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What are best ways/resources to deal with imposter syndrome or runaway thoughts? I recently published a paper (only my 2nd first author) and was excited about it for about 2 mins before I got very bad anxiety over it. I found some novel findings in my paper and so far it has been well received but I keep thinking "I'm proposing a a new thing that hasnt been seen in the field, what if it was a fluke and can't be repeated and I end up losing my career in science." I did my due diligence in the experiments but I have lost sleep over this thought, and have started to doubt myself as a scientist. I don't have insurance at the moment so can't see a therapist but I was wondering if there were online tools to help with this.

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Let me suggest something other than imposter syndrome and that if any such tools exist they probably won't help you.

One common reaction to completing a major piece of work is letdown since your life now seems empty. What was filled with work and the expectation of success now is filled with a big blank.

Another possible aspect is fear of the unknown. You have put something out there, hoping for wide acceptance, but it hasn't yet come, not having time enough yet to be really seen.

But, the reviewers thought enough of the work to recommend its appearance and the editor(s) agreed. So you do have a bit of evidence that you haven't failed.

And even if it can't be reproduced, it needn't be the end of your career if you have done due diligence in your research.

The cure, is easy, actually. (Well, maybe hard.) Just go back to work. Talk to any collaborators and come up with some ideas that might be developed into the next big piece of your career. Then, just get it done. Simple.

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  • I appreciate this. I just actually started a new job and I am working on designing new experiments. I keep trying to tell myself that even if it isn't well received or reproducible it won't be the end of the world because such is the nature of science. Will keep pushing forward – Yvonne C. May 21 at 15:56

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