t visualize all the steps required to go get them. House is a pit, yard needs mowing. Maybe 1 day a month I feel useful, and that would be in a good month. Going back to reading Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 – real life not treating me so good right now.

  225. Honestly I think we all feel the way you are feeling. No matter how successful one might be. I think we all struggle with if we are giving enough or being enough. Even those perfect Pinterest moms with their pretty pastel lives. I think we all wake up each day and we do the best we can to make it through. If you live your family and actually care about others I think your humanity is in tact and that seems to be doing better than some.

  226. 226
    Alisha Parker

    Sometimes I feel like a bad mom. Because it is hard to get off the couch and DO anything. But then when I see my kids and see how awesome they are I realize I must be doing okay.

  227. I hear ya, I get it. I am you. Well, not really, but I could have written this post because its almost like you are peeking in my kitchen window. I think feeling this way is normal to some degree. (Or at least that is what I am telling myself. ) However, the best idea I can come up with is that we need to quit buying into the Pinterest glam that has set the expectation of motherhood so fucking high its in next stratosphere.

    I keep telling myself that my family is loved, we live above the poverty level, and getting everyone to school on time IS a success. Hang in there.

  228. I lost my job four months ago. Some days getting to the bank would be a massive win. Today, I actually feel like I can do things but because I missed one thing off my to do list I’ve failed. The kids are all clean & fed but almost constantly I want to go back to bed & ask someone else to make it all go away.

    Days I don’t feel lie a failure? Maybe five a month.

  229. I feel like I’m treading water most days, too. I *think* it’s the depression, but maybe I just suck? I’m never sure.

    I have moments/hours/days where I’m wrapped up in a wonderful feeling of kicking some serious ass at life, but then something pokes me (let’s be fair here, it’s usually my own damn self) and POP goes my happy balloon.

    Do I need to work harder, or do I need to readjust my goals and stop comparing myself to others? Likely both. But both are hard.

  230. Girls, I rarely post, but I’m going to weigh in on this. I remember feeling this way a lot in my younger years. Now that I’m old and have been spayed, I’m on testosterone hormones and I Feel Great. I mean, I worry frantically about grandbabies, but no self doubt (no time???). You know how men just don’t seem to give a shit??? It’s the fuckin’ testosterone. GET SOME. I’m telling you, it’s great stuff. Just don’t dare sweat, or you’ll smell like a goat. The other upside is you will form muscle tone in 15 minutes. Just astounding. It is medicine’s best kept secret.
    I have a friend who swears men would still be living in caves without women. Maybe that’s how it works–estrogen makes us frantically working harder 26 days a month. Maybe it’s nature’s way to offset male laziness. Who knows. Try it.

  231. 231
    Email please

    Not cool to post on a blog at all, because it’s not about me. Well, it is, but about others too. Sigh. See I fail at this.

  232. You are not alone. I suffer from anxiety, depression and chronic migraines. I feel like I merely exist and not live almost every single day. There are very few days where I feel like I lived and they are precious.

  233. It took my husband leaving me to make me realize how numb I’d become. Honestly, it was the best thing that ever happened to me because it forced me to start taking responsibility for my own happiness, but I don’t recommend that route to anyone. :)

  234. I don’t really have a number of days/month that I can list, but I know how you feel. I feel unsuccessful more often than not, probably only about a week every month, and I used to always feel like a failure. Now that I’ve been on prozac for a while and I have a boyfriend who is amazing and supportive and loving and encouraging, I’m doing better at it.

    You say “I just don’t want to feel like a failure because my biggest accomplishment that day was going to the bank.”

    To feel more successful, I remind myself that IT IS OKAY to feel good about the stupid little things that everyone else doesn’t think twice about, like remembering to brush my teeth, or washing my dishes instead of leaving them in the sink, or eating food that isn’t potato chips for dinner (failed at that one last night though).

    So guess what, Jenny? You went to the bank! I brushed my teeth this morning! We did not fail.

    I feel the worst when I don’t meet a goal I set for myself. I’m still not sure how to deal with this, because just not having goals to avoid disappointment isn’t really a good option.

    Lila recently posted Lila’s Advice.

  235. I think it’s very normal to see others in that pretty, pastel light of perfection. It’s also normal to see all of your perceived faults and shortcomings. I get down on myself a lot. I have depression and fibromyalgia (and they’re still deciding if I have RA or not). I was, I guess you could say, an athlete before ‘getting sick’. I had just gotten my blackbelt, gotten married, and started my career. Now I’m stalled. I’m stalled due to my health. I’m stalled due to my lack of confidence, whatever. After being involved in martial arts for twenty years or so, I have earned my 3rd degree blackbelt and have been running my own classes for years. I should have tested a year ago for my master’s ranking but due to an unexpected injury (resulting in facial stitches from a knife fight), i couldn’t test. Then I’ve been in a downward spiral health wise since. Two of my classmates that had caught up to me over the years, have both passed me. I am happy for them, they are like my brothers, but i am still very bitter about it. My brain will literally trash 20 years of success just because the last year I’ve been treading water. Never mind that I run 3 – 4 classes a week, do all of the paperwork for the dojo, coordinate events, run the facebook page, etc while the other two split teaching one class a week and that’s it. I still can’t see myself as being successful. So even if it isn’t normal to feel like that, at least you’re in good company?

  236. 236
    Major Bedhead

    No, you’re definitely not alone. I feel like a total fraud most of the time. I feel like other people are judging me because I don’t do all these Pinterest-worthy things that other people do. The competition to be super mom is exhausting and it’s also total bullshit. I don’t think ANYONE really has it all together. There’s something that they can’t do or don’t have time to do or something. No one is perfect. You’re just seeing the polished version they present to the world. I keep telling myself that. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it helps.

  237. You are not alone. Can I scream that from the mountain top or do I need to yodel in your ear? you are not alone.

    All those ‘pretty people’, they are struggling too, in some fashion some way they struggle. their struggle is just different than yours and it’s hard to see because we are standing in our struggle.

    when you have time check out Brene Brown. Her stuff has helped me forgive myself and stop me-shaming (well, mostly stop, me-shaming is kinda addicting). Who knows, you may get something out of it. I did.

    kristina recently posted Collection One.

  238. How often do you make a thing? I feel the same way as you constantly from doing a job at a desk whet nothing ever seems too end or finish and the cure is going into the garage, standing in front of my lathe and making a bowl or a pen or just turning a piece of wood into shavings. Doing something physical and exhausting even if the result is something tossed in the trash. At the end of it I’m sweaty and covered in saw dust and completely relaxed.

  239. 239
    Krisi Danger Huie

    It’s not just you. I feel successful on average about 4-5 days a month, and success over the past three months has been getting out of bed and going to work, and I don’t always get it done. My hormonal balances are being tinkered with by doctors, I have been handed a prescription for xanax for the days I think that everything is imploding around me, or the other days I can’t stop crying, and can’t identify why I’m crying, and sometimes the best think I do is make sure all the dogs are fed twice a day.

    One of the things that keeps me going is knowing you know what I’m going through.

    Depression lies, and today I am tearing up while I type this and I am furiously happy. Today is a successful day.

    Kisses,
    Krisi

  240. I have nothing to add that could possibly help, but this is my favorite part of this post: “I’m just struggling with being human and I could use some pointers. My guess is that a lot of us could.” Because, yes. Just yes.

    That and I second what Stace said. I heart the ever lovin’ fuck out of you too. Your posts are always the highlight of my news feed. You make me laugh, you keep it real, and you inspire me to keep writing and trying to follow a dream. So even if YOU don’t feel like you’re kicking ass every day, your readers do. I know that’s not going to change anything going on with you, but life is hard and maybe you can find a little solace in knowing that you make it more colorful, fun, and inspirational for others.

  241. My successful days per month probably mimic yours. I feel that life is so overwhelming and I’m so bogged down with the tiniest of details that most of the time I don’t know which way is up. To be successful on a daily basis, I guess I would look at each day and say “Did I make it through?”. Well, If I’m still breathing and haven’t caused any destruction out in my little world, then yes, I suppose that counts as a success. But to “kick ass”? Uhm, no, I don’t have very many of those days.

    What makes me feel the worst is when I’ve let someone down, or let myself down by forgetting a commitment or feeling like I didn’t live up to expectations. Any conflict during the day will definitely throw me into a tailspin and make me feel like I’ve totally failed (aka feeling the worst).

    My most successful moments come when I do something for myself. Whether it’s going to a workshop, getting a massage, or spending time with a friend and engaging in a much needed one-on-one conversation (aka bitch session). Anything that provides a little stress relief will add a plus to my successful moments because it gives me time to regroup and get a little focused for all the tasks that still lie ahead. These “me” moments of “success” also help to make another days tasks feel more successful as well.

    It’s a vicious cycle though. You just have to learn how to enjoy the ride. Well, enjoy is a little too optimistic. Tolerate the ride is more like it. Just take each curve, each hill and every dip in the road one day at a time. It could be worse, it could be better, but know that you’re absolutely not alone in what you’re feeling.

    Kimberly recently posted Down the Rabbit Hole…..

  242. I would say I feel like I’m average most days. really good once a week and really sucky 2x a month. Reading lots of blogs by people who write about their average lives helps. Learning that I’m not the only person who has forgotten there was a meeting happening that I go to every month, or that I’m not the only person who has had to hand wash bras two days in a row because I. just. did. not. feel like doing laundry had been really good.

  243. I’m lucky if I can get three days a month. Each day goes by and I think, “Yes, another one done. One closer to death”. I haven’t unpacked since my last move in May of last year! I get up, go to work, come home and go to bed until the next day. I have no motivation to do anything else. We are like this. And as long as you aren’t hurting other people then it seems ok to be like this. Some of us can’t get into their type of happiness and that’s ok. Just don’t be a burden to anyone.

  244. Welcome to the human race. Wait until you hit 50 are recently divorced, empty nest, selling your dream house and starting all over. Not to be rude but we all feel this way. You are doing great. I’m one has actually compared myself against you. :-)

  245. You are not alone.

  246. I’m everyone else that this is so not just you. Granted, i have depression and anxiety as well, but i don’t think that matters. Look a little closer at someone who never has dirty hair and you’ll see the white, flakey remnants of dry shampoo.

    I’ve learned to celebrate the little things (like it’s the weekend, i have no plans today but i brushed my teethe anyway.. GO ME!!)

    There will always be those who are more accomplished that i am, who are smarter than i am, who have their shit more together than i do, but you know what? Only i am me and that’s kinda awesome enough :)

  247. Well, I am a PTA mom, because that’s what I feel like I have to do for my daughter. I go to every event and every meeting and fake my way through it, then go home and cry. I’ve lived in my current state for 2 years and now realize that any effort to fit in is futile. I never, ever will. I just hit major milestone and had no one to celebrate with. My goal is to make it through until my child leaves home. So no, you’re not the only one who sucks at being a person.

  248. It’s not just you. You know why hyperbole and a half’s post This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult became a meme? It’s because we all feel like that.

    I work part-time, and I can hardly walk through my bedroom it is so messy. Dirty dishes? Fuck that, I have to watch Doctor Who. I’m a functional adult about once a week. I have stuff still packed in boxes from when I moved 6 years ago. I’ve moved 4 times since then, to 3 different states.

    My sister works like 70 hours a week. She sleeps 3-4 hours a night and her house is such a disaster she’d have to take everything out and start again just to clean it properly.

    This is life, it’s messy, and crazy, and sometimes makes us want to hide. Sometimes all you can do is hide for awhile. That’s OKAY.

    HeatherW recently posted Not me, but some bunny.

  249. There are days when I am proud I got my kids to school, when the dished get done after dinner, (I’m a stay at home mom) when I don’t shower and I brush my teeth because cavities scare me.

    I forgot my 4yo’s only class assignment which was sending in a picture of the family. And most days Facebook is my only adult conversation.

    But I am here, my kids are loved and fed and clothed. And it’s ok. Depression lies , you taught me that. And it lies to me every day. But I am still kicking and I am still me. And I love you

  250. No, no, no, no, no. It’s not just you. That’s the thing. What you’ve described here is me as well, and I’m willing to bet, a lot of folks. To a “t”. We have a disorder, or a mental way of being that just switches into a certain mode that automatically makes everything look distorted. It doesn’t matter how well you might actually have done today. Your head is going to put the same spin on it to askew it to fit its needs. Depression lies. You taught me that. You don’t even know you did, but you did. You stepped me off the ledge a time or two, without ever having met me.

    I’m going to throw this out there, could be totally off base, but might mean something as well:

    When you were writing your first book, I’m willing to bet (I know, I sound like a gambler, but I’m not), there were mental things that blocked you as well. You hadn’t been a bestseller yet, but still, there were days where you probably felt like you had no business writing a book. Now, your second go round, and a much similar block is in place, put there by depression and anxiety. It’s just wearing a different colored dress! “I have no business doing this.” But you do. You did the first time, you do the second time.

    That should invalidate the depression, and its lies right there. Even though the parameters are entirely different (first time author/Best Selling Fucking Awesome Author and Inspiration to Many), the depression has put up the same roadblock. There are days you know that you can do this ( I truly hope). You’ve done it, and were a smashing success. The depression just shines up the same old lies to try to stop you, even though you proved it wrong the first time.

    Your depression and anxiety are always going to try to trip you. Just try to remember that yes, you have fallen down before. But you have also, always gotten back up and went on in search of a metal rooster, or a dress for a stuffed mouse. Your issues have never completely won, because you’re still here. You’re still inspiring so many folks. You’re still reaching out to the same folks when you need inspiration.

    As long as you are still here, the depression and anxiety will never win. We’re glad you’re here, and I bet, when you allow yourself to feel it, you’re glad you are as well.

    Much love,

    Brian from Tampa.

  251. 251
    Jessi from Montana

    Girl, you are not alone. I think that is a testament to the kind of world we live in today. Fast paced, trying to keep up with the Joneses, faking happiness. It’s all too common in our day and age. Just keep on living the best way you know how and quit comparing yourself to others. That is something that I struggle with, too. For some reason, it is easier to pick out and focus on our imperfections than it is to focus on the wonderful things about ourselves and the wonderful things about the world. Good luck.

  252. I would say about 4 days a month. I haven’t be diagnosed with any mental or personality disorders, but I do experience anxiety over my lack of accomplishments. The one that scares me the most is I really have no idea how to be a good mom to my two-year old. However, one a more positive note, I don’t believe anyone is “supposed” to know how to be a good mom or human being. I think we are supposed to make mistakes(lots of them) and people who act like their lives are perfect have something even bigger to hide. I hope that you don’t get too discouraged. Good luck.
    P.S. I fucking hate picnics, too. Why would I want to mix food with outdoors and unbearable heat? ( I live in Louisiana, which is absolutely one of the worst places for picnics.)

  253. I’ll chime in with not only is it not just you, I have the exact same thoughts at least twice a week. More if I haven’t written for my blog in a while. By looking at my frequency of posting, you’ll realize I feel like a failure most days.

    The truth is, I don’t know what I do to snap out of it. Sometimes it’s just completely organic. I wake up, I feel good, and I figure out that I have something to say. Other times I force myself to be a more productive writer, but those are rare. When I force it, I somehow feel worse.

    I wish I had some magic advice, “Read this/take this/do this…and voila! Instant success and gratification!”. I don’t though.

    I will say this: when I pop over here to read your latest, it sometimes inspires me. Sometimes you just make me laugh, but I am always entertained…no matter what.

    So although you feel like a failure a lot of the time, try to make the most of the days where you feel like it’s all coming together. We all love you, no matter what. :)

    Reese recently posted Book “Review”: Choose Your Weapon ~ by Sarah Rodriguez Pratt.

  254. You are not alone. This is totally normal, and you should stop beating yourself up about it. I have writer’s block – have had since last summer when we had a disaster in my family. I don’t know how or if I will ever shake it and begin to write again. Maybe some day, maybe not.

    Something you can try… When you do have a totally kickass day, write it down. Start a journal of all of your good days, what happened, how it made you feel, and how it made a difference for others. And when you have a bad day, read your “kick ass day journal” to remind you there are good days behind you – and more importantly, more good days ahead of you.

  255. You are not alone. I feel happy and successful a handful of days a month. The rest of the time, I feel like a failure. Like I have accomplished nothing, am accomplishing nothing, and will never accomplish anything. Looking at the realities of my life doesn’t seem to make me feel better. What does make me feel better? Running (any exercise really), playing my music too loud, being with my family and friends, and hearing that there are other people struggling with the same things I am. Thank you, as always, for sharing part of your life.

    Rachel recently posted I recently went on vacation to Watauga Lake, TN. It was....

  256. It sounds to me like you are a responsible adult. You aren’t alone at all. My personal feelings are as long as you are giving your best, you are succeeding.

  257. First, all those shiny happy people living perfect pastel lives are frauds. Nobody — and I mean nobody — is as happy and perfect as their phonied up, Facebooked, Pinterested and Instagramified lives make them seem.

    Second, I’m a writer and artist. I make art every day, and that’s what keeps me sane so I can do my 9-to-5 job that is, I am eternally grateful to say, far less soul-sucking than many jobs I have had in the past. I have a great marriage and a good life. I am lucky.

    Third, I am also an overweight diabetic dipped in a dark shell of depression that keeps me wondering most days why the hell I even bother getting out of bed. I have about 4 or 5 awesome days a month, days when I manage to eat right, exercise, make art, do good work, be a good wife and friend and sister and aunt.

    You are not alone in this, Jenny. And I’m so grateful for your candor and humor because it helps me to know that I’m not alone in this either.

    LA Smith recently posted Hello world!.

  258. Hey bb, hugs. Been here, done this.

    The things you’d think would help (wearing pastel capris at a picnic with The Others) usually make it worse for me, because the overwhelming You Did it, Why are You Not Happy Now? makes me feel broken and like there is nothing to pin my hopes on for happiness.

    If it helps any, the change of seasons seems to be what throws me (pitiful, since in California, this means like a two degree temperature change, awesome because when I finally figure it out, I’m all “mutherfucking seasonal bullshit!” and I at least can let go of the freefloating anxiety. Also, taking walks helps me.

    PS: I would have totally counted being first commenter on my list of accomplishments, but there were already 8 by the time I got here. DAMNIT.

  259. I think a lot of this can also stem from the pressure we feel as women. That want to be everything everyone needs all the time, and that feeling of worthlessness that comes when we inevitably don’t meet those standards. The kitchen’s clean, but the laundry’s not done. I made cupcakes, but they were a boxed mix. I take my kid to the library, but owe $60 in late fines. All of these add up to an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. I got to the point that I had to stop following certain blogs because I’d joined them in hopes of becoming an organizing maven like the authors of the blogs were; instead, I ended up feeling even worse because I’d spend three hours organizing my linen closet, only to leave the (visible) rest of the house a mess. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but please, know that you aren’t alone, and that if you need to do some personal spring cleaning (i.e. getting rid of things in your life –like organizing blogs–that make you feel even worse), do it.

    Jaimie recently posted Fight Club…Or, Why JD’s car has a restraining order against him.

  260. I fail at life constantly too.

    I don’t move clothes, I can’t remember the last time I ironed my son’s uniform, or the last time I half-arsedly ran a hoover round the house. I never remember birthdays, or throw up the interest in dieting, cooking, being perfect, having my shit together. And I invariably have niggling anxiety gnawing away at me round the edges. Especially when I’m trying to sleep.

    But the secret is: those folk with whom you’re comparing yourself, have the same worries. They fuck shit up. They compare their grass with someone else’s lawn. And frankly: grass is grass. Your grass, my grass, their grass.

    None of us are actually that amazing, or put-together, or awesome, or perfect, or plastic-tv-show-fecking-Walton-Family.

    But you’re not alone, and I think that’s half the battle.

  261. UGH YES. I feel like I am a person who is good at being a person maybe once a month.

    Nicole recently posted And now I’m 27!.

  262. My two cents: Success and failure can be measured by the personal or the public. In public, success and failure is constructed top-down by people who have a lot of money and power. I used to think that my day to day success should be measured by those things, even comparing myself to close friends in this regard. It was distressing. But I have recently reconnected with my country roots, and gardening has become a big source of satisfaction for me. Gardening at its core is all about survival, day-to-day- ‘I grew a freakin’ tomato and now I can eat it!’ kind of joy. Feels pretty good. Measure success by the personal – even if you have a very public presence Bloggess.

  263. Well I don’t count my productive days. I focus on the minutes or nano seconds that are productive. It’s easier that way. You rock as you are, God made you that way for a reason. Just like me you are probably saying WTF? But we are special in our own way. Bless our hearts! And yes I am from the south and I hear that a lot. Your book was seriously funny, I read parts of it out loud to my husband and he thought you were talking about me, except for the taxidermy stuff. So you are not alone. We are here beside you! Just a keystroke away.

  264. Have you heard about Fakebooking? Everyone is fakebooking, all of the time. But it’s really hard to see through the cute family pictures, the PTA overachievers, the great haircuts, the Pinterest amazingness.

    You are hyperaware of the people around you – welcome to being a highly intelligent introvert. It blows most days in my experience. For me, I feel successful 2-3 days/month. Some months are better, some worse. I find that the busier I am (with work, kids, whatever), the more I feel I’m acomplishing. When I’m busy though, I also feel overwhelmed by All The People, All The Time… and I burn out. It’s a shitty cycle. *shrug*

    I appreciate the fact that you are so open about your struggles – most people spend their entire lives hiding it – and you inspire me. So. There’s that.

    Please don’t be too hard on yourself, even though that can feel near-impossible most days – because you know the next day of feeling accomplished is just around the corner…

    Hi, I'm Natalie. recently posted Imagination.

  265. I have a family history of depression, but no (official) diagnosis for myself just yet. Diagnosis or not, I spend about half my time running myself into the ground trying to accomplish JUST ONE MORE THING because if i can, then maybe I won’t feel like I’ve wasted a day, or worse yet, maybe nobody else will look at me and think “slacker, loser.”

    I’m getting better about napping, not insisting that every weekend is packed with activities, and sometimes even doing nothing except sitting on the couch and watching Law and Order reruns I’ve seen a dozen times before. I credit my friends who’ve applauded not what I accomplish each day, but who have applauded me for learning to rest when I need it, and to give myself down time.

    Oh, and you made it to the bank? Damn, woman, I’ve been trying to get to the bank for a week.

  266. I called my dad once and asked him if I had a birth defect or genetic anomaly that he and mom didn’t tell me about, because I just don’t seem to understand anything. Ever. To his credit, he was very gentle in his response (his answer was no), which is why I think he was lying. I’m learning to accept the fact that I’m just doing the best I can. Even when the best I can do is suck at life. That has to count for something.

  267. You are not alone, sister. My mantra is to just keep it out of the ditch. I used to feel I kicked ass but life kicked in.

  268. The one thing you must keep in mind……no matter how shiny and perfect the other parents seem, or how put together everyone else looks…..remember that they are human too. They have problems and issues just like the next guy. All you can do is your personal best each and every day. That is something you decide. At the end if the day, remind yourself you did your best. Your best won’t be 100% everyday either. Just make yourself happy. No need to compare yourself to others. It will get you absolutely nowhere.

  269. Ok, so take 97% of what you said and you can apply it to my recent past. And a lot of days noadays now too.

    REMEMBER: Facebook and pinterest are snapshots of people’s lives. Look at tumblr instead, it’s full of a lot of people who ‘feel’ not so great a lot of the time. (but limit your time there, avoid triggering tags) Today is Thursday. I washed my hair on Sunday night. I have work tonight and and prob won’t wash it till I get home from work at 10:30 tonight. I’m watching 30 rock on netflix in my lazy day pants. Some days I just want to sit and cry. Others I want to do a lot and end up making it to target and reading on my bed. I got a lot of help with my mental health when I started going a few days a week to iop/partical care. It helped me see that I wasn’t alone in my struggles and my friends there are great because even if we don’t have the same diagnosis we know what it’s like to feel like we are crazy. (which we aren’t..because depression lies)
    I don’t know if what I am trying to say is making any sense. But hang in there. Work hard. Celebrate small accomplishments. Ice cream for making to the bank! Why Not! PTA is bs. It’s high school all over again. Do what you enjoy. Hide under tables when you need to, but push yourself to try to not to every so often. (yea i know i should shut up, i need anxiety meds to go to work…) but whatever.
    sending good thought and stuff your way.
    <3 recovering self injurer and fellow personality disorder warrior and princess of anxiety- cheril

  270. I pretty much ALWAYS feel like I’m just treadding the water that is life! I was so proud of myself this morning just for making myself breakfast, coffee, and a lunch to take to work. And I don’t even have kids! I don’t have kids, for one, because I feel like I can barely take care of myself. I often wonder how other people do it… But I think it takes a lot of different kinds of people to make the world go round. I am who I am, I can’t BE anyone else, and some people love me for who I am, so who am I to argue? I’m really trying to embrace myself, but I still feel like a big fat failure a lot of the time. I just try to keep on moving and not treat myself badly :o)

  271. Jen, you are perfectly normal. I don’t feel successful all that often either. And whatever you see on facebook, pinterest or when you go to other people’s houses is their polished version of themselves. They show whatever they want people to see, not what’s really going on behind the scenes. I mean, I clean up (a lot!) when we have people over. Otherwise, we have dirty clothes lying around, dishes from 2-3-4 days past that I just didn’t have the courage to wash. The bathroom isn’t washed every week (mind you, we don’t have kids yet, so we don’t have aiming issues…).

    What I try to do though, is to create a to do list where I don’t add things until they’re done. We tend to be lazy, so we give challenges to each other where we’ve got to do something for the other if we don’t succeed. And trust me, the threat of having to wash my husband’s car is enough to get me off my butt!!

    And arsonistic deserves way more to be in dictionary than twerk. Seriously.

  272. Even now that I’m doing better than I have in years, also suffering from anxiety and depression, I can’t get rid of exactly what you describe. You are NOT alone.

  273. 3-4 days a month is about the same for me.
    I’m very aware of my faults and failings.
    There are only a few days each month where I am genuinely happy for even part of the day.
    I love my kids, but I always feel like I am failing them. I have five kids and not enough time for any of them, and when I do have time, I just want to hide, most days.
    That’s my great secret. I think I’m a bad mom.
    Everyone around me tells me otherwise, but that doesn’t change how I feel.

    The things that make me feel like a success are that my children and the couple of friends I have turn to me when they need someone. They know I’ll be there for them no matter what. It makes me feel like i’m doing something right to be That friend.

    I suffer from depression as well, so I’m not sure i’m giving you a midline to compare with.
    The things that make me feel better on really bad days? Not much.
    The things that make me feel better on Average days? Two friends. Sometimes my kids. And honestly? Your posts.
    You may feel like you haven’t accomplished much, but the difference in my life since I’ve started reading your posts is noticeable. Even on the blackest of days, reading your post will lift my spirits.
    You’ve changed the world in ways you may never see.

  274. Ha, oh shit, and now there’s TWO HUNDRED THIRTY.

    anne nahm recently posted Then There Were Four.

  275. My BFF and I talk about this all.the.time. You are so not alone!! I feel ya, sista!

  276. Honestly? I pretty much never have any days where I feel like I’m successful at being a person. You aren’t alone x

  277. I often think life would be much easier if I was stupid. I’m pretty sure ignorance if truly bliss. But I’m not. Life got much easier when I stopped worrying about what I had or had not “accomplished.” Fuck accomplishment measuring sticks. Life is fleeting. Enjoy your daughter. Watch cheezy TV and enjoy it. Who cares. People with clean windows & manicured lawns have maids & gardeners. Comparing yourself to them (or those “put together” people at parent/teacher night) is not productive. You have no ideas what their lives are really like. So, my advice is to really make a stab at being happy in the moment with the really important things in your life – your daughter & husband. Work with your therapist & take your meds. Do what it takes and don’t be ashamed of it.

  278. Darling. You are most definitely not alone. I have no (diagnosed) mental illnesses and yet I doubt myself at every turn. I write for an online magazine and every e-mail interview I do I think “was that really the person I thought I was interviewing or am I being scammed?”, every positive comment I get, I think “are they just placating me?” It’s natural to doubt what you do and believe me, those “cookie cutter” pastel parents have so much fucked up shit going on in their lives and not confronting it that they are going to implode soon. I guess what I’m saying is, you’re normal and the fact that you’re ADMITTING you’re normal and have doubts and fears is what’s going to get you through this crazy life. When I doubt, I just think “oh well. I’m a good person. I don’t kill kittens. I make people laugh. I make it work.” And I realize that the people in my life who love me have stayed no matter what so I must be doing something right. Love you!!

  279. I have Bi-polar disorder. I refuse to say I AM bi-polar. I’m more than that. I’m in tears reading this. I’ve never posted here before. But I love you.. and you’re not alone. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not either.

  280. From my experience this is a very normal feeling. On the outside I’m a successful scientist, but I always feel like a poser and a loser. My coworkers who seem to have it so together have expressed the same feelings to me. We compare our insides to other’s outsides, and it just isn’t an accurate representation. I only feel successful a handful of days out of the month myself. I suffer from Fibromyaglia/MS and the depression that comes with it. If I make it through work and maybe manage to stop at the store for wine/food it’s a red letter day. I probably will have to throw my hair up because it’s dirty. I think everyone feels this way to some extent. You are a success Jenny, and an inspiration.

    What’s so great about all together anyway? Before she passed away my grandmother said, “I have been to so many of my friends funerals these last 10 years. Not one did I ever hear “Her house was really clean and organized” in eulogy. Life is messy. Being human is messy. We are all beautiful and perfect in our own flawed, messy ways. <3

  281. The other day, my big accomplishment was feeding my kids NOT takeout, because I had been on the couch all day to have enough energy. And, my marriage counselor says I need a fucking hobby and that staying on the couch while my husband goes out having fun without me doesn’t count, but I think it totally does, because it’s something for ME. So, what I’m saying is, IF all those pastel bitches ARE really living that life, they can fucking have it. BUT, I think they are faking it. And my mama taught me to never fake it, no one appreciates it.

    FFW recently posted Monkey Boy, Crackin' Me Up Since 1999.

  282. OMG, I’M NOT ALONE?!!??!! You don’t know how much this just made my day. :)

    My husband, who I always thought had it together and was Mr. Happy-go-lucky since I met him in 1999, has started to feel the same way as well. I now guess that this is real life. And there’s a big boat full of us just floating around feeling lost and lame. All the media & online outlets just make things seem worse. I feel awesome maybe once a month.

    Time for more wine.

  283. I, too, have depression (bipolar, really), ADD, and am prone to anxiety attacks. On top of all that, I have MS as well. Some days it’s a struggle to even get basic house work started, let alone done. I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish more. I know it’s not my fault, but I feel like I should be doing more. The biggest help for me is when I can convince myself not to worry about what doesn’t get done. I ask the question, Can I do anything about it? Yes: then do it! No: don’t worry about it! Lots of deep breathing too. Being a single parent doesn’t make it any easier, and neither does my pseudo-teenager.

  284. I feel like I could totally have written this, except that haven’t even published a book or anything. Most days I feel like I suck, and am barely getting anything done. I know I have several friends who feel very much the same. The Internet is great, but it also makes one feel like a perpetual underachiever. You are not alone!

  285. Honey, if you are a failure, then you are a member of a VERY large club. With the exception of those few perky-assed moms that all the rest of us want to kill, every body else feels the same way you do a lot of the time – if they allow themselves to think about it – though many fellow club members just won’t allow themselves to go there, because… well.. it reminds us of how much we suck.

    Truth be told, even most of the ones who seem to have it all together, make it to every PTO thingy, sew all their kids clothes and the curtains of every window – even they are often living fucked up lives, if’n the truth were told. And yes, your depression may serve to intensify the magnifying glass, but trust me, you are actually quite normal – in a joyously fucked up, but honest, normal way.

    If your kid is happy, you bathe and dress at least a couple times a week, and can keep the arsonistic tendencies from developing into actual fires, I’d say you’re doing pretty damn good.

    Been there, done that, hated it, my kids grew up just fine (eh, well mostly), make a decent living and can afford their own therapy. This is the real world.

  286. I remember years ago, sitting in the dorms during summer session and listening while a group of women who were FINISHING their MASTERS degrees in Education compared notes. One of them was brave enough to say “Part of me is always afraid ‘they’ are going to find out I’m not really competent.” Maybe it was the bottle of wine on the table, but, instead of platitudes, the others ALL responded “yup, me too.” and “Do you think we’ll EVER realize we ARE competent?” It was an eye opener for me — I was finishing my BA and figured once that was done, then I’d KNOW I was a success. It may be a woman thing, but clearly, it’s a common misapprehension. So…no you’re not alone. ME TOO!

    Kim Graham recently posted Sunday Morning Coffee: RHUBARB PECAN BREAD.

  287. I get up every damn morning confident in the knowledge that I am the worst husband/father/homebrewer/person the world has ever seen. A couple of years ago, I spend a month or so waiting each day until everyone else in my family had left the house (I was unemployed at the time) and then spent about half an hour in front of the mirror telling myself why I shouldn’t kill myself. I’ve never been open about that before, so I’m telling everyone in the world through your comments section about it.

    More days than not lately, I end up feeling pretty OK about myself. Part of it is knowing that, as a wise and witty woman wrote on her blog once, “depression is a lying bastard”. Part of it is knowing that I’ve got a job, and it’s one I love. It doesn’t pay well, but I love it, so I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice. Part of it is I’ve got good friends that have my back, and let me know I’m OK.

    It’s a process, and some days I’m better at sticking with it than others.

    Hang in there, and just keep moving.

    I’ve got a silver ribbon that I wear when I’m really down. It helps, too.

  288. Oh gawd yes.

    I get yelled at for a living, being a city official who tells people no and makes them unhappy, because, as I am told three times a week, I am a terrible person who was beat up in school and has a Napoleonic complex (despite being 6’3″) and hates fun. I can’t believe my parents ever felt like this, but I do. I go to bed most days dreading the next one and sorry that I didn’t do better today. It sucks, but it sucks a little less knowing that I’m not the only one who feels like this. I guess this is the greatest gift of the internet (aside from those hair combs after I totally sold my hair on Etsy to some Maggie guy…): to be able to find out that you’re not alone, that other people hate the shiny happy PTA parents, too. I’m divorced, overweight, a single dad and I would totally slash their stupid SUV tires if given ten minutes. So, yes. You are not alone, and I’m guessing not even abnormal: the abnormal ones are the overly-caffeinated douche-bags that go to bed with their botox smiles, all happy and fulfilled and excited about the general FUCKING GREATNESS OF IT ALL, YO!

    Fuck them. Fuck them in the ass. You rock, girl. Those assclowns can suck it.

  289. I don’t have depression or anxiety or any of the others and I often feel this way. Not as much as I used to, though, because when i do, I make it a point to remember the good I have done in my life. I remember when I’ve helped people, sometimes by accident, and when I actually accomplished something- sometimes by accident. I can go for months without having any of those days of feeling “accomplished”, buti do my best to let the feelings roll off my back and have faith in myself that I am being who I’m supposed to be. You are not alone, dear, and for Pete’s sake quit judging yourself through the eyes of others- screw those guys.

  290. Honestly, I feel like this ALL THE TIME. I know that I’ve done a lot of pretty great things, but what people don’t see is that I am so terrified of failure, I only do the things that I am absolutely, 100% sure I can accomplish. This might sound odd, but… That’s just the way I am. It stifles me, because I never really get to try anything new. Or if I do try something new, I go at it so full-on, massively OCD, it crowds out all the other things that I typically do, and all those things just slip away until I feel like “OK, that’s accomplished, I know that I can do that whenever I am asked or tasked with it” and can get back on with my life and doing the things I always loved doing. This is really weird, I know. I really doubt I’m making any sense. So, I’ll stop here before I get more confusing.

    Point is: I understand where you are. Because I’m right there with you.

    Jason recently posted Pink Stripes.

  291. I hate to make it sound like you aren’t special and unique, but yeah, you aren’t alone.

    Also, I fail at blogging. You are still ahead of moi. Does that help?

    Joann recently posted Holy shit, I still have a blog. And last minute advice for my kid..

  292. Most of the time I feel like I’m failing at life. I have three degrees and a less than subpar job. I feel like a real person, one who has purpose, maybe like 5 days a month. I’m married and my husband likes me a lot but some days I don’t really like myself. I know I’m doing okay and that things will get better but it’s taking too damn long to get any better. I think you’re hilarious and your writing brightens my dark days. Thank you for being you and so honest with me.

  293. I pray it’s all normal and nobody talks about it. Because if it’s not, I guess I’m right there with you, and I’m not on meds so I’m in a tornado of fucked-up. I have shit laying around my house. Sure, one bit of counter in my kitchen is clean, but the rest looks like a disaster. I look like a disaster. I am a disaster. My “successful” days commonly have a “but you didn’t finish the laundry” or “but you didn’t play with the baby enough” or “but your basement is still under construction” footnote. I may have completed something, but something else was left and for that, I am worthless. I sometimes feel like an imposter, too. When I’m congratulating myself, it feels like I’m blowing up what I deem a “success” and others will see as simply, well, what I was supposed to do.

    I’ve taken to, lately, just pushing those aside and taking joy in little things. You know what, the rest may be a mess, but that piece of counter is fucking spotless. And I may not have completed everything on my list, but I took the kid to the park and he had the time of his little life. I try to steal that joy when I can. Lock it away in my heart for the moments I’m feeling so tight, so consumed and so broken. And take it out when I’m feeling worthless. I’m not worthless to my kid. Been my mantra of late….

    Chin up. You’re awesome. Oh, and F the PTA moms. Their kitchens are always clean. And that’s disgusting.

    recently posted Marshmallow Brownies - Take Two!.

  294. Jenny, I get it more then you know.

    I try to be awesome but it just doesn’t work. I have great days where I’ve got my shit together & I’m on top of helping with the Brownies, or my house is clean & I’m a great parent. But those are very few days.

    The other days I wrestle with my demons of having an illness that will never go away but will worsen(MS) that has been making it impossible to be a “normal” parent possible. In summer during the heat I can’t leave my house half the time. So therefore my 7 yr old can’t go to the park or to the pool so I keep her busy with movies & art stuff while I deal with my depression from the fatigue which stems from my heat intolerance. I can’t drive past certain parts of my suburb, nor can I drive at night. Vision issues SUCK. I suck.

    I try to be a good parent but often I’m just angry at the world. I’m angry and (admittedly) jealous of those who live those shiny, happy lives and their homes are decorated and they can go on 2-3 trips a year & put their kids in tons of activities, but I CAN’T because our finances always seem on the edge because of my medical bills(and dental seeing as MS has made my teeth deteriorate at some rapid speed rate) and my son’s(I have a 16 yr old with Aspergers). Sooo I feel like I can never dig out and be that fabulous parents.

    So I hate myself. I really do. It comes and goes though. My issues are more anxiety and the fact that I feel like it will never get better. And I feel worthless because I can’t work but my brain has become so forgetful I keep forgetting to make the appointment with the Disability lawyer to see if I qualify!! ( I could be doing that now but I’m writing here, I know I know but writing this made me REMEMBER I have to make the appt).

    I yell at my kids a lot. My patience is crap. But I love the hell out of them and they’re both incredibly smart and funny. And I’m happier sitting at home curled up watching movies with them or reading to 7 then I am doing anything else.

    So yeah, you aren’t the only one.

    I think it’s worse for those of us who deal with illness, because there’s always that slightly “hopeless” feeling even when things AREN’T hopeless. You just can’t help but feel that way. Some days I literally have to yell at myself to get the hell over it. Seriously. But other days I let myself wallow and just sit home all day watching movies or on the internet instead of being out and about or productive.

    OHH and the thing that irritates me the most? I mean seriously pisses me off lately? All the other moms I know who work out 3-5 days a week. I want to go evil on them. Tell them to relax and do something else, they’re making the rest of us feel bad.

    Bah. Whatever.

    Anyways, you do have that book written & it’s fantastic and so what if you have writer’s block, eventually it will pass. Or at some point it will. Hell I’d like to muster the energy to write a blog post & work on my own book but reruns of Veronica Mars is more intriguing these days.

    Jen recently posted When it Began.

  295. I wash my hair once a week because it’s thick and heavy and I’m too lazy to wrangle it more than that. I do bathe every day though LOL.

    I run my own business but somedays I fall into the wormhole of reddit or some other shiny object online and look at my to-do list and say fuck a lot. Then go back to the cats on reddit.

    My house is a disaster and I just don’t give a shit 99.9% of the time. One day a month I’ll actually clean (husband is useless) and then I feel pretty damn accomplished. Said business is my excuse and it’s valid most of the time for not cleaning but to me if I don’t do the dishes every day, no kittens die so I’m fine with it.

    Those shiny happy people are not as they appear. I have yet to meet one that is really, truly the person they present. They are kind of like the models on magazines. They look impossibly perfect and it’s because in reality they ARE – they are liquified so they are thinner than is possible with bones, they are airbrushed to be flawless and their teeth are NOT that white.

    Success is measured by other people to make their egos happy. Fuck that. Did you hug your kiddo today? Then you had a successful day – your kid knew she was loved. The rest is just a bonus. If you washed your hair? Double bonus.

  296. 4 days a month if I am lucky. I feel like a sham just about all the time.

  297. No, It’s not just you. And yes, people don’t talk about it. I cry every Saturday because I’m so overwhelmed at everything that has been left to be done on the weekend because I didn’t have the mental or physical energy to do it during the week. Every day is about just making it through the day. And I get angry that the best of me is given to my job and all that’s left of me when I’m not working is a chewed up piece of gum that’s lost its appeal. I don’t have any answers but I wanted you to know that I know how you feel and that you’re not the only one. Dusty boxes, dishes in the sink, unfolded laundry, dirty floors, piles and piles and piles of crap. And writing? Oh how I want to write. I just don’t know how to do it anymore.

  298. whoa. shit just got real up in heah, yo.

    I like think I’m successful most days. But it’s a matter of how you break down your successes. My hubby and I both work full time (outside the house) and I have a side being peddling kitchen products. I also run the PTO at the school and feel an incredible need to make up for all the stuff my mom never did. Awesome. Not. Turns out I’m really good at making it seem like I have got my shit together. Smile and nod, just smile and nod…

    With that said, I tend to only really get the opportunity to clean on the weekends, so by Friday my house trashed. I consider eating Big M Steakhouse (see how I made eating at McDonalds sound fancy?) a “win” because I didn’t add to the mountain of dirty dishes. Less dishes to wash is always a win. If I can keep laundry clean, it’s a win- It doesn’t matter that it never gets folded or put away. Hey they don’t smell. so YAY!

    Maybe if you break down different aspects of your day differently you can WIN more than fail. Then if you get atleast a 50% then your entire day is considered a success, Even if you watched 4 hours of Little House all the while eating the slow churned ice cream because God damn it it’s 50% less fat, meaning you can eat 50% more guilt-free!

    Sounds like you need to pay your minions a visit over in facebookland… After the LPTNH book group we migrated to FB under the name “Lawsbian Awesomeness” and many of us over there deal with shit like this all the time. And yes even me, the quiet one in there who doesn’t spill the beans. It’s a very supportive group of people. Also we might all fangirl you if you actually visit under your real name. so keep that in mind.. Use your alter ego.

    Erica B recently posted that "certain age" where your body says F-U.

  299. I had an epiphany at some point when my son was a baby (he’s 10 now), where I had been reading a lot of parenting discussion boards and such, and it suddenly hit me: this feeling I was walking around with, that everyone else has their shit together way more than me … *everyone else feels that way too*! It was astonishing to realize that there were moms out there who might read my posts and think of me, “wow, she really knows what she’s doing.” I felt like I was just muddling through parenthood (and life) as best I could, mostly fucking it up, but getting by. And slowly I came to see that *everyone* is just muddling through. So I’ve tried to consciously reprogram my thinking, and it has been eye-opening for sure. I realized just how much of my psychology was tied up in thinking of myself as “the one who doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.” I still get caught up in that a lot, because it’s not so easy to shake…but at least it gets easier to recognize.

  300. You are not alone. Most days I feel like there was more I could have/should have done to be a better friend, a better wife, a better ME.

    I really hate it most when I say something stupid and then think that if I know it was stupid the other person must know it was stuipd, so then I tell the other person I’m sorry I said something so stupid when they actually didn’t think it was stupid at all, and so now they know how stupid I am and think it’s stupid because I told them it was.

    As you can imagine, the never-ending circle in my head is exhausting. I mostly feel like I’m pretending to be a grown-up most of the time and really am still about 16 (I pick 16 because that is when I got my driver’s licence and didn’t have to beg my parents for rides off the farm).

  301. First, I wish I could give you a hug.

    Second, you have pulled me out of some very dark places, and I spread word about your blog to everyone I know. I’ve bought so many copies of your book for relatives and friends that my husband and I have our own copies of your book. Apparently we can’t share.

    Third, I rarely feel successful. I’m terrified of trying most of the time, because every time I do, I get kicked in the teeth. The first really bad time happened when supposed friends told me, for days on end, that I am a manipulative bitch that everyone is afraid of, and that’s the only reason anyone would talk with me. This was while I was attempting to lead a group for women’s rights on a college campus–and they were my officers. I did an excellent job fund-raising, but ultimately left the enterprise because after nearly 9 months of almost hourly e-mails from them and of them discussing me in such manner with other people, I couldn’t take it any more. I then threw myself into my academic work as solace and escape. For what it’s worth, I excel at academic work, but cannot for the life of me feel like I excel at it. I feel like this is how everyone does with academic work, and that everyone is doing it better than me. I’m the 3.98 student in my Master’s program currently, who feels like that. All A’s…but I’m sure that’s how everyone else is doing, too.

    I’m the leader of my schools LGBTQ group…and when I get compliments, I feel like people are saying that because they feel sorry for me. Because I need the props. But if I don’t hear them, I still feel like a failure.

    I’ve also gotten my wusband into therapy for gender dysphoria, which is great in that he’s no longer as anxious thanks to Lexapro–but for me is mostly a relief, which makes me feel shittier. I love and support him, but I feel like if I can’t make it to his therapy appointments, I’m disappointing him and his therapist (though he has never even made an inkling of being disappointed in me for this).

    I had a brief stint of feeling successful late last month. Now I’m back to the insecurities that make me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Every day is a battle to try to tell myself I’m stupid less and tell myself I’m good more.

    And I say all this as I’m trying to prepare myself to go present an outrageous budget to my Student Government to bring a speaker to our campus for the benefit of our whole community. I’m terrified. I wish I wasn’t.

    Fourth: Thank you for sharing as you do, because your sharing allows me to share. I don’t know where I’d be without your bravery–we can’t be brave if there’s no fear.

  302. We all have the little voice in our heads telling us we are crap. It is what keeps everyone from being a complete assh*le. I have tried this year to override my little voice telling me things are futile and have just gone ahead and started projects that have been plaguing me from my peripheral vision. I have found that if I just get on with it, my voice was making it all worse than it actually could possible be in real life. Not that I am PTA mom now either, but I am almost considering volunteering in the library at my daughter’s new more “upper crusty” school and trying to shut the voice telling me that my artsy, nose pierced, single mom self will be leered at.
    We all do the best we know how. Even the Pastels have shit going on behind closed doors. My best friend is a Pastel on the outside of her home, but an anxiety ridden mess in truth. It is HER anxiety that pushes her to go overboard. She will not rest until her kid’s costumes are hand sewn, cakes hand made and house perfectly perfect. She is slowly driving herself insane, all to look perfectly pastel.
    So, we all have our crap. We all have little voices that tell us to pay no attention to the person behind the curtain. And we all fell like we need an extra 6 hours in a day to just keep up. Glad it ain’t just me.

    xoxoxox

  303. I don’t know a woman who doesn’t feel like an imposter in their own life. In fact, I’m pretty sure my therapist has told me that most people are put together with duct tape and no one feels “successful.” So yeah, you are so not alone – fact is, we’re all faking it.

    I motivate myself by fear and self-loathing – beating myself up for being a loser makes me angry and determined to show my inner critic that I can do something I think is impossible. And I only feel successful if I’ve proven myself wrong and done something I suck at. Like being an accountant when I’m really, you know, BAD at math. It’s actually pretty fucked up, and something I’m trying to change. I just don’t know how. Yet.

    You ARE pretty fucking awesome. So am I. We all are. It’s just hard to see it ourselves, you know?

    Karen recently posted The Bonk..

  304. Been reading your blog for a while, but this is the first time I’ve ever responded. I’ve totally been there, and I think that most of this sounds pretty darn normal (even with specific mental health diagnoses) . I find it helpful to remind myself that the shiny veneer that people put out there on Facebook and Pinterest or whatever is just that: a shiny veneer. Those people aren’t necessarily any more successful at their lives, they’re just more successful at making people THINK they’re more successful! I find it helpful to remind myself that behind the veneer, their lives are probably pretty fucked up for full of shit, too. I also find it helpful to redefine my notion of “success”. If watching Little House with your daughter is the only thing you’ve done all day, then that’s a major success! She’ll remember and cherish that far more than some stupid Martha Stewart-y Pinterest project. Sometimes I add tiny little things (often, things I’ve already completed) to my to-do list, just to feel like a better person. It TOTALLY helps.

  305. COMPLETELY. FUCKING. NORMAL. I don’t have any anxiety or depression and I feel like that most of the time. Roll with it I guess…

  306. Yep. I have a career and I live independently and pay bills on time – but I feel like a fraud a lot of days at work (it’s getting better, slowly), my apartment is always a mess and smells like cat, I only pay bills on time because they’re automatically paid, and oh, I’m permanently single. My cousins who are my age are married and have beautiful children. They have the white pocket fence life. A lot of my high school friends are there, too. Me? Nowhere near it. And I know I wouldn’t want that life – I’m not in that space and I *like* my life, thanks. But I still feel like I’m failing adulthood, because isn’t that what adulthood is supposed to look like? Husband, kids, PTA meetings, little league, play dates… Instead I’m sitting on my couch with my computer, reading twitter and tumblr and if I’m feeling it, writing. Not even writing a novel, like many of my online friends are managing. I’ve backslid away from that kind of motivation and am back to fanfic, trying to get my creative brain going again.

    I feel successful a few days of the month. Today I feel pretty competent at my job (though being on my cell writing a long comment after spending a while on twitter and tumblr undermines that). But I’ll go home and eat canned soup again, if I’m lucky, because food is hard and cooking takes work. I won’t check dating sites, because eek. I’ll just do what I always do, living in the rut that can’t possibly be what adulthood is supposed to be. I’m almost 30 (less that 2 months) and I still feel like I’m floundering.

    I have other friends like me, though, and that helps. Maybe it means this is an okay way to live.

  307. I genuinely think we all get imposter syndrome, especially women for some reason. I belong to a couple of awesome forums of mainly women and every so often a thread about this very thing comes up and we all go ‘Me too!’ and for a short while we feel not so alone with it.

    Thanks, as always, for the honesty.

  308. You are not alone. What’s that quote?… “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Or something like that. And I don’t really keep count, but 3-4 kick ass days sounds about right.

  309. You always say “skip this post” on top of the best posts, you know that?

    Where did the measurements you use to define “success” come from? Why does it even matter if you are “successful”? It totally sucks that depression keeps you from doing stuff you want to do, I’m on board with that. But that doesn’t mean you are less than. Doing your best is what matters, and you always do your best. The crappy feeling you get on a day where you can’t do something you want/need to that makes you feel inadequate is just more depression lies.

    I really only feel “unsuccessful” on days I decided to go to the gym and I don’t go. Because I let the laziness win and its not good for me. But often letting the laziness win is good for mental health, so I don’t beat myself up about it.

  310. It’s not just you….that is for sure. I do not have a mental illness, depression, or anxiety disorder and I still feel like I “kick ass” perhaps 3 or 4 days a month as well. Even people who are wildly successful (a lot of times women) have confidence issues most of the time. For me, it’s about comparing myself to other people and thinking that it is easier for them. Well, it’s not. Many people don’t THINK. They just DO. and then suddenly, 30 years into adulthood, they freak out. You and me… and probably the other 50% of the planet, freak out in intervals, because we analyze everything as we go along. I think it is normal.

    Now for how to get over it — for every negative thought that appears in my head, I try to think up two positive thoughts. I do yoga (it helps). I try meditation (still bad at that) I note to myself that I am HUMAN and all humans have flaws, make mistakes, do just enough to get through the day, because in truth, most days take work to get through – even happy days. The most beautiful top model doubts her beauty. Only the narcissist and the ego maniac feels happy with themselves every day – and they are idiots.

  311. I was talking to someone ears ago about this very thing, this feeling like I was failing while everyone around me seemed to succeed effortlessly at life, and she said something that stuck with me, so I’ll tell you. She said ” It’s not fair to compare how you FEEL to how other people SEEM.”
    It makes sense to me. Everyone is a freak, some just hide it a hell of a lot better than we do, and I say this as a manic depressive, anxiety disordered, occasionally psychotic, OCD, recovering alcoholic.

    Tracy Kaply recently posted Who has two thumbs and a place to live? THIS GIRL..

  312. Jenny,
    You always seem to have the post I need when I need it.
    I feel the same way you do. I pretty much feel like I’m not living up to my potential most days. You aren’t alone in that. I’ve never been to therapy or taken mood altering drugs, but I sometimes think that needs to happen. On occasion, I am proud of myself, but those feelings are tempered by the fact that I feel like a failure as a father and husband even though my kinds aren’t criminals, my wife loves me, and I keep them fed and clothed without too much worry. Actually, I’m going though a pretty down period right now and using your blog for therapy.

    If it helps at all, your posts have helped me tremendously. Teaching me that depression lies and that I’m not alone probably saved my life… literally.

    Thank you.

  313. Some days I accomplish a shit ton of stuff and I go to bed and reflect on how I feel like I didnt get any relaxing done. Other days i am a lazy ass and then think about how i didnt get anything productive done. Sometimes i get so behind at work i feel like crawling under my desk and crying because i can’t get caught up. Some days i sit and stare at my computer screen and create paper clip sculptures because being lazy and far behind is acceptable but busting balls and still being behind is enough to make me feel insane. I cant even tell you hoe many days this month I have felt accomplished, because my brain goes back to all the shit I DIDNT do yesterday.

    I will never be caught up. My house will never be completely clean. My list of shit to do and see only grows.

    The only thing I absolutely MAKE myself do everyday is meditate. Some days my mind won’t shut up and nothing happens but I still enjoy the stillness for a few minutes. Other days I connect to a world where a good heart and intentions are enough, and all my problems that exist in the physical world are small and irrelevant.

    Then my cat comes along and paws my foot because I forgot to feed her for the billionth time this week.

    Meditation takes practice and patience. But its the only thing that I accomplish that leaves me feeling fulfilled, no matter what else is going on.

  314. Here’s my pointer: make a to-do list every day, and cross stuff off as you do it. Even if it’s like “wake up” and “brush teeth,” you’ll start seeing all you really get done in a day. Especially stuff like “laugh at my husband’s joke” or “have quiet time with my daughter.” I even write items on the list after I’ve done them, so I can cross them off and say hooray for me. And if all else fails, watch reality TV. A good episode of some hoarders show always makes me think, Well, at least I’m not pooping in plastic bags that I keep in the closet. I guess it’s a form of counting my blessings?

  315. It’s not just you. Not knowing all that you’re experiencing, it is hard to say “it is X,” but the anxiety you describe arising from comparing yourself to others, and from feeling, inside, that you should be moving forward more or doing more, is mine too, and a lot of others’ as well. In some ways it is the other side of the American Dream – the charge to do more, have more, be better, if not for your kids, then for all of us. But it is also insecurity, fear, and self-doubt. I have the good fortune to be successful by any measure, but worry daily that I will be discovered as a fraud. Am I? No, but I can’t believe that anyone would approve of me if they knew my own fears and doubts. Best wishes.

  316. Not only can I speak for myself, but I can tell you that I just took a 7-week class at my church called “Worthy” and there were 36 people there who all, uniformly, feel this way. Ok, well, maybe 34, because there’s that one cool old dude, and the pastor who just got back from India.

    I was gonna say Cognitive Therapy. Good call on that one.

    Here’s a sermon from my cool lady pastor about how cool it is to be a disappointment. No dogma, but there is a mention of douche karma. I love her.

    Love you.

    Suebob recently posted Saturday Flashback.

  317. It’s not just you. I’ve been feeling like I suck at life lately (despite the shiny exterior and all that) simply because I don’t conform to what is expected of me. I live alone. I don’t have a husband or children. I work from home. I have cats. For a while I was working for a client that no matter what I did, it was wrong only they wouldn’t say it right away – they’d wait until I’d delivered a bunch of files and then they would reject them. So we went back and forth a lot; we even got a conference call and everything and I thought stuff had been clarified. So they sent a new project. And I said to my friend, “If they reject this, I’m out.”

    Guess what? They rejected it.

    And so I left. And now all the crap they put me through for over a year is slowly leaving my body and I’m sad 99% of the time and I have dishes in the sink and clothes that are not hung but I hold on.

    So yeah. You’re not alone.

    Move over and give me some blankie. I’m coming over to watch “Little House on the Prairie” with you and Hailey. ;)

  318. Honestly, I don’t think most people EVER feel like they have days where they feel like they’ve done everything right. I think that if we’re lucky (or optimistic or whatever) we have moments in our days when we feel like “I did OK there” and being “OK” at something makes me feel like a rock star. I’ve had to learn to find one or two moments in a day where I say to myself “good job with that” and it makes me feel better. Even if I just sent out a very well worded work email- I did something well. And then I high-five myself (which looks very awkward when sitting at my desk by the way).

    My point is- each of us have things that make our days a little better, even if it’s snuggles with our cats. It’s difficult to recognize those moments sometimes. And people who appear to have it all together… they don’t. It’s only one part of themselves they’re showing. Nobody is perfect- we’re not meant to be.

    Laura recently posted Favorite Things: August.

  319. I used to feel successful pretty much 0 days out of the month unless I just had a job review or got a promotion (ie, had tangible proof I was doing well). I realized, though, that what I want to be successful at isn’t necessarily climbing a career ladder. I want to make enough money to pay my bills, and enable myself to one day raise a family. To that end, I seem to be almost on track. I may still be living at home, but I’ve never been late on a bill payment because not moving out has given me enough money to always pay them on time. I’m not at the top of my career, but I’m doing well and after being at the same place for three years I don’t face crippling anxiety walking through the door every day. Looking at it from that perspective, I’m pretty successful. My advice would be to really figure out what success means to you, not just what it means to everyone else. You might find that you’re doing better than you thought.

  320. It’s definitely not just you. Some days I look back and realize the only thing I did was hang out on the couch and read, and it was a beautiful day and I didn’t even go outside once, and then I feel like I wasted it. If I didn’t have to go out to work, I think that would happen far more often than it does.

  321. I think you are going to get a lot of people telling you they feel the same. Either because the people who get you (and thereby read your blog) are similar to you or we have a societal epidemic. I think we have an epidemic on our hands. I often feel hopeless and useless. What the hell is my life worth? What is the point of the myriad of insubstantial things we do everyday? Is this it? And, yes, I am depressed. Have been my whole life but it is getting harder and harder to shake. Maybe it is because we are getting so out of touch with life that how we appear becomes the most meaningful thing? I don’t know. All I know is that you wrote down the words that often swirl in my head. And I wish we could collectively find a way to make it better….without having to take drugs.

    Lara recently posted Moments from today…...

  322. I also have anxiety disorder and depression. I’m on meds for both. I feel like a failure most days, I can’t even get up to do the simplest things. I’m a mother and most of the time I feel I fail at that. She knows I love her, but some days it’s hard to get up the energy to play. The meds I’m currently on help some. The things I have found that help me most are : cutting useless crap out of my life. Meaning, that I cut soul suckers and people that don’t want to or can’t understand what I deal with daily. I also force myself to go out. I mean out of the house, even if it’s just to get toothpaste. If I’m not going to do something at home, then get out. On the days I don’t want to leave the most are the days I really make myself face the world. Most of all I talk to my husband and my best friend. They may not completely understand, but they try and I can get some of the craziness out and said. I hope this helps. You have helped me so much by being so honest about mental illness and saying it doesn’t mean you are lost and that it lies. I have become more honest about my mental illness to my husband and best friend. Because of you I tried harder to get better and see a Dr. I really hope maybe I can help you, and point you in the right direction.

    Tiffanie recently posted Tides of Change.

  323. I have been living your life for 62 years. I’m still here, and I value those 3-4 days a month, I’ve reconciled myself to knowing that this is the way it is, and it’s definitely made me a happier person. Live your life, knowing those days will come, use the shit out of them, and don’t worry about the other 26-27 days. Do some knitting, watch soap operas, eat Chip-a -Hoys. As far as being a PTA mom – forget about it. I tried. I really, really tried. Just about every PTA queen I even met was a complete douchenozzle. They are the high school “mean girls” all grown up, and they are still as mean as green, bacteria-laden snot.

  324. OMG, this: I know I’m a good person (as in “not evil or intentionally arsonistic”), but I’m not very good at being a person…at the end of each day I usually lie in bed and think “Shit. I’m fucking shit up. I accomplished nothing today except the basics of existing.”

    I’ve never thought about how many days a month I feel successful, but I know I can only ever maintain what I consider “normalcy” — showering every day, keeping the house clean, no panic attacks or social anxiety, no entirely wasted days, etc. — for 2-3 weeks, and when I fall off the wagon, so to speak, I fall HARD! The last two days I have spent at least 75-80% of my waking hours in front of a computer, iPad or iPhone. And I don’t have a job. I play Candy Crush and Words with Friends, I stalk Facebook and Jezebel and a few other sites, I watch YouTube videos. Wasted days! Dishes and laundry pile up, dust bunnies start reproducing, and here I sit. My kids are fed and clothed and their homework gets done, but that is all I can say at the end of most days. The basics of existing.

    So, no, it’s not just you. And thank you for writing this.

  325. Feeling successful 3 or 4 days a month sounds FANTASTIC to me. I think success is a hindsight thing–we never realize how well we did things until days, week, months or years later. It can’t be an everyday feeling, otherwise success will feel a hell of a lot like existing (which it is, in truth). Being able to get up, face the day and not shit all over ourselves in the process is the best success there is.

  326. I also have (undiagnosed and unmedicated) depression/anxiety and feel like a failure most of the time. I haven’t actually counted how many days out the month, but probably the majority. If I REALLY had to guess, I think I feel good about myself and my talents maybe once or twice a week, tops. The rest of the time I’m like, “Ugh, I suck. Everyone is better than me. Bluhhhhh.”

    This past week though I’ve been riding on a high of doing really well in a national competition, and I’ve been in a continuously good mood (excluding a couple random bouts of anxiety). I’m not sure when the high will wear off, ha ha. But doing so well in something I entered has made me come to terms with the fact that yes, I am talented. Yes, other people like me and like what I do. Yes, I am worth something.

    Although I guess even though you’ve done things really awesome and nationally recognized, those good feelings don’t stay forever. It’s hard to keep convincing yourself that you’re good at things.

    Anyway, I don’t think I have any advice that you don’t know already. But life is really overwhelming for everyone sometimes. I don’t know if you should be feeling so down on yourself THAT frequently, and I agree, a lot of it is probably your personality disorders (that’s what I suspect of myself as well). The thing that helps me the most is positive reinforcement from my loved ones, and especially from people I don’t know (because they’re not biased), because I don’t believe it when I just tell it to myself.

  327. Years ago. Not ears. *sigh*

    Tracy Kaply recently posted Who has two thumbs and a place to live? THIS GIRL..

  328. You are not alone, lots of people feel like EVERYONE else has it so together, what is wrong with me…however, as someone who f*cks up a lot of stuff and bounces checks all the time and forgets to pay bills (yeah, I just found out that I have ADHD and just started taking some awesome meds), and who also used to have crippling depression and self loathing, you need to be a lot less hard on yourself, and also focus on the stuff you are good at (even if it is lying in bed under the blanket watching TV). Maybe exercise will help, hard exercise where you sweat and gasp, it probably has saved my life. Maybe the meds need tweeking, or the therapist needs to be replaced or augmented. Just remember you are loved by lots of people, you have helped so many of us with your humor, and it’s ok to f*ck up, as long as you keep trying to do your best. Take care of yourself first.

  329. 329
    Scarlett Angell

    ‘Seem’ is the key word in your post…no one..and I do mean no one has all their shit together all the time. We are all so sure that we are screwing this gig up, but the big secret is that you can’t…your life is yours and you live it in the way that things take you and we all screw up a lot…we all also get a whole hell of a lot right…everything is shiny until you get close and see the fine scratches that the polish hides…shrugs…sounds to me like you are pretty normal in that regard…well, lol, as normal as we humans get at any rate.

  330. Yeah. You’re not alone at all. Some days I feel like I’m the King of the World then I realize I’m hanging off the front of the damn Titanic and there’s an iceberg holy shit Batman. Some days, I’m proud of myself if I decide not to call in sick and spend the day eating ice cream. Some days I feel like I get a whole bunch done – sometimes related to work; other times related to home.

    Don’t assume you’ve got “enough” good or bad days compared to everyone else. Just the fact you’re ASKING means you are starting to think about change. So change. Redefine success. If Victor doesn’t wake screaming in the middle of the night from all the taxidermy and Hailey spells great…win.

  331. It’s not just you, the problem is, too many people lie. They especially lie on fb. Seriously, no one can have such awesome amazing days all the time like so many people post. But no-one wants to admit how bad they feel they failed as a parent/wife/person, so they sugarcoat it all. It’s after 12 here and I am still in my pjs (unshowered) as my child eats ramen for lunch(which he freaking loves). We didn’t get started on school stuff until after 830 ( my goal was 7 am). I won’t post any of that as my status though, I probably won’t post a status at all, unless the day magically gets much better. I have a tendency to see myself as a lazy failure(if I was better there would have been pancakes for breakfast, and something healthy and homemade for lunch, and some amazing field trip planned, and the laundry would be done, and we would do awesome crafts every day, etc etc)but my family loves me, for some strange reason my husband even seems to adore me and all my so called failings. That thought is what keeps me from becoming suicidal. If my amazing kids and hubby like me,then maybe, just maybe, those thoughts in my head are WRONG!

  332. “Fake it til you make it.” It’s what I do most days. I have 2 good days a week. Tops.

  333. You are definitely not alone in that feeling. And all those shiny happy people on FB and Pinterest and every other social media outlet? They aren’t really that shiny and happy. They have dusty, cluttered homes. They yell at their kids sometimes. They fuck up. It’s much easier to present a pretty picture online.

    I definitely have lots of days where I feel like I’m coasting. Days where I realize i spent 8 hours reading articles on The Hairpin and Gawker and didn’t get any work done. And it’s ok. We’re all ok.

    *hugs*

  334. I just have to say thank you for writing this, because I thought I WAS THE ONLY ONE. And you have NO idea how much it makes my day (and possibly my life as an adult) to see someone I respect and admire, describe what could be my interior monologue practically every day (except those few days that are good).

  335. Successful = having a kid who’s the best speller in the class. Or almost the best speller. Or a kid who tries their best. Successful = raising a kid who is happy and healthy, even if you aren’t on the PTA. Successful = being the kind of mom that your kids think it’s a special treat when they get a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, when really it’s because you were too tired/stressed/sad/excited/busy/whatever to make them a “real” lunch. Not that I’ve ever done that last one…

  336. Sometimes I think success is simply the ability to exist, get through this incredibly hard thing called living.

    My house is cluttered. I spend too much time on the Internet. I have never washed my windows in more than 7 years. I don’t mow the lawn more than once a month. I don’t make my bed in the morning. The flowers I planted in the spring are dried up and dead. My 2.5 year old still drinks from a bottle. My husband and I eat dinner at 10pm. I keep gaining and losing the same 3lbs.

    All of these things label me “loser at life” by some people.

    But you know what? I love my kid and show him. I’m patient with him and I kiss my husband hello and I smile at people and I’m kind (usually). I use my blinkers when driving. I don’t text when I shouldn’t. I try to breathe in and out, calmly, every day. That is life. That is living. That is success.

    You are not alone in this. We all have shit we compare to others and there’s always someone “doing it better.” Fuck them.

    Kristin recently posted Hail to the Spaghetti.

  337. I know exactly how you feel. I spend many days looking at other people’s Facebook pages and feeling inadequate compared to how shiny/vacation-y/successful/social/accomplished/happy they all seem. But then I remember that what people choose to post on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. is what they want to communicate to the world about their lives, not necessarily the whole truth. I mean, very few people would choose to post, “Hey, I just failed at life!” But we all feel that way sometimes. You’re getting a highly edited view of other people’s lives through social media (and social interaction in general, I think), so it’s unfair to hold yourself up to it as an unattainable ideal, because it doesn’t really exist. Just keep being you, and know that you’re successful every day because you’ve brought so much laughter and hope and community to so many of us.

  338. Yeah, 3 or 4 days a month sounds about right.

    MomVee recently posted My Playlist for the Union Beach 5K.

  339. I’m with you my dear. I have an amazing son, a wonderful husband and want to be successful in my work life, but maybe feel like I’m awesome 2-3 days a month, and certainly not all day. You describe it perfectly, Imposter Syndrome. Everyone tells me I kick ass and am amazing, and I feel that they must be quite drunk in the middle of the day not to see what a fraud I am. I had a nice little meltdown about it to my poor husband at 11:30 at night the other day which involved a great deal of sobbing my face off and apologizing for not being the dominating force he signed up for when he asked the other me to marry him. I often feel, not only am I falling behind, but that perhaps the window of awesomeness has passed me by, and that the enormous success I once dreamed of, in my ignorant youth, will only happen if I deviate greatly from the plan. Of course the directions in which if feel most fulfilled will likely never pay much of anything, like professional crocheter, shelf organizer or garage sale flipper. So, like you, I’m a fraud too. Just so you know, outside looking in (and perhaps a bit drunk in the afternoon), you seem pretty fantastic. Writing one book is not too shabby, as accomplishments go. On some days putting on pants, other than those that never meet their destiny of participating in yoga class, is a pretty great step towards world domination. Keep at it girl. You’re not alone. Many of us wear the same mask.

  340. I know how you feel. So well. My first book came out almost two months ago, and God help me if I’m ever going to get a second into the world. Sometimes I feel like a massive failure because I don’t think I’m doing *enough*. I don’t have kids, but I have a job, and 90% of the time I’m incredibly disinterested in my life, if not flat out depressed, which a friend and I refer to as “visits from Emo Joe.” And the fact that my sister’s wedding still overshadows my Major Life Accomplishment doesn’t help. The only way I can really describe how I feel is either I feel nothing, or I feel too much and get overwhelmed.

    Most of the time, I can pull myself out of these funks within a few days. My last visit from Emo Joe lasted for almost 2 weeks and resulted in me almost giving up writing *again* and eating a lot of fast food, which just makes things worse, I know. The best part is having close friends who completely understand how I feel because they go through it too.

    I try to remember that I have my flaws like everyone else. That no one is perfect, that most of the time, the people with the most polished exteriors are hiding something, maybe even the same issues I’m having. Sometimes the harder they try, the more problems they’re having (and then there are those well-adjusted motherfuckers that I hate). The point is that accepting yourself is way harder than it should be, but once you accept that you’re just as deserving of a happy life as those happy, shiny PTA moms–and you find a way to constantly remind yourself of this–you’ll have better days more often. In my case, I listen to a lot of music, and when I’m having one of /those/ days, I listen to “You’re a Lie” by Miles Kennedy and Slash. Because it’s really appropriate for that little voice in my head that seems dead set on making me fail.

    Jenny, you’re amazing. I don’t comment often, but I read every post, and I’ll continue to do so. Thank you for posts like this. Even if they’re not funny, they’re important. <3

    Cate recently posted Never Too Late - Mark's Defense.

  341. This is normal, I think, but people don’t talk about it. The older I get, the more I discover that most people, especially those with shiny, happy lives, are really dying on the inside, but do not tell anyone.
    I have many of the same issues you have, along with a handful of physical problems (Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, epilepsy, and chronic migraine, to name the big ones), and I get absolutely nothing done. Truly. You are an inspiration to me, in so many ways, Jenny.

    Jonna recently posted As the Season Turns.

  342. Thank you for writing this. I have been having the same thoughts for the last few days. I find that my anti-depressants (which I started taking to deal with my postpartum depression) make me extremely tired, which makes me feel like a neglectful mother because I can’t get out of bed, which sends me into a further depression. I have a college degree, yet no job to show for it because I have no desire to work. I feel like I wake up each day counting the minutes until I can go to sleep at night. Each day feels like I am just waiting for this ride we call ‘life’ to be over. I think it’s time to change my meds….

  343. 343
    wasnt_serious

    I feel that way constantly. It’s not that everyone has their shit together but me (you and you and you), it’s just that we are too worried about getting our shit together that we fail to notice the little cracks in the perfect facade.

    It’s like you said for successful parenting: (paraphrasing) “Does your child have claws for hands at the end of the day? If not, you win at parenting.” Now apply that to everyday life: “Do I have claws for hands at the end of the day? No, then I win today.”

  344. It’s not just you. At all.

    Sending love, empathy and understanding your way. <3

    Liz recently posted Empty.

  345. What do you want on your tombstone?
    She was a PTA mom and had stuff for a picnic if she wanted to have one… or she was kind and every fucking day she tried?
    You life sucks a lot, depression sucks. And through it, you have helped more people by your honesty than all the PTA moms in your state, maybe the entire world.
    I wish for you to find peace. But failing that, at least realize that every day you remember depression lies, you are not a failure.
    How many days do I feel successful? Who the hell knows. I beat depression. I count every day for the last 30 yrs that I have not been depressed as a win. I count raising my child knowing she is loved for the last 22 yrs .. every single day.. as a win.
    Do I hate I am fat? Yes. Do I hate I made career/financial choices that are sure as heck not WINS? Yes. But do I hate myself over them? No. So many worse choices out there… I’ll take mine, thank you.

  346. It’s not just you. But the only solution is to start giving yourself a break. Be proud of what you DO accomplish and realize that sometimes just doing what is required to survive IS a big deal. For much of humanity’s existence, that was pretty much the only thing that mattered. You made it to another day and so did everyone else in your household! Now the day to day existence is seen as pretty much a given, so we have to be PTA Moms or make picnics or plan ridiculous birthday parties. Surviving is underrated. You’re not alone – we all freak about these other things. We all make ourselves feel “less than”. But we really should just give ourselves a pat on the back – being human is hard sometimes!

  347. Not alone at all. In fact, the fact that you feel the way you do makes me think you are actually QUITE good at being a human. :) I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel like this to some extent but I think that people who have anxiety or depression (or any number of other illnesses both mental and physical) may feel more guilty about it. Bottom line: You are who you are at any given time and that is a mercurial state to be certain. Some days you must celebrate the fact that you are breathing in and out because your resources are just too damn tied up keeping yourself sane while other days you may climb into bed at night thinking, “Hot damn, did I rock it today!” Most days we’ll fall somewhere in the middle and that’s ok. :)

  348. Lately? 0/month

    I struggle because I love to be different but it comes at a cost. I’m the purple/pink/red haired Mama who lives the life of someone who should have blonde hair, wear heels always and be a size 2. But I’m not, and I’ll never be so when I look around my neighbourhood and at the other mothers I used to feel really.really.fucking shitty.

    But I remind myself why people like me, because I claim I just don’t give a shit, life is too short blah blah blah. While I believe it, there are still times when I cringe after seeing two Mums in the corner whispering and rolling their eyes at me, or when I volunteer at the school (forcing myself out of bed and to get presentable) and none of the other Mums will even talk to me while we serve a hot lunch or board the bus for a school trip.

    I started hanging out with really cool people, like me. I don’t have my shit together but I spend too much time worrying what other people think. Will I finish my book on time? Will it be a flop? What if someone notices my kids socks don’t match (and they have, and they have mentioned it and we’re no longer friends)? That shit kills me and I’m tired of it.

    I spend less time on FB comparing, FB is the evilest tool of comparison in the world. You see what others are doing but it’s all a facade. No one wants to admit “Hey, my OCD was so bad last night I re-arranged my entire underwear drawer by colour and then I locked myself in the closet crying.” If more people did, we’d all be happier, or at least more amused.

    My kids are a success, my marriage is great, we aren’t perfect but we work and those are my people. My rock solid people that see the crazy in me and love it anyway.

    What makes me feel successful are those little people.If I can manage to get them to school and they grow up to need minimal therapy – I’ve done my job. I don’t volunteer anymore unless it’s a class trip or I want to. I don’t feel obligated to do anything other than write, hang out with my family and stay alive. For me that’s a success. Small goals like, a chapter a week for the book. No more crazy schedules, it stresses me out and the kids out.

    I feel successful when I am not a raging maniac. When I can get out of bed and do my best. Truly, if I got one thing accomplished like making a few phone calls in a day (which is a big deal for me) that’s great.

    Small goals, not the bigger picture. That’s what works for me. I don’t make lists anymore. I just focus on one thing. If it’s “Call and get the truck booked for an oil change” or “Get the pussy waxed” so be it, that’s a success for me.

    Also, I made a shit ton of freezer meals. Lasts over a month and for some reason that makes me feel like I have my shit together. We are trying to have dinner every night as a family, we’ve never done that before on a consistent basis.

    Thanks for this, because we’re all in the same boat.

    Crystal-lee recently posted The Park Bench Racist – How I Discovered I Was A Hypocrite.

  349. Nobody has ever accused me of having my shit together, but I feel pretty successful at being who I am. I don’t aspire to perfection or even near perfection. Do no harm. Have fun. Contribute to society in some way. Be nice to people. Make others laugh, or even just think. You’re doing that in the way that all normal folk do. Some of those you do in a very non-normal way, and that’s why all of us are here. <3

    John Lewis recently posted My Acting Résumé.

  350. Jesus, maybe I have a mental illness because I know exactly what you are talking about. Stop being an asshole to yourself.
    I read this, this morning…breathe, you are normal.
    http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

  351. You sound an awful lot like me. For that, I am truly sorry. If it helps, those 3-4 days a month that you feel good and the days you find time to “talk” with us or write for us, make it possible for many of us to have 3-4 days a month that we feel good. So thanks. Really.

  352. I go to work everyday and am super responsible. But, yeah I have the same issues. There is a good chance most of us do. How do we stop caring about that false feeling, those unrealistic standards? How do you just LIVE? and who the F put this in our heads??

    I suspect you are a VERY bright group of people I am sure I would think you had it all if I looked into your lives from the out side. :D

  353. Yeah, I’m right there with you. How many days do I kick ass? One or two a YEAR. How many days a month do I feel adequate? Three. Four in a good month. How many days to I curl up in my comfy chair with a book, or spend the entire day reading and rereading Facebook posts? All the rest of them.

    C’est la vie, I guess. At some point I more or less quit caring.

  354. 354
    Feel the same

    Ditto ditto ditto
    I have the same issues and was just crying, literally crying last night because I suck as a mom.

    I’m sorry you feel this way, and sorry I feel this way too;)

    Thanks for your brutal honestly and letting us all know we are not alone.

  355. You are not alone. Everyday I feel worn out by trying to put on a facade of having my shit together. It’s exhausting and ends up preventing me from actually getting my shit together. The only times I have found recently in which I feel better is when I depend on someone else to make me happy (further making me codependent), ignore what my life actually is by traveling away (further distancing myself from getting my life in order), or throwing myself into work so as to not think of anything else (further influencing me to ignore my problems).

    I’d like to think that it gets better, and it’s certainly comforting to know there are others who feel this way.

  356. In a good month, I feel like I have 2 to 3 days that are even marginally successful. Most months I feel like I fail at everything… that I’m just a failure in general. Every day at the end of the day I feel like I should apologize to anyone I interacted with that day for having had to put up with me.

  357. I think to an extent everyone (at least I hope so) feels like this. I have a lot of days where I’m driving home from work and I think “Is this seriously my life? I go to work, I come home, and I get everything ready to repeat the next day.” My house is a mess, I’m overweight, I haven’t had my hair cut in a year, I live paycheck to paycheck. So yeah, I look at people that have a giant house, just ran a marathon, have perfectly groomed kids, and just got back from a trip to some awesome location and I feel like I’m fucking up.

    But then I remember that I don’t really care. Other people can have that. My house is a mess because I have too many animals and a toddler. I’m overweight because I love baking and eating what I bake. My hair is in a ponytail every day anyway and I have enough money to get by on. So other people may think that I suck at being a person, but I’m good with what I’ve got.

    Having said that, I still wouldn’t consider my days to be kick ass. There’s always more crap to do, more errands to run, more stuff to clean, and that can give me serious anxiety sometimes. Sometimes I just say “fuck it” and go play with sidewalk chalk and bubbles with my kid.

    I’m not sure that really answered the question.

  358. 358
    Nancie McCraw

    I had to redefine what success was and choose to be happy.

    I feel brilliant about once every month or two. In that moment, on that day I feel that I have proven myself to be truly above and beyond, in the top 5% of what ever it is that I’m doing that prompted the feeling. The rest of the time I’m trying to keep up and/or catch up with my own life and it’s all I can do to make sure the cats are fed. (Oh god, when IS the last time I fed the cats!!!)

    I had to come to the conclusion that I can be perfect for everyone else, or I can be sane, I can’t be both. My husband would rather I come to bed with him than have a kitchen floor that is scrubbed weekly. My son would rather have our long late night talks than all the dishes cleaned AND put away. If I’m going to truly nurture my family, I need to let go of the ideals of what a “good” woman is and does and just pray that what I am is enough.

    And I struggle with that daily.

  359. I could have written this, except that I’m not even “good enough” to have gotten married and had kids, so I can’t even do the PTA thing. I feel successful maybe twice a year. I’m working on making small goals so that I feel good about myself more often, but mostly I empty and small and like a lesser person than everyone else. And when I admit those feelings to anyone, I get yelled at for feeling badly about myself because I have “SO much” like a roof over my head and food and other cliches, which just makes me feel worse.

  360. I’m exactly the same way – I have depression and anxiety as well, plus chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia which means I’m in pain 99% of the time. I’m lucky if I get a few productive days squeezed out here and there, most of the time I just want to be in bed. I know I can’t do that but it damn sure sounds like a great idea to me.

  361. I have never been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder or any other mental illness and I have thoughts like yours every day. I think it’s part of the idea that most of us are taught from childhood … there is always room for improvement. You can always do better. And if we stop for a minute to celebrate where we are because we think it’s a good place, there is always someone standing close by to tell us how we could be better.

  362. Nobody is as polished or perfect as you might think. They’re just really, really good at putting on a show. They have their own shit to work through, guaranteed. We’re humans; we’re inherently flawed, no matter how great we may be at making everyone think otherwise.

    And those people who are so shiny and put-together? I feel sorry for them because they have a harder job keeping their facades from cracking. I may be a mess but at least it’s an honest mess.

  363. God- almost every week. And there are times when I am so consumed by it I can’t sleep. Meditation helps, as does the occasional evening out with friends. But it’s a damned lonely struggle sometimes, and that is just that. I wish it were different, and that the good moments lasted a bit longer- but that is beyond my control. And I think that is the crux if it- control. I have been taking that as my main challenge- to allow myself to just breathe, and not try and control everything. That helps keep the judgy voices a bit quieter. That it’s my choice to not try and be perfect, and to try and be ok with just existing and having a cereal dinner night once in a while. Keep the faith, sunshine- you are not alone.

  364. When my husband brags about how much I do with the new baby single handedly I get super embarrassed and immediately think of everything I failed at with the baby or life because I couldn’t possibly be brag worthy.

  365. 365
    Sheherazahde

    I have depression and anxiety as well. It’s not just you.
    There was a line in Neil Gaiman’s new book “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”
    “You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.” p175
    I am sad that you are suffering. You make so many people laugh.

  366. I feel awesome every day, but not all day. I feel awesome for a few seconds each day and I struggle through the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 57 seconds. I don’t feel behind; I feel outside of the circle. I feel like I am ALWAYS on the fringes and it doesn’t help that I am socially awkward, alone, hard to befriend, and struggling to get my books published. I thought I was the only one who felt like this until my daughter told me that she feels like it too. Then I thought, damn, I’ve passed it on.

    The best way to deal with it is to compliment others — strangers, love ones, celebrities, pets, avatars — and add the words (whisper to yourself), “AND I AM, TOO.” Example: Jenny Lawson is a fantastic writer and I am, too. After a few hundred times, you won’t have to say it and after a few hundred more times you’ll actually start to believe it.

    I have trouble with compliments because I always want to explain how wrong the other person is and how I am not worthy and I am just a poser, but, you know what? They just want to hear, “Thank you.” That’s it. And, it’s easy to say. Just say “thank you,” bite your lips, move on.

  367. It is actually refreshing to know there are others out there like me. At my age, i thought my life would be very different,but shit happens. Thankfully we have you in our lives Jenny. Every time my pal and i road trip, we end up talking about you, as we search for bad taxidermy, and giant metal creatures. Much love to you.

  368. I haven’t ever stopped to think about how many days per month I feel successful, but I do have a bad habit of making a list of “to-do’s”….then at the end of the day when I’ve only crossed off one or two of the 10-12 items I’ll look back on my day and add things to the list that I did accomplish to try to make myself feel better. So if my list was “wash the dog, grocery shop, pay bills, water the plants” and all I did was grocery shop….I might add “bring groceries home (as though I might have left them at the store????), bring groceries into the house (apparently my car is not a refrigerator), put groceries away (versus leaving them sitting on the counter???)” and I cross them off so that the list looks more “finished”…and then I feel a bit MORE like a fraud because I know I’m being ridiculous.

  369. I posted this on twitter but I might as well double-up :)

    IMO, life is about appreciating what you have and improving the lives of others. It seems, based off the amazing community of people you’ve created, like you do both in spades :). The public loves to use accomplishments to measure self-worth. I think that’s crap used to make me feel like I’m missing something. Marketing to make me feel like less of a person or somehow more incomplete. Working to become better is important, don’t get me wrong. But constantly thinking about the “what I should be doing” instead of enjoying the reality of life, you’re automatically missing out on something amazing.

  370. Jenny, I don’t usually post comments. In fact, I think this is the first time I have posted a comment on a website, ever, in the history of me. But your post has completely compelled me to say this: I have two Masters degrees. And a PhD in progress. I am a qualified psychologist, though not currently in practice. I apparently have a job that Does Good Work. And I feel like you do almost every single day of my life.

    My pyjamas are my wardrobe and I’m pretty sure I’ve set a record for number of days unwashed. I live imposter syndrome. And no matter what the ‘evidence’ might be for past successes, I never feel as good, successful, put together and etc as every other person in my life and in the world in general (focusing, for e.g. on what I haven’t been successful in – like finding someone to spend my life with, or having children).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think it’s about How Much You Do or How Put Together You Are. I think – I hope – it’s about Who You Are (even when you lie in bed all day). And I think you give us all a fairly good, honest glimpse of that through your amazing, funny, wonderful blog. I am in awe of you in much the same way you might be in awe of, or compare yourself to, others. And for these reasons: you are authentic and seriously funny. That, in my pyjama-ed opinion, means you’re doing more than ok.

    (Did I mention I’m a little verbose? Sorry about that :) )

  371. Reading this post was like reading about myself. I never knew other people might really feel this way. And no matter how often I tell myself “Nobody’s life is perfect. Everyone feels the way you feel at times. This is completely normal.” I have trouble really believing it. I consider it a successful day if I actually put real clothes on (yoga pants totally count, as long as you didn’t wear them to bed the night before) and leave the house, for any reason, like just to answer the mail or check that the sky is still blue. I feel really successful when I manage to make my kids’ lunches AND actually cook dinner on the same day.

  372. Something to remember is that all of those “perfect” people you described probably aren’t as perfect as they seem. On the outside they may seem like they have their shit together, but their shit is probably spilling out all over the place under the surface…. Which is probably really hard. Trying to put on a facade when really you’re one wrong look or comment away from blowing a gasket….

    That being said, I rarely feel like I have my shit together. I always feel like people think I could be doing so much more than I am, so why aren’t I?? All that matters to me is I’m relatively happy with my life as it is, so I try not to dwell on it. I wouldn’t want to be perfect anyway. I’m sure it’s exhausting….

  373. It’s not just you. I feel like this a lot. I saw something once that said it’s because you’re comparing other people’s highlight reels to your behind-the-scenes footage. I try to remember that, and remember that all those other people probably feel as fucked up as I do, and are maybe even looking at me thinking, “She’s got it all together, I wish I could be as non-fucked-up as she is.”

  374. We all have our own version of ‘normal’. None of it is right and none of it is wrong. If it’s right for us, then it’s right enough. I feel good about myself most days of the month, with small pockets of crippling self-doubt almost daily that I get over very quickly. That being said, I am always wishing I was more creative, that I could draw, or write books, or even think in more original ways. We are not perfect. Whose perfect would you want to be if not your own?

  375. Jenny, you’re asking me for my honest opinion of you and I can’t do that, because I don’t know you. I know you from what I read in your book, and when I was sitting in a hospital after a car accident, wearing a C-collar, I was practically peeing myself, which would have been awesome because then I could have just blamed it on the car accident… Anyway…. I know that you’re a brilliant writer, a hilarious person, and make parenting and marriage amusing, and after reading your books I look a lot more to the amusement of those two thing, and for that, I thank you. Here’s me being honest about me… I have suffered from anxiety disorder and remember my first panic attack at age 7. I’m now 42. 35 years is a long time to suffer from anxiety, but spending the last 12 in talk therapy has definitely helped. I know a lot of people who suffer from anxiety, and I thought they were fabulous people. The things they focused on that made them anxious, much like what you mentioned above, I never even noticed. I’m a perfectionist and nothing I do is ever good enough for me, but somehow after all this time of thinking I totally suck, my husband, kids, friends, and family still love me, so all those things I think I suck at, must not be all that important. You are brilliant, and there aren’t a whole lot of people who can make me laugh like you do. I truly admire you, wish you all the best, and look forward to your next book.

  376. A good month is when HALF the days were days when I felt “generally [like] a successful person”.
    “Getting started in the morning” is usually the biggest challenge.
    Nasty, ungrateful clients (or anyone who yells and bullies me) most often cause the crashes.
    Welbutrin and an amazing counselor helps; the counselor is TERRIFIC at getting me to talk Just Enough
    to realize that I ALREADY KNOW the answers as to why I’m challenged by those things,
    and all I have to do is Say Them Out Loud.

  377. Echoing the other people who’ve responded: this is not just you. The most brilliant, successful, accomplished, respected people I know (though mostly women- WHY?) all feel this way. Like at any moment someone will find out that they’re just faking it.
    Here’s what I do to feel accomplished at the end of the day: Make a really easy to-do list. Fill it with things like “Arrive at work around 9am” and “eat lunch” as well as the bigger tasks. And if anything comes up during the day, I make sure to add it to the list EVEN if I’ve already taken care of it. Then even if you don’t get everything done, you still have lots ticks on the list.

    I’m pretty easy to fool.
    And you are wonderful!

  378. 378
    Irene of the north

    the older I get, and I am over 40 now, the more I think that everyone is completely screwed up.

    Those people whose kids go to school with their lunches in segmented plastic boxes, and who wear makeup and are on the PTA and send the emails and are on church council and run marathons? Those people have their own demons. I don’t know what they look like, but they have stuff that keeps them up at night too.

    This post, more than almost any other of a serious nature you have shared resonates with me. There is that one eecard meme that says: sometimes i write “put on pants today” on a sticky note, so that I at least have accomplished one thing, is the truest thing I have read. I feel like I’ve got my stuff together maybe 4 days a month. But damn, I have to work like an oompa loompa for those four days in order to get to sleep with any modicum of relief.
    for serious? you are not alone in this.

  379. Oh, honey… Just consider yourself AHEAD of the game. The objective isn’t to run around trying to accomplish EVERYTHING. That’s why yoga is still around…forever teaching those that think it is a race to slow down and just BE. Don’t get caught up in the hype. You are not inadequate. You have already accomplished more than I EVER will.

    Don’t worry about messing life up. I hate to break it to you, but we are ALL fucked up in our own unique ways. You just have a knack for making your flaws more entertaining than the rest of us. See…you are already AHEAD again!

    I, personally, really am taking up yoga to help with stress and anxiety. (And maybe my flabby ass.) The bonus is that you can do it all nice and locked up in the safety of your home. That, and there are yoga instructors out there these days that are just bad ass. This ain’t your grandma’s yoga. Look up Yoga Warrior 365 on Pinterest. Thank me later!

  380. I was talking with a friend about my frustration of lack of being able to keep up with everything one day, explaining that my house is always dirty (with the exception of the cleanliness that comes from two hours of frenzy before we have company), I don’t go to the gym enough, basically that I feel like there’s never enough time in the day for me to be good at all the things I want to be good at.

    She pointed out what I didn’t see: Sometimes the reason I don’t have enough time or energy for the things I’m not good at is because I’m either enjoying the things I am good at or because I am pouring time and energy into other people. How can I consider myself a failure for not having mopped my floor in weeks when I spent an hour each evening this week playing with my two-year-old? How is scrubbing windows more important than taking dinner to my friend who just had a baby? Well, to me, it’s not. I also think you have to put self-care in this same “important” category.

    Some days I just have to remember that I am doing the best I can, and that I can’t do someone else’s best. It doesn’t make me feel good about myself all the time, but at least it makes me feel less bad.

    Misty recently posted Recipe: The BEST peanut butter frosting.

  381. I was one of those shiny, happy, put together PTA moms that you compare yourself to. It was all bullshit and, quite frankly, a beautiful and long term piece of performance art. My life was falling apart at the seams; I was in an abusive marriage (but hey! Everyone thought we were the PERFECT couple!), I was struggling with undiagnosed mental illness (ADHD and Bi-Polar 2), and I loathed myself to the point where I self mutilated (of course where no one could see). The worse things got, the shinier I was. None of us know what happens behind closed doors and it is far to easy to compare ourselves to the public masks that others wear.

    Now, to answer your question: if I am productive and not a raging bitch, hiding under the covers, or staring off into space 7 days per month I feel like I have accomplished something extraordinary. I try to take it one day at a time and compare myself to neither those around me nor to myself on my best days…I usually fail miserably at that. I never, ever feel like a success and my list of what is the worst is too long to burden you or your readers with.

    My ADHD meds have also not kicked in yet, so, ya know, squirrel!

  382. All the damn time! I always wonder if I missed the “people who have their s&^t together train. I am constantly questioning and feeling like a failure. You’re not alone, and I don’t think you’re off. I think there are more people like us out there, it’s just that too many people are busy keeping up their facade.

    recently posted Is it just me?.

  383. 383
    Anna Emerson

    You silly, wonderful woman! Do you really think we (I’m referring to the real people, not the shiny, crafty, on-time, waxed, tanned, and ready-for-the-next-marathon maniacs) are any better about real life? We’re not. You know what you, and I and a million other normal people are good at? Being ourselves. We are amazing mothers and fathers and friends not because we strive to keep up appearances or attend all the right meetings and always say the right thing, but because we are our authentic, fucked up, fragile and fantastic selves.

    PTA – are you kidding me? It’s a damn good day if I socialize with anyone outside of my family. My kids are amazing, happy, funny, smart and they love me as hard as I love them. Me and hubby love each other, support each other, and call each other out when shit gets too weird. That, my darling, is all I need in life.

    I don’t get dinner on the table at 6. I don’t scrub the toilets often enough. I sometimes forget to pay the cell phone bill. I avoid crowds and making small talk. I have chronic illness, severe anxiety and occasional depression but I’m also wicked smart, funny, and intensely loyal. I have no sense of “just being nice” – it’s the truth or nothing with me.

    Please feel successful. Please know we love you – not because of how well we think you keep it all together, but because we know you are crazy just like we are.

    With love,
    Anna

  384. The Internet and fake people make it so much harder for us normal people. No one has it together as their happy posts say on fb. No one bakes like on Pinterest. I totally fail on a daily basis. I have come to accept that. I’m not trying to stroke your ego or kiss your ass. I feel like I get at least one thing right a day, but I fail at a million others. I question everything I do a million times. I don’t know of anyone that is normal that doesn’t feel like they don’t screw up daily. The one person I know that doesn’t ever say she screws up has an excuse for how she is awesome and whatever went wrong is everyone else’s fault. And she is teaching her daughter to be that way too. Ugh. She is the type that I worry about. You, me and all the others that can admit we don’t get it right, we are the normal ones. I’m not on any meds right now. I was for a long whole after I had my daughter. It didn’t change anything except I didn’t have the anxiety about failing on a daily basis. I feel like a weird fan girl because I wish I could call you right now and tell you it is ok and you are doing something wonderful even when it is a failure. I want to tell you that you helped me help a friend the other day when she told me about her sister. You don’t fail so many places and in so many lives and don’t even know it. And that’s the part that none of us think about. When we fail, we really aren’t in a way. We teach our daughters and sons that it is ok to be wrong and to not be perfect. We help someone we don’t even know help someone else. It is the perfect ones that don’t learn. They don’t see the struggles beyond the excuses. The lesson is lost on them. You and me and all the others that fail, we will keep on keeping on and learning and growing and failing at something new everyday. That sounds bad and hopeless but I don’t know how else to say it. It’s not really. It’s totally ok and what we are supposed to be doing. I think I rambled a bit so I hope this isn’t just garbage. Man, I think I totally effed this….ugh. I will resist the urge to delete it because I think there is at least one or two things that make sense.

  385. So I didn’t know that Imposter Syndrome was a real thing – I thought that was just me.

    I get 2-4 motivated, productive, successful, “kick ass” days every 4 months. It amounts to about 15 days a year. It’s such a small amount of time that I dismiss these kick ass days as false, as an undeserved glitch in the system.

    It’s not just you. I have these thoughts all day, every day. It’s extremely difficult to muster the energy to do anything because of the failure feelings. It’s not just you.

    That being said, I only have one trick to possibly help…and it only works for me about 5% of the time. I have a really simple list (read, write, prepare food, exercise, no mindless tv) and every day I try to accomplish one thing on the list. If I can do one thing, then I try to think of it as a successful day. Of course, the negative thoughts say that these are all very simple and that I should be able to accomplish all of them every day, which is why the trick only works 5% of the time.

    Good luck.

    anxietyadventures recently posted Suicidal Ideation: The Timeline and The Fallout.

  386. Not just you. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression or bi-polar. (Though I have suspicions.) I’ve finally decided that adults just pretend that we have it all together. Three or four days a month sounds about right. There are times when I’m kicking ass at work for a couple of weeks; and everything else in my life comes to a screeching halt.

  387. I think most of adulthood is made up of faking it. Everyone you see who seems so together? They’re faking it. The only difference is that some are able to put on a better front than others.

    I just turned 40 and I still have no clue what I’m doing.

  388. First of all, I don’t have ADD or suffer from depression. At least not that I’m aware of. I have slowly become more and more hermit-y and insecure. When I was 18 I lived abroad, spent most of my time on my own, meeting new people. Now, I will rarely go anywhere other than work without my husband. I don’t answer my door and I turn down invitations because I don’t feel up to the ‘front’ I feel I need to put on for other people.

    I think if we all take a really close look at those ‘shiny’ people we are striving to be like, we will see that they are struggling as much as we are.

  389. 389
    Carol Sanders-Sheehan

    I hate what the media does to us as wives, mothers, women….humans! They portray these outrageous ideals of what we should be and it’s just not realistic. If I’m still breathing at the end of the day; I consider it a win. Anything else that is accomplished is just a bonus.

    I do not suffer from mental illness (at least I have no official diagnosis ;) ) but I do suffer from a few chronic illnesses (diabetes, heart disease, arthritis) and while I look completely healthy (and am for the most part) these illnesses exhaust me in a way that so many do not understand. After my heart attack at age 42, I took off my superwoman cape and hung it up. I miss it. I trot it out about 7 days a month. Those are the days that I totally kick ass and accomplish everything on my to do list.

    As you can see, you’re not alone. It’s time to reclaim our ability to just ‘be’. It’s also time to accept that we are who we are and that there is no cape needed to be worthy individuals.

  390. Wow.

    Just.

    Wow.

    I’m sitting here BAWLING because it’s like you crawled into my head and said exactly what I’m the most afraid to ever admit.

    I don’t have any words of advice. I don’t have any lovely sentiments to make it better. I wish I knew how to show you how much you contribute and give to people and how much your days are worth, even when you don’t feel like they are – because I know that people try to show that to me and I just can’t see or feel it and I HATE that. I hate that on so many levels I can see myself as I must appear to an outsider but at the same time I just want to scream “CAN’T YOU SEE THAT IT’S ALL JUST A LIE. I’M A FAKE. A FRAUD. I WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH AND I WILL NEVER BE OKAY SIMPLY BECAUSE I AM ME.” I feel like anyone who gets to know me will immediately see right through me, call me a burden and run away…because why would they want to put up with this pathetic mess of a person I am? I can’t do anything..and when I do things…it’s rarely if ever GOOD enough…to me..or to anyone else…so what the hell is the point?

    I guess I’d say about the same as you…maybe 3-5 days a month of…good. And at that…maybe not even the ENTIRE day. There are still cracks on those days where I almost fall apart but somehow manage to keep myself afloat. So. Here goes my list. I haven’t washed my hair in four days. I can’t remember the last time I managed to put on makeup. I haven’t finished unpacking from moving continents five (gulp) years ago. I hire people to do work I could do because I can’t face it..even though I know they’ll never do it up to my standards (that are probably unachievable.) I’ve got seventeen projects on the go that I’ll likely never finish. I’m on multiple boards of things that I sometimes make meetings to..because I feel like I *have* to and then I end up resenting and getting stressed out about them and taking on more work I’ll never be able to do. I’m terrified to tell anyone in my “real life” my issues except for my doctor. I’ve refused to call back about a psyc referral my doctor set up that I’ve been waiting on for 8 months to talk about my depression, anxiety, etc. because my anxiety is so high when I pick up the phone that I literally drop it and curl into a ball. I pushed away my two best friends who years ago would have done everything and anything for me because I couldn’t face being this broken. I’ve destroyed so many relationships that I’ve mostly convinced myself that’s what I deserve because everyone will use me, hate me or run away from me…eventually. I am the queen of faking it through a day and then crying in the dark about how I have accomplished nothing and that my life is going no where and is a total waste – and then it just cycles into a spiral about how I SHOULD be grateful for ALL of the AMAZING things that I have at my fingertips and how if I could just REACH OUT for them I could have SO much and DO so much with my life…but instead I’m just this pathetic mess who can’t snap out of it and will never be anything…and then I hate myself even more.

    So. I don’t really know what to say. Except that I’m here…and I get it. And I wish that neither of us did.

  391. I only surpass you in “being successful” by a few days a month. I get bogged down so easily that nothing ever seems to get done. You are absolutely right in your guess that “no one ever talks about it.” There are many of us who think we will be found out that we aren’t really smart, witty, or talented. I know I get that way – a LOT – but then I realize that’s only when the only voice I hear is my own.

  392. I feel successful 3-4 days a month as well. The rest of the time I’m just going though the motions of work and food and sleep. I plan to do a lot of things and then never start them. I used to have imposter syndrome but have recently gotten better at handling compliments cause I have just overall felt better about what’s being complimented. I feel the worst when it’s the end of the day and I’ve relized that I haven’t done anything but go through the motions. The worst of the worst is when it breaks me down to tears. Most of what I do to feel a more successful is tackling a relatively small task that I’ve put off, like doing a bunch of laundry or cleaning off my desk. In a new effort to bump myself up, I’ve decided to quit work at the end of the year and go back to school next semester. It’s a bunch of art classes which is all blood and tears but it’s what I’m best at.

  393. This post has me thinking hard. I don’t recall feeling successful very often. When I do it’s usually because of some big event that seldom occurs. My days seem to slip by, but I do feel thankful every night. That could be a form of success, maybe?

  394. Jenny,

    I am a nearly 50 year old male, am single, have a pretty good job, and am a fairly prolific poet. I give that info just as a brief bio on me because, well, it seemed like the thing to do.

    Your post actually brought some tears to my eyes, which is really embarrassing because I am at work and the phone repair guy just walked in to tell me he was done fixing something and now I look like a complete doofus.

    I feel the need to respond to you from two perspectives. The first is why you are a lot more of a success than you give yourself credit for.

    Success is too often defined as being about money or being the president of some company, but I look at you as having success written all over yourself (Someone take away Jenny’s crayons!). You are married to someone who you seem to love dearly and who loves you back. You have a wonderful daughter. You make millions of people smile on a regular basis. You have made Beyonce the Chicken a household name. And you have raised awareness on some important issues, too, such as mental illness and body-image, among others.

    I am betting there are other things that define you as a success, too, but onto the other perspective I want to write about – that you are not alone.

    Like I said, I am nearly 50. I have never been married and often struggle to even find someone who will give me a shot at a relationship. I’m not a bad looking guy. I have a job. But I often struggle with a sense that I am simply a failure in some way that I can’t identify. This makes me feel very alone.

    And in some health issues that most people wouldn’t see from looking at me, but have effected me in a variety of ways, a struggle sometimes in dealing with depression and anxiety, and a touch of shyness and lack of confidence, and you have someone who looks at his life and thinks he has failed in too many ways. Is my life just about going through the motions of working, going to the gym, writing, listening to music, and watching Stewart and Colbert? Am I destined to being alone? Am I going to suffer worse health issues and have no one to help me through them to boot!?

    I don’t want to make this about me, but I feel like it is the only way I, Scott, can say you are not alone. I am guessing you will receive thousands of other responses like mine.

    So there you go. I think you matter a lot more in the world and are a lot more successful then you lend credence to yourself for. I also think you are far from alone in feeling like a lost puppy … or kitten or squirrel or animal of your choice.

  395. I have successful moments, not successful days, or weeks, or years. For as much as I’ve accomplished in the past year and in the past several years in my life (3 years suicide free this month!), I still look back at moments from Elementary school where I made a stupid mistake like trying to cut out of class early, or shouting out of turn (I’m 33.) One wrong thing can shatter a day of fabulous. Saturday my boss fired someone, and I had a panic attack on the following Tuesday because I was afraid I was next (no basis for it because he told me I was awesome, but still.) I’ve had close friends decide to ditch me recently because I’m too boisterous and outgoing when in certain social situations. All of these things break me and shake me to the core, and make me wonder why the people who do continue to swirl in my life still swirl there. I have hidden from my friends and family pretty much all summer because I can’t bear the thought of being the person they expect me to be, and letting them down when I don’t want to be that person they want. So I stay home, and sew, and watch television, and post on facebook (and blogs of people I admire like you.)

    The other night, I finished a quilt top, did IT work, baked, cooked a meal for my parents, then got on my motorcycle and went to visit with friends who were reenacting the 18th century at a local Fort. Riding the motorcycle home, I realized that I am one of a very small populous of hand quilting,cooking,IT, Motorcycle women. I don’t think I’ve met another one. And that, was what made me get up the next morning. To know that I am the only one of ME in this world. Just like you are the only one of YOU. Who else could write about crazy taxidermy stories, or wear an awesome red dress while dressing taxidermied animals in a myriad of clothing. I mean, my dad’s a hunter and all, and he puts Christmas ornaments on his 10 point buck’s antlers during the holiday….but I couldn’t do that.

    It took a lot for me to realize that I was the only me, and how important I was in the small grand scheme of the world. And not every day equates to me feeling that. Many days I am like you, wondering if I am as fantastic as people say I am. But I find one small thing that I did, or that happened to help make me feel that much less of a failure. Even if its as small as – Hey, I got out of bed today!, or “Hey! I changed the toilet paper roll instead of just sitting the TP on the sink!” Its still an accomplishment. And some days, its just as simple as my cat snuggling against me. Because we all know, cats are great judges of character.

    You are not alone in this darkness. Its a good thing we all have our inner light to show to one another.

    HUGS to you.

    Mea recently posted Family.

  396. I’m just going to reiterate what I can imagine is the general consensus of the comments: we are all basket cases. People on fb are all liars( even the ones I love) some people are just either really good at hiding their imperfections or not brave enough to expose them. (Same thing?) bottom line, what other people portray as their perfect life is irrevelant & frankly just bs… NO ONE loves PTA. but when you can’t look yourself in the mirror & see what most likely is a wonderful person then yes you need more help. No one as funny as you deserves to go so many days without just saying “hey, I am pretty bad ass” because you are. I find myself comparing my qualities to others & that’s just a slippery slope so why bother? I’ve screwed up but they’ve done shit too. I just take some deep breaths & make sure I’m not reacting to infrasound

  397. It is not just you. And you captured exactly why I am not on Facebook or Pinterest or join the PTA.

    Since you’ve asked, personally, I’m doing a lot better since I shifted to a SAHM. I have more good days than bad. I take a lot more joy in small successes (gardening, canning, happy kids, happy husband). A change for the better for me came when I decided to actively work to be as kind to myself as I am to others. Kindness and forgiveness is something we deserve, but not something we often give ourselves. Try to be kinder to yourself.

    Also, although I’ve been categorized as high functioning and high performing, I often feel like a fraud, too. And on those days my mantra is “Fake it till you make it.” (For the record, I’m still in pajamas at 3pm, but I put a bra on, so I think it’s ok). LOL!! Hang in there and thank you for your honesty and your insight.

  398. YES. I often feel like this – I also know you aren’t looking for “OMG, you’re doing fine!” so hopefully, this little tidbit is useful!

    So, I have anxiety. Like, whoa. It comes to a head about every 3 years or so, where everything is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE. I’ve been dealing with it for a long time (as long as I’ve been born) but for every three years, there is one year of impossible. And so now I’ve developed a lovely cycle. And it always likes to dance around with depression. Yay, right? Now, this advice sounds A LOT easier than it really is. In fact, most people are going to be all like, “really? That’s it?” but trust me – it’s not perfect, and it takes a lot of work and I’m still perfecting (hah) it.

    Do stuff. Fill your time. Fill it full of impossible hobbies, volunteer work (this one is extra bonus points), extra degrees, etc. This probably is not a fit for everyone, but it has really helped me. Anxious brains get anxious when there is nothing to do but think about how anxious you are. Slowly but surely, I have found that the more I volunteer, work in things that actually matter to me (though, unfortunately makes me poor), and schedule each day to do something, even if it isn’t “accomplishing” anything, really helps to settle my brain. And if you can’t do that one thing today? Do something else. I’ve started doing stuff that makes other people reliant on me (Hey, you have to be at the print shop by 10am!), that way, it’s harder to let myself off the hook. These are the hardest things, but if you are looking for a sense of accomplishment, it is facing the monster in your brain like this head on. Even if it is only 3-4 days a month. Pretty much cognitive therapy, but I’ve literally made my work, and daily schedule into one big cognitive therapy session.

    So yea, do that and you’ll be fine!

    No really, though, it’s something I’ve been trying to balance for 10 years (doing too much, not doing anything with any purpose, etc), and I know it will never be perfect, and I know that anxious monster in my brain will always try to lie to me, but it’s been the best medicine by far.

  399. Love you are not alone. I am sure there are a lot of us who feel the way you do and we don’t take drugs or have disorders. I know I don’t and I feel the way you do a lot and I am always smiling and laughing. But I have my days were I feel like I am nothing and have accomplished nothing. Heck there are times I think that I suck at being a mom because I don’t do the PTA thing and that when my oldest was getting bullied in her old school that I didn’t do enough.

    Stephanie recently posted Nice Birthday.

  400. I’ve come to realize a lot of it is hormone related (hello 40′s….meet perimenopause). I get about 8 days a month to feel awesome, ten days to feel normal, and about 12 a month that I simply have to survive. Thankfully I have figured out how to watch the calendar to manage those glitchy days. I don’t volunteer, schedule anything stressful, etc. on those days.

    Hang in there and just work hard to make those kick ass ninja days REALLY productive. :)

    Barbara recently posted Seaweed Shooters.

  401. Screw the undamaged. They are uninteresting and boring, living carbon copy lives of television show agendas. Do I ever feel productive? No. I feel like I battle against a tide of personal demons and each day I don’t succumb (or succumb not quite as badly as I might), I am my own hero.

    I feel like during senior year in high school, there should be an assembly and the principal should come in and just say, “Look, we’re all fucking winging it. Adults don’t know shit. Some think they do and they’re wrong. I wanted to be a chef but I now I am a principal and every day I wonder how the fuck I got here. Don’t look to the 1% of the 1% who are on TV or have achieved some level of fame. Try to make less mistakes than yesterday and more interesting mistakes tomorrow. You cannot get life wrong because it’s YOUR life and there’s never been another you so your journey is your own.” But they won’t do that, sadly.

    If you like checklists, start by checking off one thing everyday: “Successfully operated the ventilation and circulatory system of a wildly complex and confusing piece of machinery during previous 24-hour period, non-stop. Also, wine.”

  402. Whew, actually this post made me feel better, because here you are successful in your own way, and I can’t even put my shoes on the right way most days. Forget selling a painting, I don’t even have motivation to work on my Art most days, is that called Artist’s Block?

    This post made me feel better, because I know I am fucked up, and I am not the only one.

    As for Pastel people, I am usually surprised that people we know who seem to have such perfect lives, have their own issues, they are just better at hiding it.

    gal artist recently posted 3rd Times A Charm.

  403. I often feel the same way – it’s very hard for me to take compliments, and I often feel like I’m just pretending I know what I’m doing. It’s the constant undertow of depression/anxiety/add/etc – it’s always there, but the difference is whether I can resist the undertow or if it is too strong for me. Raising meds may help somewhat – I raised my meds recently because I felt like for me it doesn’t so much change the type of thoughts I have (that I’m messing up, that people don’t ACTUALLY like me, that I’m just pretending to be competent) but it changes the power they have over me. I can say to myself “Yep, you’re having one of those negative/obsessive/fearful/etc thoughts, but what you are thinking is NOT true and you just need to set it aside and do what needs to be done.” Before raising the meds I tried to do that, but more often than not I ended up sinking.

    But yeah. I feel that way too. The thing that helps me the most when I’m really fighting the undertow is talking about it. Whether to one good friend or posting on FB – I get these thoughts out of my head and out into the light of day. When I most want to go hide under the covers I force myself to reach out. And in return, I get this outpouring of love and support from my friends. And blogs like yours are part of the reason I found the courage to do that.

    Slowly I am learning to take the good days as a gift and accept the bad days as a reality – because i know both will come, and both will go, no matter what I do. So even if it’s just a few days a month where you feel like you kicked ass, enjoy them. And remember on the other days – those kickass days will come again.

  404. Amanda Palmer says fuck the fraud police. I know you’ve probably already seen this, but just as a reminder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA8XiC3m7vw

    And the transcript: http://www.theshadowbox.net/forum/index.php?topic=18041.0

    I feel the fraud police on my shoulder most of the time. And I’ve come to accept that most days I am grateful just to get through. Your count of 3-4 days a month seems about right to me. Sometimes I waver throughout the day though. If I actually do something that seems to mean something, I may feel good about it for a few minutes, but by the end of the day, I’ve forgotten all the little things I’ve done that may have mattered.

  405. Thank you for saying what i have been trying to say. I maybe get 10 good days in a month tops recently. some days i’m not sure what to count them as its so routine, i wasn’t a good day but i didn’t kill anyone either. i just sort of exist. I know its the depression, i know its the anxiety, i know its the ridiculous, i know my husband and kid love me.. i know its all in my head. i know we’ll get through it.

  406. Jenny, I can tell you I’m probably one of those people you see on Facebook that seem all shiny and happy and successful, and you know what? I’m JUST like you. The same. Very few people know it, but luckily, the ones that do are supportive and awesome and will tell me stupid things to make me laugh.

    No method of improvement has been foolproof for me, other than slowly learning to get excited about what I’m able to do, not what I didn’t do. Instead of “All I did today was go to the bank and I’m wearing yoga pants that have toothpaste on them,” it becomes “I went to the MOTHERFUCKING BANK, BITCHES, and my $9.37 check is the BEST one they’ve seen all day! Plus I got a SUCKER!”

    Stay strong. You’re alive, and have a cool kid and husband, and some days those might be the only wins you’ve got. But they ARE wins, and you recognize the importance of that. You’re farther ahead than you realize.

  407. I’m terribly interested in the responses you get from this, as I sadly have considered the fact that I showered two days ago an immense accomplishment. Or the fact that yesterday, I vaguely picked up my house and managed to at least get all the garbage into one sack and onto the back porch (still hasn’t made it to the actual dumpster, but little steps…..right?) I *know* for a fact that this is not the definition (or the correct definition, anyway) of success, but for me, it’s all I can point to and be somewhat reassured that I still belong in the human race. I’m pretty sure that it is not normal. Here’s hoping some other reader will have something more tangible, some better idea of how to *be* better? As for me, it’s honestly kind of a relief to know that it’s not just me, which I know sounds selfish and awful, but there ya go. This didn’t really help you out at all, did it? I guess what I meant to try and say is that you are not alone, and there has to be more than the two of us out there with these creeping thoughts of failure as a human in general, which means there also has to be a solution of some kind??? Right?? (desperately hoping there is a better answer out there somewhere….)

  408. I feel like this everyday. I get up, work, go to bed. I feel like I simply exist. Breathe in, breathe out. No husband, no kids. Can’t take a compliment to save my life. You are definitely NOT alone. 99% of those people on FB, Pinterest, etc, just make their lives look that way to make themselves feel better. So, if that’s what works for them so be it. Just know we’re all out here too feeling the same way. Sending love and hugs!

  409. You are OKAY!!! Just do what you can and enjoy your life. It’s not a race. Everyone feels like this at least some of the time. Take care of yourself and those you love, the rest of the stuff isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Kind thoughts & hugs!

  410. I think it’s a matter of prioritizing. I washed my hair this morning because I care about clean hair but I didn’t dress like I gave a poop because… who’s looking, really? I’ve read all the Season 3B spoilers for Teen Wolf, but I do not know what all this Syria hubbub is about (and I am very intentionally ignoring it because I can only handle so much negative before I overload).

    The key to my sanity, I have found, is prioritizing. Because otherwise, I feel like a failure for not addressing or completing every thought or idea in my brain. Maybe just try picking out the stuff that matters and try not to feel bad about (or just completely ignore!) the stuff that doesn’t.

    Wendy recently posted In the Not Too Distant Dystopian Future Where I Become My Mother.

  411. Oh, shit, dude, I don’t even know the last time I sat back at the end of the day and thought, “nailed it.” Most times, I fall asleep in the middle of making promises to myself about all the things I’m going to do better tomorrow. Some of which I break within 5 minutes of waking up. I think just about everyone I know is more together and better at life-ing than I am. But I also operate on the theory that I am THE MOST average person in the world. So if that’s true of me, then it’s probably true of most people.

    Kelly recently posted These are some things: forcing this on that, ear potatoes, PJs/weeJs..

  412. Oh my god. Seriously. I just told my therapist Tuesday that it is taking EVERYTHING I have to just get through the fucking day. I don’t have anything left for PTA. It takes me two days to recover from a trip to the goddamn grocery store. My health sucks, I’m always exhausted, I can’t sleep, and if I do physically feel well enough to get anygoddamnthing accomplished, then half of that time I spend beating myself up over what I didn’t do or haven’t done or have no fucking intention of doing. I am trying really, really hard to take better care of myself and do some things differently. For instance: It’s okay to say no. That is really hard for me to do sometimes, because I don’t want people to think I’m just a hateful bitch, but sometimes I REALLY need to just be quiet and be by myself. It takes so much energy to be around people and do normal things, like talk to the dentist or pay the electric bill. Those things are hard for me. And I’m ashamed of it. And I spend all my time trying to hide that those things are hard and that I’m ashamed so I have no extra time or energy to do those stupid things anyway. Fuck those things. On a positive note (I guess) I have been doing things for myself lately because my therapist says I’m worth it and she says its homework and it feels fucked up to pay someone to give me homework, but ohwell. I’ve been writing, listening to music really loud, making all sorts of things, painting, you name it. It feels good while I’m doing it. Then I see the kids picking their school clothes out of the volcano on the couch and it feels like I fucked up. Again. Also I started only working while the kids are at school so when they get home I have time for coloring and talking, which is good. This comment is all over the place. Sorry. I still love you. Even though you’re a fuckup. Dammit, I just realized I fucked up this comment. How many days do I feel I accomplished what I wanted? If I got 5 in a month it’d be amazing. How many days do I feel like I can’t take it anymore and I just stare at a wall and cry? At least 2 but up to 5. How many days do I get the basics done, like feeding my kids and making sure they shower and feel like that’s success? The rest (I’m not good at math).

    Stephanie recently posted Unwilling vegan.

  413. As seeing that the majority feel similar I can safely say that just wrecking my house with an attempt to clean out my closet, and contents of sed closet are strune about the house making everything worse than it was before I took everything out and then becoming so overwhelmed that all I ended up doing was sweeping off the back porch and then washing some dishes before I took a bath and passed out in my bed, the little I did, or the mess that I made was at least one something, and that’s good enough for me……I don’t have time to be a perfect plastic person.

  414. I grew up in the pastel family you talked about. We had fancy dinner dishes and recycling containers, and though my mother wasn’t a PTA mom, everyone who knew us “knew” that we had a homemade dinner every night and the picture perfect family. It was funny, because we were all just raised to be brilliant actors and our lives weren’t different from anyone elses. My mother, though she was never diagnosed, most certainly suffers from some level of depression and agorophobia. She is incapable of leaving the house on her own.

    I can’t tell you how many people have told me how jealous they are of my “perfect” family.

    Though I am an adult now with a “successful” job and “bright” future, I go to bed most days wondering where the time went and feeling guilty about the fact that I have three weeks worth of dirty clothes spread around my apartment. My mental to do list is always always always longer than my mental daily accomplishments list. I read once that everyone is winging it, and I try to remind myself that I could be doing a lot worse, and people that appear to be doing better are probably just better at hiding how average they are actually doing. After years of being told my life is perfect, I’ve come to realize that no one’s is.

  415. 416
    Sandra Regina

    The pretty put-together people? You only see a part of their life. Just like they only see a part of theirs. You can’t see their dirty car or fridge full of take out or whatever at a PTA meeting. You can only see the outside, at that moment – not anything inside them, or earlier in the day, or later that night. Someone could look at you and think: man, she has a great kid, an understanding husband, she blogs AND is a successful writer; what the hell have I done, living alone with my cats doing boring office work I hate…she’s so much better than me! And they’d be wrong, not because you aren’t amazing, but because they don’t see the unpacked boxes or the anxiety, or that people around them only see their smiling face and the apparent ‘freedom’ of being single. .
    Sorry for focusing on that part of your post, but I see it a lot. People see the superficial put-togetherness of the people around them and assume that translates into 100% success always and everywhere, and that’s NOT TRUE. Its something that took me a long time to understand, and I still fall prey to that sort of false equivalence.
    So yeah. Other people feel like frauds or they don’t have their shit together (I am one of them). Far more people than you will ever see.
    You can’t compare yourself to other people.

  416. I think you need to give yourself a break. You can’t be all things to all people. Maybe today you can just say, this is me, can’t change that, I can always improve, BUT, I like just who I am!!! You make thousands of people laugh lift us up when were down, whats not to like? And who cares that other people seem to have a better grip on their ‘perfect life’, they have their shit too, they just hide it better. Plus by you sharing your craziness you just make me and everybody else comfortable in our own. So like I said Give Yourself a Break! You should love Jenny like the rest of us do! <3

  417. completely relate. I feel like a fraud at least 90% of the time. Just this wknd a friend said to me “you’re one of the most wonderful people I know” and I rolled my eyes. I feel like I’m failing at work, at relationships, as a daughter, sister, person. I have a masters degree, a good job at an impressive big-name company, lots of friends, a nice home, etc, but feel as though I have accomplished nothing in life and will be found out any day now. Living in a house of cards. I, too, have depression and anxiety. And even though I am so, so, so much better than I was a year ago I still feel like a loser who doesn’t know “how to do” life.

    to feel better I turn to music. or clean out my closet. I think organizing my closet makes me feel in control of something. Sometimes I make a list in my head of my accomplishments and try to accept that *I* really did do those things and I should take credit for them. But it’s a constant struggle.

  418. It’s not just you. I’ve been in a spiral lately, but even when I was productive and working, I always felt like a fraud. I was fighting with my husband the other night, and we both decided that being an adult is hard, and we quit. Neither of us has figured out how to quit adulting without quitting life, though, so we’re stuck. Dammit. What I’m trying to say, though, is that there are days where I feel successful because I did the dishes. Nothing else, just the dishes. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one fighting this. Thank you.

  419. It’s not often that I could honestly say – I could have written that exact same post The Bloggess wrote today. (my less has significantly less taxidermy). But what you said today – soul sisters.

    Melizzard recently posted Dear Random Children of the Internet with Blogging Moms:.

  420. but I’m not very good at being a person
    You are so not alone in this. I am a very successful university professor and I feel like this all the time! I have the bestest son on the entire planet and a terrific husband of 21 years, a published author, a home owner, etc…. And I still feel like that, all the time.
    You are not alone.

  421. You are not alone! I feel successful…um…sometimes… possibly. Let’s face it, I think most moms fall in the category of “not horrible but not great maybe kinda meh” mom on most days. So while I feel like a sham mom (as opposed to shamwow!), I can usually push past that mental linebacker.
    Trying to be a “real” artist is where I can really get bogged down. Mostly, I keep moving the goal posts on success.
    “Real artists do ______” Except I never let myself feel like a “real” artist for more than 5 seconds after reaching that goal. “Sold a bunch of artwork! Yeah, but it was to a friend so it doesn’t count.” “Lookit me! I’m using oil paints! Yeah, like an amateur.”
    I could paint all day, and it never feels like I’ve done enough work.

    Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where I will feel successful. For now, I try to shape that feeling of failure into a driving force and tamp it down to manageable as opposed to overwhelming.

    You are not alone. *hugs*

  422. Oh honey, I know these feels. Some days I feel like I’ve accomplished miracles just by emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash. I’m 43 and still wondering when I’m going to actually feel like a grown-up who has her shit together. Mucho hugses to you!

  423. Only the truly psychotic or deeply annoying are happy every day.

    But I do share the feeling you are describing.

    Perhaps embrace this feeling as part of the absurdity of being human.

    I have no idea what I am doing most of the time. Nothing is ever set, I will ALWAYS wonder* what the hell I am doing and if it is the right thing to do. That is the new normal, the new status quo.

    The one thing that always springs to my mind is something along the lines of: Human beings are the only animals who don’t know how to just be themselves. Maybe we can be ourselves, and just include the “not knowing what the hell I’m doing right now” into our every day self.

    *F’ing grreeeaaattttt, right? I’ll be hiding under my bed.

  424. You are 100% normal in thinking those things. Or at least I hope you are because I feel that way too. Why is it so much easier for everyone else to make it to the dry cleaners, make a decent dinner AND have a clean house?! I can barely do one of those things. Once a month I get some of the back log of things on my never ending to do list completed and it makes me feel good until I see the rest of the things on my list or realize I’ll just have to start most of these tasks over in a week or so anyway. I think the key is not looking at the individual tasks that are getting done/not done but that you’re living. You’re making it through each day and spending each day with your daughter. The stuff that matters is getting done. So what if there’s a pile of papers on your desk thats been there for months. All those PTA moms probably have a stack of papers or dusty boxes somewhere too. You just don’t see them. I try to make lists and include really easy stuff on them. It makes you feel accomplished when you cross something off that list and see that you really are being a productive member of society. The only downside to the list making is if you do have a bad day and don’t cross anything off, then it does make you feel that much worse. Or it may motivate you to take a shower because at least you can cross that sucker off the list.

  425. You are in the same boat as most of us. “Seem” being the operative word about other people seeming to have their shit together. I’m taking care of my mom for a living, and every time someone tells me I’m a “good daughter” I just want to tell them how much I suck at this.

    I don’t have any good remedies for this, except vacation usually works for me. Getting away is terribly horribly complicated difficult, but it gives my brain a chance to reset from the depressive crapola that inundates my life when I’m at home with mom.

    How often do I feel like life is good or I’m good at life? MOMENTS here and there. It’s tough, but actually recognizing them is the first challenge. Love you, sweetie.

    Many hugs from your humble servant in WA.

  426. Everyone has days they don’t wash their hair and dusty boxes in the corner of the basement. And the most put-together people that you know, the ones who couldn’t possibly have a speck of dirt anywhere on themselves or their things? Their problems are all internalized, those boxes and oily hair are in their souls. Just look at the Kennedys.

    I feel accomplished most days, but that’s because I’m a teacher. After many many years of floundering, I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and now I’m finally doing it. Even the most frustrating days with students are good days. That said, there are many nights when I go to bed and can’t sleep because I am freaking out about real and imagined problems facing me. Even a good day can end very poorly.

    And I still haven’t unpacked boxes from when I moved into my house four years ago. Dust doesn’t begin to describe it.

  427. You’re going to get a lot of this, so I’m sure I’m only adding to the din unnecessarily, but:

    You are one of the people at whom I look and say “She is kicking so much more ass than me, and I need to try harder if I don’t want to continue to spend the rest of my life feeling like such a fucking failure.” My day job as a web developer is eating most of my soul, the freelance web-dev projects I take on the side are eating the rest, and my family’s financial situation is such that I currently am in no position to stop doing either in order to focus on my writing … and it is pretty much only on those very rare occasions when I do actually write/post something seemingly worthwhile that I feel like I’ve kind-of sort-of kicked a wee bit o’ ass. So almost never.

    And despite being determined for many years to write a memoir, I haven’t written word one.

    So, in answer to your question: The number of days per month when I truly feel like I’ve kicked ass averages less than 1. I’m 43, spending every day sitting in a cubicle, and I hear the clock of life ticking exponentially louder, drowned out only by the voice in my head that constantly tells me that my visions of a successful — both personally and financially — life as a writer, which I once felt 100% certain would be a reality, are a total mirage, and that I am a complete and utter failure.

    I, too, suffer from depression, and ADD, and the Wellbutrin can only do so much to mitigate my disgust with what I’m doing with my life and my apparent inability to force myself to change it all.

    Everything’s relative. In my eyes, you have a level of talent and a degree of professional success that make me green with envy.

    How’s that for honest?

    Fortunately, I still have enough soul left to be genuinely and extremely happy for you instead of bitterly jealous and spiteful. But, you know … there’s still time. ;)

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to pretending I’m working here in my cubicle …

    Daddy Scratches recently posted I’m goin’ back to Cali.

  428. You are most definitely NOT the only person who feels that way. I have to wonder if the feeling you described is normal & some people are just better at hiding it.

    In a typical month, I feel truly successful maybe 2 or 3 days. Like you, I constantly feel like I’m treading water, barely keeping afloat.

    The thing that makes me feel the worst is when I spend time around people who have their shit together more than I do. I wonder why I can’t get as much done as them or why I can’t cook as well or keep my house as clean or be as patient w/ my kiddo. When I start asking myself those questions, the amount of failures seems so overwhelming, I just give up on myself completely.

    As for a way to feel more successful, I really don’t know how to do that. There are just those lucky occasions where I accomplish something I’ve wanted to get done for awhile and I feel really good. Sometimes I think back to my crazy childhood and think “at least I’m doing THIS better than my parents” and that makes me feel somewhat better. Overall, just being able to celebrate an accomplishment makes the failures seem a little smaller.

  429. maybe two times a month. I work outside of the home in a demanding job that isn’t always 9-5 Monday through Friday. I have NEVER been in PTA but I’m awful good at writing checks. I don’t volunteer for anything and when I do I immediately regret it. I like being home. I like quiet time. I like that my family supports my need to have time where I’m just a sloth, and a lazy sloth at that. It has taken me years to decide that if I don’t want to do something and it isn’t critical to the general well being of me or my family, I don’t do it and I refuse to feel bad about it.

    And I don’t care if you have physical or mental health issues, either – everybody feels this way. If someone is judging you, screw ‘em. I don’t have enough time or energy to judge the choices/decisions/life of others unless it violates a basic human right like child abuse or murder or whatever. If they want to judge me, I’m jealous they have the time/energy, but they don’t have to live in my house with my people and animal or be me, ever. What I “lack” I make up for in other generally positive things.

    Once when I was feeling particularly like a big fat failure at everything a therapist told me (yes, I have mental health issues as well) that the people that live the shiny lives and can’t admit or share their feelings of failing, falling behind, self-esteem, etc., are the people that are ready to crack and fall apart with no way to put themselves back together. I don’t want to be that person – I want to be able to put it back together – and frequently have to – even if that means I’m not a shiny PTA mom that brings the homemade smorgasbord (Swedish, sorry) of dessert treats made without any allergens but still tasty with my makeup and hair salon-pretty and fully accessorized. I’d rather laugh and cry with the people that get me than spend a lot of time alone in the bathroom worrying about how other people perceive me.

    Whew, sorry. The short story is, you’re not just fine, you’re normal. You just have different demons to battle and you’re healthy enough to bring them out in the open and ask for help dealing with them. That’s the kind of friend I want to have/be!

  430. I am having one of those days too. My 8 and 9 year old are playing inside today because my butt has not left the couch and Fb is my only friend who understands me. To boot….my phone rang 4 times today and rather then answer it….ok….I never even looked at the caller ID…..after the last call left a message on my machine I picked up my hand held, turned it on and tossed it under a couch cushion so I don’t have to listen to the beep, beep, beep sound. I will pat myself on the back, however, for taking care of my kids today. When they needed something like a meal or a moment to tell me something funny I animate myself and smile long enough for them not to catch on. I need to do this every once in a while just to make it through the crazy days that lie ahead of me. By the way….I am convinced the PTA people are either Martians or on some kind of medication because no ones life is that perfect! NO ONE. I call their BS.

  431. I feel like I kicked-ass as a human being about 4 or 5 days a month. The rest of the time I, too, feel like I’m just faking it OR not even faking it, just completely failing. Most nights I lie in bed and think about what an asshole I was that day and how I can’t even stand myself, so how do other people even like me. I know I’m decent at my job (teaching 3rd grade, god help those kids!), my family and boyfriend love me, my cat likes me sometimes, but I just don’t feel like I’m good enough for any of that — like I just don’t deserve it somehow. I only drag my ass out of bed and do what I have to do that day because if I don’t, it might be my last day. But those 4 or 5 days when I kicked life’s ass, I kicked it good! And I feel what I believe is joy. And so far, it’s been enough to stick around. You are not the only one, Jenny. xxo

  432. I feel like this a lot, and I have mild depression and ocd at the most. I constantly feel like an awful parent because I’m not taking my kids to a park or play group or music lessons every day. It’s hard. My wife had post partum that bloomed into full on depression and anxiety (or was brought out by the post partum) and she struggles with the same things you do. She is s veterinarian. She will save animals lives, even police dogs, and come home feeling awful. I think you are normal and those pinterest moms are the exception. You are not alone in this.

  433. First off, I think if you went into any of those PTA mom’s homes and got to know them enough to get them to let their guard down you would find that many of them feel like they are just treading water too, and only on the PTA because it’s what you do to keep up appearances……

    I think I feel successful more when there are tangible results. Like I get up and feel like a loser because there is laundry everywhere, so I take all the laundry and sort it in the laundry room. I may never even complete a load, but I took step one and sorted. Or I feel like a loser because I didn’t make dinner so I bake a batch of pre-made cookie dough. Something where there are results you can look at. Just a thought….

    PS I’m sure I”m not the only one in the community saying this, but I think you are wonderful. And we are all here cheering you along.

    Jen-Jen recently posted Hiding in the Bathroom.

  434. I have countered a lot of this by delving into mindfulness and buddhism and stuff like that. It’s the ego that convinces us we’re failing, the ego that craves the attention (negative or positive), the ego that is so afraid of being rendered obsolete that it will do anything to make us believe it. So when we have these moments of one-ness with the universe, like when we sit down and bond with our kids or we realize what’s really important and it’s *not* when the house is on fire, the ego jumps up and screams, “But you didn’t do this! And looks what Betty did! And what about that bad thing that happened?” because if we were to ever realize that we’re okay, the ego would die!
    Check out Cheri Huber and Eckhart Tolle for a couple of perspectives on this idea. I ADORE Cheri Huber’s books wherein she posits that there is nothing wrong with us we just need to listen to kinder voices inside our heads!
    I, too, have those moments and at the darkest of them even wonder if the above is just a rationalization for my laziness and failure. However, in the meantime, I really benefit from learning to Enjoy Life :)

  435. You are very much not alone. It’s kind of reassuring, seeing all the people who are like you (and like me) commenting here. I feel like this pretty much every day, too, and worry that I am dragging my kids down with me.
    I think that everyone – even if they don’t put words to the thought – feels this way. I’m so glad that you write and share your thoughts about these crappy, scary parts of life. Your writing makes me (and a lot of people) happy – I’ve found my tribe.

  436. This post and Allie Brosh’s post about “This Is Why I’ll Never Be An Adult” describe my exact life exactly. Just add three children to the mix. Talk about feeling like a failure.

    I feel I am genuinely successful at life for probably 30 minutes a month.

    I feel the worst when: I have to tell my daughter to RUN to her classroom as I’m dropping her off in the carpool line because we are late to school AGAIN. Or the kids eat donuts for breakfast in the car on the way to school for the third day in a row because we are too late to eat breakfast at the table. I have very few moments where I feel like I’m winning at this parenting thing, let alone at life.

    I feel successful when: the kids are declared cavity-free at the dentist’s office. (That’s kind of a tiny miracle from Jesus and I’m totally taking credit for that shit.) I feel successful when my 4 year old opens the door for a woman with a walker so she can get inside easier – and he did this without any prompting from me.

    My whole life all I’ve ever wanted to be was a mother. Now that I am, I question why anyone ever thought this was a good idea. I am far to crazy for my own good let alone for the good of three tiny people. And I obsess over all those pretty, pastel families who are rocking at life and wonder what I’m doing wrong. I make lists of things that I’ll change and once I make those changes, I feel like everything else will just fall in to place.

    But that list is never-ending. There’s just too much I need to change. How do you become a different person?

    You are not alone in this, Jenny. But it sure does feel like it, I know.

  437. I just wanted to make a comment about being thousands of emails behind. I was twenty-six thousand emails behind. Yeah. No joke. I stopped dealing with email after my seperation. For over a year email just sat. So next time you are worried about emails Jenny… You could have 26,000. <3

  438. Lately, my give-a-fuck has been severely damaged, if not outright broken, with regard to a lot of things, particularly my job. It’s not that I hate it — I don’t, really, at all, it’s just that my brain wants to be doing something else and the energy required for the job is energy I then do have to do that something else.

    So, yeah, lately I’ve been getting 5-10 “good” work days out of the 20 or so in a month. Fortunately, I’ve been doing projects where the deadlines weren’t exactly looming, so I had some time. Now, of course, they ARE looming and that sense of dread is getting worse, not better. I know what I have to do, I just wonder how many extra hours it’ll take to make up for all the time I didn’t spend on them earlier.

    I’d wager there are far more folks like us than like the “perfect people”, and in my experience, that perfect appearance is just a facade, anyway. So much energy goes into that that there’s nothing left for the stuff that matters. Like huddling under a blanket with your daughter & watching old TV reruns.

  439. You are way fucking ahead of 3/4 of the people in this world! The fact that you wake up is an accomplishment in my opinion. There is no accomplishment book. I have found that Life is not hard unless you make it hard. Changing your perspective and attitude has helped me less stressed and more productive. I struggle with body image and weight loss and feel like I would be perfect if I could just fix that part of my life.

    If you want to feel better about your life or feel like you are accomplishing great things even on a small basis, then you can always help others. You already do this by writing your blog. People love and learn from your writing. You don’t have to write a second book. Or, maybe a smaller kids book for adults would be cool. We would all buy it even if it was crappy! A good example of this idea is the book “When I found you” by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It is a good read.

    You raising your kid to be a good person is far and beyond any importance of being a PTA mom. Most PTA’s are cliché cliques. Some are not. But most are.

    STOP comparing yourself to others and their lives or what they accomplish. You are the only one that matters.

    KEEP being YOU and get it through your foggy mind that YOU are and what you do is good enough just as you are.

    I love your writing and wish I knew you in real life. Non touching Hugs to you!

  440. Wow. I thought I was the only one that feels this way. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything, but this describes pretty well how I feel most of the time. For me, it’s as though my life is an ocean of numbness/feelings of failure, and little islands of good feels. One thing that helps: the major critical voice in my head is my father’s, and since I’ve already determined that my father was an asshole, it’s easier to tell the voice ‘you are an asshole, shut the fuck up’. I try to tell myself that maybe this is the time in my life I need to consume information. That’s why I watch so many crime shows and read so many feminist blogs. It’s a natural stage in life, right? Sometimes, this works, and makes me feel like my job right now is to learn how to think and be a better person by exposing myself to intelligent stuff and arguments. Sometimes, thinking this way makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something even if it’s only trolling the interwebs.

  441. I’m not depressed, nor do I have anxiety and yet I often feel they way you do. I don’t have a ton of advice for you on doing more or being better, I can only tell you that it’s not just you. I also get the impression that people think I’m one of those shiny moms on FB. But shit, I don’t post the UGLY pictures, I mean who the hell pins their disastrous attempt at disciplining teenage boys? I used to worry about it, but now I only feel really bad when I waste an entire weekend. I hate that. Hang in there – regardless of how successful you feel all the time, you regularly kick ass at entertaining me.

  442. You are definitely not alone.
    My husband and I say on a regular basis that we are “bad at life.” We both have good jobs and make very decent money. We have a house, we have our two modest cars, our two muts and our little boy who, by all accounts, is totally brilliant, healthy, funny and adorable.
    I am out of the house from 7 am until 6 pm Monday-Friday. I will never be able to make real dinners (frozen pizza is at least once a week) and I will never, ever, EVER look at Pinterest. I will never put laundry away but rather, if we are having company, I will move the piles from the dining room to the bedrooms. And then put it right the fuck back in the dining room when the guests leave because that is just where it fucking goes.
    We have no money in savings. Like, none. When one of our cars blows up and we have to go buy a new one, we will not have a down payment. We live check to check and have embarrassing credit card debt.
    Money is the thing that makes us the most “bad at life.”
    I yell at my son way too much. Because I have very little patience. Because of the being out of the house from 7-6, the laundry in the dining room and the no money in the bank. Then I feel guilty and wonder, “why does he even like me?” Because he really does, like, a lot. But if I were him, I’m pretty sure I’d just recognize me as the short-tempered, lazy bitch that I really am. He will probably figure this out by age 10 and then things will really get shitty.
    So yeah, did I mention you are not alone?!
    We all have the things that make us feel like we are bad at life. And we’re right. But also, we’re wrong. Because of all the stuff we don’t suck at.
    Also, the people that you think have their shit together are repressing anguish over their shitty parents and their spouses are cheating on them.
    Perfection is nothing but an act.
    Love ya, Bloggess.
    n.

  443. Actually, you sound like an over-achiever compared to me, at least. I mean it really is a lot easier to raise cats than even one child, let alone one that can spell correctly. Does your child fully appreciate the difference between “it’s” and “its”? (That’s for extra bonus points).
    Seriously, you are not alone.
    I think most of us are imposters.
    Life is just hard.

  444. 445
    Jessica Martin

    Jenny,
    You aren’t alone. I only feel like I’m doing ‘good’ maybe a week out of every month if I’m lucky. Most days go something like this : I’m going to clean up the house, and take care of the animals , do art, and twenty other things..then I just don’t..I didn’t make hubby supper, I’m a terrible wife, I didn’t scrub out the water trough today, I’m a terrible horse owner. I hid from my mother in law , I’m a bad person..It all adds up and I feel like a huge screw up most days. I see all the people I know posting about their beautiful lives and I’m wearing a stained and torn dress with no makeup shoveling horse crap and only having friends on the internet because the friends I know in real life don’t have time for me or won’t visit because I have no TV. Seriously . I think we all need to work on how we see ourselves, maybe if we write out what we want to get done, and we get 1/4 of that done we can see ourselves as successful?

  445. You are totally normal. 3-4 days tops for me too, and I am considered a “type A Over-Achiever” by most standards. Trust me, you are working on the same level playing field as the rest of us and you are doing better than most. Don’t freak out, it’s just your brain lying to you that anyone in those magazines is real. The rest of us are fakers too and I don’t actually know ANYONE who has their shit together. It’s all a lie the media gives us so we feel like we need to buy things to make us better people. Most people don;t even get the 3-4 days, so be grateful for that.

    You are an A+ student in life and are doing just fine. Keep up the good work. :-)

  446. I think everyone feels this way. I know I certainly do. I ALWAYS want to do more, but there are some days when I get home from my very non-interesting job and all I have the energy for is to sit on my couch and order a pizza, because cooking and doing the dishes is just WAY too much work. So, what I end up doing (eventually….) is trying to force myself out of my rut. For instance, I just signed up for a class at my nearby university to improve my skills for my career and hopefully either make my job more interesting, or find a new one that is. I’m still going to probably show up to that class after the first couple times in my jeans and t-shirt with unwashed hair up in a ponytail because it’s just WAY too much effort to get dressed up even if everyone else in class is, but, hey, I’m there for me, not for them! And, I think that is the secret to feeling accomplished, if you are able to – realize that you’re really not living your life for other people or for their perception of it, or more importantly YOUR perception of THEIR lives. That’s hard when all you see is their pretty shiny pastel lives that they show the world on Facebook, in meetings, etc. I guarantee you, they have the same fears that you do and that’s WHY they only show the highlights from their lives during those little snippets of time you see them! Sorry…that was super long and rambly! THIS is why I usually just lurk! :)

  447. I once heard a stand up comedian say,”I am embarrassed by like 80% of my life”. Sometimes I feel that way.

  448. 449
    Dayna Bennett

    You are not alone. Unfortunately a lot of people (myself included) feel they need to compare themselves to others, instead of just doing/being who you are. I am getting over that. I don’t have a perfect life. I live with someone who has had cancer of the eye and a week after being treated for that, he had a stroke. Although physically he is fine, he sure isn’t when it comes to emotions and judgment. I also feel like I am surviving day to day. I have to keep my sense of humor and I am constantly trying to put things in perspective. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis (which I now call Rheumatoid Disease, because it is not arthritis), which I struggle with on a daily basis. I literally take it one day at a time. Most days are good, or at least, I try to find some good. I think Facebook has added more anxiety to people because we see what people are doing, i.e., great jobs, going on vacations, having babies, getting married, blah, blah, blah. But, we all have struggles. You are ok. And I love your writing. Don’t give up. You make me laugh.

  449. I almost lost my husband 8 years ago, and maybe it sounds sappy but my husband is everything to me. It completely changed my outlook on the universe. It’s like I suddenly earned a fuck it all pass. He has a chronic illness, I have a chronic illness, we’re never going to get better and we’re poorer than shit but he’s alive. I came out the biggest optimist the world ever saw and I don’t care what anyone thinks. Those shiny people who seem to have to all together don’t really they just expend way to much of their life moments trying to make the rest of use believe that they do. I prefer to live the moments that I have enjoying my life as much as I can even if my house is dirty and I don’t have on makeup for the 4th day this week. Several days of the month I hurt to bad to move very far so I have to give in to those days, the ones that I feel good I’m going to soar!

  450. You are so not alone. I have depression and anxiety too and last winter was the worst I can ever remember. I hid in the house for days and days. To be honest, I’m so scared; as fall sneaks up, that this winter will be bad again. I’m finding ways to make myself feel better about it, like cleaning the crap out of my house but I still definitely feel like I fail at life 90% of the time. I am mostly not a high-functioning member of society and I don’t know how those people that are, can do it.

    kalkette recently posted August Endings.

  451. Just another ‘me too’ to add to the pile. And I don’t have any diagnosis to list here. (That’s not to say that I don’t have depression or any other mental illness, I just haven’t sought a professional opinion.) I think I’m just pretty normal. I would say I feel like a success less than half the time. May be 7 – 10 days in a month. And I think that number is that high because I’m pretty anti-social and in my own little bubble most of the time. And really – NO ONE’s life is that shiny. Seriously, if we all knew the truth about each other, we’d all feel a lot better about ourselves.

  452. I’m lucky if I get one kick-ass day a month. I use “get” because I too suffer from chronic illness and so I don’t feel like those days when I accomplish a ton are determined by my will and grit. It’s only when my symptoms are in check and the stars align that I have a choice in the matter.

    No, it’s not just you. And even though you said no compliments I’m going to give you one. You sharing your humor with everyone can be the one bright spot in someone’s day. I know it has for me.

    Sending powerful and loving thoughts your way!

  453. Nope, not just you. I am convinced that one of these days people are going to realize that I’ve just been pretending to be a grownup.

    I also think it’s a pretty safe bet that every single person you think is successful and organized and has things figured out is *also* desperately hoping that nobody looks too closely at their lives, lest they see all the duct tape and chewing gum that’s actually holding everything together.

    Cobwebs recently posted Haunted Mansion Handbag.

  454. I have a PT (5 hours a day, 4 days a week) job being a personal assistant to an owner and marketing assistant to a separate department doing social media, press releases and other random stuff. I run a daily website that gets around 700 unique visitors a day and I run the social media for it. I freelance as a reporter/writer for the local county paper about 2 or 3 times a week, I also occasionally help edit/proofread for a weekly county paper, and then once a month I spend a week putting together the local Elks Newsletter. And yet, I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough. I still don’t feel like I’m successful, not really. People give me compliments and all I can think is “meh this is just what I do.” I’m with you. I spend maybe 3 or 4 days a month feeling like I’m as awesome as my bf, family, friends, say I am but the rest of the time all I can think about is how I didn’t get something done I wanted to, or I should have spent some time – in that 2 hours free I had today – cleaning up or making better some part of my website. Or I should have sent an email to that new business in town. Or I should have done laundry. Or… shower.
    I do this on top of making lunch for my bf everyday so I know he eats at his stressful manual labor job everyday. Making sure my new kitten is eating the right amount and has play time with me. Making sure I have time to listen to my mom (I’ve been her counselor type since I was 16). Making sure I said hi to my dad via text.

    Those 3 or 4 days that I do have…. I try to hold on to that confidence. I try to tell myself that I need to not be so hard on myself. I get a lot of shit done in a short amount of time and the quality of my work doesn’t suffer and that is amazing. I know I could always think I could do better and more but I’m doing enough – in fact too much – and I need to be nicer to ME.

    You are a mom, a writer, a wife, a good friend and a friggin funny person and that list of things I wish I’d gotten to includes sending you a message and saying I’d love to meet you. I know how you feel but here’s me telling you (like everyone else does, yah yah, blah blah) that you’re kind of a badass and should be nicer to yourself too. :)
    Cheers to us being awesome but still feeling like we aren’t awesome enough.

    Morgan M recently posted Fullerton events for Thursday, September 5.

  455. 456
    Karen Sullivan

    I am reminded of a saying “I compare my insides to other people’s outsides.” I looked just fine on the outside when I was a drunk abused miserable wish-I-was-dead woman. Chances are, those PTA Moms as just as messed up as you or more. My days of feeling worthless get less and less as the years go by – I am 55 years old, so maybe I’ll stop it altogether soon. I guess I’m saying I think you are great just the way you are, and accepting myself just the way I am is making my life better. It’s something I practice. I say to that negative voice “thank you for sharing, now move along.”

  456. You’re not the only one, seriously. I’m not on any meds, although I used to be a long time ago. I have very mild depression, but live in a constant state of mild to high anxiety. I function perfectly fine, it’s not so bad that I don’t get out of bed. However, I do feel these same things you feel. I always feel like everyone else is doing better at everything. I stay home with our two kids (4 and 2) while my husband works, so I have to include things like paying bills, doing laundry, and reading to my kids as serious “accomplishments” or I would have NOTHING to write down for “What I Got Done Today.” I’m raising my kids and teaching them every day, which is a big job, but it’s technically not a “job” and it’s not something I can add to my resume. We live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment, one I was SURE we would have moved out of four years ago. I very often feel like our lives are in limbo, like other people are all moving up the ladder and moving on to better things like a house and a nice neighborhood. I never even finished my degree, so you can imagine how much of a COMPLETE LOSER I feel like every single day. I HATE not having a college degree, it really makes me feel like trash. It’s not like I can say I was busy in India working with homeless people, I was just busy doing NOT MUCH OF ANYTHING. And now that we’re in our early 30′s and have kids, I don’t have TIME to do anything even if I wanted to. I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing aside from getting married and having a family. It can be overwhelming. I feel like I’ve gotten things done maybe 1 or 2 days a week…

  457. 458
    Flatlander In Vermont

    I’m not sure if its ‘normal’ but it is certainly prevalent. Most of the women I know feel this way at some point. Between the pressure of being what society things is ‘right’, and the internet allowing us 24/7 access to people who look so much more put together than ourselves its easy to fall into the fear that you’re not doing enough and what you are doing isn’t right or good enough.
    For myself I’m lucky if I feel like I’m a decent person 4 or 5 days out a month. Usually when I’ve spontaneously decided to do something with my kids that they loved (like baking cupcakes) or being recognized by a friend for doing something nice for them. In those moments I can look at my life more objectively and be like I may not be perfect but I’m trying and I know I’m not doing anything mean or spiteful on purpose and that’s more than I can say for a lot of people.’
    I’ve got anxiety problems and depression and self doubt is so ingrained in my being that I don’t think I would know who I am without it. So as far as I can see you’re ‘normal’, whatever that means.

  458. I think you’ve hit on something that a lot of people feel, but never acknowledge. I work from home, and right now I am between contracts (i.e., unemployed). There are days when I spend 8 hours just trolling the internet for a job. Talk about feeling like wasted time. I get up from the desk and realize that I have accomplished nothing all day. I could have stayed in bed and read a good book and have been happier. Except that the guilt of doing “nothing” is too great. That guilt is crushing. It nips at my heels and gets me out of bed even when I am depressed and just want to hide from the form rejections in my inbox. So the guilt spurs me to do what I think I “should” be doing, but that doesn’t mean I am happy after doing it. I often feel like it was a total waste of time. To combat those feelings, I’ve started doing one thing every day that I can count as an accomplishment, makes me happy, and gives me something to show for my day. So maybe I weed my garden, or bake a loaf of bread, or knit a new panel on the scarf I am making my boyfriend for Christmas. I just need one activity that I can look forward to in the day, enjoy the actual doing, and have something to show for my time. For some reason, it really helps me to say, ‘well, I didn’t get a job today, but I did make the most delicious loaf of bread!’ Plus, it’s nice to wake up in the morning and ask myself, ‘what am I going to do today that will make me happy?’ It is way more important to do something that will make you happy, than it is to scratch off all of the items on your To Do list. Happy people are much more productive than depressed, anxious, guilt-ridden people.

  459. I am lucky if I have one day every two weeks where I feel I kick ass at life.

    Most days I get through the basics. I mean the VERY basics. Get up, bathe, dress, eat, work, eat, work, home, eat, computer, bed. Note that things such as picking up litter in every room of the apartment, washing any dishes (or washing more than what I need to use that evening), vacuuming, cleaning involving implements, and scooping/changing the litter box are not on that list. I have gone for more than two months of that – to a point where I refused to let friends or family or ANYONE come over because of the smell from the litter box.

    For a while, I had one day about every two weeks where I simply could not get out of bed. I would call in sick because, honestly, I was sick. I was depressed.

    But something has changed recently. I threw out the litter box and replaced it with a new one and scoop every day. The apartment is still a mess, but at least I can have someone run upstairs to use the bathroom without being too embarrassed. I haven’t had a “sick” day in many weeks. I am starting to make small changes to improve myself and my quality of life. I may even pick up the living room this weekend.

    Life has its ups and downs, but I hope this is the beginning of a long stretch of up. Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually have more than one day every couple of weeks where I feel like I’m doing something good with my life.

    I wish I knew how to make it so that every day I was excited to get up and do things. I wish I knew the answers as to why I get depressed. But I deal, I cope, I play with the Internet way too much, and I have my good days.

  460. I try to be the PTA mom. in fact I’m in charge. most days I am faking it. most days I dont want to be, but we are supposed to be right. I have tons of stuff pinned that I will never get to. I feel accomplished if my daughter is dressed and I folded one basket of laundry while sitting on the sofa watching movies all day. I have bad anxiety attacks that are keeping me up at night and I yell at my neighbors and cause scenes in the street. I refuse to go back on my meds because I hate the fog. Facebook sucks because it makes me feel like I am less than a person. I am less liked, I dont get invited, I am 15 all over again. But its like a train wreck, you just keep looking and cant turn away. my house is a mess. my fridge is empty.

  461. Nah, You’re good… Our PTA lead – alcoholic.. Looked the part, bustled about and sounded enthusiatic and important. – couldn’t organise Jack shit.
    Some people need to play a public role, convincing others they are superwoman, there are some people who manage to do everything, but they are very few and far between. Most people bimble along, doing what they can. Count your blessings. You have an understanding husband (!) a lovely child who you spend time with – the most important thing you can achieve. You have written one book, and manage to write your blog so another book will happen if and when it is supposed to.
    Me – I don’t dust, i waste time on the internet and do what I can when I can. I manage to convince people I know what I’m doing and to a certain extent I do, but deep down I know someone is going to find out one day.

  462. I feel like a fraud and a failure daily. The failures always seem to outshine the good. I am consistently in the way of my own success. I use self deprecating humor to break up the awkwardness but truthfully believe most of what I say. These problems become completely debilitating when I’m not eating right and sleeping enough. Well those problems and the anxiety… And OCD… Going gluten free gave me a tremendous amount of relief. So much so I just figured I could cope with the rest of my crazy bc at least I was no longer laying on my kitchen floor sobbing and wishing that death would come to collect me and save my children from this embarrassment of a mother. Recently, I did the whole30 ( the stricter autoimmune protocol) and after 3 weeks, I started to feel a lot better. I still had my problems but I was recognizing that they are problems and not letting them swallow me up into the abyss. I need to jump back on the program but truthfully? Stress and depression is making it hard to commit again. Opportunities keep presenting them self to me and I keep undermining them by flaking, shoving my foot in my mouth, or just completely foamy mouthed melting down. I also like the whole ‘cant fail if you don’t try’ thing… Idk what my point is anymore… Maybe that I feel you? I can relate to where you are.. So the advice I keep giving myself, the pep talk I have every time I’m about to leave for a shoot? Get the fuck out of your own way, lady. Then I crank up the music, sing along, and mentally go over all the stupid things I could potentially say and hope that I don’t … Oh and how often? Like every day. I feel like I’m always apologizing to someone for some failing ( real or imagined) and d wry time I send images to a client? I feel like puking.

  463. I’d be thrilled if I felt good 3 or 4 days about of the month. Although there are several hundred posts here I happen to know that EVERYONE feels this way. I can remember as a child, telling my mom that I didn’t feel like I fit in, that I felt like an orphan. She said “sweetie, everyone feels that way”. it was both brutal and kind. when my meds are WAY off I go from feeling like a general failure (normal) to plotting my doom. but then that is even more depressing so I usually bump up my meds so I can go from being suicidal, which is exhausting to just feeling like a general failure. This is my life.

  464. I only feel successful once in a blue moon. I don’t have the depression you have (at least not in the same way – I suffer only from cyclical depression that week before my “time of the month” but that’s a cakewalk compared to what you deal with on a regular basis) but I find myself questioning why I keep it up all the time. It’s because I can’t not. I can’t not do this crazy art (for me it’s theater – I’m an actress). I’d rather do it unpaid (union dues be damned) and have a crappy desk job (oh, it’s crappy, but there’s health insurance) than not do it at all. I look at the career of the college friend who is now a movie star then I look at my mounting debt and the cat who won’t stop pissing on the floor and the fact that I haven’t had a date in over 6 years. It feels like sh*t.

    But I just reminded a friend of something on FB – he was saying how unsuccessful he was feeling as a writer – and I said to him, and I believe this about myself – and about you – you’re successful if you’re doing what you LOVE. How you FEEL about the work you put in the world – that’s what makes you successful. I tell myself this nearly daily sometimes. Because ultimately it’s the pride I feel for the work I’ve done that makes me feel successful – not my bank account.

    You’re successful – you make me laugh – you make me question – you make me think – that certainly is a success!
    ;)

  465. All of those people on Facebook and at the PTA are fakers, all with their own idiosyncracies, insecurities and obsessions. To me, you look like the picture of success and brilliance, while I? Well, you get my drift.

    t recently posted Fort Worden and Hurricane Ridge.

  466. I do not suffer from Depression at all and I FEEL THIS WAY A TON!

    I really think that if women grew the eff up and realized that some of us are great at being the PTA President, while others of us are just as great remembering to pay the dang electric bill we’d all get along famously. Acceptance and Grace go a long way in making people feel safe and secure being their own brand of fucked up and not having to feel bad about it.

    As I get older, I realize that I’m ok not being the PTA Wonder Mom, I’m ok that I do good to get a picture frame much less put it on the wall and that it doesn’t make me any less of a person. I haven’t updated my website since January and it’s already September but when I sit down to write – crickets and Oh so what – In fact, I think your statement ” I feel like from the outside looking in I seem successful and happy, but I can’t help but think that if people looked closer they’d see the cracks and the dirt and shame of a million projects that never get done.” probably is exactly how a good 80% of us feel.

    I always feel solidarity when I see another mom with unwashed hair who looks like she’s doing good to get dinner on the table and everyone in bed in one piece….I always want to high five her. Maybe we should do more celebrating about all of us being normal and then we don’t have to put on some stupid facade where lives look like a 2 inch by 3 inch Pinterest thumbnail.

    Even Martha Stewart herself doesn’t even look like Martha Stewart in real life. Not to mention a man created Pinterest….. WTF do they know. :)

    Britt recently posted Kicking Off 2013 With Kindness.

  467. Hey Love. Here’s my story: at the beginning of June I walked away from the company that I put so many hours into helping build for almost 2 years. I figured it was just time and so I left that full time job taking a giant risk to start my own business while living off of nothing but savings and cc. After just a few weeks, I had so many failures that I gave up on my business I was trying to create and my book almost went under the same treatment. June turned into July and then it turned into August where I arrived at age 27. As of beginning of August, everything had finally come together. I realized I was being foolish – as in – trying to take second best to everything or thinking I was out of ideas or just whatever the issue was… I had to take those months to figure out what I truly wanted. I also cut myself off from most of the world, too.

    I finished my book and redesigned my entire business and all will be happening in October. As far as everything else goes, now that I’ve discovered what the issue is, I have a way to handle it and I’ve fixed it.

    The thing that makes me mad is that I had the entire summer to do everything I needed to do, but somehow, it all happened in a bunched up few days. Hey – maybe that’s how some of us work. I’ve never had a personality analysis or taken any sort of meds for my behaviors (I’m only assuming mine would be off the charts) but.. it’s the way I’ve always been. I think it’s just built into some of us individually that we are sporadically successful… and I kind of enjoy it. It’s like, now that I know that – I embrace it – and I’m looking forward to working really hard for a few months then take some more time off to do this all over again.

    I’ve seen the work you do and it’s like magic. I only hope to be as good as you one day.

    PS – anyone with shiny lives on Facebook or wherever else, they’re just making up for what really happens. No one is that sparkly, if you know what I mean… and if you really want to know, I’ll give you my password to my FB account and you can see how many people of the “I’m so happy” actually belong on shows like Maury or Jerry Springer. Yeah. It’s crazy. And it shows up every now and then.

    Karen Maeby recently posted IN LOVE WITH A SAILOR BOOK {SUMMER} UPDATE #3 – SELF PUBLISHING, WRITING, MARKETING/DESIGN A POETRY BOOK..

  468. Depression lies my friend. Sometimes it lies LOUDLY.

    But we’re not alone. I have many (many) days where I feel like shit. Shitty Mom, shitty wife, shitty friend, shitty employee… on and on and on.

    But deep down I know (as I think you truly do too,) that EVERYONE is faking it. There’s no such thing as kicking ass at life. We have moments of greatness, we have moments of weakness. Everyone has them. And if they look like they all have their shit together, they’re hiding something.

    Stay strong. The Internet loves you!

  469. I call it the ‘fake mom’ syndrome. Other moms look like they don’t scrabble around in the back of the kitchen cupboard looking for lunch ‘items’. Or sniff their kids hair to see if it REALLY needs to be washed today. I feel like the ironing/wash pile may one day morph into a sentient life form and hunt me down.

    I feel good if I go to work a full day, come home and spend a little time sitting on the couch with my husband and boy – and I can’t even do that everyday. Maybe EVERYBODY feels like this but I just think it’s me, failing to be an adult, a mom and a wife. Trust me, you’re doing great.

  470. other than going to work in an office, many days the only other stuff i do is watch tv. i have no kids i’m taking care of. i feel pretty freaking lazy and unproductive on those days. i’d say maybe 5-6 days per month i get my butt in gear and do something, like one of my hobbies or go see some place new (museum, park) with the BF. it’s harder on weekdays.

    i finally went to the bank yesterday after trying to plan to do that for about 2 weeks!

  471. 0-5 days a month. My best friend and I have made a habit of emailing each other daily with 5 good things about the day, and sometimes mine are like “My cat purred at me this morning.” or “It’s Friday.” or “I slept more than 2 hours last night.” Doing this helps me focus on small things, even if they are so small that I can barely see them.

  472. I’d say that most weeks I feel that I kicked ass at least once. So that’s about equal to your 3-4 days/month. Months are so long, I find weeks more manageable. I feel like an incredible failure when I see people really enjoying their kids. I feel like I’m just managing my kids most of the time. I think now that they are older, they just don’t want to hang out with me as much and maybe I am guiltily relieved about that. I think I also forget about the easy times we had at parks and playgrounds and just hanging out together when they were younger, so most nights I go to bed feeling like I’m fucking up my kids, feeling that I suck as a mother. Your comment about just watching little house on the prairie with hailey made me feel bad. I want to do that. I make myself feel better by presenting myself with evidence to the contrary of my negative thinking. My kids are cool people, and they would not be cool if I was such a shitty mom. My kids act like they want nothing to do with me, but I’m the one they reach out to first when they are happy/sad/mad/excited.

    I also try to work under the assumption that everyone is actually just as bad at life as i am, and if they make it look easy they are either psycho or lying. I’m not jealous of either of those traits, so even if I’m jealous of their clean house and brain I am actually really glad that I don’t live in there.

    rambly rambletons. not going to proof, just hitting submit

  473. It’s not just you. I also suffer from anxiety and depression, both of which have been worse than usual lately due to the fact that I am not working. Looking for work is one of the things that make me feel like a fraud because I have to go on interviews and pretend to be cheerful and confident, when in the back of mind a constant loop of “what if they find out I’m not good enough?” is playing so loudly I can’t believe no one else hears it. And maybe they do. At least, that’s what I think every time I don’t get the job.

    You’re not alone. I don’t have any good answers for you. If I did, I’d feel a lot more successful, and be happy to share. However, I have to say that your honesty is incredibly refreshing, and it’s a great comfort to me to know that I’m not alone either. Of course, I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone. So, I’m in your corner, and I’m rooting for you. My only advice is to be as honest as possible with your therapist. I believe that, at my worst, therapy helped me more than all my meds combined. Good luck, and don’t give up.

  474. your post is all too familiar. and you are absolutely not alone! in battling your own demons, you’re also at odds with a society that touts this unattainable image of perfection in every fucking area of life. not only is it unattainable, it’s boring. life is faaaaaar messier than that, and so are humans. from my perspective, feeling overwhelmed by life and what you *should* be achieving is entirely and sadly normal. in my own struggles with depression/anxiety some of the best lessons learned are those of truly understanding balance in the chaos of my brain. i had this idea that once i figured out balance i’d be able to rest. things wouldn’t be so hard. i now stand beside that person i was and think “oh, that’s so adorable” — I’ve come to realize (with lots of therapy) that balance is still motion. if you stand on your foot and actually balance there, your arms will be quite still but your foot will still be wobbling like crazy to keep you there. once i got that, it made accepting that wobbling, that imperfection, a bit easier. there are going to be days and weeks where i feel like a fraud, don’t wash my hair, answer blogs instead of *actually* working, but i give myself credit for the days where i change the filter in the fridge, do all the laundry and play with my kitten. i accept that things are going to be harder for me in some areas because of my particular challenges, but it can be better. it’s not about doing away with the scary voices inside, but by creating a balance where the calm, proactive voices are there too. sometimes they win over the scary, sometimes they don’t. but they are there. and there is success in that.

  475. 3-4 days a month sounds about right.

  476. The people that seem to be perfect PTA moms/people are just REALLY good at pretending. Trust me…they have melt downs behind closed doors ALL the time. You are not alone in any way shape or form ;)

  477. I don’t feel as much like that as you obviously do, but I definitely do sometimes. And I think you should feel less like that, because you kick so much ass (if I had a magic wand I’d totally fix that for you). So you’re not great at a lot of things that people think of as basic human stuff: whatever. You’re superlatively awesome at other stuff. And none of you is starving and your kid rocks and even if you only ever write one hilarious best-seller in your entire life, that’s still way more hilarious best-sellers than most people will ever write. As long as there aren’t literal birds nesting in your hair, it’s probably fine if you don’t end up washing it every day. Or even every other day. Whatever. You do other stuff.

  478. I used to feel that way. A lot. Like…a lot a lot. I felt like I was living in someone else’s skin and was really just waiting to wake up from the most surreal nightmare ever.
    But, truthfully- I hated that about me. I hated that I felt like an imposter. And from what others were telling me, I was apparently pretty awesome. And I hated not seeing that.
    For a while, I hated myself.
    And then, I had an eating disorder. And most people who know anything about EDs know that it has less to do with weight, and more to do with control. And that was how I controlled my world and my self-esteem. With bulimia.
    Fast forward treatment, a few years, and a lot of learning…one day I decided I was done with that. And even though I didn’t believe it, I told myself every single day that I wasn’t a bad person. I didn’t jump straight to “I’m a fucking badass.” I started with, “I’m not a bad person.” And then I moved to “I’m a good person.” Then to specific things: I’m a good mom, a good wife, a good friend. Then to skills: I’m good at taking pictures. I’m good at writing. I’m good at cooking.
    It was slow. A very slow movement. 10 years later, I can say with certainty that I am amazing.
    But…once and a while…I feel that old demon sliding up next to me. And I feel like an imposter all over again.
    So I start at the beginning. I’m not a bad person.

    When you have mental illness, these things don’t come naturally, or easily. I’ve lived with it my whole life. But feeling that way and actually *being* that way are very different. The 3-4 days a month when you don’t feel like an imposter? Those are just 3-4 days when the chemicals in your brain aren’t conspiring against you. They are likely no different from all the other days. You just *feel* different. And feeling different and being different aren’t the same.

    Start slow: Jenny- you’re not a bad person.

    Sending love and light. There is another side to the darkness. I believe in you.

    Cathy recently posted Let’s face it – when it sucks, it sucks.

  479. Last night, I ate wheat thins and chocolate donuts for dinner and washed it down with pink box wine out of a red solo cup. Most days are like this for me. Most things surround what I’m eating, as well.

    I have a solid 2-3 GREAT days a month. The rest is like what probably 99% of people do.. work, go to the bank, eat a second dinner, take a nap, pretend you have a headache so you can skip sex.

  480. I lay in bed each night evaluating my day and adding to the ongoing list of things I need to do to “get my life on track”. Every night I go to sleep feeling like a failure for all the things I have not accomplished. Every morning I wake up thinking today will be the day I get it together. This has been going on for years.

    Sure, there are days I feel like I have accomplished something, but they are rare. I go to work and fake my way through the day at a job in which I am under valued, under utilized and under paid. I go home to my empty apartment to be greeted by the one being who loves me, my cat. On the outside I may look shiny and happy – I wash my hair (most days) and lead an “exciting single life” (according to my married friends) but I know the truth. I am bored and lonely and in a financial mess. and it all makes me feel like a failure.

    What gets me out of bed each day is the knowledge that even the shiny happy people have cracks and dirt and shame. they’re just better at hiding it than the rest of us. I believe that trying to keep up the shiny happy exterior adds to mental muddiness. I may feel like a failure but I wear my failings with pride. I am doing the best I can and that’s all anyone can expect of themselves.

    remember the wise words of Leonard Cohen – “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”

  481. You are not alone. I can’t remember the last day I felt accomplished or good about myself. I need to see a doctor and get on meds probably because my negativity and sadness and it just out of control. I did hear something recently that maybe can be helpful to you. The woman who invented our modern torture device, Spanx, was talking about what gave her the motivation to chase her dreams. She said that she always looked at failure as a success. The only failure in life was not trying, if you try something and it doesn’t work out or you didn’t like it or it didn’t take off, that’s not a failure. Failure is only when you don’t try. As I struggle with anxiety and depression I know that might not seem all that helpful. Not Trying = Failure. Yes, I don’t try all the time. I’m a failure. But, maybe, when I finally find the motivation deep down inside to try and get myself out of them mess I’ve found myself in. (hate my body, hate my job, hate my life, hate my face, hate my skin, etc.) maybe knowing that Trying, not succedding is the success, maybe I will have the confidence to try.

    Also, I love that song you shared. Thank you.

  482. 483
    Joy aka TheatreChick73

    I can’t remember the last time I felt like I had a successful day. Seriously…I honestly can’t. Somewhere along the line I realized (not anything you can force to happen unfortunately) that my definition of success is definitely different than everybody else’s. I consider a day an accomplishment if I get through the day and am still breathing. But a successful day? I’ve been yearning for one of those a lot lately too. I’ve been wanting that feeling at the end of the day that YAY! I did something! I am tired of falling asleep thinking, I just have to do it all again tomorrow.

    A big key though is lessening the comparison. I say lessening because, really, do we ever stop? There is this saying floating around the interwebs that helps me with that sometimes: The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we are comparing our behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.

    But if nothing else, hopefully this (and all the other comments you are receiving) let you realize, you are not alone.

  483. Yep. This is me. Except my house is a gigantic mess and it’s not just a couple of boxes in the corner and I’m currently avoiding work that should have been done weeks ago. I also have anxiety. A lot of it. Maybe we all do?

  484. I only ever have one day a month that ass gets kicked…..tomorrow.

  485. I do not have anxiety, I do not feel depressed, I am a very optimistic person – the kind or person you probably want to kick because I can see silver linings everywhere, always. Still I visit your website almost every day – because I think you are awesome almost every day. Because I am kind of jealous of how you can really make me laugh out loud, how you can help me understand what it is like to have anxiety and depression. Because of that I was able to reach out to someone in my environment who needed someone to listen to her.
    I sincerely belief it is all about what you do with what you have been ‘given’ – running 100 meters in under 10 seconds is great, but doing it in 10 minutes or 10 hours can be just as big an accomplishment, depending on your talents or handicaps.
    In Dutch we have a great word: ‘tevreden’. It means something like being comfortable and happy with what you have.
    And by the way: my writer’s block kicked in before I even started writing…. you are way ahead of me!

  486. You are human. Everyone is human. No one is Pinterest perfect, not do they live permanently in that magazine photo. It took going therapy to make me realize that I’m never going to be that magazine example, and that’s ok! As long as I’m breathing at the end of the day and the world hasn’t come to an end, things are all right.

    I can relate with the expectations you have made for yourself and that feeling that you’re just not good enough because you didn’t follow through on that craft project from last Halloween that you spent over $50 on supplies. But it’s ok. You have intentions and the means to try again.

  487. If I have one good day a week, I am lucky.

  488. You are not alone, you are the majority. Those people with perfect lives and who do everything perfectly are just like us. I know, I have met them and they are just as insecure about all of it like we are. And if they don’t tell me these things, then the horses I work with tell on them. We all feel this way to some extent.

    The thing is, you do the important things right. You spend time with your daughter. SO what if the homework doesn’t get done until Thursday. You’re miles ahead of (if you want to compare) most of the kids’ parents who won’t do homework with them at all. My suggestion is that you be ok with being “good enough”. We all do the best we can with the tools we have.

    My sister is pretty low income welfare mentality, and gave her kids soda pop in their bottles. Rotted their teeth out before their adult teeth came in. Her daughters started having babies at age 15, all on the welfare system, all of them thinking french fries are a vegetable. I had one of my grand nephews out here this summer for the first time, and he would only eat corn dogs. ONLY corndogs, because I didn’t have hamburger helper, which is what his mom, my niece cooks. But guess what? She COOKS. It’s better than candy bars and ice cream for every meal. She is doing the best she can with the tools she has.

    You are a worker among workers. You are doing a good enough job. It doesnt’ have to be perfect and it doesnt’ have to be the best. It just has to be what you can do. And you are. You’re doing it. A lot of people can’t or won’t, but you’re trying. That’s good enough.

    I hope this helps. If you EVER want to come see my horses you can, for free. Or, visit someone else’s horses. They are amazing at helping people through this. Starting with me, just so you know I relate to everything you said.

  489. Honestly? The last time I felt that I’d achieved something good was April 2012. Everything kinda went to shit after that. Even when I got my first book accepted by a publisher earlier this year I was kinda ‘well that’s nice’. It hit when my last few months of Uni went to shit and the lecturers left me feeling like a complete failure at what I wanted to do with the rest of my life even though I KNOW I am not. After all I’m still doing it. I graduated, sort of. And now I run my own business doing what it was they thought I was crap at. I’ll leave you to judge. Because what the fuck do a bunch of bitter old lecturers know anyway? But I berate myself every day for not being good enough, not having enough get up and go and not feeling inspired. And most days I just plod along in a kind of semi-survival mode. I vent it in my blogs and drift from one project to the next not being quite sure of the final ending for my career. I try not to question how successful or unsuccessful I am or what my direction ultimately is because if I did I would probably give up entirely. Do I have any sort of mental condition? I don’t think so. But who knows. I’m sure feeling like this for that length of time can’t be good. I’m am generally very ‘meh’ about most things. And it doesn’t shift. But it all started with the end of Uni and I’m sure that’s no coincidence.

    Claudia recently posted # 87 (2013) So You Want To Be Your Own Boss?.

  490. Seriously, depression, not so much anxiety over here, and I can’t peel my ass off the couch long enough to things I truly want to do… and I admire your posting frequency. You accomplish that thing

    Leslie Terrell recently posted Crap I thought we all knew. ..

  491. I have depression and anxiety too (in fact, I just posted on FB that I am “braving the Big Blue Room” because I ran out of a specific color of yarn – it’s been almost 3 days since I left the house) so I don’t think I can tell you what normal is. But I absolutely also have impostor syndrome, go days without washing my hair, and I can’t tell you the last time that I had 5 minutes of thinking I did something well without all the “well, it’s not really that big a deal anyway” or “so, what are you going to do NEXT” starting up. There is not a single accomplishment that I can’t minimize or otherwise turn on its head to be a bad thing. I have unwashed dishes in the sink, a large laundry pile (I live alone), expired food in the fridge. I am 43, and just learned to partially recycle last year, but I keep forgetting to take it outside until the communal recycling bins are full to overflowing, so sometimes it gets thrown in the trash anyway rather than coming back into my apartment. I’m 100 pounds overweight and diabetic, and feel like a failure every time I eat (so of course I eat more). I’m not saying that I’m glad your brain seems to work like mine – because that’s a really sucky experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone I hated much less someone I liked – but it’s amazing to realize that somebody else understands. It reinforces my conviction to be honest about how I feel, especially the schlubby parts, because I now see it as giving a gift of connectedness to someone else who feels unique-in-a-bad-way. (Also, I have several friends who are shiny PTA moms who have massive hoards, or less than awesome marriages to people they don’t always like or trust, or horrible extended families that they are cut off from, but whose energy and time gets poured into leaving the house and volunteering while wearing eye makeup and matching shoes. I don’t think it’s always that people have their lives more together, it’s just that they don’t happen to struggle with exactly the same things. So what another person has as a benchmark for “together” happens to be something the shiny mom can or is compelled to do, but they still feel the same as the other person inside and wish they were creative like that, or had a husband who loved them like that. KWIM?)

  492. Everyone on Earth feels this exact same way.. or at least some of the time. At least the part about not doing their kids homework till Thursday night.

    Mango recently posted Senate Panel Votes To Authorize Action Against Syria.

  493. Sigh. I do this a lot. I finally am an at home mom and I can’t write. Even the sad little story a website picked up was something I wrote a year or two ago. Everyone was so proud, but I just thought, well that is it. The glory of my writing. One story, one website. Meh.

    I think (hope) that those of us who write are just this way. We think too damned much and most of it is how we are fucking up. Then we squeak out a good thing or two and after the first 3 seconds of joy over the accomplishment we realize we will never do anything good ever again.

    I fight this fight every day, and have longed for cognitive therapy for years. But we just can’t afford it. Feel free to throw some cognitive freebies this way. Kind of like horseshoes, but more mentally satisfying. ;-)

    Woman_on_Pause recently posted MEow..

  494. Oh my god…I could have written what you just wrote, much of it word-for-word. I was JUST TALKING to my sister about this very feeling like, within the last hour.

    I feel unsuccessful sooooo many days. I go around always feeling like surely, I could have done more today. Surely, everyone else is working harder and is just all-around better than I am. And yeah, maybe 3-4 “successful” days a month is about right.

    And objectively, I have to recognize that I’m actually fairly awesome at life in a number of ways. Nor does it even matter because even people who don’t accomplish anything at all are people I would never judge as harshly as I judge myself. Other people’s obstacles matter, mine don’t. I have a horrible double-standard.

    But things are getting better as I learn to realize, bit by bit, that my double-standard is really a means by which I’m trying to defend myself. It’s this fucked-up program that runs in my brain that is desperately trying to make sure that I’m completely perfect so that I never, ever have to face anyone being upset with me or disappointed in me in any way. So getting better has a lot to do with realizing that I can survive it when those things do happen. That sounds stupid when I put it like that, but really, it’s a lot more powerful in how it happens inside my own brain.

    Lauren recently posted Mr. Rogers "Week," Day #5: Mentionable and Manageable.

  495. I can’t see the link or video or whatever it is about the song that comforts you, but the beautiful and amazing Jenny Lewis (in all forms) feeds m my aching imposter heart. Please try Rilo Kiley’s Better Son/Daughter when you have a chance.

  496. Jenny, one of the reasons I love reading your blog is because I find you so relatable. Which is what you need to realize, that +90% of us are just like you. We usually only see the bright, shiny, happy successful side of others because that’s what they want us to see. The dark stuff is hidden away. Our perception is skewed into thinking that we’re failing because we can see all of ourselves, see the bad, and when we compare to ourselves to others we only see part of that person.

    Don’t feel bad for not being a PTA mom, or not keeping the tidiest house, it’s overrated, and in my opinion most of those people that do seem like they have their shit together or are technically “sucessful at life” are just a big ol’ball of anxiety themselves, with overriding issues of insecurity, perfectionism and an unfathomable need to please others. They are equally as screwed up, just in a different way.

    So, take care of yourself, love your family, and don’t worry about the rest of the crap, because it’s just that, crap.

    HUGS

  497. What I question is why there’s a certain way we’re expected to feel or act that’s considered successfully human? Why judge ourselves by looking at a standard someone else unconsciously set? I’ve finally stopped looking at magazine ads and thinking that I can (and should) achieve those body types, so why would I look at others’ lives and think I could (or should) be able to do that as well?

    We are not all created equal in our abilities or health or bodies or so many other things. Doing what we can with what we have IS being the best person we can be. Striving to be better, to push past obstacles, or just to accept what we cannot change and love ourselves no matter what IS a great day, even though it isn’t permanent and you’ll have to do it all over again tomorrow. Just trying is winning.

    Somehow, Jenny, you always seem to bring out my “motivational poster” mode… :)

    Heather C recently posted Come on baby, light my fire....

  498. I feel like a failure a few times a month, mostly the week prior to shark week, because I have pre-menstrual insanity (not the clinical term). I think that all the outside factors, like facebook and pinterest add greatly to my disappointment in myself. It’s hard to ascend to the great heights that other “life fakers”put out there in social media. There are, I’m sure, some generally honest and super awesome-at-life folks in the world, but the losers-at-life are far more prevalent. I think, that the best you can do is recognize your short comings because they are yours, and NOT because someone is on the internet pretending they have their shit together. It’s NOT a fucking contest and we need to learn, as humans, that we are all in this shitstorm, called life, together. Feel better, or don’t (because you shouldn’t let anything you see on the internet dictate how you feel). Love your blog, especially when it is honest. Keep on keepin’ on.

  499. 500
    Tracy Hamilton

    I barely have one good day per month. I have zero accomplishments and I am a failure every single day. I felt a bit of pride at enrolling and starting college in July, but it was quickly overshadowed by feeling bad for waiting until I was 42 to even try to begin to get my shit together. When I don’t absolutely have to participate in life, I have trouble getting to motivation to do anything. I too have depression and anxiety, and I see no end in sight to the stresses that aggravate them. I completely understand how you feel and I applaud you because you are handling them and still raising an amazing daughter and have a successful career. I have no magic words, but I can tell you that you are not alone.

  500. Not just you. Not by a longshot.

  501. I know this is going to be hard to do, but give yourself a break. It is NOT just you. Part of the reason you have so many people follow your blog is because we see some of ourselves in you. OK maybe I’m not as funny, but we are all fucked up in some way. I have learned first hand that that mom that looks so perfectly polished at the PTA is smiling because she’s buzzed. I have become friends with her. I have begun to understand that she is just like me. That there are NO perfect people, and everyone is truly just coping with getting through the day. There are times when I am trying SO hard to be IN the moment with my kids and it’s as if I’m looking in. I feel like an impostor, I constantly wonder if this is the way it’s supposed to be. Isn’t it supposed to uncomplicated and easy just to live life? It’s not. It’s messy and tiring and there are days I can’t even get off the couch. So no I have no pearls of wisdom other than we are all fighting the same battle. some of us are just better at pretending than others.

  502. This is a great book by a woman I heard speak at the Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference this spring. She talks about the fact that women have the Imposter Syndrome and we need to get over it. GREAT READ: The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

  503. I’m on vacation. While I’ve been gone, the neighbors called animal control because my cat was mewing to much, so now I feel like a terrible kitty mother for not finding a live-in sitter (I did get a sitter, who I also feel terrible because she’s had to deal with all this).

    When I’m home, I’m constantly terrified of getting fired for being no good at my job. On weekends I just want to sleep in and relax but then I feel like I’m not taking advantage of my weekend enough.

    I still wish I could just go back to my parents house and let them take care of me, even at 31.

    You are not alone.

  504. Welcome to my life.

  505. Most days I get up, read a book, make 1 meal, and go back to bed (if I can sleep). There’s nothing wrong with me. I just don’t have any responsibilities. On days that I feel down, I make it a point to go outside for a little while. A few months ago I realised I had all of this free time and I should do something useful. However, the places I want to volunteer require a time commitment and I can’t do that.

    So I made a little “chore” chart in a white board. It has Monday through Friday written on it. Then in each day it has 1 housework chore (like laundry), 1 leisure item (like sewing), and 1 exercise (like 30 min of yoga). Some days I get all three done, some days nothing, and some really great days I get way more than on the list. I don’t sweat the outcome because it’s just there as more of a suggestion guide than a task list. It gives me a small goal for the day that I feel better about for having accomplished. If I don’t do anything, then there’s always tomorrow.

    Also, the big thing I made myself do was to not play catch up. If I don’t get the items for Monday done on Monday, then I wait until next Monday. I have other things to do to in the meantime. If I get all of Tuesday’s things done and I have free time and ambition, then I might pick back up where I left off on Monday. Otherwise, I let it go. It’s hard but it gets easier the more you do it.

    Hope this helps. And for the record, I’d be your friend. We could be crazy together. :)

  506. Being completely honest, I have to say that most days I feel pretty good. I can completely identify with your post in that anytime I try to compare myself to others, I’m bound to feel like crap. So I try my best not to do that. I’m good at some things (like reading to my kids, helping them practice music, etc.) and terrible at others (dusting, making the house look presentable, finishing projects that I start). I’m mostly happy, my kids are mostly happy, but there’s never enough time in a day and some days I feel like pulling my hair out because all of the things I need to accomplish are so overwhelming. It’s those days I try to sit down and formulate a plan. And anything that doesn’t come to the top of the list doesn’t get done. So be it. Let it go. No one’s life is perfect despite outward appearances.

    My daughters think that I’m the most wonderful thing out there. I know I’m not really – but I am to them. And so instead of trying to convince them that I’m right, I try to let them convince me that they are.

    Much love to you, Jenny. I hope you are able to to get through this and have more days in the month when you believe that you’re awesome.

  507. Same 3-5. And it’s always the little things – a perfectly cooked chicken (dry is my norm), making a stranger smile (especially my elders, love that!), getting through a whole day without that weird amorphous, invisible weight that makes it hard to pick your feet up when you walk.

  508. Why is it SO important that you, or anyone for that matter, gets something “accomplished” in a day? Seriously, we need to quit comparing our lives with those Pinterst Perfect Peeps!! I do NOT compare myself, no do I cause myself any anxiety or grief if I do absolutely nothing all day but watch the Food Network and read Facebook. I truly believe we can set ourselves up for failure when we make demands on ourselves that we know we can’t keep. If you let go of the guilt and let you just be the pleasant and peaceful you that you are…you won’t need meds for anxiety or anything else. With knowledge comes acceptance….with acceptance comes freedom!!! Hugs

  509. PS – I feel a lot better about today after seeing this post from you.

    Lauren recently posted Mr. Rogers "Week," Day #5: Mentionable and Manageable.

  510. You’re not alone. I wish I could’ve described my feelings as accurately as YOU have described them. I feel like a failure at life/family/parenting more often than not, and I feel petty jealousies toward all the Perfect Pastel People. I know other people have it as tough as I do – and much worse – and yet I often feel like no one could possibly understand. I’d never heard of Impostor Syndrome before, but as soon as I read about it I said (out loud) “AHA!”.
    The beauty of your challenges is that you bring us all together. Your comment section is like Freaks & Geeks to me and I feel more at home here than my own blog.
    And if you’re going to fail, just be The Best at failing. :)

    Shannon akaMonty recently posted Music is my boyfriend. No, really..

  511. Girlfriend, just like everyone else I will tell you YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I’ve never been diagnosed with anything specific although I’m certain I fit in quite a few textbook mysteries. I feel “right & truly productive very rarely. Maybe 4-5 days a month… I’m not even sure exactly what right is, but I’m not it. I look at my friends perfect homes, families, everything and constantly marvel at how I’m so screwed up. Wish I had an answer for you (& myself)! Just know you are NOT ALONE in your feelings. Hell, maybe we ARE the “normal” ones! Hang in there & know you have lots of company! You’re an awesome woman despite what your inner demons tell you!!!!!! Peace.

  512. I want to print this out and hang it on my wall. This is me everyday. Just one day I would like to feel like not a failure. I think I look okay to everyone else– I have a (crappy-paying, unstable but still professional-seeming) job, my kid is adorable, I brush my hair, my house is relatively clean (at least the parts people see), I can smile and make small talk even though I hate it and want to run away– but I am just a fucking mess all the time inside. I feel like constant failure– and in most ways I am. My job pays terribly and has no security, I’m living in a crappy house that I can’t afford, I have no job prospects, and I am single, it seems, forever because apparently I also suck at relationships. But I just fake it and pretend I’m just fine.

  513. Lovely lady you are not alone. Really. I suffer from OCD and anxiety. I do the medication thing too and just have had the lovely experience of getting off of one and onto another. It’s a roller coaster really. I know everyone says “life is a roller coaster”, but whatever…with this shit going on in my head, it’s for real. I have to say that I’m happy I switched medication now…i’m about 80% there and feeling more and more like being a member of society. I actually accomplished some house projects last weekend and the bathrooms are clean! Like you (and probably a lot of people) we have a lot to be glad for, we love our families and our kids (even our jobs sometimes)…but you know what…those shiny, happy people with their perfect lives aren’t real. Behind their shine is a whole lotta crap too. I can’t tell you how many times I feel like a failure in life, work, family. I mean I go through the motions and don’t feel like I’ve made any impact. The whole “I was put here for a reason, but what the hell is it?” You know what? and I’m not blowing smoke up your ass by saying this…you impact all of us everyday (in a good way!). You started a community here – where we all feel safe and sane with you!!! Even with all our utter craziness! You’re okay. Maybe you do need to consider a medication adjustment? Your experience sounds a lot like mine this past summer…just something to consider maybe.

    All in all Miss Jenny, you are completely normal and sane. Really! 99.9% of us are just trying to get through the day without hurting ourselves or others! Hell, I’m lucky I remember to put my damn pants on before I head out the door in the morning.

    Just remember…we’ve got your back, chic. You need anything…we’ll come running with the wine and xanax in hand!

  514. This shocked me when I first entered the “adult world” (and no, I’m not in porn – I just mean post-college, basically). I was shocked by how few adults have any sense of feeling like they have any idea what they’re doing. I always thought adults had it totally together. Nowadays I feel like I don’t know ANYBODY who feels like they have it together. I know a lot of people who seem to think *I* have it together, which is laughable to me as I sit here doing nothing while trying to will myself to do my work for the past three hours. Nobody has it together; you’re just seeing everyone else’s highlight reel. And if they do, shockingly, have it together, I guarantee they’re even more terrified than you are of slipping up and falling from that pedestal. Because they likely worked very hard to get there, and I’d bet a lot of that work was unpleasant and fear-based.

  515. I rarely feel successful but I’m mostly okay with it, with feels pretty successful because I didn’t used to. I cry every day, often multiple times; my shoes are always more scuffed than every one else’s, even if they’re new; I bite my nails at 36 years old, gross I know; there is never, repeat never, not laundry piled in at least 2 rooms of my 3 bedroom home; I pay everything late, always; my kid bites his nails because he’s so anxious; I can’t remember when I had sex last, but I remember it was NOT GOOD; I am obese and my bra is so big I can wear either cup for a hat; my car is full of crumbs and smells vaguely like a foot; I don’t speak any foreign language and have had the same job, with no promotion for the last 11 years. I also laugh every day, and make people around me laugh; I have great hair and striking features; my house is full of paintings I’ve made that I love; my husband laughs at my jokes and calls me Beauty; my almost 9 year old kid thinks I’m the only cool girl in existence and still sits on my lap; I’m a great cook and can make almost anyone that tries my food want to get fat, at least temporarily; I drink wine like a champ; I’m a good listener and people who talk to me generally feel better afterwards; I’m finishing my degree after many years and working full time; I’m the only person who has done my job as long as I have and I usually do it well; and I’m learning how to be nice to myself. Let go of the other stuff. Nobody cares if Iwatch tv all day somedays, or don’t wash my hair, or wear the same pants two days in a row. Everybody’s worrying about their own shit. Success is relative.

  516. I don’t even feel like I have days that I can say are successful or good. I feel like I get maybe hours or minutes that I feel like I’ve been useful. And I feel like a fraud all the time. People tell me how great I am at x, y, or z but I know if they saw me in action at home, they would have a VERY different opinion of me. I put on the happy face and pretend everything is great, but my reality is that I’m miserable and I feel like a failure.

  517. 2 or 3. If I am really lucky I might get two in a row, but I honestly don’t remember the last time that happened.

  518. Those “shiny” people you mentioned? They aren’t real. I find the people who seem to have all of their shit together are just the ones who are best at hiding. They become amazing at only showing the world one side of them and they hide the rest. And you know what? That’s boring! Perfection is boring. You know what isn’t boring? Having real issues, dealing with them (even if dealing means giving yourself a break) and getting to the next point in life. That is success – knowing that you have skeletons and getting through life anyway. And if you can make others smile while you’re doing it, then in my opinion that is beyond success. You my dear are beyond successful.

  519. You’re not alone. Some of it may be your mental illness, but some of it is definitely just that you’re human. Anyone who says they have their shit together all of the time is either rich enough to hire everyone to have all their shit together for them, or they’re lying. We’re all just keeping our heads above water for the most part.

    Pinterest is a douche.

  520. Jenny, I LOVE [Title of Show]! Have you heard their new album “Now. Here. This.”? It is also amazing and you should definitely go take a listen :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpCeIeAD-ek

  521. Honestly, any day that passes without me having killed or seriously maimed myself or someone else qualifies as a good day in my life. Even those days when I really, really wanted to kill or seriously maim someone who totally deserved it, but I know I wouldn’t get away with it and I don’t have any desire to be in a prison, jail, or courtroom for any reason ever, except maybe for jury duty on a really interesting case, not some slip and fall scam or a civil case where somebody sues somebody else for butthurtedness compensation.

    So far, though I’ve had some really shitty days in my life, they’ve all been good.

    Steve Eastwood recently posted And Then There Were 7?.

  522. Oh sweets, I am right there with you. I went to the doctor yesterday with unwashed hair, chipped toenail polish, a screaming toddler and did my homework assignment that was due while I was at the doctor on my phone because I am such a terrible adult I hadn’t done it yet. I honestly feel like a terrible adult 98% of the time. In fact, I stopped reading this halfway through and paid my bills because they were overdue and I had forgotten them again. I know exactly how you feel.

  523. You are not alone. I don’t suffer from depression or anxiety, I don’t have any mental issues that I am aware of, but I do know that I feel like I am not doing enough of anything in my life. My house isn’t clean enough, or organized the way that it should be. There are weeds in my gardens, and bare patches in my yard. The dog has needed a bath for two months.

    What I do know is this: The people that you think have shiny happy lives don’t. They have a secret junk closet that they throw things into so people won’t see when they come over. They may just be really, really good at using dry shampoo, or have the kind of hair you only need to wash a couple times a week. They may not know that pastel color palettes suck, or are just too damn timid to use bright colors. And everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has run out of toilet paper at least once in their lives. At picnics – which, by the way, you can totally have on couches.

    I think watching re-runs of LHOTP under a blankie with a human that you love and cherish is a perfectly fine accomplishment. For me, it is re-runs of M*A*S*H*.

    I cannot think of any artist that I admire (or maybe any at all ) who didn’t suffer for their love of art – to create it because they suffer, or suffer to create. The most powerful work we do is done in the dark.

  524. Totally with you.
    I judge myself by what all my friends with babies of similar ages are doing. One of whom manages yoga classes, has lost all her baby weight (plus some), is currently half way across the world without her other half, and actually gets out socialising.
    I have days where leaving the house is a scary prospect.
    Damn anxiety.
    I cant tell you when I last felt like I was a success as a person, or as a mother. I can manage being a successful friend half a dozen days a month, but thats about it.

    Basketcase recently posted 100 Bakes: Lemonade & Cream Muffins.

  525. Thank GOD someone finally put this in words.

    I’m constantly berating myself for not spending enough time helping my emotionally disturbed son and social butterfly daughter, near geniuses both of them.

    When people say I’m attractive I can only say thank you in creative ways because I don’t believe them. I think they always have an ulterior motive. I feel like I’m the result of the attractive parts of other people jammed together on one face or in one body so they don’t fit together properly.

    I have been fortunate in many ways. I have been through just about all the most horrible things a female can go through and am still here (that’s something, right?). There is no way I can pay the people who have helped me back sufficiently and that’s yet another contribution to my insomnia. How unsuccessful I feel at everything, especially things people say I’m good at.

    Rambling post is rambling. I’ll just say I kno dat feel and move along.

  526. A lot of it is the lies your depression tells you. (Lying whore. Not YOU, Jenny. The depression.)

    I’d like to say some of it is being a person who actually gives a damn and wants to do better and be better each and every day. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Every time this feeling hits, think of only one word: Hailey. You brought her into this world. And that, in itself, is amazing. <3

    The Grammar Belle recently posted A Veritable Who’s Who.

  527. This is the first time I have ever left a comment. I have 2 kids (2 and 7) I work full time (easy job) and I am married. I feel like shit all of the time. I give myself a pat on the back if I make it to the grocery store. Everyday I feel like I am just going through the motions and doing only what is necessary to survive. On the outside people see me as someone who has 2 great kids, (which I do) a nice house, a good job and a great husband with a good job but to me I am a mess. I don’t know how to make myself feel better. Don’t really know what I’m trying to say. This post really hit home for me. You are not alone,

  528. You are not alone. I perceive myself as lazy all the time, and assume my husband and daughter think of me this way, too. I also look at other moms and think they are richer, skinnier, happier, more productive than I am, and I secretly sigh with relief when their pretty veneer gets shattered in some way; like I see them at the store looking haggard, or I find out they never fold their laundry, or they tell me that their family eats take out burritos all the time because they don’t feel like cooking. Or they cry in public. Or they get a little too drunk at a party and overshare.
    The weird part is that I am perceived by other people to be a together person. I don’t know what they’re thinking. All I see is undone dishes, cheese and crackers for dinner, piles of laundry, an unwalked dog, a suitcase that’s been in the middle of the living room for three weeks, and cheesecake I keep taking bites of all day long.
    You are fine and good and loved, and so am I.

  529. I have bipolar and feel like this all of the time. I put on a happy face and shrug off failures, but on the inside I just keep looping what happened over and over in my head. I just constantly remind myself that everyone’s definition of success is different and that the reality is that some days my definition of success is getting out of bed and taking a shower. There is a bunch of stuff I start when I’m manic that never gets finished or gets half-assed at the very last minute, but there is also a ton of stuff that I do finish especially if it is important to me or is to help other people. One thing that has really helped me is that I made a “good stuff” jar. It is filled with good things that have happened this year, accomplishments or things that made me happy and when my anxiety/fears get to me, I go and read some of the things from the jar. It’s just a reminder that even though my depression lies and tells me I am a failure and everything I touch turns to shit, I do accomplish things and am contributing to my life and to the lives around me. Another thing that helps a lot is reading your blog posts about your struggles and the comments and knowing that I am not alone. It’s not just me feeling this way or malfunctioning like this. It really does help to know that I’m not alone :)

  530. As far as I know, I have no mental illnesses, and the only medication I take is for allergies, but I feel that way too. The point being, I think that is just life. If there are people that kicked ass at everything every day of every month, they probably wouldn’t have friends because no one likes a bragger. :) But maybe it would help if we all just focused on kicking ass at whatever we DID do today. Yesterday, I kicked ass at finding orange things at Target. On Tuesday, I kicked ass at eating a cheeseburger. On Monday, I kicked ass at finishing a book. And today, my house needs cleaned and my laundry needs done and I need to unpack from the weekend and maybe I didn’t pay my electric bill last month, but maybe none of those things will get done and I’ll just kick ass tonight at sitting on the couch, or going for a walk, or talking to stray cats. (Although, I ALWAYS kick ass at talking to cats.) <3

    Jordan recently posted Food: Paleo Zuppa Toscana.

  531. I had a huge comment written, then I realized my hair was dirty. Shit.

  532. To be honest I think everyone feels the same way!!! I’m a stay at home to twins and my husband travels a LOT so I’m home all the time and getting clothes on that match is a successful day to me. Hell getting out of my pajamas is a successful day. I pocrastinate on everything so dont beat yourself up. You have a happy well taken care of daughter so that makes you successful EVERYDAY!!! Don’t sweat the small stuff. I think the people who seem to have it all together are way more screwed up than people who realize they don’t have it all together.

  533. Jenny- me too, yo.

  534. Hi
    I am struck by the fact that Americans want to achieve things, make the most of their day/life, be productive etc… I would say : capitalism has taken over humans.
    I am French, and most of us think that people come first. Not money, not work, not achieving things. People. Their feelings. Emotions. Food. Friends. Life.
    No achievement-scale is needed: life is not a competition, it is a journey. A sunny day sharing lunch with friends or family is perfect to me.
    Enjoying simple things, simple pleasures (but caviar and champagne are ok too!) with nice people is enough to make a day.
    Enjoy that community you’ve built and helped through blogging, too. Few people really help others, but you sure do. Maybe we should tell you more often.
    A pity you don’t travel abroad, you would fall in love with Europe I’m sure.

    (Huh. Maybe it is an American thing. Food for thought… ~ Jenny)

  535. Probably 2 days a month I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something. 4 or 5 days I’ll feel like I have accomplished something but then at midnight, when I’m lying in bed and the house is quite the little worry monsters come out and shatter any illusion of productivity. “So what you did the dishes before you went to bed. Can’t you see that enormous pile of laundry underneath your monstrous To Do list?!”

    But then I remember the monsters are allergic to chocolate and asphyxiate them to death.

    But seriously, who is “normal”, who isn’t struggling, and who the hell ate all of my damn chocolates?!

  536. Yep. Yep. Yep. .. That’s what I kept saying to myself as I read this. I too am struggling with writers block on my MSc thesis. Its difficult to write when you feel like a putz. I too, only have the energy to feel great as a person a few days a month. Yeah I take brain drugs too but that doesn’t make motivation happen, just makes me less erratic. I try to step back and see that, yes I am making progress. Its slow progress, but I’m ok with that. Getting my supervisor to read what I have done helps me see the directions I need to go with my writing. Maybe hand over what you have to a second pair of eyes you trust to help you find some inspiration.

    Screw the PTA energetic moms. Their kids will likely end up resenting them, while yours will be spilling all her secrets to you. Better to be there for your own kid then argue like hens about next month’s fundraiser.

    Lots of Love: BreeMW

  537. It’s so reassuring to know I’m not the only person out there who feels like this. Even when I’m starting to feel like I’m getting myself together and I might appear to be a normal, put-together person to the outside world, I’m silently freaking out wondering when everybody else is going to figure out that I can’t manage my life and I probably shouldn’t have kids or a job or a house or a husband because I sure as heck can’t take care of them all, let alone myself! So yeah, it’s not just you. Thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone.

  538. I feel like an incredible fuck up 90% of the time. I can’t even do the math to figure out how many days a month that is. Every day I feel like I’m being a terrible person in some way and that I’ve accomplished nothing with my life. Each day I get through without offing myself is a giant win, so my win streak is pretty impressive at this point. 35 years and counting.

  539. My biggest goal is to be the kind of mother I never had. Should I have bigger dreams? Perhaps. But I don’t. Just this one. So I strive for my kids to always know unconditional love, for them to always need me and know I’ll always be there but be secure enough to set their own course and the courage to pursue it.

    Some days I puff my chest up and say “Damn self! You got June Cleaver beat!” and then there are days that my teenage son blocks me on Instagram and I’m crushed and can’t understand where I went wrong or why he doesn’t want to share every detail of his personal life and worry that he’s turning to a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll. (The rock and roll part I’d be ok with.)

    I get up early and I pack their lunch and I remember to add a fresh fruit to go along with their sandwich and 2 drinks because it’s game day and they need to be hydrated and because I’m that level of kick ass prepared and then I get the text that says he found a hair in the artfully crafted wrap I made him for lunch.

    And there are the days that I make the team meal, keep team stats during the game all while cheering and taking Sports Illistrated quality pictures and I even remember to bring a post game treat for my special player….Woot! Woot! Look at me go……and then they remind me I forgot to bring home the posterboard they needed for science class.

    So I guess every day I get a little closer to feeling like I’m succeeding at my goal. And every day I feel a little further away. But giving up isn’t an option. So I’ll get up tomorrow and try again. (Only this time I’ll put my hair in a ponytail before making their lunch.)

  540. I know what you mean and I am probably in the 3-4 day range myself. But when I start thinking that way I remember that life is not about a checklist of accomplishments, it’s about experiences and relationships. People dont have bucket lists for the list itself-they have them so they can have experiences from the items on the list.

    When people pass away others people don’t talk about whether that person was on the PTA or always had clean hair. They remember how dedicted that person was to their kids, spouse, pets, etc. My sister can get more done in a day than I can get done in a week but one thing I love about her is that she sometimes puts her sweater on backwards or inside out…or both. Even the most accomplished people have cracks somewhere.

    You’re not a fraud. Everyone is fucked up in some way. It’s just not always obvious.

  541. You are not alone. I don’t have depression or anxiety (at least…maybe not?), but my husband does. So I understand. Well, not 100%, because I don’t get the spiraling highs and lows or hear what he hears in his mind – all I can do is be there for him and remind him depression lies. But I see it. I feel it next to him. He’s 50/50 – just switched meds, and I see the struggle.
    However, I have a newborn (5 months old, baby girl names Leia. YES like Princess Leia, so +10 nerd cred) and the amount of mommy guilt from other women, and sometimes men, is astounding. I had experienced post-partum depression and it scared the hell out of me. No one really talks about how dark it can go, they just say “but look at your beautiful baby” and “it will pass in a few days”. It passed WEEKS later, not days, so maybe I do understand the struggle a tiny bit. I take what I do with her day by day. Sometimes I have to break it down into hour by hour because I am a working mom too. Little victories. No matter what choices I make, someone has an opinion that they are incorrect. So I learned quickly that I hear you, but I’m not fucking listening to you. I can’t always be the perfect mother, but I can be the best mother for her that I can be for her and myself today. I refuse to let my daughter hear the negativity and I don’t want her to feel it, not this young. She will feel all of that on her own someday.
    But today will not be that day.

  542. I have neither depression, personality disorders (diagnosed anyway ?) or anxiety and I mostly always feel unsuccessful and as though I should be working harder, doing more, trying to do something, etc. I lost a good job that made me feel I was succeeding at something some of the time several years ago and every since I have just not quite landed on my feet. Just this week I had a job offer revoked because of an error by the company’s HR person, which could have set me spiraling, but instead I’ve decided, “Fuck It!” I don’t need to be the best, or be the shiny person everyone expects. I need to be happy, and ensure my family is happy, and perhaps that means we live smaller, and have less. Perhaps that will make us all the richer in the end. Hopefully this re-qualification of ‘enough’ works, because it’s getting late in the day for perfection, and I doubt it even exits for anyone. We are all getting through the shit to get to the good moments, which may be few and far between, but taking getting through to get to.

  543. 544
    Laura Frazier

    Jenny, you are sooooo not alone. Pretty much described my life, too. I just try to keep thinking, I’ll do better tomorrow, I’ll do better tomorrow.

  544. I’m in tears. I could have written that, word for word. On paper, I am very successful and even ahead of the game. That’s what everyone else sees. But in my head, I am a loser, I am stupid, and I am a failure. I wish I could see myself differently, even for one day.

  545. I was feeling pretty proud of myself last night, when I saw that the Pope retweeted me. Then I realized it was a Pope imposter. Then I realized that, alas, I had done very little with my day.
    As for honest feedback, I think my total days of feeling “successful” are higher than yours, which is weird, because you are actually a successful and published writer. Sometimes this self-delusion has served me well – because I prefer being happy – but maybe it makes me complacent. Maybe you can re-frame your “not so successful” feeling into motivation, or focus on what you DID do. I’m a fan of Mr. Roger’s “turn that frown upside down”, or or if that doesn’t work, then take Ben Harper’s advice and “burn one down”.

    Shannon Perez recently posted Prejudice. Wrote a blog about it. Like to hear it? Here it go. (Part 3 of 4).

  546. You are not alone, Jenny! I’ve felt like a miserable failure and that it was too late to make something of my life since I was 16. I’m 29 now and still have nothing to show for myself, but maybe someday, right? I have depression, anxiety, idiopathic hypersomnia (which means I’m fluffing exhausted all the time and the doctors have no idea why) and terminal laziness. I have to force myself to do anything besides going to the job I abhor and coming home again. I’m supposed to stay on top of the laundry and the litter boxes, but that only gets done at all if it ABSOLUTELY MUST GET DONE RIGHT NOW HOLY CRAP WE’RE OUT OF PANTS!!!! What kills me is that I sit in my cubicle hell thinking about how much I’d like to go home and cook a proper dinner, but there’s no food in the house and by the time I get out of here there’s no way I’ll have the energy to go to the store. I have no idea how we haven’t starved to death. Probably pizza delivery. Pizza delivery is keeping us alive. I seriously suck at life. But I try not to think about that too much. Instead, I remind myself that my husband loves me, and my cats love me, and one day I won’t have to do this stupid job anymore, and maybe tomorrow I’ll fold the countless piles of clean laundry in the living room. If it still counts as clean now that the cats have been laying on it for weeks. It totally does. Any cat owner will tell you that you won’t be able to tell the difference between those and what’s been hanging in the closet all along.

  547. I’m sitting here naked in an empty bathtub reading your blog post, avoiding the kids. School’s out today (L’Shana Tova, btw). There aren’t any towels in here, so I am air drying. Some days I feel great, some days, not so much. It would break my heart if the kids knew what was going through my head most of the time. I know they love me, though, and trying to see myself as they see me helps.

  548. 549
    Ira in East Lake

    I’m 49 and a dude that is on the surface, fairly successful – you know, job with a semi-important title, a happy marriage, own a home, no kids by choice so extra disposable income, etc…

    I’m not depressed and don’t take meds like you do but I must say – you seem to be more normal than most. Sorry if that offends.

    As for feeling successful – I feel that way maybe three days a month – most of the time I just feel content.

    And that’s not bad.

  549. 550
    Tatia Johnson

    Nope. Not just you at all. Chronic pain has me particularly down this last year, but the fear/anxiety/insecurity have been hanging around for many years. I suspect, deep down, they were always there. I don’t know why. I also feel like the poster above who didn’t gauge it in days, but hours. I haven’t actually stopped to think about how often I feel good. I’ll have to ponder on it.
    I’m an artist. It’s show season. I haven’t made new stuff in the last year. Feeling particularly guilty and worthless right now. I’m trying to place an order for supplies & I’m on day 2 & can’t even get that done. But I keep trying & I absolutely have days I want to just give up – for good. But I don’t. More often I just give up for the day or the week.
    I have started to do some meditation & I think that is helping. Here is a link to a free guided meditation that I got recently. I find it very helpful. I suggest a reclining position & use earbuds/earphones. I’m not afiliated with these folks in any way other than just enjoying their stuff. I hope you, Jenny, and ALL the folks reading this/posting responses will take advantage of this & give it a try. It certainly won’t hurt & it very may well help.
    http://www.silvalifesystem.com/online/meditation-for-relaxation?otag=silva2ss&utm_source=email2&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=silva

  550. I just teared up and got goosebumps- this is something I have seriously been thinking a lot about lately myself, only I called it “I’m never gonna learn how to be a grownup, I’m just faking it.”

    I try to tell myself that everyone is just faking it, and no one knows what’s behind the things you see, but when what you see is so… *put together*, that’s really hard to believe.

    I have also been trying to deal with the fact that I’ve realized fairly recently that some people seem to actually like me – which realization has actually cause major (positive) shifts in the way I act, because if people actually *notice* me, then, uh, maybe I’d better try not to be a dumbass… But I don’t understand WHO it is they think they like, because it’s sure as hell not who *I* think I am.

    I’ve worked hard enough on doing better that I no longer think people are just patronizing me or pitying me, I can believe, at least to an extent, that whatever I’m showing them is apparently working, I just wish I could see whatever it was they’re seeing.

    (This isn’t worded quite right, this sounds like I’m fishing, or doing that annoying “being falsely self-deprecatory so people will say nice things” crap, but that is NOT it. I just don’t understand when people I’ve met before seem genuinely happy to see me again, because I can’t imagine what *I* have possibly brought to their lives.)

    … So today, for you, at least maybe recognizing how many of us you help drag through the same swamp of feelings can help you give yourself a gold star. (Shoot, you have folks dressing up AS you ’cause we think you’re so awesome, and a lot of it is *because* you show the same cracks and dirt and slouchy couch days and self-doubt that we can all relate to in varying degrees.)

  551. I probably can’t add anything new to the conversation but I can state that I feel just like this blog post almost every day of the month. Right now I feel worse, because this fucked up life has entrusted me with a broken, broken person: my mentally ill niece who is 27 and has been in my care since she turned 14, who’s in the hospital right now with liver problems because she’s mentally ill and drinks to shut out the voices in her head and ignores the fact that she has liver problems, and I can’t sit with her all day and help her negotiate her health needs, because I’m 42 and stuck answering phones in a customer-service center rather than “using your degree” (in English. Please, tell me, HOW should I use that, other than teaching…teaching whom? You don’t want me teaching your children. I remind myself of the Dilbert cartoon where Dogbert is babysitting and the parents come home and ask, “Did you change the baby?” and Dogbert says, “Oh, I think so.” But I digress.)

    So. It’s not a contest, and I don’t want to win, but I want you to understand that we’re out here. Your crazy, fucked up tribe is out here, doing what we do and trying every day to pretend we’re normal and successful, even if we can’t tell you what successful is.

  552. The problem with comparing yourself to people on Facebook, Twitter or even at the PTA is that you’re seeing everyone’s “highlight reel.” You’re seeing them acting their best…sharing the best of themselves. You’re not seeing the person who let their kids eat ice cream before lunch, the person who considers a package of Grands Cinnamon Rolls to be a dinner, the person who wears earplugs rather than have to listen to their child’s voice for one more minute, or the person who leaves dirty dishes in the sink until new life forms start to emerge. I may post more later. Hugs. You’re not alone!

  553. I very rarely feel successful. I’m in a minimum wage job that is eating away at my soul, I’m 27 and am surrounded by friends who are working in dream jobs or on their way there. I have aspirations that I don’t work towards. I made a list once of all the things I’m proudest of myself for so I can refer to it when it gets really bad. Once I ripped it up. But made myself glue it back together.

    Sarah recently posted The Mirror.

  554. Your post comes to me on a day where I feel like I am barely getting by. I am home on maternity leave with my baby, and most days I feel like all I have managed to accomplish is to keep us both alive.
    I have a few days a month, maybe 4, where I feel like I win at life. Otherwise I feel like I am coasting through, accomplishing nothing. I don’t suffer from depression or any anxiety issues, so don’t feel like those things are what make you feel this way. I think it is just very common and normal
    I don’t have any suggestions to improve things, just know that you are not alone.

  555. This is 100% normal.

    Everyone* puts on their best face for the world to see. There is enormous pressure in this culture to look like you’re living the high life. The truth, though, is that it’s all show and tell, and every mentally-healthy person feels like a fraud at least part of the time, and everyone feels like they’re struggling to keep up.

    When you compare yourself with what you see of other people, you’re comparing your imperfect self to the image of perfection that others put forth.

    No one is perfect. No one is who they seem to be from the outside. Everyone worries that they’re not good enough (and if they don’t, that’s a mental illness all on its own).

    So while you do have complicating factors for your own mental state, I can say with absolute certainty that you are your own worst critic. Do what you can, but don’t worry that you’re a failure at life because you don’t pass muster compared with everyone else (in your mind — and in your mind only).

    You can only reasonably compare you with you.

    * Well, ok, almost everyone

  556. The best and worst advice I could give you is not to judge yourself by others’ standards. It’s almost impossible, and I honestly don’t know whether anyone other than my dad is good at it, but I think it’ll help.
    I’m eighteen, and even though a lot of people disregard it and basically think it’s my job right now to screw up, it still sucks. I don’t feel successful very often, either, and most days I feel like a five-year-old.
    One more thing, and I learned this from my own (wonderfully) fucked-up mother. I know it seems counterproductive, but you being crazy, and weird, and really real might help Hailey more than being on the PTA or having picnics. My mother was (and is) crazy, and neurotic, and obsessive, but it taught me that it was okay not to be perfect. I still try my damnedest, but I have a better foundation in reality and a better outlook about myself and others (I don’t judge them as harshly for not being perfect, either.). I don’t know if this will help you, but I hope it does.
    YANA.

  557. I don’t have anything helpful to say really but, you help me in small, but such important ways when you share things like this. I also have pretty severe depression caused by generalized anxiety disorder. I feel like I fail at life 98.9% of the time, and that I should have my “adult card” taken away and cut up. When you post stories like this one, telling all your readers that you feel that way too it makes me feel better. Because if someone as kickass awesome as you feels that way, maybe I’m not so broken after all. Maybe that’s just how we all feel. So I keep trying. So, thank you.

    Tamara recently posted Pure Michigan 2013.

  558. I can’t pay attention long enough to notice how often I feel really good or not. But I do know I have some days that i get to say, “hey, neat. I did some stuff.” and other days when I’m just lucky that most of the people here eat something.
    I moved into our place ~8 years ago and am still not done unpacking. or from the two moves before that. I’m woefully behind on a huge list of things that must be done soon, but are exceedingly challenging for my brain. They are there just looming, casting a shadow over all of the things I DO manage to get done by their sheer existence and enormity.
    So, no. You aren’t alone.

    Brook recently posted I will follow you….

  559. Crap, I meant to say some of it is your mental illness making you feel like you’re not enough. Instead I made it sound like you suck because you have an illness. Blugh, sorry. I pink sparkly heart you and you are awesome. :)

  560. I admit I only read your blog now and then or I might get a better picture. But here’s my take.
    I also have suffered from anxiety and depression all my life and have beat myself up for my short comings.
    First, stop worrying about being successful. It’s obvious that what you now see should be important may not be taking first priority. Step back and evaluate. Are you letting family take a back seat to your career?
    As much as we all love you and hope to continue seeing work from you, I fear all of it will suffer and come crashing down if you don’t just step back.
    Also, joy isn’t the same as happiness. Taking joy in everything you do is huge. It takes conscious purposeful actions to make the change.
    I hope that all makes some sense.

  561. I feel successful maybe four days a month. Usually when I’ve written something awesome, or had a good performance. The rest of the time I’m just floating along doing my best not to actually drown.

  562. No, I don’t think I even have 3- days per month where I feel like I kicked ass. Maybe 3-4 days per month where I feel at peace with everything, but never really a sense of accomplishment.

    I wash my hair every day, but that’s because it looks too greasy and gross to avoid washing it.

    I know how to recycle, but that’s because we just have a big blue tote with a large sticker on that tells me all of the things that can go in it and I don’t have to separate.

    I bought a house last October–2/3 of it is still full of unpacked boxes and is still not set up. I tell myself that NO ONE really has those super clean put together houses all the time. I don’t really KNOW this, but no one I have ever met has such a house for more than a few hours before a party starts. (Even then, you might not want to open the closets.) My boss actually pays for a maid service, but his 6 kids keep his house in a condition that makes me proud of my dog’s house training.

    A recent study showed that people are generally more depressed by Facebook for the exact reason you mentioned. You see all these accomplishments, tidy houses, perfect vacations and then you compare these hand-selected moments that came out against your entire life. That’s not a realistic comparison.

    When I graduated college, my mom cried because she was SO proud of me. As the youngest of three siblings, I understood that this was a momentous thing for her. But when she whispered to me, “You did it! You did what I could never do!” I was truly perplexed. Yes, I went straight through high school and finished college in 4 years. My mom had all three of us before going back to school when I was five. To my mind, SHE accomplished more. What does it take to muddle through school taking care of myself and a dog, compared to what she did?! She took care of three young children (I can’t imagine trying to read Organic Chemistry while sitting next to my loud, bouncy 5 year old self!), kept up a house, cooked all meals for her family, and made time for dates with her husband. She did this while fending off nasty comments from my Grandma about how stupid she was for trying to have a career, that she was bound to ruin her family doing this, and who would want to be a nurse, anyway? My mom thought she was not a success because she didn’t do things right. I didn’t think I was much of a success because my mom showed me how hard it could have been.

    I don’t know you–no matter how much I feel I can relate to you through your writings–but I’m pretty sure that the reason you never feel accomplished or successful is because that is the feeling you have when you get to the top of the mountain. Being at the top means take a look around, you’re DONE. You’ve made it. You don’t feel accomplished because you’re still going, still striving for more out of life. That’s not a bad thing. It means you actually believe in your own abilities enough to accomplish more–you are just frustrated by a lack of time, energy and money. I think this is the most natural, logical thing in the world and a lot of people feel this way.

    Give yourself a break every once in a while. Everyone is struggling. Some people hide it well. We love your blog because you do not attempt to hide it from us and we love being able to relate to you.

  563. I only “feel successful” a few days a month. Maybe 1 or 2. I think feeling clueless and envying other people who have their shit together is a universal thing, though.

    Part of life, and worse for those of us with depression and anxiety because we take the perceived difference between our own lives and other people’s better lives and make it personal. We take it out on ourselves, our self esteem. We already have limited resources to deal with the world, and comparing yourself to the (false) image that everyone else is projecting just makes it worse.

    In short, I’ve had days where I wished I could be as awesome as you. I’m sure other people have had days where they wanted to be as awesome as me. If you have 1 of those days a month, or all 31 doesn’t matter – we’re all there with you at some point.

  564. Jenny, there’s nothing I can say that will possibly make you feel better as a person. I’m a shitty person too. I’ve always been introverted and terrified of embarrassing myself in front of people. I’m so bad that people believe I’m stuck up instead of aware that if I make eye contact with them, I might accidentally burn them to death with my eyeballs* and commit a really serious social faux pas (*that’s never happened, but who’s to say it couldn’t?).

    I have may 10 days (maybe, if we’re really pushing it) in a month where I’m sure I’m accomplishing all kinds of good things in my life. Where I feel like I haven’t let my husband down because he’s told me in the past that I’m so distant, we might as well be on different planets. I spend most of my time buried in a word processing program inventing fake worlds, writing characters that actually have lives, while mine is…empty, and it’s all my fault. My mom once told me she used to love to mess with my hair when I was little, but as I got older, I didn’t want to be touched. I have no idea why I’m this way, I only know it’s gotten worse since my dad died in ’03 and it’s like I have to be in my own world to cope.

    I’ve been told I’m funny and clever and smart, that I’m a talented writer. I got my first book contract in March and a second in June, and yet when I look at what I’ve done, I just think, maybe everyone is crazy and I’m the only sane one. I’m the only one who sees how bad this really is. I’m a total fraud. The critics are right, this book I’ve written really is terrible and I’m wasting my time, but if I wasn’t writing, I’d be wasting my time doing nothing.

    After my dad died, I was in college and a few weeks later, one of my not so close friends said, “You’re really together. If it was my dad, I’d be a huge mess.” And all I could think was, you should see what it’s like on the inside, because there aren’t even words for how much emotional pain I’m in. I just feel like that a lot of the time. Like I’m holding up a big mask and the world thinks I’m good with it, but really, I’m having a melt down.

    I’m sorry we feel this way. That drawing in air (which is subconscious) is a major achievement and we ought to be given a medal for it some days. You’re not alone sister. Just keep on going one day at a time. That’s about all we can do. Love you, even if you don’t think you’re accomplishing anything. You’re brave for telling us about your insecurities.

  565. I think you just described every woman on earth. I believe that success, or if you prefer, happiness, doesn’t have a definition. It is what you say it is.

    Measuring yourself against other people is a slippery slope. I struggled mightily with this as a new mother that quit a successful career to stay home and raise her kids. Had I given up? Did not showering everyday make me a loser? If the house was messy, would my husband still love me? Answers in order: No, No, Yes.

    It takes an amazing amount of strength for anyone to just get through this life. Facebook, Twitter, the internet in general…I sincerely believe it sets us up for failure. Looking at someone’s Pinterest page or their handmade crafts on Etsy makes me want to cry. Who has time for this stuff? How can I possibly work that into my already crammed full day of ferrying kids to and fro, working from home every spare moment I have, and trying to cook and clean for my family? The answer is…I can’t and I won’t. Choices must be made and I won’t feel bad about them. Good enough is AWESOME!

    This is a long way of saying, I figured out what my priorities are and I focus on those. My kids. My husband. Myself. If I’ve helped my kids finish their homework and shared a meal with my family (shared…not necessarily made), spent some real time with my husband (not just sitting next to him on the couch while we both work on our Ipads), and done something for myself every day (read a book, talk to a friend, take a walk), I’m happy. I’ve succeeded. My opinion, and that of my kids and husband, is the only one that matters.

    Some days I fail. Some days traffic was awful and there’s nothing for dinner and the kids forgot their homework. I’m truly lucky that I have an amazing husband that can tell when I’m about to go over the deep end. He picks up the slack, runs out for food, reminds the kids that bringing their stuff home is their responsibility, not mine or his, and then rubs my feet after they go to bed. He’s the best. He gets it. We’re all just trying out best. That’s our definition of happiness.

    Can I tell you how many days I’m happy…how about 5 out of 7. More often than not….but I had to stop comparing myself to other “happy” people to get there. Decide what matters most and focus on that. Unpacking boxes and making your home perfect may or may not make that list. If order is necessary for your happiness, then maybe it does. For me, being here for my kids, being their Mom, being a wife (not a servant), making a few bucks working from home, and spending time with family and friends are my priorities. Doing those things makes me happy.

    The rest just doesn’t matter…

  566. I don’t usually feel like an imposter. That said, it doesn’t bother me if my hair is unwashed, and I assure you, I do not own a picnic basket. My house isn’t all that clean, I really can’t walk through my storage room, there’s stuff that’s been broken for years that we have simply stopped seeing.

    I haven’t set a very high bar for what I define as “successful living.” I joke that my job as a parent is keeping my kids between the ditches – literally (one’s a driver) and figuratively – and that’s what I try to do for myself, too. The rest, as they say, is gravy.

    Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food recently posted Day 365 of my 46th year.

  567. I remember one time, I was in a friend’s boss’ kitchen. It was sooo clean; nothing was out of place. Then I found out she never made coffee…she always went out for it. I’m not awake enough in the mornings to buy coffee…and, mine is so much better…and I make a couple pots every day. I would rather my messy coffee pot, and a nice hot cup of coffee than a clean kitchen. My clothes also don’t hang on me as good as the catalogues…but then again, I don’t want someone binder clipping them in the back either. Life is about choices… and sometimes, the choice I want to make is to sit on the couch, drooling and watching Dr. Who. Sure, I may be a failure at another person’s life…but at mine…I’m a rockstar! :-)

  568. Aw hell, you asked us how many days we had that were normal. I was thinking more like hours. Struggled with these very same issues my whole life. Why the hell do you think I follow you? You help me feel normal, unlike all those straight laced PTA moms.

  569. Nope. Not just you. Not even a little tiny bit.

  570. Well- first of all I have depression and anxiety and am on meds so may not be the best person to answer this question. How many days a month do I feel like I kicked ass? honestly? None. I very rarely feel like I kick ass or am successful. I am in survival mode right now. I am attempting to redefine “successful” as “if everyone is still alive and feels loved at the end of the day” we’ll count that as a successful day. I try not to think about it because when I do I usually end up crying.
    What makes me feel worst? I feel like if I could just get my shit together my kids would have a better chance at… everything. My oldest has autism and I feel like I can’t make life work the way he needs it to. And my middle has inherited my anxiety and isn’t that just the worst feeling in the world? And my youngest- my only girl… I can’t even begin to describe the fear I feel when I think of how inadequate I am in preparing her for all she is going to face in her life. I barely survived highschool… how am I going to prepare her for it?
    What do you do to make myself feel more successful? I find my people. I come here. I remind myself I am not alone and I am not the only one who feels this way. I remind myself that depression lies and anxiety is a harsh task master and that I will never ever ever live up to the false expectations I have of myself. I remind myself that my children are loved and cared for so at least they have that going for them.

    Tarasview recently posted First Day of School (or The Day Summer Died).

  571. Hehe, do you still get a chance to read the comments this far down?

    I’m a blogger. I’m one of those bloggers who makes those pretty food pictures that make other moms angry on Pinterest (after lots of screw-ups). I’m that woman at the bus stop who is all dressed up like she’s getting ready to go work as a business profession, but in reality I’m about to go write about the dress I’m wearing for some client and sit on my couch. For most people stopping by my blog or seeing me outside, I’m a perfectly happy housewife.

    -They don’t see that I lose my temper. I yell at the kids and watch them hurt at whatever venom just came out.
    -They don’t see me fight the self-doubt that comes with being divorced and how much I feel I’ve ruined my children’s lives.
    -They don’t see me pushing down everything I feel to take care of a boyfriend with heavy depression and borderline personality disorder who blames me for the sun not shining bright enough.
    –A boyfriend who believes marriage is a waste of time, which I tend to take personally
    -They don’t see me miss meals because I’m afraid there won’t be enough left at the end of the week for everyone else and I can’t bring myself to ask for money to go to the grocery early.
    -Nobody sees me look at my Google Analytics at the end of the month and want to cry when I see less and less people stopping by my sites (my only source of income).

    The truth is that while I’d be considered moderately successful, with my children in a nice home and some of the best schools in our state, I only feel like I’m worth anything a couple of days a month. The rest, I feel like my whole life has wandered so far from the path I’d hoped to follow that I’ll never get back to where I wanted to go, but I push through it because of the two little blue-eyed boys depending on me. I hope they never have to feel this way.

    Brooke recently posted Blurred Lines & What Miley Should Have Worn.

  572. I count my successful days by the year rather than the month, and they’re usually too far between to count. Having just recently found myself out of the job that was putting a roof over our heads, I only have a couple more months to find something else, or I don’t even want to think about where we’ll end up. But I’m so crippled by fear and self-doubt that if I didn’t have a dog I have to take outside so she can pee, I don’t think I’d ever get out of bed.

  573. It took me years, but I found the way to feeling good about myself is understanding my strong and weak points, then being OK with it. I’ll never join the PTA unless someone puts a gun to my head. I hate parties and drink liberally when forced to attend and I don’t really drink any other time. I understand I have social anxieties, BUT I don’t allow those things to control my life. I’m happy no attending parties now. I use to want to be ‘normal’, but that isn’t me. I will leave the PTA to people like my husband who are born to lead and socialize. They would do a better job than me anyway. I would promise to do something, forget until the last minute, get stressed out about the deadline, turn into a horrible wife and mother due to the stress. Everyone is better off with me NOT in the PTA. I have grown comfortable knowing no person is great at everything, few people are really great at ANYTHING. I am a good dog trainer. I am a very gentle and kind person. I am a loving mother. I am a skilled home renovator. My house isn’t perfectly clean, but who cares! As long as I am happy with my house, no one else matters.

    When my twins were born, something had to give. I couldn’t keep the house I use to keep. I couldn’t do all the things I could before. A year of depression ensued before I fully grasped I needed to let things go. My twins birth and that horrible year was the best thing that happened to me. It taught me to not micro manage my husband. Who cares if he puts the silverware and dishes in the dishwasher in a less than perfectly organized way? At least those dishes are not sitting in the sink!

    I suppose what I am saying is try to be happy with who you are now, if that is only 4 days a month of what you think is productivity, great. That is 4 days more than zero! When you find happiness in yourself, the productivity (or at least your view of it) will change for the better.

  574. I also suffer from anxiety and depression, and I haven’t felt “successful” at any point for a number of years. You might find this scary, but I find you one of the “shiny” people because you get to write (which I always wanted to do) and constantly be funny and observant have have a successful book a contract for another one and know lots of interesting people.

    I guess keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe look at the things that make you feel guilty (like unpacked boxes; I have one from 1994 in my basement) and try to accomplish them bit by bit. Try taking a shower every other day, or opening one of the boxes. Wish I had better advice.

    ~k

  575. Here’s the advice my lovely shrink always gives me: Quit comparing yourself to others. Quit looking at other people’s lives to measure yourself against it. What do you get out of it? Most of the time you feel bad about yourself because you’re not “as good”. Or what you perceive as not good.
    Doesn’t matter. You’re you. You accomplish(ed) things, you have things to be proud of. Would other people be proud of them? Who cares? Measure yourself against the best you that you can possibly be.

    And no, you’re not alone with this. That’s a behavioral/cultural thing we do. The grass is always greener on the other side. Sure, it’s annoying not to fit in and feeling like you’re always a day behind everybody else trying to catch up – but if you get off the hamster wheel and do things the way that YOU need to do them you accomplish two things: You get them done and you don’t feel bad about them.

    And you know you’re loved by people, so just know that they love you the way you are. And that’s all that matters. :)

  576. I don’t have depression or mental illness and I still only feel successful maybe once or twice a week. (It often correlates with getting enough sleep – but not always.)
    By that standard I think you’re doing quite well.

    What sometimes works is, thank the voices in your head for sharing and get on with whatever you were doing before they so rudely interrupted.
    Also, hugs.

    Elwyne recently posted Off again.

  577. You are most definitely not alone. 99% of people are just not brave enough to admit it.

  578. and at yours… you’re a rockstar too!!!

  579. You are SO NOT alone. Now I have never been diagnosed with depression or ADD or anything, but let me tell you how unproductive I feel. Outside of my work life I probably feel like a productive human being 5-6 days out of the month. The others just seem to be me getting by on what little routine I happen upon. What makes me feel even worse about it are those around me. No, they ae not doing or saying anything to me, I’m doing this to myself! My mom may not keep the “cleanest spot-free” home, but she is crafty and always the life of the party no matter what situation she is in. I on the other hand suck at being entertaining or throwing a party without her where everyone doesn’t seem absolutely bored to tears. My boyfriend’s mom may not going out or be the life of the party either, but her house is almost spotless! She takes care of her two grandsons (7 & 3) full time. How!?! My house always looks like a tornado hit it! It’s just my boyfriend, our two year and me. Honestly my two year old doesn’t really make that big of a mess either. But my crap is every where!! Then I get on Facebook and Pinterest and try to think of all these really cool things I “should” be doing with my time, the kids, and in the kitchen. Talk about looking even more-less productive. I think in our day and age we are somewhat blinded to how much simpler life used to be. Therefore making those of us who enjoy it simple, feel like WE are doing it all wrong. I also came across this article a while back… check it out: http://blogs.phillymag.com/bewellphilly/2012/11/01/mom-run-facebook-pinterest-feel-crappy-mom/
    Hope things start looking up for you, you make me smile everytime I read your posts. Oh and on a totally different note, I found this place that sells more “Beyonces” I laughed when they had smaller ones (like tiny sized) My friend said they were Michelle and Kelly; their size was representative of their careers which is why Beyonce was so much bigger! Made me think of you and laugh some more!!

  580. You asked for comments…..it seems that your friends here came through! You sound so totally normal to me – but I’m all fucked up, too! I haven’t considered how many good days I actually have…I just keep trying to get through them. I marvel all the time how people’s perceptions of me are so different than the real me. I have subscribed to the “fake it till you make it” theory for so long I don’t how to do it any differently. I really think the “pastel” people are doing it, too – they’re just better at it than we are. As Glennon at Momastery says, “Carry on, Warrior!”.

  581. Mine is interesting … I’m one of those people (lucky, I guess?) whose experience in therapy totally turned her life around. Totally around. 180. I feel like I am the person who I was supposed to be. A year ago at this time I was on the brink of trying to kill myself and then I read one of your “depression lies” posts and I got the strength to go get help. No joke. So I am happy to return the favor now.

    Background – I had a massive codependency issue. It was killing me. I am in recovery and every day gets better and better. I still backslide but I learn from it and get back on the wagon.

    How many days in a month do you actually feel like you kicked ass, or were generally a successful person?
    BT (before therapy) – Only when I was at work, never in my personal life.
    Now – Maybe 75% of the time. But self compassion is something I have to work very hard on.

    What makes you feel the worst?
    BT and now – Negativity from other people. I internalize and amplify it.

    What do you do to make yourself feel more successful?
    BT – Tried a bunch of things, nothing worked.
    Now – For me working codependent recovery steps and working on self compassion and going low/no contact with the negative people in my life has helped greatly. It’s really about reconstructing my smashed self compassion and self esteem to a normal balance of pride vs. constructive criticism. But I’m working on it.

    And this year I even volunteered to be one of the class moms. No joke. Talk about scary. I’ll probably suck at it but that’s ok, I’m an unpaid volunteer so they can only expect so much. Really. I can’t imagine the kids notice or care if I don’t go all Martha Stewart in the classroom anyway.

  582. It’s not just you, and you are not alone. I struggle with depression and am on meds. I “allow” myself one day a week to be a sloth – usually Saturday – nothing is planned unless absolutely necessary. I have also set up pretty specific tasks to be done on certain days. For example on Monday all the trash goes out, including changing the cat litter, cuz Tuesday is trash pick up day. I work full time out of the house and don’t have kids at home anymore, but I find if I can attach a day of the week to a specific task, I feel like I at least got that one thing done that day. Baby steps, they help. Hugs!

  583. I’ve never commented here, I’m so nervous!

    Obviously so many of us feel this way, right? I’m a business owner, been married 25 years, and a grad student. When I got the acceptance letter to school I was pretty sure they made a mistake. I still think they will find out what a fraud I am and I’ll be kicked out. Or that I am the “token” failure they let in for laughs. I’ve lived in my house for 6 years and still don’t have many pictures on the walls. We made that a goal- 3 years ago- and recently have put up one picture.

    I have times in my day where I feel together. I don’t usually have an entire day or strings of days. I don’t have kids so I don’t have that reason for being frazzled and stressed. I just am frazzled and stressed. My shrink does say that we can get to a point we feel pretty good most of the time. I’m waiting

    I wonder about people I see in life, or on TV, and especially the other students in my class. All these people walking around through the day who look like they have it together. They are slim and obviously not the failure I am. How do they do it? What is missing in me?

    One of the above comments mentioned being a child of a narcissistic mother. I have a couple books on that– of course I haven’t read them— but that sounds somewhat accurate.

    I used you, Jenny, in one of my classes as an example of what I would like my online presence to be. You are brutally honest and you say those things we are thinking and yet scared to say.

    Thank you for showing me that you can feel like an impostor and still be lovely. That you can be vulnerable. And to all the people that have commented on your blogs– the amount of caring I see from total strangers gives me hope.

  584. I try to to dwell on things I can’t control but it’s hard to let go sometimes. If I ever dared think about how much I fail on a daily basis, it would probably be the end of me. So I try to follow my grandmothers advice. She told me long ago, “When you find yourself on a rough road, just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, and soon you will find yourself back on solid ground” I repeat this to myself when things get hard. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It has served me well. Feel free to try it. It just might give you the ability to find yourself on solid ground. Good Luck.

  585. About 2 weeks out of 4 if I’m lucky. And that is after a lot of hard work, talking myself into accepting that I’ll never be perfect, and maturing over the 40 years of my life.

    If I’m not lucky… it’s a lot less than that.

  586. I may not have any of what you have, but I am here to tell you that you aren’t alone in some ways! I feel like I’ve done nothing but exist and every two months or so I actually feel like I’ve accomplished something, but even then it’s not anything on a grand scale and it’s probably only for an hour or two. Maybe I knitted a scarf or actually wrote a blog post and caught up on my blog reading. For me the problem is because I’m still young, I’m lazy, and I really haven’t been doing anything with my life. I honestly think most people feel that way, they just don’t like to admit it. They like others to think they have their shit together, but who does really? I bet you, even some of the cheery parents at the PTA are feeling almost the same as you do. Stuck at home or stuck in a job that isn’t going anywhere. Their one bit of solace is the fact that their children are doing well in school. And every once in a while, they get that feeling of accomplishment. But it doesn’t come often.

    So, you’re not alone. Mental illness or not, everyone feels that way at some point in their lives. Some of us feel it every day, we just don’t like to think about it. We push it to the back of our minds and cover it up so we can keep going.

    Kelsey recently posted The end of all that I love (Aka Futurama).

  587. You aren’t alone. And I don’t know if it’s helped you at all, but it’s really helped me to read all the comments to this post. I wish more people were this honest in daily life. Because most of the time? I feel like I’m the only oddball walking around, and judging by the tribe that has named you leader, law of averages says that isn’t true.

    I probably have about 8 days a month where I feel like I’ve got a handle on this life thing. And every now and then I have those great-to-be-alive days. But those are few and far between. I’m not even suffering from depression. Anxiety, sure, but the meds are taking care of that for the most part. But mentally? I’m about as healthy as I get. And I still assume I’m fucking things up most of the time.

  588. You are definitely not alone in this. I struggle every day to feel like I’m doing more than floating along, and sometimes I’m positively drowning. I have a visualization I use to help me assess where I am, and it’s a bit literal, in that it’s a pool of water with a floating platform I can sit on. So I try to figure out, am I sitting on the platform? In the water holding on to the edge? Underwater being sucked down by people-eating monster algae? Sometimes it helps me feel better just to know how I’m feeling in a given moment. Feel free to steal my visualization if it helps you too :)

    Colleen recently posted Guest Post: How to Make a Custom Witch Tool Box.

  589. You’ve just described “normal adult perma-worry,” as far as I can tell. Every friend I have past the early 20s does it, feels it, survives it on an ongoing basis. 3-4 days a month sounds dead-on for me, and a bit high for some of my friends. Constant imposter syndrome and spirals of celebrating small (bank-run) accomplishments which only lead to frustration, hopelessness and abusive internal monologues…it’s all painfully familiar.

    I think the best solution I’ve found for it is to pile up the small successes rather than always focusing on the big things. Remember to treat things like enjoying time with family and friends as a success, and keep track of the little things that don’t seem impressive alone, but can add up when you look at them all together.

    It’s the best I’ve found so far, and I hope it helps even a little bit. If not, at least know you’re far from alone. I am, and am surrounded by, the same feeling, and I don’t know that I remember a time when I wasn’t.

  590. Some days just making it through the day is a victory. Some people are better at not showing how fucked up their life is and that they are struggling just to appear happy. Is my life perfect? Fuck no but for me when I get home and cuddle with my dog I find a peace that can settle me. Even knowing that just this morning she are some mystery brown thing from the yard that made me want to toss my cookies when I was trying to chase her down.

  591. 592
    HairyFairyDust

    i am a long term follow and short term commenter, i fail miserably when it comes to commenting.

    i see what you wrote today as me all over only i don’t even think i am that good that amount of the time, i am a long term Depression Anxiety, and OCD sufferer, and i can’t even get OCD right… you know most OCD’s clean? yeah well i make mess, and it’s not a little bit of mess, it’s whole house mess.
    Right now i am going through a bit of spike in my depression and everything seems a bit worse,

    i have 6 possibly 7 things i done right my whole life, my children and possibly my husband (i haven’t yet made up my mind if i even like him today or not (and it’s 8pm) it’s not looking promising let me tell you)
    i am however off to Uni in 11 days and absolutly pooping towns, this is such a big step for me and i am not kidding i don’t do the whole social thing (unless it is text, email, or social media cause i can be anyone) i always manage to say something i shouldn’t and everyone ends up hating me (in my head more likely than anything)

    But this is the way i was made, and i dunno if i am going to be like this rest of my life or wake up a completely different person tomorrow, but for now i am who i am flaws and crap towns and all.

  592. I feel like that most days, it’s very rare that when I have a great day, I can acknowledge it. The negative tape runs through my head with the things I didn’t do or something I did to embarrass myself. I work on it daily by looking in the mirror and telling myself I love myself and I’m awesome. It’s making a difference, I love myself a little more today than yesterday. I no longer want to disappear from this earth. I choose to live instead of just surviving. One of the biggest things that helps is to know I’m not alone. I have people that love me and a community on the internet I can read to remind me, it can get better, depression lies. And thank you for that.

  593. You are not a freak. Or at least you’re not a rare type of freak. I need to go turn the washing machine on because I left a load in there for so many days now, it needs to be run through again. The vast majority of the time, I go to bed not even wanting to think about how little I accomplished, but just wanting to shut my eyes against another lost day, and desperately praying that I’ll do better the next. What helps me sometimes, when I’m knee deep in it and 1000% aware that I’m failing at life, is to ask myself what’s one little thing I could quickly do that I know I’ll be glad I’ve done at the day’s end. If I can push myself through several of these little tasks, I feel like I can at least pretend I’m winning at life for a while. Some days though, even turning the washer on seems like a mountain too high for me.

  594. 595
    Anonymous Former Overachiever

    Jenny- First time poster, I think. (Honestly can’t remember. If I did, I might have been in an ambien induced fog and have no recollection what I might have said.) So, anyway. This is coming from someone who used to be one of those “put together,” overachieving, senior-member-of-management-supposed-to-be-a-role-model-of-balancing-career-and-family women. IT’S ALL A BIG FAT LIE. The image of it all isn’t reality. House was a disaster, like all the time. If something wasn’t posing imminent danger to the children (knives on the floor), it didn’t even faze me. I was too tired to pick it up. Laundry? Pulling something out of the dryer and immediately putting it on was acceptable because at least it was clean. Bonus points for being all the way dry. At parent teacher conferences I was a deer in headlights because I wasn’t the homework parent. I had no idea what the teachers were talking about. I quit that job for a variety of reasons and haven’t looked back. And now? If I get 4 good days a month, I’m counting myself lucky.

  595. You are not alone. You are perfectly normal. Those you see on Facebook and Pinterest who seem to live such perfect lives have only managed to perfect the shiny image they wish to show you. They are just as greasy haired smelly stressed and cranky as the rest of us. They just don’t want others to know that.

    The internet is in many ways a horrible place. I wrote my thesis about the way it affects us and our identity – it changes us. We behave differently. We become more reckless, more narcissistic, more impulsive, more cruel, more shallow, more stupid and have less inhibitions. But it also allows us to be kind to strangers, explore sides of ourselves that we would fear to show to the world around us and let us be globally social.
    When we see the perfect lives others show us online we desire it and attempt to imitateb it – when that imitation doesn’t live up to our expectations it can cause downright depression – but to use your own words; depression lies. When you attempt to imitate a lie how can it ever work out?

    My point is: chin up. You’re a much more capable and successful person than your brain will allow you to accept you are right now. The rest of the world isn’t at all perfect.

  596. I feel your pain! I feel like I have 2 to 5 days a month where I’ve actually done something that was ‘right’ or productive. I do NOT take compliments well at all. I feel as though people are lying to me or like you, that I am a fraud and someone is going to find out sooner or later. Really stressful days at work make me worse. Or my dad calling to brag about how awesome my younger sister is. (She is awesome…but on my crappy days, I really don’t need to hear it at 7:30 in the morning and again at 6:00 at night because he forgot he already called me to brag…) To make myself feel better and put myself back in an ‘ass kicker’ frame of mind, I go riding (horses). It puts me back into my happy place. (plus my meds. lol) Or I walk my dogs or handle my beardie…animals seem to calm me down. And reading!! Escaping into a world that isn’t my own reality also helps me! You are not alone! Best of luck on getting yourself to a better YOU!

  597. I’m with you all the way! I’ve even had a kid tell me my house was messy. I prefer to think of it as lived in. I have something of a dream existence, working part-time on my own schedule from home. Do I feel as if I accomplish anything? Not usually! Instead, I live a “I could have” existence, thinking of all the things I could have done or could have done better, how I could have been a better person. But don’t worry. It’s a very big club we’re in.

    Jean recently posted Taking What I Can Get.

  598. You are most definitely NOT alone!

    recently posted The Positives of Being Separated.

  599. It’s not just you.

    I’m going to repeat what others have said: Yoy can’t compare yourself to the sparkly shiny portraits you see online or at the PTA. Most people wear masks; most people are struggling and don’t want the world to see that fact.

    I worked for a while as a pet sitter. I was going through a divorce, I wasn’t making enough to cover the bills, I was living in a not-great neighborhood, and the only thing getting me out of bed was my dedication to taking care of my cats. I would go into rich strangers’ homes to walk their pets, look at their perfect spotless homes, know that they had lives in which paying someone to take care of their pets every day, several times a day, was nothing… it fucked with my head in ways I don’t generally try to describe. And then someone on my friends’ list in my corner of the blogiverse described me as someone who had had her life together…and now didn’t. So..shit. Others could see the same chaotic depressed failure I saw in myself, and that was pretty horrifying.

    But it didn’t define me.

    And it got better.

    I still struggle with depression and anxiety. I still hide in bathrooms. I don’t have all the struggles -and successes – you do, but it sure does help to have someone who writes the way you do, that I can point to and say, “Here, read this. It’ll help you understand why I’m hiding in the bathroom.”

    I’m sorry you struggle so much, Jenny. And I grok – I really do – that knowing you have a tribe out there doesn’t always counterbalance all those Perfect People you’re measuring yourself up against. But. You truly aren’t alone. You truly are loved. And I guarantee that all the time and energy you are giving to Hailey matters more than any stupid Perfect Person measuring stick.

    You are made of awesome and win and SO many cookies.

    Be gentle with you.

    And I hope you get to have more good days than bad.

    **hug**

    Dusti recently posted Hello world!.

  600. Stay away from Pinterest!

    Mary Beth recently posted McCalls 6244 Tee Shirt.

  601. These days? 50% of the time, if I’m lucky. It’s never whole days, which is why I’m giving a percentage. Money stuff makes me feel the absolute worst–keeps me up at night, distracts me during the day, makes me cry, the works. To make myself feel better, I start making a list in my head of everything I have and everything I’ve managed in life. I walk around my house from room to room if I have to. It always works intellectually, but it doesn’t always work emotionally–in that case I turn to chocolate and a book or a movie or a walk by the water. Anything that takes me out of that headspace and puts me in another.

    Your questions come at a weird time because I was wondering today if I should go back to therapy. I went for a year once during a really bad time in my life (situational; I stopped once I was back on my mental/emotional feet), and I’m sort of feeling a lighter version of how I felt then these days. I can’t help but wonder if it would help…I don’t feel anything like I did then–I was off the rails and I knew it, which was why I threw myself into therapy–but the shaky, avoiding stuff, stressed out and being tired all the time feelings are familiar.

  602. I know, I mean I KNOW that much of the happy, shiny stuff I see on facebook, etc is the whitewashed this-is-what-we-want-people-to-see of each person’s life. Facebook is like reality tv for real people in that way. But there are weeks when I feel like a failure as a human being because of infertility. Or writer’s block. Or when I just can’t seem to beat Word or Excel into submission. Or because I kill every damned plant I try to grow.

    Those times when I feel useless, however…those are speedbumps leading the way to when I’m not quite so useless. Those times when everything actually works, well except for growing a plant, and I feel like I’ve actually done something. I took a job that has huge potential for major impact in a field I care about. Some days it actually feels like we’re doing something. But many, many, many days it feels like we’re screaming at the wind.

    It’s alright to feel like an imposter. It’s the people that never feel that way that I worry about.

    Kelly at Cibatarian recently posted Cocoamoda: Chocolates.

  603. I just read a blog post this morning that addresses this very thing, and expresses it better than I ever could:

    http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html?m=1

    Especially that last sentence: “Quit being a jackass to yourselves.”

  604. You aren’t alone, and I’m not even sure you are close to being in a minority here. I also suffer from depression and a host of other things stemming from CPTSD, but I can use an example from grad school. Every. Single. Student who went through a masters and most of a phd with or around me at one point or another told me they were afraid everyone would discover they were complete frauds and didn’t belong in the program. These were smart, engaged people, some of whom probably didn’t even have mental illness (are there people like that?) Some of the professors confided the same thing. (A few that didn’t actually WERE frauds.) So I think even “normal” people feel this way. I’m doing well if I remember to brush my teeth every day. That’s how high my bar is set, because any higher and I’d simply fail everything every day.

    People use Pinterest and Facebook to show the world just what they accomplished when they feel they have accomplished nothing. Many of them are looking for the “attagirl” or “attaboy” that we ALL deserve when we remember to brush our teeth every day.

  605. Jenny, I LOVE YOU! I mean, not in a weird, lesbian, stalker way, just in a fan and admirer kind of way. Not that lesbians are weird, or necessarily stalkers…maybe I should start again.

    Jenny, I am a huge fan of yours! Your words speak to me like few others in this world do. I relate to what you say so much, and YOU make ME feel like I’m not alone with my feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. I thank-you for sharing your talent; making me laugh, making me cry, making me think, making me self-reflect. You may not believe that you are accomplishing much, but believe me, and the other posters here-you are.

  606. I’ve never thought of it in terms of how many days a month I feel successful–being more short-sighted, I see it in terms of minutes per day, but it still boils down to the same thing. I don’t feel honest-to-God, straight up badass almost ever. I do tend to feel vaguely productive for roughly an hour per day, but even that is sketchy. I’ve thought about re-prioritizing or making a schedule or maybe just dying my hair (purple hair DOES make you more badass) but ultimately I’m learning to be okay with the fact that life isn’t designed to be about accomplished projects or words written per day or whatever. EVERYONE is freaking out because they aren’t getting enough done, just on different levels. This isn’t being nice or even supportive. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, so I have no reason to condescend. Truth: it isn’t just you.

  607. I think it is pretty normal or we are all screwed up. I definitely believe the shiny happy people at parent-teacher conferences are alien robots beamed down from the teachers’ motherships. I had a meeting with my youngest son’s new middle school principal scheduled because we needed to discuss what to do with Mr. Genius. (I wanted to put him in front of a tv with video games in hopes to make him stupid like the other kids but, noooo, we are going to “challenge” him.) Anyway, two days before that meeting, I found out I had to go straight from there to the high school to meet with my eldest son’s guidance counselor because they messed up his schedule.

    In front of the kids, I completely lost it and burst into hysterical tears about being sent to the principal’s office TWICE! Sigh…. The kids gave me hugs and told me I could do it. I did but it was hard. It helped when the middle school principal showed up with wet hair, flip flops and hugging her iced coffee. (School wasn’t in session yet.) That day actually counted as a good day since I didn’t cancel or throw up on anyone.

  608. I am a giant slacker at life. I often have unwashed hair. I keep buying underwear so I don’t have to do laundry. I start projects that I never finish. I keep buying books about organization and not reading them. I have boxes that I haven’t unpacked in my last 5 moves (literally, 5). And I can’t help but feel that I’m always letting someone down: work, my writing partner, or my family. When I feel like that, my anxiety gets so bad that I feel like I can’t start anything.

    So, no, it’s not just you. I will say though that I have gotten better, over time, at silencing my internal critic. So when it says “No other 30 year old has a messy room like this,” I can take a step back and say, “There’s only so much I can do. When I am able to, I will clean my room.” And then maybe I’ll never clean my room (hasn’t happened yet) but I’m not going to beat myself up about it, especially not for some perceived external standard of what it means to be an adult.

    The only way to silence your inner critic is to practice. And the more you love you, the easier it will be. Also, I recommend watching reruns of 30 Rock and The New Adventures of Old Christine, because it makes me feel like my inability to do life is just a charming quirk and let’s have some wine.

    Jill recently posted Buffalo! Who Knew?.

  609. Also? I think most people want the outside world to perceive that they have it all together, but I think that most people, if you ask them, will say that they don’t. I’m sure people think I have all my shit together, but I assure you, I don’t. It’s fine, It’s working, mostly. Then someone will compliment me and while I smile and say Thank You!, inside my head is screaming, IF ONLY YOU KNEW THE TRUTH. Benchmarking against our perceptions of other people’s lives is a waste of time.

    Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food recently posted Day 365 of my 46th year.

  610. Normal? I think that it’s possibly the reason you have such a following. Yes you are smart and funny and goshdarnitpeoplelikeyou, but it’s also because it is so normal to not be perfect. You speak to all of us who are all a little bit broken.

  611. I’ve been reading for a long time but this is the first I’ve been compelled to post. I’ve been waiting for decades now for someone to realize that I am a fraud, that I am without talent and frankly not a very nice person. Yet still I keep toodling along, yet to be called out. It’s only a matter of time, I am sure.

    When I read your post, a saying along the lines of “don’t compare your raw footage to someone else’s highlights reel” popped into my head. Or something like that. Which is easier said than done but good advice nonetheless. On the days when I can barely be motivated to change into clean pajama bottoms that aren’t covered in Dorito cheese, I remind myself that sometimes simply existing is enough. All any of us can do is exist; all the rest is just stuff.

  612. This sounds very familiar to me, and also my sister and a few of my friends. Yes, I also have/had depression issues and a touch of anxiety and some ADD. I feel like I don’t have the energy/willpower to do what needs doing. So I get overwhelmed, and start avoiding what needs doing, and then guess what? Now there’s more to do, more to escape doing, and I’ve reinforced that I’m-a-failure-at-doing-stuff thing.
    Suggestions, which make great advice but I’m not very good at following myself either:
    - read Single Dad Laughing’s blog about real people. The short version is by putting on a face that’s only showing the shiny stuff to other people, we’re both hurting ourselves (missing the chance to connect w people about our real challenges) and we’re hurting other people (who are comparing their real selves behind the mask to our shiny fake selves)
    - try to break everything down into smaller pieces. Don’t aim for a perfect day, but 15 minutes of progress on something. Call your day a success if you had a nice morning, or you did something to be proud at snack time even if you don’t like the rest of the day
    - make sure your standards and goals are attainable for _you_. PTA mom may never fit for you, but you are still helping your daughter get a good education by doing homework with her at all, really!
    - recognize your every little accomplishment. End the day with the same number of kids I started with and fed them 3 meals? Some days that took a lot!

    Good luck!

  613. 3-4 days a month for me would be a generous estimate. I recently spent a whole weekend (alllll weekend) under the covers rather than work (write) because I’m fairly terrified that the last book was a fluke and this one will suck. The only reason it was only the weekend is because I have a day job, or I’d have been under the covers all week. Then I felt like shit because I didn’t write. *sigh* So, for me, too, the under the covers, gods-I-suck-I’m scared-I-gotta-get-outta-doing-this-it’s-too-hard days are the worst.

    How do I feel more successful? I make a list of things to do for a day, and do them, and make a huge deal of crossing them off the list. Sometimes, when the writer’s block takes a step back, I can dive into my book notes and get fixated, resulting in a good word count day, or at least a good plotting day. That’s about the only two ways I can feel successful, and even doing those things are hard.

    I feel like I could have written your blog today. Much love, Jenny. I do understand.

  614. You are not alone. I suck, too.
    I have depression and I’m on medication. I see a lovely PsyD once a week – not CBT, we just talk. He helps A LOT.

    Sometimes a successful day is a success because, at the end of the day, you’re still alive.

    Your web community loves you and believes in you and accepts you just the way you are. Please believe us.

  615. You could be writing about me. My life sounds almost identical to this. Some days the only thing that I feel I accomplish is the kids are still alive at bedtime. Other than that, I failed everything. I suffer severe depression and anxiety as well, so I totally get where you are coming from!

  616. I don’t struggle with anxiety or depression. Most days I get things done but don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I have a job, I work, but I don’t count that under the “Shit I accomplished today” category. I would go with anywhere between 1-4 days a month I feel like I’ve kicked ass and gotten things under control. The problem with those days is that they make the rest of the days in the month look like that drunk uncle that sleeps on the couch in the basement. The thing I’ve found is to realize that those uber productive days are not the norm, nor are they something to aspire too. If I had days like that all month, sure I’d be Super Mom with a perfect house and a home cooked meal every night but I’d also be a raging bitch on the verge of a mental meltdown. Fuckit. Life is not a competition. I get done what I can in a day. Sometimes it’s a lot. Sometimes it’s a bottle of wine and a bag of Doritos while in my yoga pants.

  617. I don’t have depression or (diagnosed) ADD or anything… and you still have described my feelings completely. I feel like I never complete anything worthwhile, and my next venture will be the one to make me “real”. I have imposter syndrome, bad.

    I always feel like I am a huge fraud and everyone will find me out soon. I don’t know if it’s normal or not, but I do know you are not alone. There is no rule book, so we are all just making it up as we go.

    And you succeed in making millions of people smile, feel like they belong, and feel like their existence does matter. That includes me.

  618. I have about two or three days a month that I feel like I did a great job..I always feel like an imposter in my own life(minister’s wife, full time RN, mom of 6, grandma of 6). Objectively, I know I have a good productive life, but most days I would rather just take a nap…I have been on an SSRI for 15 years

  619. I feel the same way. I think some of it is perfectionism and it’s easy to be jealous of people that look put together but they probably have their own issues that we can’t see. Just because someone’s hair is always combed doesn’t mean they really have it all together. They might just spend more time on their appearance to the detriment of their personal relationships.

    One book that really helped me was “Trapped in the Mirror” by Elam Golomb. I don’t know if you are the child of narcissist(s) or not (I definitely am) but the imposter syndrome is discussed as well. Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Mirror-Children-Narcissists-Struggle/dp/0688140718/

  620. I sometimes feel a glimpse of joy but it is fleeting. Most days I’m motivated to just sit in front of the computer and do the circuit of websites, much like a hamster on a wheel. I have what would be calculated out as a good life – no financial worries, freedom to do whatever I want, a nice house. Yet I feel mostly detached from it all. I do want to feel connected and feel peace, joy, happiness, but most days I just feel flat. I can’t figure out if it’s because I don’t think I deserve it or whether I just don’t believe it’s worth it – that just staying in the house, doing the same thing day after day is all I can manage. I also feel ike a fraud – people tell me what a great mom I am, what a great career I had, how talented I am and all I feel is lie. It’s all a lie. I probably have 3 or 4 days a month as well where I feel something more energetic and when those days happen I sign up for something because I am aware that being so hermit like isn’t healthy, either mentally or physically. So even if I’m back to my hamster wheel of life when the activity comes around, I force myself to go and find that I do, in fact, have a good time, that the effort it took to participate was worth it and that fleeting moment of feeling joy comes back around. I don’t know if I will ever feel that on a regular basis – sometimes it feels like feeling joy is a lot of work:), but I will continue taking advantage of those tiny bursts of energy. I have recently discovered Brene Brown and have bought her book Daring Greatly and once I have enough energy I will read it.

  621. I’m very jealous that you’ve managed to put into words exactly how I feel 27.5 days a month. Well done! You have more company than you realize in your feelings of inadequacy with day-to-day life/tasks. The people who look the shiniest and happiest have to be faking some of the time. You are a wonderful, amazing, funny, insightful, thoughtful person. <3 Hoping tomorrow is sunnier!

  622. I’m guessing from the number of responses here that you’re not alone!

    I feel like I’ve gradually lost my ability to keep it together over the last few years. I mean, I was always a slob and got paralyzed by the magnitude of shit I had to get done, not to mention unable to focus on any one thing for very long, but I did used to manage to get the house tidied up enough so that you could see the coffee table and the bathroom counter and the bed, etc. I seem to have completely lost that ability, though, and now our garage is packed to the gills, every surface in every room — literally — is covered with crap, the front and back lawns are basically dead (actually, the back lawn is completely dead!), and there are weeds everywhere and I feel like we’ve turned into *that* house on the block, and I just can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything about it. It just makes me very sad and frustrated and so I just watch Doctor Who or buy stuff on eBay instead of actually being productive.

    So no, you really aren’t alone in this!

  623. My most “successful” day this month was the one Sunday two weeks ago when I actually remembered to fold – but not put away – the laundry. So. I feel how you feel, a lot.

    Truth is, no one would describe me as successful or put together or even mentally stable (like you, I suffer from depression and anxiety). I have two young kids, and most of the time I’m just glad that I manage to keep them alive and (sometimes) smiling.

    I think a lot of people struggle like this. It’s not just us (see the above 220+ comments).

  624. 625
    Brant Newman

    Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” At least you can say that you have sung your song and touched millions of people in the process. I’d say you’re a huge success. Don’t stress over the little things. Life is life. It just goes on. Some days you get the bear. Some days the bear gets you. If you’re keeping your head above water, you’re doing fine.

  625. All the time. All the time. Every minute, every hour, every day. I, too, wrote and published a book. I’ve written and published hundreds and hundreds of articles. Edited several magazines. I raised five kids. I nursed my dad through his death. I founded a non-profit.

    ‘Look at all the things you’ve done!’ my friends say, when I am at my bluest blue.

    And my lizard brain sneers right back, ‘Yeah, well… Look at all the things I *haven’t* done.’

    It’s a long, long fucking list. Mortifyingly long. Jenny, my dad died several years ago. I’m his only heir, and I still have not filed the claims that will funnel his assets into my pocket. And as of two days ago, my checking account had about $27 in it. I am THAT avoidant, THAT dysfunctional.

    Last year I left a long marriage and (thank you, karma) got a long-term, semi-permanent housesitting gig here on the North Shore of Oahu.

    This year I discovered snorkel therapy. I’ve lived in Hawaii for almost 20 years, and have snorkeled a bit, but THIS year, inspired by a couple of amazing women who live close by, I discovered snorkel therapy. Which for me is getting in the water as much as I can, and visiting my friends the fish and the turtles, and feeling my body move in ways I never thought it could. I was molested several times by several men as a child, the earliest incident in a bathtub, and I have been exercise-avoidant and eating-disordered and (heh) water-resistant all my life. But when I am in the sea, I feel, at last, graceful and beautiful. I feel like I am home.

    It hasn’t solved everything, but it’s sure helped, and my ass, formerly the size of Texas, is getting smaller.

    From one sad sloth to another… Hugs and aloha to you, Jenny.

  626. Before medication I’d say maybe 3-4 days a month. But days I really feel like I kicked ass a month?? Hmmm. Probably 6? 7 MAYBE?? This is sort of the theme for the book I’m working on now. The book that has taken me about 3 years to write. (Still not done.) The book that I wished I’d never told anybody I was working on b/c then they ask, “How’s the book coming?” and I’d remember that I had a pile of papers stuffed in my desk somewhere that had some words on them and think “SHIT! I forgot I’m supposed to be a writer! Hurry, write something before everybody knows you’re a fraud!!”

    And, since I’m using this comment space like there is no limit on word count, I’ll say this too. When Ketchup (which you graciously blurbed for me) came out, it did so well it almost drove me to seek in patient care. I’m not being funny. I’ve never felt worse. I don’t know if it’s a writer/women/mental illness thing or what, but for some reason in my broken little head I felt like if the book was successful that was going to make me a shitty parent and a shitty wife. And if the book did bad then I would probably still be a good parent, but a crappy writer… either way I lost because I would have to fail at something.

    The only thing that keeps me from going back to the darkest of my dark places is my family and friends. I HAVE TO WATCH TV with my kids and let them climb all over me and kiss them until they slap me and tell me to stop. I HAVE to meet Sister Wife (my BFF, we share everything but clothes and husbands. She’s too damn skinny.) to exercise sometimes. Sometimes she has to drag my ass out of bed to go buy groceries. But I have to engage with people in real life, even if it’s only a select few otherwise I go back down the tubes.

    Life is hard. And on a totally narcissistic tone, I have an email folder in my inbox labeled, “Sweet Talk.” It’s emails from readers that make me feel like I did kick ass, like I encouraged them or was in their dark place with them. When I feel really, really shitty– I go read them and realize that even though I don’t FEEL like it, I make a difference.

    And you really make a difference Jenny. xo- Robin

  627. It’s definitely not just you. I feel that way all the time (including the guilt of not being able to be a “better” mom. On the flip side of the coin, though, those thoughts and feelings are DEFINITELY depression/ anxiety related, and IMHO, you should see your psych med doctor ASAP.
    Also, thank you for posting this and showing me that it’s “not just me,” either. <3

  628. 629
    Left in the Dark

    I feel your pain. It used to be that I felt like I had accomplished a lot just by getting out of bed for the day. I also suffer from anxiety (social and general) disorder, panic disorder, essential tremor, ulcerative colitis, and over the last year or so aggressive rheumatoid arthritis that is unresponsive to treatment (I am also allergic to all NSAIDS so pain treatment is limited). I have been on disability for more than a year.

    I say used to be, above, because last month my husband of almost 20 years left me and our 2 children, aged 14 and 11. He left me in an email telling me he loved me but was no longer in love with me. Being around me makes him mean and angry. It was completely out of the blue. He has become someone I don’t recognize and pushed everyone out of his life. Now, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot if I just make it through the next moment. I don’t know where my life is going anymore or how I am going to get through the next hour. How do I raise 2 children alone when I was already struggling to feel like I was a worthy mom with their dad by my side?

    I have not read the other comments, but I based on my personal experience, what you feel is normal. Don’t believe the happy life people post on FB, everyone lies. They don’t tell you about the crap going on they only post about the good. You do good every day by providing a loving environment for your daughter and Victor. Embrace that. If you do nothing else in your life, having loved them with all of your being and soul is the best accomplishment you can ever have.

  629. Take a deep breath. It’s not just you.

    For context, I am a research scientist at a fairly prestigious private university. People think I’m good at my job and assure me that I’m a shoe in for tenure. I spend the majority of my time trying to figure out what I’ll do with my time once the fire me and hiding from other researchers who scare me.

    So. to your questions. I feel like am successful less than 5 days out of the month. Criticism from my peers makes me feel the worst, and the only thing I can do to make myself feel better is to take a deep breath, distract myself and try again later. I also found this book helpful.

  630. I don’t know if you’ll get this far into the comments, but I want you to know I don’t have depression and feel this way. On the outside it looks like a perfectly good life. I feel accomplished at work maybe 5 days a month max, and never at home. Never. My house is always gross, my dogs look like they live in a dumpster, and my husband is lucky when I’m not wearing pj’s. I can scrub things forever and they still look like shit. There’s a huge disconnect between what my outward appearance is in public and my home life. It’s probably not half as bad as I think it is in reality but that’s how I feel. I think it’s honestly because women have all of this stigma about how everything should look and how life should be. It’s just not that way but somehow, no matter what I do or how much I accomplish in life I feel like I’m just faking it all. You are not alone.

  631. I thought it was just me. 3-4 days a month TOPS.

  632. I had to go get my computer (was reading on my phone) just to answer this.

    You are not alone. And it’s not about mental illness (although of course that could influence this as well as everything else).

    I feel the same way quite often, and I have come to realize that many people do. I once read a fantastic column (in Swedish unfortunately or I would have linked it) to a successful guy who wrote that he still felt that one day the people would walk up to him and find out that he was just a fraud and in reality was just a young boy. He, of course, wasn’t a fraud in any way, but he just felt like he was still that same young guy he had always been.

    The second thing I want to tell you, but I’m sure you’ve already heard it, is the common practice of comparing yourself not to one of your friends, but to all of them. This means that if you have one friend that is a great athlete and another friend that is a great stay-at-home mum, you feel that you should be both and don’t reflect over the fact that it is in fact two different persons. This is very usual, but very dangerous.

    For myself, I have learned to deal with these thoughts. Not always, but most of the time. I try to focus on the fact that it is MY life and MY choice. That I could do things differently if I really wanted (as can you) but that I chose to do it like this. I could be a successful career girl like some of my friends, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s worth the hours. Thinking of it as a choice (because most things are) helps me a lot.

    Maybe it could work for you too? Instead of thinking that you are not the PTA-mum, think that you chose not to be (because without doubt, you could be, but you probably don’t think it is worth the cost). You could write another book straight away, but you chose to listen to yourself and your feelings and give yourself some time. You could help out with homework every day, but you chose something different. Thinking about it as a choice makes all the difference to me. And of course to remember that things are never, ever perfect beneath the surface.

    Sorry for a long comment and for my English.

  633. Jenny,
    Yes, me too. The thing about life is that we look at other people and we see their actual actions, their outcomes. We see them being the PTA mom or cleaning ALL THE THINGS or generally being awesome. We look at ourselves and see all of our own thoughts and motivations, and back story and how we’ve failed a million times before we did it right that one time. We put a lot of positive intentions on others, and assume they are doing these things happily or well, when actually they might be doing things resentfully or with a lot of anxiety, or whatever but we never think about those things because we assume that everyone else does all these things because they are awesome and have their shit together. There is a mom of one of the students in my daughters class who sent in organic crackers and hand cut cheese for snack day. And my inclination was to be all “oh my God, she has her shit so together, she is so awesome and I suuuuuck.” And that might actually be true, she might be the most awesome person in the whole world. But more likely, she’s feeling insecure and a little worried about how the teacher thinks of her and she overcompensated with organic cheese and crackers and made the rest of us look bad with our fruit snacks and chemicals. And listen, I know you know all of this shit. It’s that whole “real life versus high light reel” thing. If you looked at my FB album from this summer, you’d think that we had the best summer EVAR, but really, I spent a lot of it sad, on fertility drugs, and sniping at my kid. My point is… you will always look at people who look better then you because you don’t live their lives, know their brains or see all the times they fail miserably. So when I see someone who looks like she owns the world and is awesome, I really try to LOOK at her and remember that she has the same kind of inner dialogue I do about how much she sucks. And she doesn’t. And you don’t. And neither do I, most days. We are all just fumbling through life one hard step at a time. It’s so not just you. In fact, I think the people who don’t feel like this are the odd ones out, and also probably narcissists.

  634. 635
    Nancy Thorson

    I’m 55 yrs. old & I have NEVER FOUND ANYONE WHO HAS THEIR SHIT TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Inside everyone is screwed up in someway! It doesn’t matter how they present themselves we’re ALL hiding something! So don’t be so hard on yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!………. Take every day at a time, make a goal every day, be it small or huge. Try to achieve it NO MATTER WHAT!! My Grandmother had a saying” Make someone smile every day & you haven’t wasted your day!” You achieve this last one every time you post on your blog. Grab onto that little light that appears for such a short time & cherish it! You are not capable of writing a totally serious blog, you have to add your incredible humour & I love that about YOU!
    Just Be!
    P.S. I’m Canadian humour is NOT spelt wrong!

  635. I’ve been thinking about this very thing lately. One of the characters in my favorite book series ever (The Night Angel Trilogy) asks, “Have you ever felt that you were part of a grand design? That some benevolence was shaping your fate?” The character asked says she doesn’t, and the character asking says he doesn’t either. I asked myself and realized that I don’t feel that way EVER. I believe that I am part of a grand design, and that some benevolence is shaping my fate, but I certainly don’t feel that way day-to-day and I never have. I feel like I go hurtling through every day without time to think or make thoughtful decisions or smell the roses or whatever successful people are supposed to do with their day. If I get to the bank, I pat myself on the back because I hate going to the bank and I despise when people write me checks and then ask 3 weeks later if I’m going to cash the check they wrote me. Thanks for the chore, just keep your money. Anyway, I don’t have an answer yet, and I’m with you on this one.

  636. Oh gosh! The imposter syndrome…what a perfect name for it. I never really thought about how many actual days out of the month I feel like a functional contributing member of society, but it isn’t many. However, I am not necessarily bothered each day I feel like a substandard use of space. There is always something that the pastel folks are unhappy about or are missing, it just doesn’t occur to them all to admit it.

  637. That Wiki link just changed my life, thanks.

    I feel like a failure 50% of every weekday. I either succeed at being awesome with my kids or succeed at being awesome at work, I cannot do both in the same day. I feel like I succeed on Saturdays, but rarely succeed on Sundays (leftover guilt from leaving the catholic church and becoming a unitarian universalist I suppose).

    So I lie to myself and pretend that the bad part of the day didnt matter, then I flip flop what I am good at the next day, I am swimming circles around my own head to justify my failures so much that I just need a breather from my own mind.

    50% of the time I have my shit together, 25% of the time I am total loser and 25% of the time I am trying to stop hating myself for the last 25%

    Sarah recently posted Why I Fear First Grade.

  638. All.The.Time. Hamster on a wheel. Nothing gets done until last minute and its a big blow up. Being a single parent makes it worse bc I’m the only one to blame if my kid turns out being the same way. I constantly feel like I need someone to schedule my life and stay on top of me about it. Did I mention I’m a freelancer? Who the hell left me in charge of my life and work and a kid and two dogs? I want to do all these things but my brain is too scattered and I’m too insecure half the time to try and accomplish them. I keep taking classes so it forces me to do these things.

    Last minute Larry, the forever student who’s failing at life

  639. 640
    Dale in Denver

    This is why I don’t read parenting/exercise/beauty magazines – because when I do read them I feel like I’m inadequate at all things. Pinterest was created by an asshole. Why the hell do I want a “bulletin board” full of crafty shit that I think is really cool, but that I will never do. Ever. It makes me feel bad. Unproductive. And PTA? Leave it for those who do have the energy and the stomach for the politics. Instead of comparing yourself to others, can you try to compare yourself and the things you’ve done to where you were at the beginning of the day, or yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year? whatever metric gives you some measure of progress. Surely you will be able to recognize and appreciate your progress and growth. We have flaws of our own – we just are not brave enough to write about them.

    It was through your postings about depression and self-harm that I realized my 12 year old son was starting to travel down that path at age 10. I feel like we owe you for potentially saving his life. We went through counseling for almost a year, and in general, he is a typical happy-go-lucky pre-teen – on the outside. But just last night he admitted that he does have times still where he struggles to feel like he is adequate or worthy. I wish he could see in himself what the rest of us see. I live with him, so I know he is not without flaws. But he’s a really terrific kid – empathetic, kind, fair, loving, persistent, honest.

    Jenny – I wish you could see in yourself what the rest of us see. We know you are not without flaws. But you are terrific – empathetic, kind, fair, loing, persistent, honest. And funny. We see that. And we don’t care about your flaws. We don’t. No one does.

  640. So not alone. While reading this, and now sitting here trying to comment, I am trying to think about how many days a month I feel like I’ve got a handle on this being a person in the world/at life thing.

    I’m still thinking.

    (also have anxiety and depression, and currently waiting on test results for some medical stuff that’s got me in knots, but hey, at least I contacted and went to the doctor to find out if and what something is wrong. Go me?)

  641. It’s not just you!
    Thank you for sharing that song; it’s in my favorites for easy repeating.
    One thing that helps me is from All That Jazz: Fosse looks in the mirror and says, “It’s show time.” I say that to myself and I can do the interview or public speech or lead a meeting. Afterward I run away to recharge, but it temporarily silences the vampires.
    Love you, Jenny!

  642. When you look back at your own childhood, you don’t remember every day. You remember the fun, important, impactful things. If life was awesome all the time, awesome would then seem boring. So, you need days where you just get through it and exist, so that those great moments seem that much better. Or, at least, that’s how I look at it. If you’re having one good day a week, that’s sounds good to me!

  643. I feel this way often…and I describe this feeling to my grown children this way: 85% of my crazy is let out for the world to see, it’s that 15% that I don’t let anyone see that scares the bejeebus out of me (yeah, that’s totally a word).

    Also, I tend to NOT believe what people post of Facebook because its like that old Billy Joel song where he says we all have two faces: those we show and those we hide. Ain’t nobody putting on Facebook that they put their underwear on inside out that morning.

  644. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Xanax is my friend. Sometimes I feel like it’s my only friend. I’m not saying this because your “The Bloggess,” but I really do understand what you’re going through. I’ve been hospitalized twice. [Nothing will make you feel saner than watching your stinky 70 year-old roommate march back and forth while playing tuba at 3 in the morning. (There are no tubas in the psych ward, by the way.)]

    It’s good to remember that there really is no such thing as a “perfect” life. All those shiny, pretty people you see probably have some pretty messed up shit going on behind closed doors. The skinny moms at the PTA most likely don’t eat because they’re afraid their husbands will screw around with their skinny 20 year-old secretaries. Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s life – ever. It’s the quickest way to make yourself miserable.

    Finally, I have a 20 year old son. I spent 3 years in pajamas when he was in elementary school. Perfect parents, just like perfect lives DO NOT EXIST. My kid turned out just fine even though his mama is a little crazy. In fact, he turned out pretty freaking awesome. You and I both know mental illness is a roller coaster. You’re going through a rough patch right now. Get through it however you can – exercise, write, sleep, adjust your meds, WHATEVER WORKS – just get through it.

    Feel free to email me if you need someone to listen. I don’t care who you are. If I can help, I’ll be more than happy to… Hang in there.

    Clare recently posted Take My Liver, Please. Seriously, Take It..

  645. You feel successful three or four days a month? That’s pretty much three times as successful as I feel in any given month. I think for the summer, I’m up to five. And that’s actual days of feeling I actually accomplished something, not just days I went, “screw it, I’m going to do nothing and be OK with that!” About half of those days involve having done more than two loads of laundry and mowing the lawn in the same day, though. The other half are genuine, “hey, you solved a problem/people appreciate the work you did!” So, the fact that I’m even counting the lawn and laundry still feel like I’m reaching, because that’s stuff normal people just do.

  646. Every day I feel like I haven’t done enough. Days I feel like I kicked ass..maybe 3 a year. I beat myself up about it constantly.

  647. Nobody is as shiny and perfect as the put on at the parent teacher conference.
    Nobody’s life is all 100% put-together. It’s just not humanly possibly unless you have a housekeeper, two nannies, and three assistants. And if you have an assistant, you know her life’s a mess because she’s too busy cleaning up yours.
    I think most of us, even when we think we’re looking our store-window best, are either completely freaked out that someone’s going to find out we’re a fraud OR are completely smug that ‘omg, they didn’t find out I’m a fraud.”
    Every time I do something well, I know there were parts I could’ve done better, so I never am comfortable accepting that someone thinks it was good. All I can think is, “well yeah, but it would’ve been better with glitter and marshmallows.” Or …whatever.
    Even when I have a day where I think I’m being a good mom something will happen that will make me think I inadvertently just turned my kid into a future serial killer. Yeah, those doubts, they always lie in wait.

    Let’s face it, even Martha Stewart, who’s got that whole crafty, organic, perfect laundry thing going on: she went to PRISON…..so no, she’s not perfect either.

    Never forget the great Bridget Jones (vie the pen of Helen Fielding) said,
    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”
    And even if that means the only part of the day that went okay was that you actually went to the bank and didn’t get robbed at gunpoint or sobbed to the teller or found out you were overdrawn, well than hey, that’s all good.Be okay with the boxes from two moves ago and the burned dinner and the fact that you haven’t had time to shower (okay, maybe those last two were just me). Smirk at the world. “Hey, asshole world, I didn’t get stabbed today. You’re going to have to try harder.”
    Because yeah, that’s achievement. Let the fact that you made it through the day, without being stabbed, be the accomplishment that equals tiaras and champagne.

    My seemingly endless random rambling has a point: 3-4 days a month of feeling successful is not bad. Mine varies. Some months it’s like 1, other months it’s 5. but there’s is no month where I feel like a rock star MORE days than the days that I feel like a really good case study for some institute on how to be average.
    Jenny, don’t worry. You’re probably not any more screwed up than the rest of us.

  648. I haven’t read the rest of the comments (because, wow, there are 500 of them!), but I’ll say this: Isn’t this totally normal? “I can’t help but think that if people looked closer they’d see the cracks and the dirt and shame of a million projects that never get done.” Dude, that’s everybody. EVERYBODY. I’m a SAHM (largely because we can’t afford daycare). I feel successful if I’ve showered and spent good, quality time with my toddler in a given day. The rest of it? Sparkly clean kitchens and unpacked boxes and picnics (do people actually *go* on picnics, or is that just something reserved for commercials and Williams Sonoma catalogs?)… that stuff isn’t real life. (At first I typed “lice.” In fairness, it’s not real lice, either.) Real life is messy and unpredictable and full of unpacked boxes. You’re doing great. I’m doing great, too. The people who have sparkly clean kitchens and all their boxes unpacked probably are ax-murderers, anyway. Or else they lie on their taxes.

  649. Jenny, I think everyone feels that way. Part of it is that the important things in life are so small. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter that you aren’t in the PTA. It matters if you love your kid, and it’s obvious that you do. I don’t think it helps that you struggle with depression and other things, but I think this is more of a human thing than an illness thing. Don’t beat yourself up, because we’re all in the same boat! If anything, your honesty about how you feel and what your struggles are probably does more good than many people accomplish in a lifetime.

  650. I don’t have days, full days with all 24 hours, where I feel great about my life. I have hours. I get an hour here and there. I consider it a damn good day when I get multiple hours where everything is awesome. You are definitely not alone. I truly believe that most of us feel the way that you’re feeling but nobody talks about. Everyone wants their life to be all cupcakes and unicorns but the reality is that we’re all hot messes trying to figure out who we want to be and where our life is going. Thank you so much for being honest. Rock on.

    Whitney recently posted This Is Why I Love Yoga.

  651. There is a saying I learned in a 12 step group: “Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.” Makes the point very succinctly and I say it to myself often. I agree on the feeling kick ass only a few days a month. Maybe we need to redefine how we measure kick ass? :)

  652. I believe that everyone feels the way you do, to some degree. Like, I feel failure, say, 96% of the time. Donald Trump probably feels it 5% of the time.

    By default, I tend to feel unsuccessful, inadequate, and so dreadfully full of fail that I am a blight on society. I never send friend requests on Facebook, for instance, because I simply cannot imagine that people remember who I am; or if they do remember, they won’t want to accept my request. A silly, inconsequential example, I know, but there it is.

    What I’m working on doing is forgiving myself for being human. Letting it be OK not to be fabulous and successful at everything. To allow myself to make mistakes, and not to beat myself up over it. I find that when I look back, I did better than I remembered. Which still doesn’t help me in the “now,” damn it.

    For another example, I knit. I will make a pair of socks, and all I can see are the flaws – I skipped a stitch there, my decreases suck, the heel looks like crap… I take pictures and post them anyway. And later, like days or weeks or months or even years, when I see that sock picture, I am truly freaking amazed at how utterly gorgeous the socks look.

    And I’m going to hit the submit button now even though I’m certain that nobody will read my drivel with anything but contempt.

  653. You are NOT alone. At least you have days that you feel successful. I don’t even have that. I’m always waiting for my next fuck up. I’m just treading through, minute by minute hour by hour day by day. Hugs!!

  654. Seriously…I’m the mother of teenage daughters, I pretty much go to bed every single day feeling like a failure. Teenage hormones are hell, even if you’re not the body they are wreaking havoc on.

    On top of the monstrous teenagers I parent, I also have chronic pain from the arthritis in my back. I maybe have 2 or 3, what I call “good days” a month. In the last few years I’ve had to redefine what successful means to me, because some days it’s just taking a shower and making sure the children are fed. Also, I had to stop comparing myself to all those i’msuperorganizedandperfect people, I’m never gonna get there.

    Bottom line, it’s not just you. There’s a whole tribe of us. Thank you for not being afraid to speak out and let us all find each other.

  655. Here’s a virtual hug for you, which are the kind I seem best at.

  656. My husband feels the EXACT same way you do. It’s very hard for me to deal with or understand. I see all the good in him and just want him to be fucking happy. So let me ask YOU: what is the best thing your husband/friends can do to help when you’re feeling like this? Sympathize? Plan an outing? Give you space? I know I can’t make him be happy, but I keep trying. It’s exhausting and hard to not fall down the rabbit hole with him. Thank you for your honesty.

    Emily recently posted Living Like Hippies.

  657. Oh hell no you’re not alone. Something I try to live by but not always successful is this phrase with a drawing by my favorite artist, mary englebreit. A little girl is painting flowers on her wall. Outside her window is a brick wall. The quote is “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. ” It gets me through most days. Not saying it is easy. Being diagnosed with cancer was hard. This phrase helps me turn the crappy lemons into lemonade. You may not remember me, but I met you in Dayton the night before my first chemo. You’re strength about being oPen and honest about everything that is wrong with you makes me love your blog. Good luck. I hope next month you have 5 good days!

  658. I hear you and thank you for speaking out. Often what one of us feels, most of us do, we just haven’t felt as if we could speak up. And then some of us are brave..

    I think we come from a species that lives in “imposter syndrome”. We are all faking it, day by day, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

    Without getting all existentially on everyone (and staying away from any religious material); Truly why are we all here? What should we aim for? Why bother? Well, for plants, animals, and many people, to just live another day, to bear offspring and raise them so they can thrive and do the same, is enough. It can be quite difficult and those who’s ancestors didn’t do it aren’t here to discuss it. So, basic daily survival has it’s merits. Never knock it. It’s harder than anyone every told us it would be.

    The rest is up to each of us individually. We each have to make our “beyond basic functioning list”. Is it: To make things better, to laugh, to help others, etc.? Those are all meaningful. For others it might be: To dance, to sing, to build something- physical, emotional, or societal. We all have our dreams and passions, and if today is not the day to complete them all, then survive and make your list for tomorrow. Sometimes, what you have, and have done, is enough. No self suffering will ever help you or others. Just remember what you feel compelled to accomplish and place it high on your list, for the next day.

    You did good. We all have done good, and we need, as a species, to recognize this in each other, daily. And as we would say “Good morning” or “Good night” we need to give each other that verbal (or heck, real) medal of accomplishment, and hand one to ourselves as well.

  659. I feel this. And when I write this out, it’s going to look nutz. I’m a Wiccan Priestess–I run a Coven of 14 and a community in several states that spans the 100′s. I organize rituals for my community. I blog and have a lot of people who say they love my writing. I’m also the breadwinner and support my boyfriend with my fulltime office manager job and part time Tarot reader job. I make dinner most evenings. This means I should be “together and with it.”

    But every morning, my first thought is of something I’ve done wrong–either in the distant past or very present. I can’t stop thinking of the students I’ve failed or Coveners I’ve disappointed or the Tarot client who left in tears because her reading scared her. I simply have not gotten a book published–or even finished–though I’ve tried for over a decade. I’m taking breaks between lines on this comment and pounding on a calculator so my boss (in the next cube) thinks I’m being successful at my job. I’ve been haunted today for embarrassing an ex-boyfriend in a blog SIX YEARS AGO. I can’t think of the fact that I’ve made many students and Coveners happy, helped tons of Tarot clients, or the fact that the ex in question was far worse to me than I to him.

    Anyway, I guess this is to say, yes–I know what you mean. And I read your book and I read your blog and you continually inspire me to keep being me and doing what I do.

    Courtney Weber recently posted Spirit Messages, Parsimonious Omens, Wives, Gold, Fear, Wheel Babies.

  660. Jenny-
    Thank you for posting this. You hit the nail on the head for me most days. Your blog and book made me feel so much less alone. (I am one of the Lawsbians- they have saved me from myself more than once.)
    Forgiving myself for not being what the shiny happy people are has been the biggest help for me. That and lots of therapy, meds and gin. I too have been the absent mom because I was hiding, or because I could not read the calendar correctly or whatever.
    I remember hiding in the closet at the venue while they wanted us to cut the cake at our 4th of July wedding 3 years ago. I would have hidden in the bathroom- it was occupied. I find myself hiding from the world quite a bit and much to my surprise- my daughters now 13 and 16 are very well adjusted. They are funny and kind and they understand mental illness and they know that the world is not always easy for the people out in it.
    It know this sounds hippy dippy but changing my diet and getting exercise that I found FUN really seemed to help. I was doing it for my brain- not my butt. I wanted to be able to still walk up and down stairs when I was in my 90′s so I found things that might help make that possible. It seems a little more oxygen in your blood makes you feel better.
    Some days I just turn on music and dance in my undies because it makes me feel naughty. Some days I curl up in my bed and ride out the darkness. Any day above the dirt is a good day. As a wise man once said, “Three words that will change your life- lower your standards.”
    Love you dear lady! You are amazing and a blessing, and you bring joy and laughter to the world. Thank you for sharing all of you with us.

  661. Well, I guess I am the outlier here on The Bloggess. It’s not like I feel like I am kick-ass productive all that often; for that, yes, I count 3 or 4 days a month to be lucky. But I don’t often feel like I am faking it, or an impostor, or that other people all have their shit together and I’m just a hot mess. Of course, people have told me that I have healthy self-esteem. Which may just be a nice way of saying “arrogant-ass bitch.” :)

    I usually manage to escape the trap of comparing myself to other people and their lives: not that there aren’t people that I admire, respect, or even envy; just that I’m aware that in people’s personal lives, almost nothing is ever as it seems, and even if it was: if I wanted that life, I would have it. I would work hard to make it so. And if I’m not working hard to make it so, it must mean that I don’t want it badly enough, no? I somehow manage to translate “I fail at doing XX because I suck” into “I choose not to do XX for some logical reason that is not yet clear to me.”

    That said, there are of course times when I feel like a lazy slug. Not because I’m comparing myself to other people, usually, but when I lay around on my couch all day surfing the internet when I should be working, it’s hard to consider that as anything but lazy. Some things that help me break that mood of despondent procrastination: taking a walk (I *always* feel productive if I’ve managed to get a walk, even a short one, into my day. Always.), cooking something (sometimes I’ll make scones or biscuits in the middle of a knotty data analysis, just to clear my head and actually accomplish something with my day), or doing something (anything) that I can cross off my mental checklist: a load of laundry, paying bills, sending a birthday gift, calling a friend – anything that will make me say “Well, at least I got THAT accomplished today.”

    kaela recently posted Sweet Cherry, Rhubarb & Meyer Lemon Pie (with a lattice top).

  662. You are NOT alone in feeling that way. I don’t suffer from any of those things and most days I feel like I’ve done just enough to keep my head above water. And I am ALWAYS afraid that someone will find out I’m a fraud, and that I’m not good at anything. Except maybe being a fraud. And I never was the parent to help out in my son’s class. As a matter of fact, I’ve always told him that he can have money for college or therapy. His choice. He’s only been out of the house for 5 days, but so far, so good, so apparently I haven’t fucked him up *that* badly. And to make myself feel like I’ve “done” something, I work out and do yoga. Which doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me. So, basically one day a week I actually feel like I’ve kicked ass. The other days I just spend wondering where that person went.

  663. You are most definitely not alone in these feelings. The pastel picnic lives are an illusion – total smoke and mirrors created by people to hide the fact that they too have their struggles. Being able to admit the struggles, instead of hiding them behind the illusion of perfection, is real, true life. I’m not a parent, so I can’t identify with that aspect of it all, but I am a writer and I know the crushing weight of writers’ block. I’ve been struggling with that and artistic insecurity for a long, long time. I’ve missed the joy of just being creative, and after a series of panic attacks last spring, I finally realized that ultimately, I’m not trying to crank out creative genius for anyone but myself. I’ve tried to stop worrying about how much I was accomplishing and just started enjoying the process of creating again. A couple of months ago, I started putting a gold star sticker on my calendar for every day I felt like I did something creative or something that made me happy – even if I didn’t get a word on the page – whether it was daydreaming about the next plot point in my book, or watching a movie that made me feel inspired. The stickers were few and far between for a while, but now they are dominating the calendar. And they’re shiny! And I’m starting to have fun with the process again. And I finished writing a chapter I was stuck on!

    So much of this society is telling us to focus on what we don’t have, what we need, what we have to buy or make or do or see. It’s a culture based on making us feel inadequate so we can shell out money to people who are selling things that we think will make us feel adequate. It’s a load of crap. When you stop and take stock of what you do have, what you can do, what you have done, and the parts of your life that make you smile, that’s what it’s really all about. And anyone who thinks they’re perfect is missing the whole point.

    So don’t worry, it’s not just you. And you are wonderful. :-)

    Marcy recently posted WWE's "Total Divas" is a Total Letdown.

  664. As moms and humans, there are many, many of us who feel the way you do. Often. Daily. Every morning as we struggle to get the kids out the door and off to school.

    I’m not a huge fan of all the inspirational/motivational posts that I see on Facebook (and the “Thanks, I needed this today” responses irritate the heck out of me because some people say that all. the. time) but, coincidentally, I saw two posts that, um, yes, spoke to me. One was by Lara Eastburn of SuperHooper.org who posted yesterday:

    “To all of you in my feed praying for enlightenment or permission to be better than what you are. Being Human is an enormous challenge. We strive, we succeed, we fail, we get back up again. Humans are awesome. If you are one, then you are awesome. You don’t have to exceed your humanity. We need only embrace it. We are flawed. We are incredible. We need one another. Telll someone else right now how important they are … and watch the selfishness disappear.” (Not quite sure whose “selfishness” she’s referring to, but the rest of it is wonderful.)

    And then this morning, I saw this blog post about perception and our bodies. “What People Really Look Like.” http://dalefavier.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-people-really-look-like.html It’s kind of unrelated but I thought I’d share it anyway.

    But I feel sad. A lot. And the only thing that works for me is exercise. I exercise to feel better. And sleep more soundly at night. And the side effects to daily hikes are excellent toning of butt and legs. Those are awesome side effects. :-) (Sadly, it’s been months since I’ve been able to hula hoop because of shoulder pain. I’m in physical therapy for it. The pain didn’t happen because of hooping. I wouldn’t want to turn any one off of it!)

    I totally get not wanting to pick up a hula hoop when depressed. I, too, get that way. And then I don’t do it. But hiking and walking? I can do that. I just have to go out my front door. And I think it’s amazing that something so simple has SO many benefits to it. Exercise is my “medicine” and I can do it without feeling guilty.

  665. Yep, join the club, sister. I’m not depressed or anxious, but I’d gauge successful days to be 5-10 per year. I’ve got those boxes in the basement and I’ve lived in my house for 4 years. The homework folder? Yeah that gets done in a mad rush on Thursday nights. Pinterest? Puh-leeze. Those people cannot possibly exist in real life. The weeks I get lunch money sent in on time and I spend time letting my 5 year old read to me and I don’t rush her through the book are the ones I count as a success. Onward and onward, soldier. You’re doing fine. Life is not all summits, it’s all the mediocre tasks we do each day (or put off doing).

  666. I have about 1 week a month that I feel like I have the “super powers” needed to deal with the world on a level playing field. The rest of the time I consider myself lucky that I don’t despise my life. I believe a lot of it is hormonal since it happens on a fairly regular cycle. Well as regular as a pre-menopausal woman can be.
    I also suffer from hereditary anxiety handed down through my mother’s family. (Thanks, grandma!) Medication is helping that but hinders my want to do things or really get excited about life. So it’s a real catch 22.
    Currently I have the week off work and have been attempting to put the house in some type of order. There is only my hubby and me but somehow we have wound up with those annoying paths thru the mess. Part of this is because of a devastating flood we went through 3 yrs ago, having a tiny house on 1/2 a lot with a shared drive, and mostly just a lack of dealing with it all since I went “crackers” 5-6 yrs ago. (Seriously, who remembers THAT anniversary??).
    So, Jenny, I don’t think it’s just you. We’re all dealing with stuff. We have good an bad days. On the bad ones I try to remember the stuff that makes me smile. And your blog is on that list.
    Hang in there and remember: A mind is a terrible thing to mind.

  667. I compare myself, to my own detriment, to EVERYONE around me. And all my female friends have beautiful children, gloriously quirky houses in which they love to host, perfectly-behaved dogs, insane cooking / gardening / knitting skills, exciting jobs, book deals, hard-core involvement in convention / gaming culture, or (I’m not even kidding) ALL OF THE ABOVE. I want kids but haven’t had them yet, my wonderful loving dogs have destroyed my house, I’m domestically disabled, etc. Not to mention the idea of hosting, ever, or going out more than once a fortnight, makes me shudder to my bones. I both deeply enjoy and require for my sanity (and continued sobriety, of which I should be prouder than I am) coming home from work, exercising, and then sitting in front of Netflix or a book for a few hours before a very early bedtime. And every single day I believe myself a failure for this. It’s dreadful.

    Beatrice recently posted floods, mysteries, Australia, and weddings.

  668. Jenny, I think that these are very normal, human-being feelings. I think that you have to look at your life and not others’ lives to gauge how successful you are. If going to the bank is a win for that day – then you get a gold star…if you also washed your hair BEFORE going to the bank that same day – then you totally deserve three gold stars! Your post today is how I have been feeling myself lately – that I am not as good at this or that as I should be (compared to how good someone else is at it), that I am just blah at life. And I do not have (or at least have not been diagnosed with any) a mental illness to struggle with on top of those feelings. This is to say again that these are normal human feelings.
    Thank you for your post today – coming up with an answer for you helped me remember to stop gauging my success by what I think are other’s successes.
    Stay Strong!!

  669. Ok, so I have personality disorders too. I went through a 6 year period of being in, what I call “a slump” around pleasant company. In fact, it was pure and utter hell. I isolated myself to the point that I purposely started working from home, just so people see me fail in person. I stopped trying to be active at all. I ended relationships, and started a downward spiral of self hate. MAYBE once a month I would strap on my big girl boots, clean the house and do the food shopping. I never accomplished anything, which fed into the seemingly never ending story of self pity and hate.

    It’s 3 years later, and I look back on that person and I honestly cannot believe that she is me.

    What did I do to fix it all? I hit my low point, had a moment of clarity and realized through the haze of denial, pity and illness that I had become someone completely unlike myself. I had allowed my illness to become an excuse for my actions, I had accepted pain as the norm.
    I went to see my doctor first… he was unwilling to play Russian roulette again with my meds…. so I went to see a different doctor, then a third. I found the right drugs, the right supplements and the right holistic treatments (accupunture and tinctures) that work for me.
    I then started trying to be active. It started off as just walking the dogs around the block. Then it turned into bike rides and the gym. (Being active helps me more than anything else).

    I still felt a little empty, like I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I needed to. I still felt like I wasn’t worth much. So, I started actively volunteering for an animal shelter. Eventually, that turned into me quitting my well paying job and working full time for the animal shelter.
    While allowing others to see me fail scares the everliving shit out of me, (people in general scare me too) by working outside the home I’m able to see every day that I accomplish something.

    Now, I’m not shiny… I don’t have kids so no PTA…. I hate ants, so no picnics…. and my hair is normally unwashed on weekends. I have my days where I start to spiral and obsess about my failures. It’s then I turn to my support system to tell me to shut the hell up, and remind me that if anything… I’m average.

    You are above average. You have a well adjusted, healthy and happy little girl. You have helped so many people I can’t put a number to them. You’ve spoken for an entire group of people who until a short time ago, hid in the shadows and under tables. You’ve been there for your misfits through our struggles, we’ll all be here for you… because you’re adored.

    If you feel like you need a change, you need to do it. If you feel like you need help, ask for it. Live your own mantra – Depression Lies.

  670. I feel the exact same way. If I get a couple of days a month where I manage to make it to the post office or cut the dogs’ toenails I feel like I’m kicking ass. I also have depression, anxiety and ADD. And most of the people who know me IRL or on FB have no damn idea how much I struggle. None. It’s not that I consciously present some shiny happy exterior, I just don’t complain a lot, and people tend to fill in the blanks with shininess and happiness, I think.

  671. It’s not just you. Trust me. Some days I feel proud of myself for getting out of bed in the morning. Some days I accomplish a lot and still feel like I wasted time. Some days I barely feel human, or functional. Some days I think about how far I’ve come the past year and it doesn’t make any difference to my feeling useless.

    I don’t know how many days a month I feel accomplished — not many, though I’m good at feeling like I can accomplish things when I get enough alone time (which is hard now I’m sharing a room with my sister, who can be a real brat and doesn’t seem to get that my needing alone time has nothing to do with hating her or being selfish) and I’m rested and the weather agrees with me (summer was terrible) and my anxiety’s in check and no one is being an asshole (which is rare when you live with your psychologically abusive father).

    I don’t know. I like to think that if everything went well — if I had my own space and a steady source of income and I didn’t live with my father — things would be better for me. I think they really would be, because I’ve reached a point where I have a wonderful support system and meds that keep me sane (and more meds that I can take if I don’t feel sane enough) and I’m working and trying to make a living as a creative person and my own boss. But it’s hard to tell with anxiety.

    Lix recently posted Fifty Things To Keep In Mind.

  672. No one ever talks about it. I often think I suffer from depression, but no one would believe me if I said it to them. Certainly hasn’t been diagnosed, so I don’t even have that as an extenuating circumstance. Most of my success is the fact that I get to work every day and they think I do a great job (and mostly, I do, I guess). But the effort it takes me to do my job doesn’t leave me much room for anything else. My house should probably be quarantined as a hazardous area, and I just realized I haven’t set up my bill payments for September. First time I’ve done that in a while. Must go do that now. So, no, it isn’t just you.

  673. Honey, those shiny PTA parents are Stepfords…you know that. And I’m betting that you also know that there are times when, seriously…all you HAVE to do is breathe. It’s ok.

    I’m a freelancer too, and there are days when watching 7 back episodes of Breaking Bad in one day feels like a HUGE accomplishment…just sayin’. The trick is to not label yourself with the dysfunctional behavior that we ALL HAVE. You’re beyond awesome and all of us love you…maybe you need to trust OUR opinion of you when your own feels ooky. We happen to think that YOU ARE SHINY! Take THAT!

    Tammy in PDX recently posted Scaredy-girl.

  674. 676
    Megan