I like to do a lot of things. Really a lot of things. I am very consciously trying not to engage in all of these things at the same time since the hectic thing is not good for my Depressed brain.
This slowing down thing doesn't come naturally. I can do nothing, or I can do everything. Right.
I am finding, however, that it is possible to let go of a few things and still preserve the essence of me. I could probably let most things go and still be me. I am more than the sum of my intensities. I think.
I have been rereading some about Dabrowski's "overexciteabilities." partly in dealing with my children. But also recognizing a lot of myself in them. As a psychiatrist he studied gifted individuals and observed that they exhibited supersensitivities in five areas: psychomotor, sensory, imaginational, intellectual and emotional.
This means that a person reacts more strongly to what might be a very slight stimulus, and their reaction may last longer. Dabrowski found that it did not involve just psychological factors but the nervous system as well.
Then while poking around about depression and the gifted (I wasn't comfortable being labled a gifted child and I feel like an ass referring to myself as a gifted adult, but whatever) I came across a paper written by James T. Webb, Ph.D called "Dabrowski's Thoery and Existential Depression in Gifted Children and Adults." (and I realize that I am not citing things properly but this isn't a formal paper so you will just have to deal.)
I was really looking for ways of dealing with the oversensitivities in a positive way, but then i got sucked into this whole Depression connection. The emotional overexciteability is what makes many gifted folks susceptible to Depression.
Following are the tried and true crappy ways of dealing with "existential Depression" (which I tell myself I don't have, but which quite honestly probably goes with the chemical thing): become narcissistic, know "the truth," be a control freak, don't think, don't care, keep hyper-busy, be an adrenaline junky.
Ok so I don't do the narcissistic thing. I err rather far to the side of low self esteem instead. And I am not much for the adrenaline because I don't like its aftereffects. Beyond that, I must say that I engage in the rest of these coping mechanisms quite freely.
Here are the less crappy ways to deal with things: become self-aware, get connected with community, compartmentalize issues, let go, live in the moment, learn optimism.
Oh brother. If I have to learn optimism we are in big trouble. When I was in junior high we all had to give speeches as part of a competition sponsored by the Optimist Club. Everyone else did a fine job of giving their speeches about "The most optimistic person I know." I, however, burst into tears and fled the room before completing my Optimist Club speech. I did not win the competition.
I am not really ready to jump on the optimism bandwagon just yet.
I can try to get more connected, and I have been. The compartmentalizing thing is hard, but I certainly see the value in that. Not letting an issue at work color all other experiences of the day.
Letting go and living in the moment sound like such stupid self-help guru things. But the problem is they probably are good things to do.
Grateful Crap: Awesome friends, caramel rolls that turned out just how I like them, really enjoyable theater, children who are enthralled by live music, theaters that still use live musicians (with 3 French horn players! In a community theater! In La Crescent!)
Quaker, teacher, parent,