Existential Depression In gifted Individuals | Radical Change Group
In response to an article and comments on a posting at RCG – https://www.radicalchangegroup.com/2009/03/03/existential-depression-in-gifted-indiviuals/comment-page-1/#comment-925
About 3 years ago I first posted this article on RCG as it rang very true to me at many levels. I have had first hand experience in my life and also seen this pattern in the lives of some people who have been close to me. What got me to write is that most of the focus has been on depression, and not any on how one makes peace with it, and move through those turbulances to arrive at calmness, peace and perhaps happiness and joy as well.
A lot of us come into a relationship with our story, with our own mutations, with out own “the world does not understand me.” And this only fuels the downturn IMO, what is required is the notion of relationships and moving the locus both within and without simultaneously, more in it later.
My own existential depression took many turns, including times when I locked myself away for extended periods and th basic questioning of everything in life and the meaning/lessness of it all. I have resisted responding to this thread on RCG for a very long time. However I decided to write and share with this group inspite 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 that’s 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. What i found was i needed to find ways to get out of my mind and get deeply order clomid in uk 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 people, but also with our work, our community and most significantly our relationship with our “renewed and effervescent sense of self.” And then the final mile the relationship building with the noself/void.
What has helped a lot along on this journey has been a few very specific things. They all allowed me to oscillate between the within and without and learn to see/build a relationship between the two. This takes the focus away from my small world towards OUR LARGE WORLD.
- Spending a lot more time in Nature, climbing and wilderness awoke something anew again while sharpening my acuity and connection with nature
- Reading a lot less – went from reading about a book a week to less than a dozen a year, and slowing down on reading so much after years of reading voraciously it was hard to give up
- Learning to listen intently and more importantly not solving other peoples problems, and just being there – believe me this harder than it seems
- Meditation – nothing comes close to building a close relationship with the void/noself. (Circuit 8)
- Touching reality – this somatic/sensual way of knowing the world is critical in coming to terms with reality in the here and now, when this reality is more important than abstractions
- Somatic disciplines – finding and creating space just for yourself, where the body and its movement become the prime instrument of meditation. Try ecstatic dancing or deep personal theatre as medium
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 approached some of these issues and our ways of working with it.
I remain open to your thoughts, views, and your approaches for moving out that realm of existential depression….