However, I've come to believe recently, very recently, that I need this distress. As long as I can recognize it for what it is, and take it in perspective, that is.
I'd gotten used to being "the smart one". I always explained things to people who didn't understand them. When I take classes, and the professor says something, people look at me to see what I think. Wherever I work, people ask for my opinion or for information or help, whether it be with their statistics homework or advice on the DSM. "Book learnin'" is easy for me. I played it safe. I did a lot of what was easy for me; I didn't just get one master's degree, I got three. I stayed away from things that weren't easy for me, unless it was absolutely necessary. Doing things that don't come naturally to me, or being around others much more talented or accomplished than I, has often been anxiety-provoking.
(I've disabled comments on this post on purpose, because I didn't put it here fishing for assurances of how good or capable or worthy I am. That's my stuff to sort out, on my own, in my head. )