On Friday I learned about a campaign that is helping to spread the word, positive word, about mental health disorders. They asked that you post a selfie holding up four fingers and to use the hashtag #1in4, showing that one in four Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness. I am one of the four so I felt compelled to post the selfie and help the campaign. I started writing a caption for my picture and began with “I am 1 in 4 who suffers…”. Then I paused and thought about that word: suffers. I decided that I didn’t want that to be the word that defines me. So I switched it to: “I am 1 in 4 who daily overcomes the struggle with a mental health disorder” because in the big picture, yes I have times I suffer but at the end of the day when I have OVERCOME the battle with anxiety; that is what I want people to know about, because this is no easy feat.
I saw this cartoon a while back and I had to laugh because there are times that I am that girl. I can go from mole hill to mountain in 0.5 seconds. But there are other times I feel that I earn that superhero status for different reasons; when I am the girl who overcomes and doesn’t just suffer.
The definition of a superhero is someone who has amazing abilities and battles a villain. You may think that anxiety is my villain but the devil is actually my archenemy and anxiety is his kryptonite.
But in God I have the perfect ally. He gives me the courage and the strength to fight and each day that we overcome the enemy I can consider myself to be at superhero status and here is why:
- I am courageous when I stick it out at work and not run when I am having a bout of anxiety. I use my strongest tool: prayer. I put on happy music and I walk around the building and I overcome.
- I am courageous when I try something new or push myself out of my comfort zone. In a couple of weeks I am participating in a comedy mystery play as a benefit for our Relay for Life team. I was asked and I said yes because it will make me step outside of that box that says anxiety controls me.
- I am courageous when I am open and honest with someone about my disorder. Whether in front of my women’s group at church, with a total stranger, a friend or on this blog, I use my pain for a purpose: to help others. And trust me when I say that this takes a lot of nerve.
- I am courageous each time I choose to think positively instead of negatively. This may seem like a simple thing to those who don’t know the grip of anxiety but it’s no easy task when your mind is wired to default to gloom and doom thinking.
- I am courageous when I choose to let God be my strength and at times that can be the most courageous thing a person with anxiety can do. This can oftentimes be hard even for someone who doesn’t have a disorder but for those who do and want to constantly be in control, it requires handing over your fears, your doubts and total control of your thoughts and just trusting.
So when I find myself in a place where I feel less than confident and maybe a little bit of a failure, and when the enemy tries to squash my super powers, I will remind myself that I am worthy of a cape (teal, please) and exploit my unique powers for the greater good!