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To feel like I'm living someone else's life?

(17 Posts)
DuvetDayEveryday Sun 29-May-16 20:48:47

I have had this awful feeling for a few weeks now. I do have depression and bpd and I am aware it's likely part of this, but it's becoming more and more overwhelming.

I had a pretty dire time in my teenage years, homelessness, drugs, promiscuity etc. Then I got pregnant to a random and then fell into an abusive marriage. We lived in a council house and had no money and he was a violent drug dealing philanderer.

I left him and was on my own with two preschoolers for a year, and then met my current Dh. We've now been together a long time and have had another child together. He has adopted my two older DC. We live in a beautiful village in a large house, I don't work (mainly through my mh issues but we can afford for me not to), our lifestyle is very mc with lots of activities for the DC and nice things for us. Most of our friends are teachers, GPs, company directors etc.

I can't shake the feeling lately that it's all some horrible accident and that I'll get found out soon. I feel like a complete imposter and than my natural state is living in a tiny flat somewhere on benefits. i feel like it will all be taken away from me soon.

Does anyone else know what I mean? Is this a normal way to feel? It's all clouded by my MH stuff and I'm not trusting my thoughts at the moment. AIBU to feel like a complete imposter?

HumpMeBogart Sun 29-May-16 21:02:02

I don't know if I have any useful advice, but didn't want to read and run. I had depression (and anxiety) for a very long time, and what you describe sounds really scary. Are you being treated for depression - and if so, is it helping?

I can identify a little bit - I've recently achieved an ambition I've had all my life. I know I should be over the moon, but because of my own MH history, I'm finding it hard to relax and be proud of myself. I feel like I'm not good enough to deserve what I have. Does that sound familiar..?

SemiNormal Sun 29-May-16 21:16:12

HumpMeBogart you sound like you have imposter syndrome (I do too), very common although you don't get a diagnosis as such.

I think the OP might be suffering some version of it too.

I can definitely identify, I've felt like a fraud my entire life, I feel like someday someone will come along and 'out' me as being an imposter - I particularly feel like this as a parent and adult, as though I'm just winging it (which I kind of am?) and someone will find I'm not actually as 'good' as I am on the surface, gives me such anxiety! I think it's because I know that the consequences of being 'found out' could result in my son being taken away - although the rational part of me says well that certainly won't happen as I AM a great mum (and I'm not good at many things but at parenting I think I'm awesome)! smile

DuvetDayEveryday Sun 29-May-16 21:17:44

That's definitely it, that I don't deserve what I have. I've had lots of input from services, particularly over the last year or so (I've been hospitalised five times) and I'm in therapy and on meds. I just feel completely disconnected from the lifestyle we have and wonder if I'd be happier to just rent a little flat somewhere and go it alone, if obviously leave the DC with Dh. It just seems like a load of pressure I can't handle.

DuvetDayEveryday Sun 29-May-16 21:22:52

Thanks Semi, that's exactly how I feel.

We had to go to a social services 'network meeting' this week with representatives from all three dc's schools and my parents and DH's. Just to do with how my MH stuff impacts on the kids. But I came away thinking they'd be much better off without me, and Dh could still give them the lively life of riding, gymnastics, scouts etc but without all the silly drama I bring to their lives.

SemiNormal Sun 29-May-16 21:30:23

I'm sure they wouldn't be better off without you flowers
I know it's difficult but you need to work on your self worth a little. As ridiculous as it sounds I say positive affirmations daily and I also keep a gratitude journal (I know I sound like a knob here) - in my journal I list 3 things daily that I am grateful for, could be anything from having a roof over my head/food in my belly to I felt good today/I did something positive etc - it really helps me get some perspective.
You sound like you're in a really dark place right now, and I too have been there and as hard as it may be to believe but things will get better if you hang on in there.
Could you set yourself some small goals too? This is another thing I've found helps because it makes me feel like I have accomplished something - even if it's something really small like giving up fizzy drinks for a week or exercising for 15 minutes a day (something light like yoga?)

DuvetDayEveryday Sun 29-May-16 21:37:12

I've been working on small victories in therapy and it's really helped, things like I got up this morning, I walked the dog, I got the kids to school etc.

I thought I'd made great strides in hoe I felt and my self worth, but then this feelings of not living the right life has become almost intolerable over the last few weeks.

SemiNormal Sun 29-May-16 21:51:09

It seems as though you are taking small steps to 'recovery' and that's great, try not to let yourself feel too overwhelmed by the bad days and know that good days WILL come again.
Have you tried holistic approaches? I'm thinking mindfulness and meditation? I've found both extremely beneficial in helping me feel 'grounded' and to start living in the present (rather than dwelling on past events or stressing about future events). To be honest I didn't have high hopes when I first tried these methods, I felt they sounded a bit too 'alternative' for me but truthfully they helped transform my life in such a positive way.
I have bipolar disorder, BPD and suffered depression from the age of 9 (yes, really) until the age of around 26/27. I'm now off medication and feel 'well', I do occasionally have bad days still but they are so few they're barely worth mentioning. I was a mess most of my life, I had no ambition, no drive, I didn't want to live and felt like I was living in a fog, completely seperated from the rest of the world. Now, I'm 32, I started making small goals and progressed to bigger ones .... I took a very short IT course (2 days a wk for 6 months), that gave me the confidence to try college (Access to HE course 1 year), I've almost finished that and will be starting University in September to sudy criminology and psychology! If someone had told me I would have been in this position 5 - 10 years ago I'd have laughed at them, I genuinely felt my life was over. So please, don't give up on yourself, I KNOW you can pull yourself through this OP, I strongly believe there are wonderful things that will happen in your life if you power on through.

HumpMeBogart Sun 29-May-16 21:55:02

Thank you, Semi - that link is helpful.

OP - I found that writing down three things I feel grateful for every day really helped. I try to write down three 'general' things - e.g. having enough to eat, having great friends, having a nice place to live - and three things that are specific to that day - e.g. having a laugh over lunch, my train being quiet (you take what you can get in London!), sitting in the sun after work. It sounds daft but it really does help, especially if you do it last thing at night.

Maybe it would help if you try to define the pressure you're under and where it seems to come from. The more you can break down and question unhelpful beliefs, the harder it is for them to cling on...

Liiinooo Sun 29-May-16 21:55:41

Duvet I know what you mean and how awful it is. Hopefully as time passes and your current reality starts to outweigh our previous bad experiences things will feel better. In the meantime I think PPs are right and some counselling will help.

Some years ago, after working hard for many years my DH and I bought a 'dream home' for us and our 2 DDs. Even now, nearly a decade on I still marvel that I have come from growing up in multi-occupancy rentals with outside loos and weekly baths to this beautiful new build with ensuites studies, Utility room etc. It might be common place to some people but to me it's a dream.

The first time I realised my husband might share my feelings of insecurity and unworthiness was the day after we moved in here. He always seemed calm and assured about the move when I was panicking about the huge mortgage (which is entirely his burden as he earns way more than me). On that first morning he woke up sweating and crying. He had had a nightmare where we had been evicted and all he could say in his dream was 'I was sure I could pay at least one months mortgage Liiinoo'. Nearly 10 years on the mortgage is now tiny and I think we both feel we belong here and we deserve this.

This is a bit rambling - what I mean to say is you are not alone. These feelings will probably pass in time but until then keep on making use of professional help. THat will speed up the process and that can only be good. It sounds like you have been through an awful lot and you deserve to get the maximum enjoyment from your lovely family and your lovely home.

booksandcoffee Sun 29-May-16 21:56:52

You are not alone on this, OP. I have anxiety issues and have spent the last year and a bit living with a lovely DP and her kids. Before that I was on low pay and lived accordingly. Although I have the same job my DP is pretty well off, including owning the house outright. It has been like moving from lower MC life to upper MC life. Although I am very happy in the situation I sometimes feel like a fraudster, that I do not deserve it. I think it comes from having a single parent for a while, the poverty that lead to being very formative. Upper MC was definitely them, not us. The thing that pulls me out of it is love, and it sounds like your DP loves you and presumably knows the real you. Good luck with your health. flowers

HormonalHeap Sun 29-May-16 21:57:52

Yes I understand. It's such a fundamental feeling inside you, not easy to change. I wish i had some advice. My situation is much less severe than yours as My marriage was highly abusive and I was then left struggling as a single mother of two small kids with no money.

I am remarried now with a life I could only have dreamt about and like you, I sometimes feel this is not really my life. I still don't find it easy to spend money.

What i do is try and turn it into a positive, which is really what it is, and keep reminding myself how lucky I am.

HumpMeBogart Sun 29-May-16 22:00:26

When you say you feel like you're not living the 'right' life, I just wondered if it might help to have things that are just for you. I understand you're not well enough to work, but would a couple of hours' a week of voluntary work help you to feel more 'connected'? Or a class? It sounds like you need to make a little community for yourself maybe - surround yourself with people who know you for who you are - not as your DH's wife or as your DCs' mum.

Liiinooo Sun 29-May-16 22:07:32

I have just re-read this thread and it has made me cry. So many of us living the 'perfect life' on the outside and eaten up with fear and unworthiness on the inside. And we are lucky ones who got the nice homes and lovely husbands. Life is complicated.

I often moan about and to my DH that he is too impractical, too other worldly, too wrapped up in his job etc. I roll my eyes when he can't work the boiler or find clean sheets. This thread has reminded me how selflessly he has shared the fruits of his hard work with me and allowed me to live the quirky, wonderful life I have now. I wouldn't be here without him. Note to self; Be more grateful.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 29-May-16 22:22:51

Duvet my dh has bipolar and l have found that if things are going really well he is inclined to almost self sabotage. I notice the pattern. I read somewhere that it's like he feels something is going to go wrong so he can't bear waiting for it to happen brings it in. Please get help for this. You are amazing for pulling yourself out of such difficulties. You deserve the best. Don't doubt that. People with bipolar are often very gifted bright people. Of course you are friendly with like minded folk.

DuvetDayEveryday Sun 29-May-16 23:36:36

Thank you all so much. It really helps to know other people feel the same way. I'm at therapy on Tuesday and I will mention how I'm feeling. It's group therapy for bpd and we do a lot of work on distorted thoughts and mindful ways of thinking and stuff. I thought I was doing really well but it turns out my brain will come up with new stuff to obsess over.

I'm sitting here in my big house (new build with en suites and study etc so very similar) feeling like a total fraud and worrying that it will all be taken away when I fuck it all up. Fucking stupid brain. Dh is amazing and helps me so much, but then that backfires when I think I don't deserve his support and should probably leave him for his own good. It's like Mr Toad's Wild Ride in my brain.

queenMab99 Sun 29-May-16 23:59:17

These feelings do have a positive side, in that, no one should take what they have in life for granted, and I feel that you are probably a much nicer person to feel as you do, than to be smug, and feel entitled. However, it is as unreasonable to worry that you are 'not worthy', as it is to be resentful about your 'bad luck', if you were in poor circumstances. Life is as it is.

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