It may, or perhaps may not, come as a surprise to people reading this, that confidence is not a characteristic that I am particularly well endowed with. I can fake it fairly convincingly when the circumstance requires it, but self-belief is not one of my more abundant qualities.
I am socially awkward, I can be painfully shy, I detest confrontation and yet, I work in a job that requires me to project an air of efficient competency every day. To say this causes me a lot of stress is an understatement. Keeping a mask on, all day, every day, becomes extremely wearing.
Almost perversely, the current COVID-19 pandemic with its required physical distancing has provided me with a certain degree of respite. The people I deal with are now simply on the other end of a telephone call or, when it can't be avoided, a video link. I can let the mask slip a little and it affords me an element of respite.
Much of it, as it so often does, comes down to my mental health. Self-doubt all too often, goes hand-in-hand with many mental illnesses, and depression is no exception. There are always those nagging voices in my head telling me that I can't do it, I'm not worth it, I don't matter. Yet again, there is a constant battle to mute those voices so that the task at hand can be completed.
Those voices are never truly silenced however; they lurk in the dark corners of the mind, waiting for their moment to swarm forth and overwhelm.
Fortunately, I have outlets. I run. I share my thoughts here on these pages. I cope.
Each day is, however, its own challenge. There are always positives to be sought out, but sometimes they can be particularly hide. So I spend my days mostly "faking it" instead of "making it". I've become so good at it, that even those closest to me can sometimes miss it.
The perverse thing is that there really is no need for me to fake it. When I'm being rational I know exactly what I am capable of. I know I am competent, I know what I'm good at. I know I actually DO have abilities I can rely on.
Sadly, however, it's all too easy for the slightest misstep to send my self-belief and self-confidence scurrying for safety and I'm left having fix the mask in place yet again.