NLP, Mythology, Spirituality, Leadership, and other Change Technologies

Existential Depression In gifted Indiviuals

I read this article a few times and thought I should share this. Have some friends and teachers who I would classify as extremely gifted.  And as I read this I could see their lives being reflected in this article. I was/am curious how this article rings for the readers and if they find some truth in it in poeple they know.

Great Potential Press – Guiding Gifted Learners

Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals
James T. Webb, Ph.D.

Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals
James T. Webb, Ph.D.
Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted

Dr. Webb is co-author of the book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders

It has been my experience that gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression. Although an episode of existential depression may be precipitated in anyone by a major loss or the threat of a loss which highlights the transient nature of life, persons of higher intellectual ability are more prone to experience existential depression spontaneously. Sometimes this existential depression is tied into the positive disintegration experience referred to by Dabrowski (1996).

Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. Death is an inevitable occurrence. Freedom, in an existential sense, refers to the absence of external structure. That is, humans do not enter a world which is inherently structured. We must give the world a structure which we ourselves create. Isolation recognizes that no matter how close we become to another person, a gap always remains, and we are nonetheless alone. Meaninglessness stems from the first three. If we must die, if we construct our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have?

Why should such existential concerns occur disproportionately among gifted persons? Partially, it is because substantial thought and reflection must occur to even consider such notions, rather than simply focusing on superficial day-to-day aspects of life. Other more specific characteristics of gifted children are important predisposers as well.

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  1. Anton Anton
    June 11, 2009    

    I spend 2 years alone in my room wrestling with the matter of meaninglessness in existence. I would rewrite their list as the following:

    Dealing with impermanence, an understanding of causality, adding postmodern philosophy and the realization of impossible knowability leads to meaninglessness.

    None of the others are actually important when one addresses knowability. A lack of omnipotence means that what is true and what is not is indeterminable.

    Any good game is a series of interesting choices. Choices cease to be interesting if there are no rules and therefore no consequences. I guess that would be the source of the rut that is the depression: not wanting to play the game of life anymore.

    I suppose it affects “gifted” people more often, but most people I’ve ever met who have been described as “gifted” have an overly structured system of beliefs (faith in religion and/or faith in science). They would be completely unable to ask the questions that need to be asked to get to that point.

  2. mary-katherine mary-katherine
    September 15, 2009    

    I completely agree with your rational on impossible knowability. I genuinely feel I experieced at least a year of extistential depression during the eighth grade. Being so young, I became overwelmed with all the abstract concepts rushing through my brain. On one occasion I started asking myself questions about time and was filled with so much anxiety and isolation that i hit my head agaist the wall until i passed out. I continued doing this whenever my mind wandering too far into the abyss of extreme thought and now my ears ring when it’s quiet and i cant hear very well.
    smoking weed has helped me the most though. Now i can go to school and stare at a wall and have a dam good time.

  3. Gifted Gifted
    December 2, 2009    

    I have been classified as highly gifted for my entire twelve-year public school career. I have read that article myself many, many times and it has helped me understand myself so much better.

    Our district had an elementary level gifted student program and there were a number of other gifted students that would attend advanced classes with me, but they were all creatively gifted, so I, who was intellectually gifted, excelled in the advanced classes and didn’t fit in with them, much less with my other classmates. I went through the cycle of loneliness, frustration, anger, depression, intensity, and back to loneliness many times: sometimes throughout a period of months, sometimes overnight. It still happens on occasion, but from experience I have learned to cope with it.

    The thing that has frustrated me most about being gifted is the label. I never minded being smart, acing all the tests, and the teasing stopped as people got used to me. I actually quite enjoyed my life. The public school system itself was the worst part. The school held special seminars that gifted kids were invited (read: required) to attend. These classes made me feel like I had an IQ of 5 rather than 150! As if boring regular school classes weren’t enough, they also tried to make me take a year-long course called “Coping with Giftedness”… when I was a junior in high school. I was like, thanks, but wouldn’t this have been more useful in elementary school when I was actually having social problems? Also, because I was a cream-of-the-crop student, I was drafted into a lot more standardized testing and competitions (all of which the school earned money from), which made me feel used and in even less control of my life.

    On another note, I was a freshman in high school by the time I actually found someone like me. We were the same kind of mathematical-analytical-verbal gifted and talking to him felt so natural. It was like talking to myself. He became my best friend, and he still is. I think being gifted makes me appreciate my close friends more than other people do because I know how it is to feel utterly alone, not only isolated in interests but also in fundamental thought processes. The fact that we can connect on such a deep level makes the bond that much more special.

    Overall, I don’t think people in general realize how serious an issue giftedness can be. It’s not just being smart or advanced or even thinking like an adult; it’s an entirely different perspective that only people of higher intelligence even get. It seems odd to talk about things like the meaning of our existence with an eight-year-old, but that is the age at which those scary thoughts start cropping up in gifted individuals. They don’t all need counseling, they just need someone to assure them that they are important, loved, and not the only ones who feel this way.

  4. Mario Mario
    April 25, 2010    

    I have been aware of existential depression for the better part of my life. I started feeling the sensation since age 13 or so, early on my teenage years.

    I would much rather keep all my hypotheses to myself about death and dying – since I’m probably wrong anyhow – but to include my two cents into this issue, what I focus on today is coping mechanisms, on techniques that allow me to stay away from this way of thinking or feeling. But be aware: it feels like a never ending battle, as if fighting against a virus that easily mutates.

    If I find a calculated, methodical approach to deal with my existential depression, my mind can “uncover,” sort of speak, the “glitch.” It can hack through the cure of my existential depression and begins to deconstruct it, until it is no longer beneficial, and I have to consider something else.

    I strongly encourage you to keep up the fight, and hang in there. Good luck!

  5. April 27, 2010    

    Yes! Completely agree on keeping on the fight – the trick I find useful is to find things worth fighting for to move towards a visionary life – a life where your gifts become the offering to the world.

    Fighting against the norms and fighting to fit into the so called norm in my experience is a futile exercise and only has led to compromise and deepening of the sense of meaninglessness

    Ultimately meaning is self derived, and is a creative process – the space needs to be created from where the self and its gifts can express themselves ..

  6. Kim Lowery Kim Lowery
    July 23, 2010    

    Existential depression over numerous years, combined with loneliness and being misunderstood without true companions or connections, does lead to hopelessness and the sense of being paralyzed both internally and externally. As a gifted adult and unidentified gifted child who tends more towards the emotional creative spectrum, I feel as if my passionate drive has died. I’m saddened by the state of the world, how climate change never truly gets addressed to the extent that is needed to evoke permanent change, how humans seem superficial and flawed to the point that we’re easily manipulated and propagandized. We live in a world were beauty outweighs goodness, were people mistreat others because of their skin color, sexual preferences or the mere acknowledgment that they are “FAT”, among a zillion other mindless acts. Humans are very clannish and sheepish to stand back and watch our government/corporations destroy what’s most important. “We the people” really has never existed. What prompted me to write this comment was an article read on a independent news website call about how democrats have given up any hope of passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation this summer, how three of every four oil & gas lobbyists worked for the federal government and how cosmetic industry (check out www. is unregulated, and many of the products we use contain cancer-causing ingredients. I barely made it through 8 years of the Bush administration because the Iraq War has caused uncountable death tolls: a war for oil and control of the Middle East in my opinion. I feel meaninglessness. Currently, I’m a stay-at-home mother who battles with low self esteem, hiding out from the world in my isolated comfort zone. Most days I feel numb which is a huge difference from when I was in college driven by causes to change the world. I spoke out, volunteered, and cared. I’m what you would considered a highly sensitive person so needless to say, the outside world can be overwhelming, loud, and empty in the account that high ideals never seem achievable. I don’t know who to turn to, know one wants to delve into these subjects at any great length, and they don’t recognize the extent of my loneliness. On the outside, I’m pretty, somewhat funny if someone was to have a short but sweet conversation otherwise my intensity prevails and gives people a sense of my heaviness. The number of people who have said that I’m too analytical, heavy, intense, different, weird can be counted. I have one women friend from college who like me is gifted and spiritual but she lives in another state. I’ve tried to meet other women but they never give me a call. Then there’s the social anxiety that seals my fate. I think about death constantly. I think about all the absurdities, hypocrisies, contradictions. I want to love people but fear that too many bad things have happened for me to truly embrace people’s motivations. I’m too a contradiction because as much as I complain about people, I truly want to take the ones with broken wings and help them. The theme that people are selfish plays in my mind so much that I have to remind myself that most people are kind and seek happiness much the same way I do. We are not all that different to some degree. I really think giftedness reaches far beyond intelligence, rather it’s the ability to draw connections, read energy, use powerful intuition, experience deep emotion, ideals and values. Anyone can pick up a book and comprehend its contents. But those who just know without being taught are the ones who are able to access divine guidance. Know when something will happen before it happens. I have to remind myself of these gifts on a daily basis because if I don’t, I can easily feel worthless and unimportant.

  7. Chris Mirro Chris Mirro
    November 27, 2010    

    Wow… Just wow. Tonight is the first time I feel a connection. Any day before I would’ve told you I’m a freak who can’t function in Normal society. I thought I was alone. Looking for healthy state of mind tips I stumbled across “existential depression”. Being that I consider myself an existentialist and I’ve endured depression since I can remember I checked it out. Afterward I looked up everything I could, and I read your comments. If you couldn’t tell by more poor comment, its like meeting an alien, except you find out that there from you home planet. I just wanted to say thank you. Closest heart stop to this was when I first discovered existentialism for the first time. These people from so long ago have the same mind set and thoughts. I’m sure you all can understand that as spoken as I am with my thoughts I have yet to have anyone not look at me with disgust, contempt, fear, or distance. I would literally have to dumb myself down. This truly changed things for me. Last thing, do any of you have any severe memory problems like I do? I’m 23 and I can’t remember anything from highschool or back and simple things that are short term without someone jump starting me by describing the incidence. No, I don’t do drugs,

  8. Mike F Mike F
    January 12, 2011    

    I’ve had similar issues going back a long time. I think perhaps I made up other uncertainties in my life – sexual identity – to keep myself distracted from having to confront these existential thoughts. Now that I’ve had to confront everything head-on as of a major emotional/psychological breakdown a couple months ago, I’ve had to face being this way and come to terms with it. I do feel that perhaps my memory, particularly of my childhood, has gotten worse although I’m not sure.

    Perhaps there should be a support group/network for people with these issues.

  9. ambre ambre
    July 11, 2011    

    A support group for people like us would be amazing.

    Mensa has been suggested to me before, but because of my Auditory-Sequential learning weakness, I do not do well on most tests; therefore, I was an unidentified gifted child (though I was envious and hurt for not being invited into the gifted program in middle school or high school).

    Have any of you had problems keeping a job? That is my current struggle. I have fierce situational anger episodes at work (due to injustices and the absurdities of corporate world) and sink into (existential) depression at home where I’ve always felt alone.

    The entire book mentioned above (Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders by James Webb) is excellent. I just wish that there were more information to help us survive and then thrive now that correct identification can be made.

  10. Dorthea Dorthea
    September 14, 2011    

    Hi, everyone. I’ve been battling periods of depression just about my entire life, or at least for as long as I can remember. I’ve been having existence issues for a while now, too. At least for several years. I’m 18 now. I’ve even tried to commit suicide, and I’ve been in the mental hospital. I’ve been going to therapy and taking meds for a while now, but the problem always comes back. There isn’t any solution for this kind of depression. All my therapist can do is talk to me about it. And the happy pills- sure, they make me feel happy, but they don’t fix the problem. They only cover it up. That’s why I haven’t been taking my meds lately- because when I do it feels like I’m living a lie and just covering up the issue. I think I’ve grown tired to pretending to be interested in this meaningless existence though. I’ve only been keeping myself alive out of fear of hurting those I love most. I just want it to be over. I have so much anger inside at myself, at my life, at this country, ant the world, that I just can’t stand it. So I’m about to write a suicide note or something. I don’t know if I’ll actually go through with it, or how I’ll even go through with it. But I’m definitely pretty close to it.

  11. ethan ethan
    September 28, 2011    

    Dorthea, i hope with all my heart that the pain your feeling from these problems has not taken your life.
    Please reply to this post if you are still here with me. I too am 18 and have been dealing with these problems, and would like to talk with you in hopes that i can provide any help at all. We are more aware of our lack of knowledge of the true meaning of life than most people are, which can make it hard to deal with daily life, especially with relationships. but this does not mean that there is not a true meaning to life, we just have to take advantage of our gifts and use them to work at trying to understand the meaning. and if you can become motivated to do this, it might just help give more meaning to your life personaly as well.

    I truley hope that you havent yet gotten to the point where you cant physically take the pain anymore, though if this has happened, i hope that you may rest in peace, and that you have escaped the pain that you were in.

  12. kt kt
    September 29, 2011    

    I’m really glad to have found this article and to know other people feel like this. I don’t normally respond to things like this but have been recently feeling like existentialism and the meaning of life is all I can think about.

    I was always considered a “gifted” person, both creatively and academically. I could get A’s and B’s without trying in high school though have failed a lot of classes in college because of lack of motivation.

    Earlier this year, after recently moving to a big city alone, I discovered the dead body of my ex-boyfriend (overdosed when I didn’t know he was using) who had just moved in with me a few weeks before. I recently stopped smoking pot and drinking to focus on my life, though it’s hard to really care that much since, seriously, what’s the point anyway? Born, live, die.

    Life is so much pointless drama and constant obstacles. There are good points but my life and I’m certainly lucky to have what I do, but things have certainly never been perfect and I have a lot of resentment that I don’t know if I can really move past from.

    I started seeing a therapist before the death because my parents got divorced about a year ago (alcoholism, drug abuse) and went on anti-depressants but could that ever be enough?

    Thoughts would be great.

  13. Dorthea Dorthea
    October 13, 2011    

    Dear Ethan,

    Wow, the end of your post made me cry :’-). Obviously I am still here and I didn’t go through with it that day. I think what happened was, my boyfriend talked me out of it. He’s so great. Actually, I was thinking of committing suicide tonight as well, by OD’ing on some of my old antidepressants, but I didn’t do that either. Partially because I spent some time with my loved ones, which brought me out of it a little, and partially because I didn’t get a chance. I always find an excuse. What I’m afraid of is that one day I’ll run out of excuses.

    You know, I don’t really want to die. Sometimes I think I do, but really what I want is to feel like my life matters. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll ever reach that point.

    It’s interesting what you said about gifts, because just today I asked my mom if she thought that everyone has a purpose, and she said yes. Then I asked how one can figure out what that purpose is, and she said through one’s gifts and talents. As in, what a person likes to do or is good at is a hint as to what their purpose is. Well, I’m not sure I believe that, but it was a good response. I thought about how I like to write and how I want to be a journalist, and I wondered if maybe my purpose is related to revealing some great truth to the masses or whatever. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you might be on to something.

    I just compiled a reading list for some books I want to read that might help me understand what I’m going through. So far on my list is The Last Messiah by Peter Wessel Zapffe, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (which is actually a poem), and The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. Maybe you’ve read some of them or would be interested in checking some of them out.

  14. Deb B. Deb B.
    November 28, 2011    

    All of your comments have touched me deeply. I wish that I could reassure you that the existential and individual depressions you describe get easier with time, but I cannot. I am 56 and have felt as many of you described since I was your age, though I have noticed that the feelings ebb and flow over time. Sometimes it is bearable; sometimes it is a matter of surviving – somehow.

    What I can tell you is that I have come to believe it is is a price that we who suffer from this are willingly paying. Would I rather live in blissful ignorance? Would I rather think that ridiculous reality shows, the latest technological gadget, and a hundred people who have “friended” me on Facebook, is the epitome of a meaningful existence? Not in a million years would I trade the nearly unbearable psychic pain I experience for that type of ignorance. Therefore, I believe this pain is something I have accepted at some level; it is a price I decided (somehow) that I was willing to pay. What do I get in exchange? I have gotten to see behind the curtain; I have seen that the spectacles with which the great majority are enamored are not the product of the great and powerful Oz! They are silly and illusory, and meaningless.

    That there is something else on the other side of this life is a belief I have adopted because it makes sense to me, but of course I have no clue as to whether there is anything, or if there is, what it could be! But I have hope that seeing life as meaningless is a necessary step to moving beyond what I believe Shakespeare called this mortal coil. I hope (and believe to the extent that I allow belief to play a role in my life) that living while seeing how pointless this existence really is, is exactly the point. It is a step that must be taken, a path that must be fully explored before the conclusion can be reached that it leads nowhere. In other words, maybe – just maybe – this kind of pain is more or less a growing pain. Maybe it means that I have indeed outgrown the mortal experience and that I am ready for something else. Perhaps it means that this will be my last life in this existence. That is my hope, and that is what has kept me going since my first encounter with existential depression when I was a teenager. Of course, only time will tell.

  15. December 13, 2011    

    I have resisted responding to this thread for a very long time. However I decided to write and share with this group regardless of my own fears.

    A lot of people see being so called gifted as a boon, and able to see/surf patterns as great thing – what they usually mean is how they could/would capitalize on a “marketable skill.” However I think many of you here on this thread know and understand that the gift can really be a BIG CURSE.

    The meaninglessness arose in may ways because of that ability to see patterns far beyond oneself, and realizing our insignificance and our inability to “truly shape things.” and was further fueled by not seeing how others cannot see how things will fold out. And when they do fold out that way, it only seems to piss people off even more.

    This lead to going into a deeper shell, in order to “act normal” and just live. And I discovered thats not always easy nor is it advisable. After many years of trying to remain hidden and/or hide the gifts, i realized that the curse is in not accepting it. And yet i now understand that going into that darkness was critical for one to be shaped. Its the darkness and roughness around us, that IMO has the greatest power to cause shifts within us and our psyche. Disowning it only causes turmoil – and depression is only the beginning of the symptoms from my perspective. The trick is moving from disjoined to be joined, from falling part to falling together (as a friend pointed to me not too long ago), from being a clumsy swan on land to landing in our element and becoming majestically graceful. Easier said than done!

    The journey from being disconnected to connecting is a profoundly moving, painful and yet rewarding one. the shift that had to happen in me was seeing what can this gift be applied towards, an aim far greater than myself, and in the service of a principal far greater than self.

    I spend atleast a few years unable to make sense of things, and/or make peace with myself.This started a journey of “escaping from reality” in order to find some moments of what i thought were solace or peace. But there is no escape from, there can only be “escape into reality” and “escape through it.”

    The interesting question now begins is how does one make this transition. Wha i found was i needed to find ways to get out of my mind and get deeply into the body proper. My training in Martial Arts was wonderful however it was known, meaning i was at home with it. I needed to find contexts where i am Uncomfortable and its unknown. Dancing and theater proved to be starting points on this journey for me. The clumsiness i discovered was refreshing, and started the journey of getting to know reality anew from a very different way/perspective.

    Yet the biggest challenge still remained – that of “connection.” This has been the hardest one. I have been fortunate to have a bunch of really really smart friends. However this is a small tribe. And in many ways we are/were at the same frequency and same disillusionments. The hard part was building connection to a greater story for Self, and including other people very different from you into it.

    This is a very specific intelligence IMO, a very different way of being and connecting in the world. A useful model to think about this is 8 circuit brain by Timothy Leary, and specifically studying the circuits 4 and 8. Its easy to get into an intellectual spin with it, but makes most sense to experiment and be disciplined about it. I started seeking contexts where i knew nothing about and started the process of starting learning with new groups – the learning ability (my curse now became my ally). this process of “co-learning” and “co-creating a project/s” became the means of learning to build those threads of connection with a wider group.

    I am still in this journey to form those connections more deeply and am learning that the meaning in life and meaning in our gifts come from “deep significant relationships” – and when i say relationships its not just with other poeple, but also with our work, our community and most significantly our relationship with our “renewed and effervescent sense of self.”

    This has been an incredibly hard piece for me to write, and yet its important IMO to start this journey of connecting beyond safe boundaries, so here we are my friends my piece on this in 1st person.

    And i would suggest you try listening to the series called “POSITIVE DEVIANCE” on this website. my friends and I have have approached some of these issues and our ways of working with it.

    I remain open to your thoughts, views, and feedback.

    Warm regards

  16. December 14, 2011    

    I would like to add my voice to this page.

    I have gone through the existential angst, and emerged at peace on the other side. I would like to report what I learned on my journey:

    Existential angst is an artifact of the mind. Caused by the mind seeking completeness (as in Gödel’s completeness), and not finding it. Completeness and consistency do not exist in the mind; staying confined to the mind will continue the angst and depression.

    Completeness and peace and meaning do exist at the meta-level, at somatic. More, everything makes sense, all the existential questions fall away, and happiness is the norm.

    Unfortunately much of what I discovered I cannot put into words. Language is a poor descriptor of the ground of Being. I can only point the way, and the way is through quieting the mind and entering the body.

    Of particular help to me was meditation. I practiced Vipassana meditation, but any type will do.

  17. December 15, 2011    
  18. Sarah Sarah
    December 30, 2011    

    I am 17 and have been battling with what the point of life is since I was about 8. I have not been recognised as ‘gifted’, I work hard and do quite well in things but when it gets down to revising (as I am meant to be now), all I can think is ‘What’s the point?’. I don’t know anyone that understands what I am going through, people talk about how they are deep thinkers but I am not sure their level of deep really compares with people like us. I am on ‘happy pills’ too but recently the affect has started to wear off and I have been having suicidal thoughts again. It could be so quick and easy and the daily battle with my mind could stop. But then I think of my family and those who love me and I don’t do it. Noone understands. This depression is coupled with paranoia and wondering whether people like me and hating myself. I have applied to do philosophy at university as I think some philosophers had this problem too and reading things by them helps because I feel as though someone understands. I think if I did kill myself, it would be spontaneous and I wouldn’t write a note because I can’t write what I am feeling concisely enough or simply enough for anyone who would read it to understand. It would hurt them aswell because they have tried so hard to help me. But when I don’t get up in the morning (because, what’s the point? Me not getting up is not going to change anything in the universe.) I get shouted at but I just take it; I am always tired and overthink everything. I am so glad I have found this community as it’s the first time I think anyone has understood my mind. If anyone has any advice for me please let me know. I hope that you are all having a good day, as unlikely as it seems. Better than normal atleast. I try and get by on the motto ‘just have fun’, but it’s hard. Really hard. I may go and commit suicide now, noone is home and noone would know for a while so noone could stop me, but I can’t do it, it’s too selfish at the moment.

  19. Kelly Kelly
    December 31, 2011    

    Hello, I am 24 years old and since my father’s death when I was 8, I have been battling with “depression”. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 19, the first time I sought help. As a child I was lonely and felt so disconnected from everyone that wasn’t my immediate family. I spent most of my time pondering about death, my existence, and lived in constant fear of the unexpected. Growing up I found it so difficult to relate to people my age. I think in part that may have been that I was surrounded by adults during my childhood, but now that I am an adult I have come to the realization that that may not be so. I have my friends and many acquaintances, but I find these relationships superficial and I am constantly seeking a deeper connection with others. Those close to me have always told me that I just think too much, and overanalyze everything. And although I know how true that is, it is so hard for me not to be that way. I have tried to be more light minded. With most things I have become less analytical. In other words, I have learned to be more selective with my thoughts. However, my depression persists as I think about my meaning in life and struggle with my belief system. I have been to therapy and although I have been diagnosed with depression, something inside me was never quite satisfied with that diagnoses. I felt that there was more to my thoughts than just the feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness accompanied by depression. I do not merely feel, my thought process has a pattern that leads me to eventually falling into depression. Recently I have felt worse and worse. I feel as though I am having a quarter life crisis and no one really understands me, I didn’t even understand me. I came along this thread 2 days ago and today I feel compelled to say thank you to all of those who have shared their experiences and thoughts. I know how hard it can be to open yourself up. I too have felt like an alien among the “normal society”. But I am so glad I can finally connect with you all through your words. My focus now will be to find ways to cope with my issues and learn to be more patient and understanding . If any of you have any tips you feel have truly helped you cope and live a more peaceful and meaningful life, I would be incredibly appreciative of your words.
    Thank you

  20. Prasad Prasad
    January 29, 2012    

    I am really impressed by the comment by kim lowery …because I relate a lot to her comments. I dont know if she frequents this website and if she does she can write to me at lpavitramatgmaildotcom. It is always amazing to be able to communicate with someone on teh same wavelength. I have had two major episodes of existential depression and I have come to terms with it. If I could use only word to describe myself…then that word would be intense. Intensity and hyper sensitivity is something that I had to deal with my entire life.

  21. Prasad Prasad
    January 29, 2012    

    This is in response to kelly’s comment..I too had a debilitating episode of depression at the age of 23 during the height of my college career..when expectations were high. During this time I faced existential questions and could not focus on career. Some kinds of depression are as authentic and genuine as death itself. Trying to avoid it or to escape it makes the condition much worse..and makes it formidable. To come out it means to accept it and come to terms with it. We fight and resist depression so it lingers on…so to cure is to let it run its course. The modern society does not allow for inner growth or leisure to let the depression mature and drop off on its own. Our whole society is geared to fight off stuff..and thus it remains with the individual.

    No medication is necessary..but accpeting it and coming to terms with it…is required.

  22. Tipper Tipper
    February 18, 2012    

    Hi, I’m eighteen and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone on this thread. I’ve never encountered ANYONE who understood so exactly before. I was sure that I was just crazy.

    I’ve been in various gifted programs since the third grade but none of them ever addressed the feelings (that I now realize are existential depression) I have. Instead, the focus was always on the academic: getting us to make the school look better. Also, I’m pretty sure that my school just threw the “smart kids” in the gifted classes because no one ever quite understood me, even there. But that feeling of being used is what pushed me into under-achieving and I never really fully recovered from that slump.

    I’ve always been able to predict outcomes and sense things about people and circumstances with startling accuracy and without knowing how I do it. When I was younger, I just assumed that everyone else thought in the same way. Being gifted was always about being smart at my schools so it took me a very long time to realize the connection between my perception/prediction skills, my existential depression and my giftedness. As I got older, I realized that my situation was not the norm and that my brain was calculating patterns without me even realizing it.

    I ended up spending a lot of time researching giftedness and found virtually nothing that was useful. I was afraid that I was insane. I turned to a friend of mine for reasurance; I just wanted someone to tell me that I wasn’t a freak. But instead, she started using me as her own personal crystal ball. Again, I was being used.

    I didn’t really know how to respond to any of it. But after several years and an unhealthly array of self-loathing, self-pity and self-mutilation I finally started finding information.

    The first thing was a very pale glimmer of hope. I was reading Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and for the first time ever, I stumbled across someone I could relate to in the character, Will Graham. And even though he was just a fictional character, he gave me hope. If an suthor could conceive a character with such a similar gift as mine, then there just had to be real people out there like me, too!

    Shortly after that, I came across Dabrowski’s theory and was moved to tears. It just descibed things so well!

    But despite these triumphs, I had yet to encounter an actual person who understood how I felt and I had no idea why I kept sinking deeper and deeper in on myself in these moments of crippling anxiety about the meaningless of it all. But some of the people here have collectively described my exact experiences! The numbness, the isolation, seeing things that no one else can seem to grasp!

    So to everyone here: Thank you! Thank for being REAL!

    • February 21, 2012    

      I read your comment with interest as it bought back many memories. May i suggest you listen to the series called Positive Deviants on this website.
      hope all goes well with you

  23. Jaime Jaime
    April 11, 2012    

    I have been dealing with depression since high school. I am now 23 years old and keep finding myself strugling with depression. I have been on medication for over 2 years and been to many therapists. I have talked until I am blue in the face, not literally, but you know what I mean. Some things in life are just too big for me to try to comprehend and think about. It makes me anxious to even think about God, or a higher power, or love, or anything of importance really. I am scared to loose people so I don’t let many people in. I am afraid of loosing peopl, so I cling to the people that are in my life. Sometimes I feel that I am sufficating the people that are in my life so much at times that I shut down and don’t communicate when something is going on and I need to talk. My thinking is so black and white. I can see that, and yet, I can’t do anything about it. I can see that my thinking that my logic, reasoning dosen’t make full since to even me, and yet, it’s the way i feel. I can’t exactly explain it, but it’s me.

    Years of struggling with an eating disorder have been my “fall-back” plan for coping with my “weird” way of thinking and dealing with life and it’s struggles…or is it life itself? I”m not sure. Uncertain of the future is what I find to be the hardest thing for me to grasp. Do I want to life? What for should I live for? Should I live because people want me to? or maybe becaues people tell my suicide is “a sin”? When do I live for me? Who is me? I have no clue!!!

    This life
    This thing that I wake up to
    What is it about you

    Yes, You
    Why do you bother me so?
    What have I for you, or you for I?
    This mesory that consumes me…
    Is it you?
    Or are you the escape of everything miserable?

    What is the life?
    Life, what have you to say?
    Are you listening?
    Do you care?

    Oh, life of mine…or is it everyones?
    What are you?
    Who’s are you?
    life…what life?

  24. July 20, 2012    

    Am curious what would help this group the most, what topics would be helpful on this journey

  25. October 29, 2012    


    I believe that talks on dis-identification, introversion vs extroversion, co-dependence and seeing this in a small view rather than a world view would help.

    My suggestions are meant to be taken broadly and perhaps pieces of those fields merged.
    Co-Dependence is a severe issue, however what I believe we can learn from it is about solving other peoples problems for them as opposed to dis-identifying and giving support only.

  26. Jennifer Livernois Jennifer Livernois
    September 3, 2013    

    If you all had a chance to do it all over again and was given ANYTHING that you thought would help, what would it/they be? My son has been dealing with all of the same things that all of you describe for a few years now…he is turning 9 in a month. Today, he told me his greatest fear is that he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. Although we discussed his likes, he told me nothing will work out. I asked him where he sees himself in 10 years. He started crying and said, “standing on a corner with a cardboard sign”. He refuses to go to anymore therapy, because he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing his personal information with strangers. Phobias about everything seem to crop up on a regular basis. His intuition seems like such a beautiful gift, but when the neurosis of leaving the house starts making me wonder, “OMG, could something really happen if I leave the house?” I know the answer and continually tell him, but you all probably know how he responds. I would love to hear from any of you. Thank you.

  27. Prasad Prasad
    May 18, 2014    

    I think being simple is to be profoundly gifted. The ground of being is silence from all kinds of intellectual deliberation and discussion. And from this silence you relate to the world.

    And from this silence you use thoughts only when they are essential or else they do not arise at all in the mind space. Our incorrect relationship to the thought process may be related to a lot of disorders.

    It is a different way of being and there is no way to get there unless one is utterly simply and in that simplicity there may come silence out of its own volition.

    Unfortunately this cannot be taught or willed. This is like asking a person to walk without using his legs. This is akin to a very strong habit that becomes second nature to us. The intellect and being are two different things. There is no hope of survival of the species until they relate in a new way. And this is not possible with seeing the core disorder. And this may be possible only in a state of utter simplicity of doing nothing and in that may be one will see.

    Apologize for the mumbo jumbo but I have no better way to express my thoughts…

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  1. In Response to – Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals? | Radical Change Group on December 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

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