Mental illness is tremendously misunderstood. Most people significantly underestimate what awesome things mentally ill people do with what others see as an obstacle in life.
The brain remains a mystery to most scientists, and for this reason, much research goes into studying mentally ill people’s profound abilities with mental illness. Neurologists and psychiatrists work tirelessly to unravel the secrets that might unlock the understanding of how and why humans do what they do.
Many mental illnesses are the result of an unbalanced brain chemistry
which in fact makes them just as much a physical illness like any other. Sadly, most people unjustly stigmatize mental illness. These stigmas, plus the mysteries of the brain that remain, can exacerbate people’s conditions and make them worse than they need to be.
The lack of compassion can cause people to become tremendously worse
What is most interesting, is that these stigmatized illnesses can be the source of genius, scientific or creative. Most famous artworks and many famous inventions were derived from the minds of people suffering from alternative brain chemistries to the average person.
So what is the silver-lining when diagnosed with a mental illness? As much as it causes suffering, it can also cause you to exhibit super brain powers that the average person doesn’t have. Let’s examine many of these mental illness superpowers below:
Anxiety – Super IQ
It is no surprise that for a disorder that causes people to think too much about everything, and then feel overwhelmed as a result of that. They have super-powered brains that are more active than average people.
And it is not just superior intelligence. Studies reveal that individuals with social anxiety disorder are highly empathic and have advanced communicative skills. These individuals are always making neural connections much faster than average.
A 2012 paper from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center has suggested that those who worry excessively have evolved this advanced genetic trait as an extremely successful survival technique.
Essentially, being concerned as a default response has a beneficial silver-lining. Comparatively, less anxious people are more likely to misjudge danger in many situations.
Depression – Creative Genius
There is a very long list that contains creative geniuses who also suffered depression. Ernest Hemingway, Edvard Munch, Charles Dickens, Vincent Van Gogh, Leo Tolstoy to just name a few.
Creativity derives from rich emotions, and rich emotions are inundating when a depressed person overflows with profound creativity. Additionally, depressed people deliberate over their thoughts obsessively.
They can’t let any experiences go, and will imagine infinite possibilities and reasons and meanings attached to those experiences. All of which can become brilliant fodder for creative expression, whether through writing, art, music, dance, theater or inventing.
Schizophrenia – Mathematical Genius
Some of the most frightening criminal minds on earth are geniuses, and there is substance in the title of “mad professor.”
What creates this insane genius?
Which ironically has so much good to offer the world, is a severe chemical imbalance that often terrifies the person with schizophrenia.
Their visual brain becomes distorted by the physiological interactions between the neurons. This visual disturbance convinces them that they are receiving supernatural messages and profound revelations. Furthermore, they find it nearly impossible to distinguish that they are not actually real and tangible.
Reykjavik University in Iceland released research in 2004 which studied students who achieved the highest results
Researchers concluded that it was psychotic tendencies that improved their performance.
A famous movie called “A Beautiful Mind” portrayed such a mathematical genius. Writers of the film based it on the true story of a man named John Nash, who won numerous mathematical awards even at a young age. He was named Fortune magazine’s brightest mathematician by age 30.
He also had schizophrenia and spent many years in a psychiatric hospital. Eventually, he went on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics at the age of 66.
Autism – A Savant
1 in every 68 children is on the autism spectrum. Experts estimate that 10% of those have savant abilities. Which is quite astounding considering only 1% of the regular population exhibit similar savant type skills.
A savant is an individual who shows prodigious abilities far more advanced than normal
Researchers have discovered that children who are incapable of communicating with loved ones are able to play complex classical musical pieces on the piano or create highly detailed drawings of things they only saw for a few moments.
Cambridge University studied 450,000 members of the working public
This study revealed that adults who were working in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) were more likely to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum, or have certain autistic traits.
Also, Autists are statistically more likely to be men than women.
Dissociative Identity Disorder – Ability to Ignore Pain
Usually, when you think of Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is a stereotyped character portrayed using the classic “insane person” narrative.
Dissociative Identity Disorder is someone with a multiple personality disorder or split personality disorder. Unfortunately, this is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses In fact, it usually comes about from an extreme and disturbing trauma.
These people are not dangerous, as portrayed in the movies
They create a new personality or personalities that they live within when it is too unbearable to live with the memories of their own personality. That had endured unimaginable suffering.
When they slip into their new personality, they have no memory of that suffering and can go about their day without pain. Comparatively others without this “ability” can fall into a deep depression or anxiety. Additionally, these people spontaneously jump out of negative mind states, making it appear as though they had never been traumatized.
Ironically, this is a kind of a super power
Especially when contrasted with the emotional agony of people who experience things like post-traumatic stress disorder. They cannot escape frightening flashbacks of traumatic events, and live a life of emotional torture.