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The Gifted Adult and Existential Depression
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December 11, 2010


Sonia Dabboussi

Canada

Admin

posts 394

1

As gifted adults, our highly sensitive selves often reach momentous peaks and seemingly bottomless valleys in our emotional experiences.  We search for meaning in our lives, contemplate ideas like the finality of death vs. the possibility of an afterlife, and wonder how we can help the world we live in. …


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Gifted for Life – Find the freedom, skill and motivation to live, love and lead with passion and make an evolutionary impact on the world!  giftedforlife.com

December 12, 2010


Elizabeth Braun

Guest

2

That's why I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses – all life's big questions meaningfully and satisfactorily answered, both intellectually and emotionally.=) Highly recommended!

I still love to be useful and creative, but I'm enormously relieved to be spared the 'why?'=)

December 14, 2010


Sonia Dabboussi

Canada

Admin

posts 394

3

It's great that you've found something that is so beneficial and comforting for you intellectually and emotionally. Sometimes that's a really hard thing to come by.
For other people who may not yet be where you are in this regard, what would you say you've gained by having your questions answered?
Not everyone has the same religious beliefs or life practices, but many of the underlying ideas and ideals are shared among people all around the world. What kinds of things would you say have been most helpful to you, especially with the many challenges that gifted people face? And which ones would you suggest that other people strive for first if they are currently far from finding this satisfaction?

Gifted for Life – Find the freedom, skill and motivation to live, love and lead with passion and make an evolutionary impact on the world!  giftedforlife.com

February 12, 2011


Jenna

Guest

4

This post describes exactly how I feel. Though I have never been identified as gifted by a 'professional'; neither by my parents, or other family members. It makes me feel very sad because they don't understand me. I don't know how to create meaning in my life, and at no point will they understand that this is OK, for me. I am told consistently that, I must 'normalize' my behaviour, which again just confirms in my mind that, the people closest to me are not very close at all, as they fail to understand how I see things. The more they reveal to me of their selves, the more I conceal myself in light of this. I think I am dealing with it by separating a part of me from them, a part of my personality is truly my own, but it hurts too. The hardest part is that my struggle to find meaning is interpreted as a mental disorder by my parents, so it's difficult for me to understand if I am deluded in my own thinking regarding how I see myself and those around me. Am I gifted, but unidentified, or just deluded? Can this explain how I feel, and how others regard me? I just don't know. I do know that in someway having this confirmed would probably help my self esteem, but in another way I know that it is not important. I still have to find meaning for myself, and I guess thats pretty much something that can only be gained from understanding how I can define myself and feel happy with that source of meaning; which could be any number of ways. Though of course, I will remain curious, because all the characteristics of being gifted, seem to just fit. I have thought about having my IQ tested as some sort of source of relief, but seen as I had such terrible schooling, I very much doubt I would score highly as I have no knowledge of certain subjects what so ever. Its a shame in some ways, but I guess it could be turned into a positive challenge, to seek confirmation through other means!

I enjoy reading this blog, thanks to your efforts, I am gaining in some understanding of my behavior, even if there is the possibility that I am especially deluded as my parents suspect! :)

February 20, 2011


Jenna

Guest

5

This post describes exactly how I feel. Though I have never been identified as gifted by a 'professional'; neither by my parents, or other family members. It makes me feel very sad because they don't understand me. I don't know how to create meaning in my life, and at no point will they understand that this is OK, for me. I am told consistently that, I must 'normalize' my behaviour, which again just confirms in my mind that, the people closest to me are not very close at all, as they fail to understand how I see things. The more they reveal to me of their selves, the more I conceal myself in light of this. I think I am dealing with it by separating a part of me from them, a part of my personality is truly my own, but it hurts too. The hardest part is that my struggle to find meaning is interpreted as a mental disorder by my parents, so it's difficult for me to understand if I am deluded in my own thinking regarding how I see myself and those around me. Am I gifted, but unidentified, or just deluded? Can this explain how I feel, and how others regard me? I just don't know. I do know that in someway having this confirmed would probably help my self esteem, but in another way I know that it is not important. I still have to find meaning for myself, and I guess thats pretty much something that can only be gained from understanding how I can define myself and feel happy with that source of meaning; which could be any number of ways. Though of course, I will remain curious, because all the characteristics of being gifted, seem to just fit. I have thought about having my IQ tested as some sort of source of relief, but seen as I had such terrible schooling, I very much doubt I would score highly as I have no knowledge of certain subjects what so ever. Its a shame in some ways, but I guess it could be turned into a positive challenge, to seek confirmation through other means!

I enjoy reading this blog, thanks to your efforts, I am gaining in some understanding of my behavior, even if there is the possibility that I am especially deluded as my parents suspect! :)

May 28, 2012


Mike

Guest

6

I think it's great that you've found something that you're able to take solace in; however, for me personally, a major aspect of my intellectual development consisted in the realization that human beings have a rich set of cognitive biases, one of which is to assume there exists an answer to every question thinkable. The consequences can be manifold and devastating when we cling to the idea that there is an answer to every question, and we end up making up answers to our questions – some times answers that have unintended harmful consequences. I sincerely think that once an individual is able to accept the fact of empty questions and our tendency to ask them, and recognize this inherent bias in the human mind, that individual will be much happier. No longer will they fervently desire to find answers that do not exist, and will feel no need to invent answers. That is what religions are, after all: complex structures of interlocking beliefs that are designed, though not consciously, but by the laws of cultural diffusion, to provide a lens through which people may view and interpret the world that minimizes the anxiety of perceived uncertainty. Curiosity can be a gift, but it can also be a tragic flaw. Unchecked, it can do us emotional and intellectual damage. If we recognize this, religion isn't necessary in the first place, since we eliminate pseudo-questions in recognizing our cognitive biases.

May 28, 2012


Mike

Guest

7

This article was actually quite helpful. I went through a period of extreme 'existential depression' in which I had a really hard time making sense of the fact of my own existence, what it means to exist, and what it must mean to not exist, and to be dead. I spent a lot of time thinking about, and fearing death. Taking a lot of philosophy courses exacerbated my sadness, because I found that there are so many questions concerning the deep structure of the universe and the human mind that are extremely difficult to answer, and when they can be answered, the answers are very difficult to fathom. I learned a lot in philosophy, and gained valuable intellectual skills that are now serving me quite well in science, but I suffered dearly for the first two years of my undergraduate education. My despair was coupled with an extremely sense of uselessness. I felt as though I was useless (not because I was a philosophy major, ha), and yearned to be doing somewhat what would benefit myself and others. I came very close to dropping out of school and joining the military, or working in unskilled labour.

To anyone who has gone through a period of intense existential depression in which you cannot pull your mind away from the most abstract existential questions that cannot, in principle, be answered, do yourself a favour and try to understand how the things you are thinking about are not real – they are the products of a mind that is profound, but undisciplined and lacking in direction. Ludwig Wittgenstein, though a genius, suffered extreme existential depression and longed to work as a labourer (and was continually discourages by his fellow academics) because he fervently sought answers that did not exist. Don't fall into the same trap. I found that when I changed my life up – started doing something different that I believed to be more meaningful and enjoyable, my depression began to dissipate. I went from being a philosophy student focusing on the metaphysics of causation and mathematical logic, to a biological anthropology student with an interest in studying non-human primates to get a glimpse into the evolution of human behaviour. I find much more meaning in the latter, and more real answers to be found, rather than engaging in abstract discussions of nearest possible worlds, and deriving theorems from the null set. The philosopher David Hume said "indulge your passion for science…but let you science be human, and thus have direct reference to action and society". This is the best way, at least for many gifted people, I think, so feel useful and fulfilled: to pursue their interests in such a way as to be beneficial to others. It's no wonder most philosophy students go on to be bioethicists in hospitals, lawyers, policy makers, or cognitive scientists. Those who remain in the ivory tower are very few and far between.



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