Mental Health

Does Feeling Better Mean That I’m Faking it?

man holding sign saying "I wish this were fake news"
Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while I’ll have a bit of time where my mood is fairly neutral.  When I consciously notice that, it sets off a whole crazy train of thoughts.

One thought is that I’m not sure I can believe that it’s actually real.  I’m suspicious that it’s some weird trick of the mind to get me thinking everything’s ok before throwing me right back into the depths depressive hell.  In the past, this was the point where I’d get stuck.  I’d think recovery was a possibility, but I was convinced that those particular moments were not actually indicative of recovery.  As the course of my illness has evolved, though, full remission seems unlikely.  That means I don’t stop at this particular station, and instead the crazy train keeps on chugging.

Right behind that is the thought that I wasn’t actually depressed in the first place – that I was faking it.  Logically I know that’s not true, but we’re not talking logic here, we’re talking crazy caboose.  I start to doubt my judgment, and question whether I actually know myself.  I can recognize that line of thought is pretty out there, but it keeps on chugging for a while.

Then comes the thought what is wrong with me that I’m making such a big production out of this?  Isn’t neutral normal(ish)?  So what’s wrong with me that I can’t react to neutral in a neutral-normal kind of way?

Then eventually I realize that the crazy train has left the station and it’s time to wave goodbye and let those thoughts of faking it fade off into the distance.  Just like the everyday anhedonia, it’s not worth making a fuss over.  From a mindfulness perspective, I need to just be present in those moments of neutral, and focus my attention on observing some guinea pigs or woodpeckers to keep my mind from erratically hopping around to past and future.

Stop, breathe, and watch the guinea pigs.  I can do that.  Maybe.

Do you have times of feeling better-ish when you start doubting yourself or reality, and start to think you’re faking it?

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35 thoughts on “Does Feeling Better Mean That I’m Faking it?”

  1. my brain is a train running at full speed most of the time…at least now, most of it is positive, but there are times I get flooded with negative thoughts and just tough it out, recognizing the negative thoughts are temporary. And I have tools I use to help me. I appreciate your honesty in your posts.

  2. Firstly, I loved this post! “The Crazy Caboos” – That was funny!
    I personally doubt myself every day. Questioning the same questions you do. I think that is normal for us, us meaning mentally ill. There are only a few days out of every year that I feel as if I’ve found Nirvana, and then there are weeks that I find myself in the gutter. The “Neutral” feeling is a wonderful feeling. Enjoy the present mind of neutral. 💗 It’s a lovely place to be. Don’t over analyze it, just go with the flow.

  3. Im right there with you. Ive had my moments of self doubt abd doubting my reality. Ive had my moments of feeling crazy and depressed and super anxious. Its refreshing to hear that told so honestly. Thank you for this!

  4. Yes, I have this sometimes. Also, every few years I will get better for a few months. I struggle at first to believe that I’m feeling better and believe it won’t last. Then, just as I accept that I’m better, I get depressed again.

  5. Yes, I have definitely felt like that. I was actually thinking of writing a post about it sometime soon because I think I’m doing better, and that is freaking me out. I find mindfulness stuff helpful, too, as you said. Bringing myself back to the facts of what I AM feeling and not what I expect to feel or think I should feel is helpful for me.

  6. I think your brain probably struggles to accept that you can feel neutral after feeling differently, and self-doubt is right there to take the opportunity to make you question everything. xx

  7. This is a very good sign that you’re getting better!! YAY!!

    Here’s an experiment for you: the next time you feel that way, think this: “I’m the Ashliest Ashley out of all the Ashleys, and I’m going to still feel this normal feeling (or better!) in an hour because I will it.” Then shift your attention to whatever you’re working on.

  8. I often have feelings of overwhelming unreality in general. Feelings of “is any of this real?” “am I real?” “am I imagining/dreaming all this?” “Are these really my feelings/thoughts?”, So I think I kind of get what you mean.

  9. Having a chronic condition that gives good and bad days, I am often distrustful when I’m feeling well. I am afraid to take advantage of the good moment, worried it won’t last, or that it’s a trick, and something much worse is right around the corner. My husband has to point out to me when I’ve actually made process, because I am so stuck in the moment that I can’t tell how I’m doing over the long haul. So yeah, I get this. Completely.

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