3 Superpowers That Come From Having a Chronic Illness

photo of man silhouetted against sunset sky in superhero pose, fists clenched and confident, looking out over city

Having a chronic illness is almost like having a few cool superpowers. I have mentioned this before with past writings — that illness has made us almost hyper aware and sensitive to many sights, sounds and smells. These abilities come at the cost of our illness, but I hold onto them as something that makes me different.

1. Hyper-hearing.

I have noticed that those of us with a chronic or mental illness can hear so much better than our healthy counterparts. We can walk around in the dark, hear our footfalls and know where we are in the room. We can pick up a pill bottle, shake it and know our medication by the sounds it makes. We can hear the pain hidden in people’s voices. We can hear the stress, anxiety and sometimes even hear when someone is lying to us. This comes at the cost of being hurt by loud noises, yelling, and other panic-inducing sounds.

2. Super sight/awareness.

We pick up on the little details. The person fidgeting in pain in the corner of the room. When someone is uncomfortable around so many people. The look in someone’s eyes as they fail to meet anyone’s gaze. We can feel the room and know the mood immediately. We pick up on the smallest changes in someone’s routine and are extremely observant to those we care about. The downside to this is how we often focus so much on other people, we do not focus on ourselves as much. We also can be sensitive to light and awkward situations can cause physical pain.

3. Intelligence/wisdom.

This one is a bit different. I know brain fog can be our weakness, but when we have a good day, our brains fire off like a supercomputer. We know we have to take advantage in those precious few hours of being able to think, so we tend to work through all of the different areas of our lives. On the other side, when we cannot think or even move from bed, we tend to stay quiet. This gives us time to think and mull over what is going on. By taking (or in some cases forcing) time to slow down, we are able to thoroughly think through each situation. Besides the brain fog as being a weakness, you are also sometimes observed as “not looking sick” because you are “too smart” or seem to have your life together. What they don’t realize is that we know we will forget things and we have a million reminders, post-it notes and various other systems in place to help us not forget things.

If you noticed, I put a weakness with each superpower. Just like all superheroes, we have our unique weaknesses. Our personal kryptonite is an area or areas we should be aware of. Knowing is half the battle.

These are just three different areas where we are super! I know there are others, so please feel free to share those with me; I would love to read about them. I believe more knowledge is power in this regard, and we need all the encouragement in the world some days to make it through.

you got a friend in me

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