“Intellectual giftedness” sure sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn’t it? It certainly can be, but it can also seem to be more of a curse than a gift. For those who are gifted, but who don’t understand what this means…who don’t know why they tend to react more strongly to various stimuli, or more generally, why they often experience difficulty fitting in with conventional educational, social and workplace systems…life can be quite difficult indeed. In fact, in many cases, extremely so.
Basically, what it means is that in addition to being highly intelligent, greater interconnectivity between different areas of the brain translates to enhanced cognitive abilities, greater sensory awareness and in turn heightened intensities. Nothing mystical, nothing supernatural...just an enhanced "wiring" that translates to qualifiable differences in the ways in which gifted people experience, learn, and think.
In other words, being gifted certainly doesn't mean that you're "broken" in any way, but the stresses of a lifetime of trying to fit in and not understanding why this is so difficult can very easily break you down. This is where many gifted people have experienced some real problems.
Since very few mental health professionals are trained in this area, there is a very high frequency of misdiagnosis of gifted patients, with some of the most common of these being ADD, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder and Depression (**of course a gifted person may also have one or more of these conditions**). These misdiagnoses and subsequent mistreatment can in some cases interfere with healthy development and in others cause psychological harm.
There are gifted people in quite literally all walks of life. They can be found leading major corporations or living on the streets...they are university professors and high school dropouts. There are many life experience variables and no two are identical. What they do share is a mind that is distinguishably different from most and that presents them with some common challenges across many family, social, educational, relationship and career situations. In basic terms, they frequently find themselves with thoughts, questions and insights that go quite far beyond the limits of lesson or discussion content, regardless of the nature of the interaction.
Some common traits;
- Intuitive empathy...strong ability to sense/relate to another's feelings due to heightened sensitivities and awareness
- Strong moral/ethical values...aversion to/or even intolerance for dishonesty, greed, injustice.
- Introversion (not all, but most)
- A personal need to serve a greater purpose.
- Perfectionism...high standards for personal achievement, self-doubt in spite of demonstrated abilities ("imposter" syndrome).
- Heightened sensitivities...uncomfortable with prolonged exposure to chaotic environments, competing/disharmonious sounds or visually aggressive images, elevated emotional and sensual intensity.
- Easily bored by routine or with "small talk". Nourished by intellectual stimulation and often experiencing feelings of "intellectual isolation".
- Experiences of frustration or confusion when others seemingly cannot see, or will not appropriately acknowledge the relevance of factors "clearly and obviously" quite relevant to the subject at hand.
- Insatiable curiosity...a need to drill down to levels at which everything connects and makes sense.
- A stronger than average connection to surroundings. (particularly natural surroundings)
Perhaps you have already been identified as being gifted...perhaps you have not. If you have scored in the higher levels of IQ (or even if you believe by your experiences that you would), and believe that you possess these characteristics, I would love to have you enjoy the experience of connecting with your peers via this group. If you have not already interacted with similar groups, then believe me when I say that you will find people in the gifted community to be among the most warm, supportive and interesting people you will ever meet. I predict that you will feel a very strong, comfortable connection. :)