My story is: higher than average IQ (unrealized till recently), running mind, driven, aware, perfectionist, rapid changes in mood (realized due to environment, insecurity, and the incredible about of information I receive from my surroundings to include emotions of others, non-verbals, peculiarities of the dynamics of groups….squirrel moments..;o))….etc
I did not do well inschool, which gave me an academic inferiority complex, they stuck me in Learning Disabled classes because I learned better one on one, rather than sitting in back of classroom. I learned to get by, and not challenge myself because nobody took me seriously.
By 20, the physiologists told me I was just interceptive (sounds like awareness to me, though 20 years ago, I never heard this term.) Complaints of those around me was I was a perfectionist and would drive myself to exhaustion, while hyper-focused on completing task at hand…failure is not an option…Sound familiar?
I also am compelled to stand up for the little guy, or a demographic, and when presented with unfairness in a system, I can not just sit back and not let it be know…I challenge the system to change it where I can, and can not live under unfairness by it, even if I am un-affected.
I would drive myself to burnout, and things would unravel, unknowing of why, which would send me into depression with nothing to lift me up due the feeling of being a failure…..only to come out the other side with new interests, and directions.
By 30, I researched every dysfunction known for the answer, and the only thing I could come up with was Bi-polar disorder, due to the fact it was the only thing at that time that explained the relentless running mind. Made the mistake of mentioning it on to doctor, and thereby starting medication that took my life away. Oh it quelled the running mind, and vast interests my mind would come up with, and made me very docile. Did the depression meds, changing each due to side effects, or loosing the effectiveness, if there was any. My last medication was Depakote, which took 3 years from me that I will never get back.
Now, the actuality of the story? I was not bipolar, and other than a learning difference, I can not come up with any LD that makes sense. I do struggle with language, grammer and spelling, but wow, meet other gifted people and many have simular problems.
Fact, I have never been out of control of myself other than being on Depakote, where Depakote was in control of me. I have never been in trouble, never been arrested, never thought I COULD fly, never hospitalized….etc Turns out, the intensities, passion, hyperfocusism, perfectionism, and a tendency to be a thrill seeker at times seems like Manic, but is not…..is not by far. I stopped taking that horrible Depakote a year ago, since then I have lost 47 lbs, been fine, no break downs other than a lot of Anxiety with college, and other than feeling down from time to time (which I have learned to remove myself from stimulation to recover myself), I have not been depressed, nor manic in a year. Myself came back, and that self is someone I and others can live with…:o)
Then, in May, after 40 years of looking for the reason I am different….something to explain the running mind, empathy for others I do not know, the constant bombardment of input from my surroundings, the sensitivities, the constant drive for perfectionism, (insert characteristics of giftedness here)…I found the reason….giftedness, something I would never have guessed.
Now I am on the road to recovery, being myself, entertaining my interests when time allows. My imagination is back and I am entertaining it without fear, my creativity is back, I no longer fear that my running mind is going to get me into trouble, but will lead me to exceptional things. Hardest thing for me right now, is not to give into my fear and anxiety, and have confidence that I am much smarter than I have ever given myself credit for…:o)
So long story short, I am not Bi-polar, I have no dysfunction, disorder, or disease. I am apperently gifted, and from learning this distinction, I gain wisdom and confidence to realize my potential…I have always been my worst enemy..;o) I hope my story helps…
Shawn H. Riley
Retired Air Force
Mechanical Engineering Student
Hopefully one day…a writer with an understanding editor..:oD