Superheroes And Mental Illness Pt I

The longer I spend studying psychology, the more I begin to see patterns develop regarding mental illness, and the response to it.

One thing I am beginning to see is that mental health and mental disorders are a spectrum. Sure, it can be broken down into many smaller spectrums such as depression, anxiety, dyslexia, Tourette Syndrome, etc., but overall health is a spectrum containing many other smaller spectrums. I can best demonstrate this by using the physical body. Overall health is head to toe wellness, and a person with a broken arm is not fully healthy. Their heart may be strong, they may be able to run a marathon, but as an overall unit, they are not at 100% health. I think the same is true of our mind.

The second thing I realise is that we’re all on the spectrum to some degree. Not one of us is able to truthfully, and with good self-awareness claim to have total mental health. Whether it is a low lying OCD where you have to double check a window is locked before leaving the house, agoraphobia with panic attacks, or schizophrenia, we are all in this together. What’s more, because of the stigma attached to mental health no one likes to talk about it so we feel we’re alone and experiencing something shameful, which everyone else is doing as well.

In essence, we are all walking around sharing the same deep, shameful secret about ourselves in the belief we are the only one carrying it.

Finally, I am seeing more and more articles regarding mental health struggles being linked to a “superpower”. The first time I saw this was in a link with Tourette Syndrome when I noticed that it is common for hockey goalies to have some kind of tic and my interest grew from there, eventually discovering that Tim Howard, USMNT goalie has Tourette Syndrome. Then I considered comedians such as Wayne Brady, Drew Carey, and David Letterman, who have depression and how they seemed to use the thing that affects them to fight on.

Here are the three takeaways for today:

1 – Whatever you are struggling with, you are not alone. We’re all dealing with something and anyone who claims otherwise is either lacking in self-awareness or lying.

2 – Whatever you are struggling with doesn’t have to define you.

3 – If your coping mechanism is a superpower to you then fly with it.

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