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.

3,664 thoughts on “Is it just me?

Read comments below or add one.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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 ; )

  7. 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?

  8. 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*

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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. 🙂

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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…

  50. 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 🙂

  51. 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.

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

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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!

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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??

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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…

  69. 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….

  70. 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.

  71. 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 .

  72. 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? 🙂

  73. 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.

  74. 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!

  75. 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}}}

  76. 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.

  77. 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…)

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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.)

  96. 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.

  97. 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)

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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.)

  105. 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.

  106. 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. 🙂

  107. 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?

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

  110. 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.

  111. 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

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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?

  116. 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.

  117. 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.

  118. 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!

  119. 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.

  120. 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!

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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

  124. 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)

  125. 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.

  126. 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!

  127. 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.

  128. 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!

  129. 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.

  130. “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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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.

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. 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)

  136. 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.

  137. 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.

  138. 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.

  139. 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??

  140. 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.

  141. 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.

  142. 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.

  143. 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.

  144. 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.

  145. 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.

  146. 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.

  147. 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.

  148. 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.

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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.

  153. 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).

  154. 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.

  155. 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.

  156. 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.

  157. 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))

  158. 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.

  159. 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!

  160. 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?

  161. 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.

  162. 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

  163. 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.

  164. 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 😀 !

  165. 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.

  166. 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!

  167. 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.

  168. 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

  169. 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.

  170. 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.

  171. 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. 😉

  172. 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.

  173. 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.

  174. 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.

  175. 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.

  176. 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.

  177. 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.

  178. 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 😉

  179. 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.

  180. 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


  181. 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.

  182. 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.

  183. 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.

  184. 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…..

  185. 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.

  186. 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.

  187. 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.

  188. 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.

  189. 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.

  190. 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.

  191. 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

  192. 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.

  193. 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.

  194. 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.

  195. 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.

  196. 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.

  197. 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.

  198. 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!!

  199. 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.

  200. 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.

  201. 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.

  202. 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!!

  203. 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.

  204. 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.

  205. 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.

  206. 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.

  207. 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.

  208. 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.

  209. 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.

  210. 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.

  211. 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.

  212. 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.

  213. 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.

  214. 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.

  215. 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.

  216. 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. 🙂

  217. 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.

  218. 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?

  219. 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.

  220. 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.

  221. 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.

  222. 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

  223. 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.

  224. 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.

  225. 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.

  226. 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.

  227. 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. 🙂

  228. 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 🙂

  229. 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.

  230. 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.

  231. 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

  232. 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.

  233. 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.

  234. 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.)

  235. 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. 🙂

  236. 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.

  237. 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.

  238. 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.

  239. 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.

  240. 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.

  241. 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.

  242. 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.

  243. 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.

  244. 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.

  245. 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…

  246. 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.

  247. 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.

  248. 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.

  249. 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.

  250. 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

  251. 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)

  252. 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.

  253. 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.

  254. 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.

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

  256. 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.

  257. 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!!

  258. 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.

  259. 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

  260. 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.

  261. 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.

  262. 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.

  263. 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!

  264. 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.

  265. 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!

  266. 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.

  267. 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.

  268. 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.

  269. 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.

  270. 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?

  271. 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.

  272. 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.

  273. 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.

  274. 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.

  275. 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.

  276. 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.

  277. 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.

  278. 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).

  279. 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.

  280. 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

  281. 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?

  282. 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.

  283. 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.

  284. 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.

  285. 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.

  286. 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.

  287. 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.

  288. 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.

  289. 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.

  290. 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.

  291. 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?

  292. 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.

  293. 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.

  294. 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. 😉

  295. 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.

  296. 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.

  297. 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.

  298. 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.

  299. 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.

  300. 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.

  301. 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.

  302. 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.

  303. 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.

  304. 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.

  305. ‘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.

  306. 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.

  307. 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!

  308. 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*

  309. 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).

  310. 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…

  311. 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.

  312. 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.

  313. 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.

  314. 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, wh