A few days ago while we were in St. Andrews, my boyfriend bought me a book called, “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance.” I’ve only read a small bit of the book but I suddenly felt the need to stop and write about it.
These days, confidence comes and goes for me. But how much of that – if any – can I blame on the bipolar disorder? Of course, during mania my confidence level is at its maximum and during depression it’s the complete opposite.
What about those moments when I’m just… somewhere in the middle?
I don’t know which affect me the most – intrapersonal factors or interpersonal factors.
Of course, my mental health plays a huge role in everything, especially the anxiety that always seems to be in the back of my head. And there’s that part of my brain that always brushes away my accomplishments but somehow never forgets about my failures.
Growing up, I was taught that I should be ashamed of my failures. However as I got older I realised that that was the furthest things from the truth. Failure is inevitable and helps you learn. Nonetheless that thought still bothers me. I’m still terrified of failure and of disappointing others because of it.
My overly-sensitive nature makes it difficult for me to forget, so too many things stay in my mind. I can remember every single blow to my confidence and it all stays with me. I remember every time someone has either implied to or told me I wasn’t good enough. I remember every time someone has dismissed my opinions as infantile or irrelevant. Most of all, I remember every single time someone has made me feel like nothing I do or say matters.
I’ve been working on it for years with little progress… I mean after spending the first twenty or so years of my life feeling nothing, I’ve spent the past two feeling everything. It’s like I’ve been catching up with all the feelings I tried so hard to push to the back of my mind. But I digress.
My lack of confidence considerably affects my studies. Being in a male-dominant course like computer science, I need to assert at least a bit of confidence. But I can’t help but think about my experience studying in Berkeley… where no one in my computer science class wanted to work with me. Everyone treated me like I was so incompetent and I was partnerless for most of the projects.
Just the other week I had an interview with Google, and off the bat the interviewer treated me as if there was no way I could solve any of the given problems. Of course, that shook my confidence – actually shattered it all – and I didn’t do so well. In hindsight, I could have solved those problems without much difficulty, but I was stuck in a terrible state of mind where I didn’t believe in myself.
Deep down I know that I’m smart, that I’m a decent programmer, and that I can learn things pretty quickly. I have this quiet confidence that seems to disappear the moment I need it the most.
But I think worst of all, everything makes my social life much more difficult than it should be.
I constantly have this sinking feeling that no one really wants me around. I feel like I’m intolerable and that people spend time with me out of some strange obligation. And I’m terrified that my boyfriend will realise that I’m not good enough for him.
I know that I’m a pleasant person to be around – though I do have my moments. I have a pretty great personality, and yet I feel like it’s not enough.
I feel like I’m not enough and I don’t know why.