Yes, you read that right, my mental illness is my superpower. I’ve never been able to have the insight to see it that way until a friend (shoutout to you Abbie) said this to me and opened my eyes to how my mental illness actually makes me a better person. In short, if I didn’t suffer from a mental illness, I wouldn’t have found my purpose to share my story with all of you. But it has also changed my life and made me a better person in many other ways, which I’d like to explain to you.
First of all, I want to explain my specific illness. I suffer from high-functioning anxiety which is a bit different from other anxiety disorders because I function above average but experience the symptoms of any other anxiety disorder, which makes the illness a bit harder to identify. My anxiety causes me to ride on adrenaline highs in moments of productivity, making me appear perfectly fine to the bare eye, but I will “crash” when I’m alone which spirals me into a period of low-functioning, causing me to fall into a negative and anxious headspace. The only time my anxiety is visible to the public is when an extremely high-pressure situation will trigger an anxiety attack. With a little understanding of my illness, I have learned to navigate myself through my low-functioning periods and turn my high-functioning periods into my superpower.
As I’ve explained, my illness actually causes me to function above-average and you probably wonder why that could ever be a bad thing. I don’t blame you, I’d think that too if I didn’t fully understand what it meant. However, it is that misconception that causes people who may be struggling with high-functioning anxiety to not seek treatment because they may seem perfectly fine, even to themselves.
Mental illnesses can really get you down, that’s kind of their thing. However, through my struggle, I have uncovered some amazing things about me. My mental illness does not define me, but it has made me who I am. Mental illnesses can be a terrible burden in your life if you let it. I know you can’t make it go away, but you can change your outlook on it. While you may not struggle with the same issue as me, I hope you will be able to find a little inspiration to find your own superpower.
Without any more rambling, I have shared how my anxiety prevented me from performing athletically to my full potential. However, I have actually been able to turn that around and use my anxiety to my advantage. When you learn how to channel it correctly, instead of trying to fight against pre-performance anxiety, I let it raise my blood pressure and heart rate, and the coolest thing is that it increases the supply of sugars and fats being released in my body to give me a boost of steady energy. Yes, anxiety does have its advantages and I have a couple more to share.
My mental illness is my superpower because it makes me super analytical and the queen of productivity. I get things done in a very well-thought-out manner because when my anxiety activates my fight-or-flight response, my senses are enhanced and I’m able to identify very articulate details, I’ve just had to train my brain to see the good in all those details. Also, whenever I do identify negative details, I am able to be quick on my feet and find a creative solution to fix that flawed detail.
Above all, my biggest superpower is my strength. This superpower is within everyone, no matter what you’re struggling with. You are strong for being able to endure this and fight back. Mental illness makes you a superhero, and the superhero always wins. Therefore, you too will be victorious in this fight, even if you don’t feel like a winner right now. One day you will find your strength and unleash your inner superpower.
If you or someone you care about is feeling fragile You’re Not Alone. Please seek the help of a mental or behavioral health professional if you are unable to cope with your emotional pain. If you ever have any thoughts to harm yourself or others or to end your life, please reach out for help. National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1.800.273.8255. Crisis Text Line.
If you’d like to learn more of the ins and outs of high-functioning, you can refer to this article: https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/high-functioning-anxiety/like-high-functioning-anxiety/