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Why My Mental Illnesses Are My Superpowers

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When I tell people that I sometimes call my mental illnesses my superpowers, they always look at me funny. I mean, we all have our own superpowers. I think it just takes time for each of us to find them.

Ever since I was young, I can remember showing signs of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. Whenever I was given an assignment in school, I automatically wrote it down somewhere so I would remember it. Then, once I got home, I would want to start it, but then would realize that I didn’t know if I wrote down the right assignment. I panicked thinking that it was going to be turned in late because my stupid mind jotted down the wrong date. So I would constantly email my teachers in middle and high school for reassurance on the due dates. I’m sure they got sick of the emails very quickly, but it was how I allowed myself to get the reassurance I desperately needed.

If I wasn’t able to get the reassurance, my anxiety would kick in. It made sure I got the assignment done within a week from when it was actually due. But then my anxiety would eventually find something else for me to worry about — mostly things I don’t even know why I was actually stressing over.

So why are these my powers? As much as I would love to have the ability to fly or be invincible, I’m OK with mine. Even though they can both really suck at times, they make me who I am.

They keep me on my toes. While this might not seem like the greatest reason, it’s the most logical one for me. I’ve always been the one student who liked to have their assignments done days before they were actually due. With my anxiety, the idea of anything being late pushed me to get it done in advance. But then there’s also the days when it can be a pain, because I don’t know why my anxiety is doing this to me.

When it comes to my OCD, it gives me the chance to check things over and over before being content. While that might not sound fun, it makes my feel happy knowing that I can relax after a certain period of time. Just like anxiety, there’s always that downside. For instance, it is usually very time-consuming for things that I need to get done in that moment.

Without anxiety and OCD, I wouldn’t be who I am. I would definitely not call myself a superhero by any means, but just an average person with “special powers.” I am stronger because both have allowed me to learn more about myself.

Sometimes they can be the kryptonite to my Superman.

Other times they can be the Robin to my Batman.

I know that even on the days when they are my kryptonite, I have strong supports systems that are able to help me get through it.

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Getty image via IPGGutenbergUKLtd

Originally published: December 5, 2017
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