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The Invisible Woman

2 Timothy 4:16-17 (NIV84) – At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.  May it not be held against them.  But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 



by Carley Cooper

Free Source Photo - No Copyrights Claimed
Remember your favorite superhero’s from when you were a kid?  For that matter, maybe they still are your fave's.  That's totally cool, if that's the case.  Every kid played superhero’s with their siblings and friends.  Growing up I lived in a rather isolated area, I had brothers to play with and I didn’t have many close friends to hang with; so I was the only girl most of the time.  That meant, while my brothers were Superman or Spiderman, I always played the part of Wonder Woman.  She was and is my favorite female superhero.  


The only superhero that never seemed possible was the Invisible Man.  That’s because we couldn’t become invisible.  My brother always figured that we could just pretend he’s invisible.  I never understood that because the fact was I really could see him.  Pretending only works if there’s a little bit of truth behind it somewhere.  It never occurred to us that I should play an invisible person.  Maybe it should have since my own truth has always been that I feel invisible to everyone.  If I did, maybe it would have helped me workout some of these issues.    

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research in recent months about my own mental health issues because I need the information for the book I’m writing.  I talk a lot in my blogs about Bipolar Disorder (BPD), but there are other issues that I deal with as well.  In the past few years, I’ve experienced Panic Anxiety Disorder (PAD); with several full blown panic attacks.  Wow, that was a shocker, and super scary the first time it happened to me.  However, the big issue that I have dealt with my whole life; the one that’s always been there, is Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) (also called Social Phobia).  Granted, back then, when I was a kid, they didn’t know it was a problem, let alone a disorder that needed attention and treatment.  My first panic attack, insolently, happened about two and  half years ago while I was at church, and I never understood why it happened at that time.  Unlike most social events; that day, I wasn’t feeling super stressed. 

In my research, I have learned that there are studies showing abnormalities in the brain chemistry of people with SAD.  However, that’s only half the problem.  The other half is believed to be learned behaviour.  The latest medications available have been very successful in treating SAD, especially when combined with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which helps to change thinking patterns. 

Also, as part of my research, I watched a documentary on SAD.  In it, a man called James said, in reference to his SAD, “I felt a lot of times like a freak, just because of this.  I mean, how can I be… be, I mean, so afraid of other people?  I’ve never heard of that.”  He goes on to say “There’s always outsiders in every high school but I felt like I was on the outside of the outsiders because I was just completely alone with everything that I was going through.  And everything I went through, it was tough seeing other people having at least some… even one friend just to get through it all with.  I didn’t fit in with the other kids and all that so… I had a lot of bad experiences just getting through high school.

James is me; and we both are like every other per person with SAD.  Young children with this disorder sometimes completely shut down and can’t talk as a result.  James’ words resonated within me to the very core of my bones.  I have always felt like a freak and an outsider, and that I am alone.  In my mind it’s as though I am screaming at the top of my lungs and no one sees me or hears me.  Then when people say things like “Just pull yourself up by your boot straps”, or “Just look at the bright side”, I am made to feel that I have no right to be heard.   I feel like it means I am broken for feeling the way I do, and as such it means I messed up... again!  Our loved ones often don’t want to learn about the disease.  Whatta ya do when your family, or friends, don’t want to know more; so they can get along with you, or save the relationship?  I don’t know.  I am invisible. 

For example, I was in a situation with a friend, that I’ll call Jamie, that was very upsetting.  The stress from this problem caused me to have a bad Bipolar episode that lasted about three months.  It was the longest and worst episode that I had in a very long time.  I asked Jamie if we could get together and talk about it.  So, I penciled in the get-together on my calendar.  In doing so I realized that I should make an attempt to put some accountability into this situation.  So, I confided in a third person; another friend, that I’ll call Bailey.  I believe that Bailey’s heart was in the right place but the truth is the advice I got was not necessarily good.  Bailey told me that, what I believe to be God talking to me was not; and that it is only the thoughts in my head.  In reality, no one can know that except me and God.  The enemy was using the situation, my disorders, and my friends against me.  I felt hurt, confused and rejected because I know that certain things are indeed God talking to me.  As someone who doubts so much just because I know the nature of SAD and BPD, a seed of fear was planted.  Bailey went on to say that the list of questions that I had regarding the original problem with Jamie, that never got answered for me, did not exist, that they were all in my mind.  I was left feeling more disoriented than I started out to be. 

In both SAD and BPD, sufferers often have great difficulty learning how bond with others in lasting relationships.  And because of the isolation that accompanies SAD, often the opportunity doesn’t present itself for many years, if at all.  In my mind, it seemed that neither of my friends wanted to understand my mental health issues.  SAD and BPD both mean that I am wired to overreact.  What a ‘normal’ person sees as a baseball-sized situation of stress, SAD and BPD suffers see as a beach-ball sized situation.  Even if the ball isn’t that size, we see it that size and experience the interaction with it in that size.  We are reacting to a situation that really is that big... in our own reality. 

As such, I realize I am not always sure I should believe what I am seeing or hearing (in good situations, as well as bad).  Both of my friends told me I was just ‘over reacting’, and neither of them desired or asked to know more, or let me finally ask the questions I needed answered.  So, again, I felt like I was never given the opportunity to be heard in the situation.  I came out the other end feeling like I was invisible and that my feelings didn’t count; as such that I’m broken, un-forgiven and not lovable.  The whole attempt at accountability caused me to go into two more bad episodes (short ones, but it still took me days to recover from them), and a feeling that I can’t confide in either of these two anymore.  As a result when I finally got to see Jamie, with the intent on fixing things between us, everything went from bad to worse because I went there with a fearful attitude and was asked to leave before the discussion even got started. 

Because I know that I can’t trust what is happening around me, I really do forgive my friends.  Outsiders are not always aware that they are witnessing the effects of mental health disorders.  It’s not like I have a broken limb, where my problem is obvious by a cast or crutches.  Mental health disorders are hidden inside the brain.  Only the results are shown on the outside; if you know what you’re looking at.  Though it can often take me some time to calm down from the hurt I’ve experienced, I am certainly not going to hold a grudge or blame anyone for reacting to something they weren’t aware was an issue.  As for those who really are aware, and yet still don’t care; well, I’m better off without them, because they do not have Jesus in their hearts.  Pastor Henry, at church, has told me many times that “God does not waste anything.”  So, I know that my disorders, and my issues relating to others will all be used for His glory and to bring me blessings, as long as I keep my eye on Him. 

Granted, despite all this, I’ve come a very long way in my journey to overcoming SAD in the past five or six years.  Treatment has helped tremendously, but I still only feel about 75% better, most of the time.   The best treatment, though, has been learning and seeing that I am not invisible to God.  Even the little things count to Him; and even when the rest of the world is blind to my existence, I am still visible to God, and He loves me and He wants to listen to me.  In His eyes, I am not the Invisible Woman; I am a Wonder Woman.  People will always let you down.  When everyone else rejects, brushes you off, embarrasses, or ignores you; Jesus doesn’t.  He’s the only superhero we need.  Psalm 118:8-9 (NKJV) says “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”             



~~ Dear God ~~  Please clear my mind of confusing and untruthful thoughts that are placed there by the enemy.  Please help me to always see every situation as You it.  I don’t ever want to place any human being in a position of superhero in my life.  That place is reserved only for Jesus.  Thank You, Lord, that You see me as one of your Wonder children.  Help those around me to see  the effects of my disorders on the situations and relationships in my life; and lift the stigma that the public has, in general, toward those with mental illness issues.  In Jesus name, AMEN.



Here’s something I wrote a long time ago when I took part in a 30 day blog series, where each day was a different topic.  

Today's topic: A picture of your favorite super hero and why it's your favorite. 

Hand's down, it's Wonder Woman! I like her because she represents strong, self-assured, and independence in women. She's awesome. I miss those old Wonder Woman shows on TV, with Lynda Carter. Growing up, this was one of my favorite shows. 

I even dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween once, for my Girl Guide Halloween Party. I got first prize! Yeaaaaa! My costume was so great (thanks to my wonderful Mommy) that it didn't even matter that my hair is blonde rather than brunette. 

I haven't participated in any Halloween parties in almost 20 years. I have some adult friends that go to parties such as this all the time. I don't go because none of the men in my life over the years were interested; and this is one of those things that is best done as a couple... the reason I don't go as a single woman. 

Anyway, if I did, I think I'd still like to go as Wonder Woman again. It might be fun to see that from an adult point of view, as opposed to my teenage point of view before. I'd dye my hair this time, though, with some of that temporary hair color. The only thing I never figured out was that spin thing to change my clothes. I'll have to keep working on that! :-D 

Wanna know the story behind the creation of Wonder Woman?... Click this link to see a video telling the story. Cool!   Here she is, Lynda Carter, the only ‘real’ Wonder Woman. 





35 comments :

  1. Thank you for your blog

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked my blog. I hope it blesses you.

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  2. I'll tell you what makes me feel invisible.
    When a person is asked to be on a committee, you attend the meeting. Then, maybe just a couple will 'run' the meeting, and, your suggestions are completely ignored! It makes you feel they just needed so many there to have the meeting, and, that is why you are there! Nothing more. I have attended my last said meeting!

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    1. I'm sorry that you felt invisible. Please pray about it. God will let you know what to do. Also pray about the people at the meeting and ask God to open them up to see the errors in how they are treating others. Ask Him, also, to open them to compassion about it. He will respond. I will say a prayer for you. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  3. LADYROSE49May 23, 2012

    Carley, thank you for this. My youngest son has BPD, PAD, SAD and Tourette's Syndrome.

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    1. You are so welcome. I hope you are blessed by it. I will say a prayer for your son and you too. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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    2. LADYROSE49May 23, 2012

      Thank you! Hugs

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  4. KASEYCOFFMay 23, 2012

    Really interesting, Carley, both the topic itself and your personal story. My daughter has fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and one of the 'helps' suggested to her was CBT. It apparently can help beyond mental health and even boost patients' coping ability with physical health.
    Hugs

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    1. Thanks Kasey. I'm glad you found it helpful. CBT is incredible. I've had some experience with it, though not enough. I would like to do more. It's wonderful. I think your daughter should do CBT for sure. I think you'll see it helping her. Blessings to you and your daughter. HUGS.

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  5. HUZZAH39May 23, 2012

    Carley, I read your Blog "Invisible Woman" and love how you articulate your feelings truthfully and openly. I do not see you as an invisible woman either. I agree, you are a "Wonder Woman" - a woman created in God's image and fully known by Him. You may be singing what was a sorrowful song that at times that can still have that haunting melody surface. However, I sense the invisible yet known Hand of God at work composing a very beautiful melody in your life. I hope you won't mind sharing both melodies with me. I will be rejoicing with you as He turns your sorrow into unspeakable joy! Hugs, Christine

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    1. Thank you Christine for the SparkGoodie and the wonderful comments. I hope my Worship Melodies will touch your heart always. I always pray and ask God to use me to write a great message that touches others. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  6. SHIRLEYBEE3May 23, 2012

    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you so very much. I hope you were blessed by it. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  7. I believe that I, too, have problems with Social Anxiety Disorder -- a super helping of being shy. I was always very nervous in social situations. As the years have progressed I am much less so. Interestingly, most of my progress started about 13 years ago when I got a little Yorkie who could detect when I had low blood sugar, so she became my service dog. I discovered that when I was taking her places with me that many people would come up to me and want to talk about her. Talking about her was easy, so I became more confident in social situations.

    Several years ago, I saw one of those awards ceremonies for children at church. Two of the little children, both from the same family, came forward trembling and crying, guided by a parent. It brought so many memories of my childhood!

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    1. It's so hard to deal with SAD, but as a child it's horrifying. In the research that I've been doing for my book about SAD, BPD, and PAD, I found this documentary. I think you'll find it very enlightening. I learned so much about SAD and myself with this. The same YouTube user here has other videos posted as well that are much shorter. This one is an hour long, but well worth watching. Blessings to you, and thank you so much for sharing. HUGS.

      Oh, and doggies ROCK! I'm just a 'tad' bit of a doggie fan! LOL

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmEJEfy5f50

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  8. Jean BurrMay 23, 2012

    thank you carley for your encouragement, honesty and friendship. May God continue to bless you..

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  9. Great stuff! Got lost in the Wonder Woman video - I loved her!

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  10. Thanks Friends. I'm glad you liked it.

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    1. Jean BurrMay 23, 2012

      Your welcome, Carley, you are so honest and you have been so open about yourself and your illnesses and your journey with Christ..and you are good about blogging..and know what to say.

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    2. Thanks Jean, but I think of it as God writing through me. That's what I always pray for. And I make a point of being so open because it is my little way of helping to stop the stigma against mental illness. It hurts so much that I just want to help make it stop. I didn't do anything wrong or to be embarrassed about. I'm not a danger to anyone. People can't catch it. I see no reason to hide it.

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    3. Jean BurrMay 23, 2012

      You are so right, it isn't catching and I didn't do anything either..unfortunately it runs heavily in my family..and I have two brothers with the bipolar illness themselves.

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    4. Jean BurrMay 23, 2012

      God bless your words, your friendships and your life..

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  11. FRANCESHDMay 24, 2012

    :-) Ya!
    You always put things into words SO WELL !
    Great posting
    You can do it! We can do it!
    BLESSINGS!
    Hugs Hugs

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    1. LOL Thank you so much! I was feeling good at the moment, but with a greeting like that, I would be cheered up right now even if I was feeling down. LOL Blessings to you. HUGZZZZZzzzz

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  12. CLWALDROMay 24, 2012

    Awesome. Thank you or sharing this with the team. I know God is always with us no matter where we are or what we are doing we just sometimes forget that fact but thank heavens God never does.

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    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback. It helps keep me motivated and inspired. Blessings to you and your loved ones. HUGS.

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  13. LILORITAMay 24, 2012

    Thanks so much for sharing. As usual it was such a blessing. Hugs

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It helps keep me motivated and inspired. I hope you were blessed by it. Blessings to you and your loved ones. HUGS.

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the feedback. Many blessings to you and your loved ones. HUGS.

      Delete
  15. I think it is easy to be too close to the situation to the point that you do feel invisible sometimes. It is always good to look outside yourself once in a while to get a little bit of grounding perspective. At least I have noticed this for myself anyway.

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    1. You are so right. Thank you so much for the support. Many blessings to you. HUGS.

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