You Think She's SUPER!
She has several college degrees, she makes a good living, she's always advancing in her career, she drives a luxury car, she travels, and lives in a beautiful home. Her life is amazing and well put together. She is the text book definition of success!
We compare our lives to hers' thinking we could never be her, because she has her whole life under control.
I know this woman, I've worked with her, and she really does have it going on!
The truth about Superwomen...
All superwomen, don't feel super, at least not all the time. The truth is, she is often misunderstood, isolated and ostracized for standing out, being bold and appearing to better than us. This leads to her feeling defensive, lonely, frustrated and even confused about her own success. She's fought her whole life to get to where she is now.
5 Common Misconceptions about Successful Career Women
She knows everything.
She is tough as nails.
She has no weaknesses.
She doesn't need help.
She is perfect.
Many successful women, experience an intense pressure to keep up with these misconceptions. The truth is many successful superwomen are struggling with a mental health disorder. I use the word disorder lightly, because at any point you or I, can experience intense emotions, depression or anxiety given the right circumstances, placed in a toxic environment without the proper resources and supports
We all sit somewhere on that spectrum of mental health and can be pushed over the the line of I'm okay to I need help! at any time.
Some superwomen never seek help and wear masks outside everyday. They need to protect themselves and avoid the stigma associated with the myths about mental health, which is down right unreasonable and irrational for any human being.
She could be holding everything together by a strand of thread, but she doesn't seek support, because mental health is so taboo. She's been walking around trying to be a strong independent successful woman, because to admit she isn't means "she's got issues". And who want's to be that lady?
5 Common Myths about mental health
She is crazy.
She can't be smart and have mental health issues.
She is being a dramatic diva.
She just needs to get over it.
She should know how to fix it.
The Secret behind the S
She is a SURVIVOR. She never told anyone. She survived a suicide attempt. When she was in undergrad and she took a bottle of pills, because her boyfriend cheated on her and he was the only person she connected to because her parents were abusive and she lost all hope in love. She has survived an eating disorder, that she developed in middle school, because her mother and older sisters told her she was fat and she wasn't beautiful as a size large. She survived depression, which she developed at the tender age of 10 years old, when her mother suddenly died of cancer and her identity and sense of self were compromised. She never had a significant female figure to nurture her as a young woman. She survived post traumatic stress disorder, when her beloved uncle raped her for 5 years and threatened her life if she ever told a soul (and she never told a soul). She survived anxiety as she fought to live up to her father's standards of excellence but always fell short by 1 or 2 points and the finish line kept moving. She was punished every step of the way for not being as good as the other kids. She was a loser.
She survived her mind telling her she's not good enough, it will never get better, there's no way out, she's worthless, a failure and it's over. She survived.
But even survivors still struggle daily, with the residual impact of trauma, while sitting at her desk, in the boardroom, in front the classroom, at the operating table. Some days she is emotionally triggered, someone reminds her of her past and situations seem to be repeating themselves, when old patterns resurface.
This is mental health. This is not a crazy. It's trouble sleeping. Losing your appetite. Losing interest. Excessive Worry. Feeling Hopeless. Being confused. Feeling stuck. Feeling frustrated. Feeling Alone.
When we project shame on mental health, when we project our own fears and insecurities on someone with a mental health disorder, we lose them. We lose them to their mental health issues, we lose them to substance abuse, we lose them to suicide.
She is SUPER, but not because she was born that way, but because she fought, she believed, she persevered and she survived.
According to national research studies there is an increase in mental health issues and suicide among women and professionals.
Professional women are at high risk, especially when they have the added pressures of marriage, parenting and care giving for elderly parents. When more people die as a result of suicide, compared to car accidents, we have to look at society and our health care industry for a solution.
We can begin by acknowledging mental health is more common then people want to admit, removing the stigma and shame and being more supportive and inclusive of people who have experienced trauma, depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, addiction, rape,etc.
We should give the same support and compassion that we do to someone with a physical ailment, to someone with mental health issues.
If you are a survivor or struggling superwoman, seek the support of a licensed mental health professional that can support you and guide you through stabilizing your emotions so you can sustain your success. You can seek online counseling, in person counseling or call a national hotline.
Your Journal Prompt (Pen, Paper, 5 minutes)
Take a moment to think about what you have survived and how it made you who you are today.
What things from your past, still have an impact and make it challenging to achieve your goals now?
What things from your past, make it hard to sustain the success you have already achieved?
I'd love to hear about your experience writing this journal prompt! Let's connect by email email@example.com.