Preventing Gifted Depression

Depression comes in many forms for the gifted adult.  The word ‘depression’ is used so commonly these days, the meaning people associate with it can be anything from feeling a little down or not quite yourself, to full blown clinical depression that requires medication to address.

For the most part, depression among the gifted stems fundamentally from the gap between who we are and who we were meant to be.  This is not always a conscious gap, but for sure we feel it there.

As gifted adults we always have to be learning and exploring.  That’s just part of our nature – a big part that we can’t live without.

When we stop growing we start dying, in a sense, which for many shows up as depression.  If we get bogged down with taking care of other people, or we find ourselves stuck in uneventful routines day after day our brains start clamouring for our attention. And we start to feel it in our everyday emotions.

Add to all of this the high levels of emotion we perceive regularly anyway and we have a recipe for trouble.

If we start to notice that we’re spending more time in the lows than in the highs in our lives, we have to pay attention to what we’ve been doing.

  • Have we been eating well and physically moving to help keep our bodies healthy?
  • Have we been taking time for ourselves to explore some of the topics we’re interested in?
  • Have we been challenging ourselves to do something unique that really excites us?
  • Have we been connecting with other gifted people so we can share our experiences with other people who understand us?
  • Have we been looking toward future ways to keep our lives motivating?

If you’re feeling down and you’ve answered no to these questions, then you have a place to focus on to begin picking yourself up.  Pay attention to what helps you feel better and when (maybe you need to be busier in the morning instead of the afternoon, for example).  Try writing down your reflections on your ‘up’ times so you can go back and look for any connections between them later on.

And please share here what works for you or someone you know so together we can learn and grow and help each other.

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  • Marfusha

    I want to. Genuinely want to.

    I want that happy, intense, extremely excited feeling to come back. I’m not depressed, though. But on the verge of being, unfortunately.

    Sometimes I feel like exploring something, but it’s just not the same. Every time the feeling tries to return, it gets squashed as the thought of others not approving, understanding and generally thinking I’m weird returns. Then my spirits fall once again.

    • Sonia Dabboussi

      I’m glad to have you back here again, Marfusha. I’ve been wondering how you’ve been.

      All you need to start to turn things around is one person who can see past the things that look weird to everyone else. One person who helps you recognize that what no one else understands makes absolutely perfect sense to you, and that’s just fine. That one person can be right beside you, or a million miles away, but they have faith in you.

      I know we haven’t met, but I can feel your struggle through your words and I believe that you can find what it takes to overcome it. It’s all there inside you. The happy, intense, excited you is still in there, just perhaps buried under some mixed emotions right now. We’ve all been through what you’re going through in some way or another, each on our own path. Staying connected with one another and remembering that we aren’t alone makes the rise in spirits come easier and sooner.

      • Marfusha

        Somehow I knew that was the answer.

        There is a person like that. Unfortunately, though, we can only talk through email. Of course, it brings me immense joy when I receive a email from her, but it goes away the next day, when I am in the presence of those people again. It’s very frustrating to talk to them, too.

        As a side note, why does “The Mind Morph” exist?(I posted a comment on there about it)I just found it strange that a site like that would make its appearance in the world, yet it doesn’t seem to bring any benefit to you, the creator. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s just how it seems to me.
        Another one: Where did the normal “Gifted for Life” site go to? Just curious.

        Thank you about the “brain chatter/overflowing” advice. Not so troubling anymore.

        • Sonia Dabboussi

          It’s wonderful that you have someone to share your real self with. Many gifted adults haven’t yet found this person, or those people, for themselves. As for the people who frustrate you, in what ways can you change the way you interact with them? See them less often? Express yourself in a different way with them? Change physical location so they aren’t around you? What works for you?

          As for The Mind Morph, it was one of my explorations into clearly defining my life passion. The benefit for me was knowing that people out there in the world were finding a way to challenge themselves and become better, stronger, happier people. Interesting, don’t you think?

          And the Gifted for Life articles are all still here, just in a different layout, that’s all. From suggestions and feedback on many levels I’ve chosen to set up the site in the way it is now. But they’ll be more to come…

          Thanks for coming along with me in my journey on the web. I hope we’ll stay in contact long into the future so I can keep learning about your growth and personal successes!

  • Marfusha

    Just to clear it up, I’m no adult.
    I can see why you’d think I was, and I apologize for leading you to think so. I just didn’t feel it was necessary to bring up.

    So you see why getting away from frustration-inducing people will not work very well. I simply cannot get away from them during school. They surround me. Even nonchalantly reading triggers people to come and ask me what my book is called.

    Another thing I’ve noticed, apart from being frustrated with them, is that I often give them a certain piece of information, and they just forget it, or don’t see its full meaning. Do they all have short term memory loss or are simply a bit dull? I wonder. I certainly know they’re not dull nor suffer from anything, but I just can’t help thinking it.

    I like The Mind Morph. It’s an interesting passion you have. Unusual, but interesting.

    I suppose most of your readers are adults, therefore you decided to to make it a site for gifted adults. I don’t see why “non-adults” can’t be included, though!:)

    • Sonia Dabboussi

      I apologize for assuming that you were an adult, though you could easily pass for one. 🙂 It is much more difficult to avoid people when you’re in school and have to sit in the same room with them day after day. What kinds of things could you do at school that could connect you with some other people like you? Or what kinds of things may be available in your community? There will always be a difference between you and other people, and that may be tough to handle at times. So what ideas do you have about making it easier?

      And about this site, it is for gifted adults but of course “non-adults” are very welcome! They will be adults one day, won’t they? 😉

  • Marfusha

    Connecting…?

    I’m really having trouble thinking of something. Clubs are extremely rare, and any challenge programs are non-existent.

    But it could be possible that I just need variety. If interacting with the same people week after week is making me testy, then perhaps I need a break from them. I have recently taken extreme interest in solving logic and reasoning puzzles, and introduced this activity to some of my peers, some of which decided it was worthy of their attention.
    Now that I have something to occupy my brain with(I spent two days mulling over an extremely tricky problem) and some people to share my interest with, I feel like my life and mood have considerably improved.

    But I can’t help thinking what will happen when I stop compulsively eating puzzles day after day. My brain will be hungry for more, yet I won’t have anything else to feed it for a certain period of time…

    Thank you for the help so far. It’s very appreciated.

    • Sonia Dabboussi

      It seems like you’ve taken a step in the right direction here. Congratulations! If you’ve found something that helps you feel better this time, that means you can do it again. You’ve found a way, if you’ve realized exactly how you’ve done it or not. It just takes continued practice.

      For the time being it’s puzzles that fill you, soon it may be something else, but that’s OK. Just as you found one thing you’ll find another. Perhaps as you interact more with the people you’re doing puzzles with, you may find some other commonality that you share. Focus on the good things you have now, and cross the next bridges when you come to them!

  • Marfusha

    Hmm…

    So you say I can find something to occupy myself with if I’ve done it already? It’s likely you’re right, but I don’t quite understand why I fell into this “bored zombie mode” at all. I was completely fine before that. But then I should probably take into consideration the fact that I had no challenge whatsoever for a year before that.

    Maybe I held out for a year, but soon the cravings of “mental stimulation” got the better of me.
    Then again, these are still only my musings. There is no guarantee they’re right, although they could be.

    • Sonia Dabboussi

      It’s great the way that you’re thinking through your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes just being able to put them into words is a step toward helping us work out our challenges, and it seems like you’re doing well with identifying what may or may not be influencing you.

      You may never find all of the answers as to why things work out the way they do, but the more you can at least notice what’s happening the more likely you are to find any patterns that may be occurring. Keep sharing!

  • Marfusha

    Here comes the end of my riddles and puzzles obsession. I can just feel it going, threatening to leave me with no light once again.

    A half of me is still trying to hold on, coax it into staying a tad longer. It is still half-hoping I’ll be able to stretch the pleasure, enjoy the feeling at least for a bit more… But my other half knows, that trying to stop something like this is like trying to stop a gradually accelerating train. Once it gets going, no stop is possible.
    I can feel the constant boredom, restless hyperactivity returning. It’s as if my brain has millions of hands, and when an intriguing object gets to be within its reach, it grasps it tightly, examines it, explores every square centimeter of it, absorbs it, seeps into every nook and cranny of it, enjoying every “drop” immensely.
    But now it seems that the logic puzzles no longer satisfy me. They all seem to be the same now, I know how each and every one of them goes, it doesn’t really satisfy me anymore…

    It’s as if I can feel myself tottering on the edge of despair, threatening to fall down. So close to both worlds.

    Another odd thing: I seem to lack creativity. I used to have much more, I’m sure. Now it all seemed to just disappear to someplace unknown. I know I CAN be creative, and I’ve tried it, but people don’t take very kindly to it. They instantly assume I’m a bit “not right in the head”. I just don’t see the point to being creative anymore. It doesn’t seem to count for anything. One can go ahead and be much more creative with their assignments, thus making them more interesting, but there just doesn’t seem to be a point anymore. I want to, but how is the question.

    Giftedness can be a curse and a blessing. I think it’s both, even though it seems so much more like a curse at the moment.

    • http://mombodysoul.com MomBodySoul

      Hi Marfusha,

      From your comment, you sound really overwhelmed and frustrated.

      Have you ever considered that what you are going through is common among the gifted, as well as others? Going through several interests and passions within a short time, sometimes even stopping before the idea is followed through because you’ve already gotten what it is that you wanted.

      I do it all the time, and used to beat myself up about it. Now that I know there are others out there like that, I feel better and free to enjoy all the information this world has to offer, rather than worrying about others saying I need to stick to “one thing” (which feels like a jail sentence to me)

      What is YOUR #1 priority right now? If you are unsure, and feeling foggy, then I recommend a super simple but powerful exercise.

      Write down everything on your mind (I even use notepad on my computer sometimes) and I mean EVERYTHING, and then prioritize the top 3 or 4 things. DECIDE which is the top priority and take one step towards that right away.

      It will give you some clarity and get the ball rolling.

      Another reason you may be feeling so down is because doing puzzles is not really your life goal. it may be a stepping stone to something bigger, or it may just be a hobby. And that’s perfectly OK! It’s a pastime you enjoyed for a time and now you can move on to something else you love intensely.

      Sometimes, those of us who think a lot, convince ourselves that everything we do must have some profound meaning, when maybe having FUN is the purpose.

      You sound like an amazing go-to person for different types of information. I’ve become that way too. Sort of like a resource guide on a lot of different topics since I love researching so much. Just the other day, I had a random young pregnant woman ask me about DHA supplements and baby’s brain development and I happened to know the answer. lol

      My point is we can contribute in big ways or small ways, but they all make a difference in the long run, to the quality or our life or of others.

      *I also wanted to ask how your health is lately? Have you had any majorly stressful or traumatic events happen recently? How are you sleeping? Are you physically moving around much or lots of sitting down? These are questions to ask yourself.

      I’d be happy to answer any questions.

      Take Care!
      Manal

  • Marfusha

    MomBodySoul —

    Yes, I know it’s common. But I just don’t know what to occupy my brain with for now. I need SOMETHING.

    I tried the exercise. It ended up that my top priority is trying not to get frustrated with people. Taking a step towards this right away is simple to do, since I already had a notion about the reason behind it. Since you mentioned health, I thought about my lack of sleep. Then I concluded it could be tied in with my dilemma. I’ll try to change something here, to see if my situation ameliorates.

    Fun. Well, it’s somewhat hard to just change your point of view to think that everything you do should have no meaning other than fun. It’s as if I’m programmed that way.

    Thank you for the compliment. But how did you know? What exactly made you think that I’m a walking encyclopedia? I don’t think I implanted many facts into my comment so as to make you assume that.

    Thank you for your help. It’s appreciated.

    • http://giftedforlife.com Sonia Dabboussi

      If I could jump in for a second here, there’s something you might consider thinking about, Marfusha. You said that your top priority right now is trying not to get frustrated with people. Rewording this might give you more powerful results. So, if you’re not frustrated with people, then what ARE you? What’s the positive situation you’re wanting? If you imagine for a minute that you’ve already achieved that top priority, what emotions are you feeling because you have it? What are you doing and saying? What’s happening around you? The clearer the picture you can make about the results you want, the more likely you are to get them.
      Please let me know how it goes.

  • Marfusha

    Sonia Dabboussi —

    Ah. Good point.
    I think you brought this up in one of your earlier posts.

    I think — following Einstein’s way — that I should first pinpoint and expand the problem, before finding the solution.
    I get frustrated with people frequently, almost every day. I just find most of what they’re saying completely illogical. Invalid arguments, unfair treatment (which they claim to be fair and refuse to think otherwise), or just plain claiming things which, according to their circumstances could not POSSIBLY be true, are all around me. Most of what is coming out of their mouths, is seems, is utter nonsense.
    In this situation, of course, it’s a trifle hard to be very patient with my peers. The problem is also that, when I tell them about it (or at least try to) they don’t understand. They just comment passively, “OK…” or “Uh-huh…(with a “I’ll go talk to someone less odd” look)” or even a “Too bad! Deal with it!” said jokingly. At this point, the frustration kicks in.

    So much for the problem.
    I envision my goal at a place/time, when/where I am understood by people. They take me for who I am, not for whom I pose to be (I shouldn’t even have to pose at this point!). I can be who I am without putting myself behind masks. I can do the things I enjoy with other people who enjoy it just as much as I do, with the same passion, spontaneity and energy. I am encouraged to absorb and explore the world, and am supported by others while I do it.
    This may be asking for a bit too much, but I at least want people to understand me. When this happens, I will feel as free as a bird let out of its cage for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. I will really submerge myself in the world then.

    So that’s that.

    A bit off topic: I can’t seem to write poems. I want to, I’m certainly not lacking ideas, but it’s SO hard to put them on paper. It’s devastatingly hard to put the feelings I experience into words and still describe them properly. Also, I find it extremely boring to write about very straight-forward, simple things. I know it will get me a sufficient mark (it’s an assignment), but it just feels too boring.
    This the first time in many years that my brain and mind failed me like this. This poetry portfolio is due the 16th and my paper is still as blank as ever, not counting two poems.

    I hope this is not too long.
    It’s nice to say everything on my mind to someone once in a while.

    • http://giftedforlife.com Sonia Dabboussi

      Your goal sounds like one that so many gifted people strive for – the freedom to be fully themselves! It’s so tough when you have to monitor your words, or be careful who you talk to, or be prepared to be discouraged when interacting with other people. What freedom it is to just be you!

      What is one step you can take today that will bring you closer to your goal (besides the one you have taken here by posting among other gifted people who understand just where you’re coming from:) )? You’ve mentioned someone that you talk to by email who is uplifting for you. In what ways could you increase your communications with this person?

      As for writing, some things may be easier to do than others. We don’t have to be good at absolutely everything we do, though it may feel like we should be. Maybe another approach to your poetry portfolio could help you through for now. How could you start from a more visual position, using a picture or movie perhaps? Many gifted people are more visual than the general population, so some visual cues may help you get started. You could write how the picture motivates you (or however you need to phrase your work for your assignment) or you could record your thoughts orally and then play them back to hear what they say. There are many different ways to tackle this, but you will know what works best for you.

      Let me know how it goes! You’re down to 2 days before the deadline…

    • http://giftedforlife.com Sonia Dabboussi

      And by the way, it’s awesome to have you writing here so please keep it up! I’m really glad you’re saying what’s on your mind because I know you are helping yourself and many other people who haven’t yet been brave enough to share what’s on theirs. You add a spark here that brightens our day! 🙂

  • Marfusha

    Whew! I finished it!

    It took a lot of effort to pull things out of my head and knead them into lopsided poem form, but in the end, I did it. Yes, poetry is likely not for me. I don’t feel I want to go through all that trouble again.

    Yes, my friend… I very recently emailed her. She hasn’t replied yet, but hopefully soon will.
    Increase communications? I really don’t know. I don’t think I can do much for now…

    This is a tad off-topic, but I have a question somewhat regarding giftedness.
    Some background information first: I have always had to “figure out” a teacher so I can properly understand them, communicate with them, etc. I must know what their personality is, how they think, so I can roughly tell what they are like and what to expect of them. But this year I have a rather peculiar teacher which I cannot figure out. I simply cannot tell at what level they think at, what their personality is like, anything, really. And this fact puts me into bewilderment. I feel like I cannot predict their actions, and, for all I know, this person could be a genius and could do anything I would never expect in a million years. This is not by any means comforting, at least for me. I wonder why? I doubt you could supply the answer, but I have nothing to lose.

    Thank you again for the help. 🙂

    • http://giftedforlife.com Sonia Dabboussi

      Congratulations on finishing your assignment. It’s great to know it done, don’t you think?

      As for your teacher, have you talked to him/her one-on-one at all? Sometimes the people we have the hardest time figuring out are the ones who are most like us. If this person is hard to figure out, maybe they’ve learned to hide their true self like so many gifted people do. So maybe by thinking that they could be a genius is in some way telling you that you should find out. I’m not saying this person is gifted for sure, because obviously I have no way of telling at all, but if they are intriguing to you in some way, even just because they are ‘mysterious’ and unreadable, why not find out more?

      Gifted people tend to find acquaintances across generational gaps more so than do the average person. So what could you do to get to know this person better, if only to satisfy your need to understand them more fully? What would tell you something significant about them that would make you feel more at ease?

  • Marfusha

    Yes, I’ve considered those possibilities before. That is, of them being also different and them hiding themselves.

    I DO want to ask my teacher. But, for some unknown reason out of the blue, I feel it to be extremely unsettling to go ask. I am practically burning from curiosity to find out just why my teacher is so unpredictable, yet I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even asking about a detail in my own IEP form (more on this in a minute), in a very shameful way, I made my friend do for me.
    By the way, my school knows I’m gifted (as does my teacher) and apparently gives me things that are supposed to be challenging for me. Well, not to say they haven’t done anything, but their attempts are a bit… pathetic. I don’t feel in the least bit challenged.

    Back to the original topic —
    I don’t know why I feel so frightened at the thought of asking my teacher anything to do with giftedness. I very much doubt I’ll be able to summon the courage to ask them anything at all.
    The friend I mentioned earlier also feels she cannot figure my teacher out. She feels just as persistent in finding out why, but she has a lot more courage than me. Strangely, though, not one of my other classmates feels bewildered. Just my friend and I.

    I feel compelled to do something nonetheless. I plan to take action right after winter break. The content of my plan stumps me tremendously, though.

    • http://giftedforlife.com Sonia Dabboussi

      How open would your teacher be to readjusting your IEP to include more challenging options do you think? I know you were hesitant to talk to him/her about this, but it is a starting place. And if your teacher is making some accommodations for you already then he/she has to have some awareness of giftedness, at least in general. Maybe it would be a good opportunity to address the topic of giftedness rather than you specifically as well, if that’s easier.

      I’m going to guess that your senses are tuned in to something about this teacher that you find interesting, but maybe you’re just a bit afraid to find out what it is, maybe because it means you have to reveal something about yourself, even if only to yourself.

      Here’s another thought: What would happen if you solved the mystery? What if you discovered what you’re looking for and knew the answers to your questions? What’s the benefit for you in not knowing right now?

      Keep me posted about this, OK? I’m interested to find out how things go. 🙂

  • Marfusha

    I highly, HIGHLY doubt my teacher would change anything about challenges. I mean, looking from their perspective, all they have is more work. They already have tests to mark, lessons to organize, and advanced math worksheets to print out (I’ll elaborate on that in a moment). Giving me more challenges, choices and constructing a completely new curriculum for me will take up much more of their time. Given all that I listed, I might sound naive.

    Speaking of advanced math — this is how it works:
    Every day (actually no, almost) when math is in session, excluding tests, a third of the class goes out of the classroom to work in the hallway. There, not only are we allowed to speak in English (math is always in French, since I am in French Immersion), but the worksheets we are given are not even marked, much less looked at. For all anybody cares, we can do almost anything we like as long as we’re somewhat quiet. Who goes into the group is determined by a pre-test in the beginning of each module. The worksheets are almost always too boring or easy (I sound so selfish!), and not only for me. Note: if something IS interesting to me, it’s rarely interesting to anyone else.

    As a result, the absence of rules and a supervisor gets always taken advantage of. In the end, I, distracted by the constant chatter and lack of work, take the half-finished worksheet home to never touch again.

    So much for math.

    As for the teacher problem —
    I am truly frightened out of my wits in going and seeing my teacher about it. Under almost no circumstances am I doing it. I’ve thought up two possible reasons for that:
    1) Yes, I am afraid to reveal things about myself to others. I can admit this without any doubt. Yet why — I cannot know. Maybe for reason two. 2) Humans naturally fear the unknown. I am a human. Thus, I fear the unknown as well. In this case, the unknown is my teacher’s personality. 3) I just realized — I am afraid of standing out. Appearing alien. You should note, me and my friend are the only ones who remarked that the teacher seemed peculiar.

    Hold on — I think I’ve found my plan of action! I know, my monologue appears a bit jumpy, but that’s because my brain is processing information faster than I can type. 😉 It’s very inconvenient.

    I should go with my friend to ask, “Why exactly are you so unpredictable?”. It’s true that both of us have the question, and we both earnestly want to pursue the answer. If I give nothing more away, if I don’t mention anything on giftedness, I should be fine!

    For now, though, I think I want to focus on MY life, as I haven’t in ages. It’s always looking and nosing about other peoples’. Never my own. I don’t want to be a people pleaser. For once I will take the time to do things because it’s ME who wants to.

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