Gifted — Notes from a Rainforest Mind

This post may be all over the place. I am just going to write these notes and not think about it for once.

I grew up with a distorted sense of my true self. I had lack of self-confidence, I was getting into abusive relationships, I fought self-hatred, and fell into underachieving. I could go on: I also have always had extreme curiosity, I am in a constant state of questioning, I have intense sensitivity, suffer from extreme loneliness, unusual empathy, perfectionism, and fighting my intuition. I have a passion for learning, always into multiple interests simultaneously. I still feel the effects from anxiety, and existential depression.

So what makes me gifted? By the way I don’t like that word, gifted. It makes me sound conceited and I am far from conceited. I simply know a lot in multiple fields, sometimes I can see more than “experts.” I have so many interests in so many diverse areas that I jump from topic/job to topic instead of focusing on one thing. I learn everything about a job or topic and then I get bored, and I need to move on. In fact, the thought of mastering only one topic/job thoroughly and completely for my entire life is terrifying to me. I think this makes me more well-rounded?

Most times, there are so many things that I want to do, it’s paralyzing, and I end up doing nothing. This is why I love lists, and checkboxes, and reminders. Also, rewards are pretty cool.

This is a list of things that I am extremely sensitive to/easily upset by: sounds, smells, tastes, colors, touch, emotions, weather, food, chemicals, energy, bad news, criticism, the invisible world, and beauty.

I gut-cry when I watch TV, when I see babies, when I see others in pain, when trees are cut down, when people eat animals, when I read an angry social media post, when I think about how much I love my husband and my dogs…

I struggle with PTSD — so many past traumas, sensitivities, and of course the past and current injustices of the world. I lose days crying over the cruelty humans inflict on one another and on the planet.

My mind is constantly going, seeking meaning, analyzing everything, wondering, generating ridiculous amounts of ideas, and watching itself watching itself. Always thinking… thinking about decisions. Choices. Achievement. Learning. Relationships. Communication. Emotions. Careers. Belonging. Parenting. Anxiety. Depression. Perfectionism. Guilt. Politics. Climate change deniers. Conspicuous consumption. Not having enough time to read all the books ever written. Books! I love books.

I have BIG emotions. I get migraines. I have insomnia.

I am exhausted and wired at the same time. I feel smart and stupid at the same time. I feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed. I feel like a weirdo, like a freak, like I don’t belong. I have never felt like I belonged anywhere until I met my husband. His soul and my soul, yes, we are at home together. Finally = fine ally!

I want to make the right decision, but I can think of arguments for all sides of the issue. I see how everything is related to everything else. I am concerned about how my decisions will affect others — not just family members but everyone. I am easily overwhelmed by the number of options I have at any moment and I get tongue-tied… so I say and do nothing.

I feel pressure to not disappoint people. I feel like I always disappoint them.

I was always told I was too much. Too loud, too much energy. The most recent time was while visiting family, I got to laughing pretty hard and was on a roll, and everyone was laughing with me one minute, and the next they started to make fun of me. No longer laughing with me but trying to quiet me! I felt my cheeks get hot and felt completely embarrassed. In my head I heard, “stop being so happy and laughing so loud, Stacey. Don’t you see that there are people here who are uncomfortable being around so much happiness?” Ugh. I immediately shut down and thought to myself, ‘why do I even come here?’ I vowed never to laugh again — but that’s not me — then I was too quiet and they ask what’s wrong. What’s wrong!? What the flip? They tried to contain me, toned me down, made me be silent. I have always tuned into what others needed and tried to please them. I am still trying to please them.

I need to find my voice. I want to get loud! As Jim Carrey said, “you can’t contain the container!”

I like keeping things open-ended because there’s always new information on the way and I don’t like to make assumptions about or plans with others at all. Yet, I believe that I’m a complete failure if I make a wrong decision. I am terrified of screwing up relationships which usually led to me screwing up relationships.

So Much Pressure.
Expectations.
Perfectionism.
Imposter syndrome.
Performance anxiety.

I have so much to say about so many things, but I must find the right time to speak so that I don’t overwhelm my partner, friends, relatives, social media people I don’t even know, or my dogs (sometimes I think the dogs get tired of listening to me) with my enthusiasm, sensitivities, and ideas.

List of things I have been gifted with:
* Sensitivity: Makes me a better healer, therapist, colleague, cook, artist, spouse, neighbor, everything. Whatever I do, being sensitive makes me better at it. I am perceptive. I notice things others don’t. I have deep emotions. I care. Sometimes it feels like I care too much, but that’s nonsense.

* Intensity: I am passionate, mysterious, and fascinating. I can get a lot done in a short amount of time. I scare away some people; if they scare that easily I’d rather not talk to those people anyway. Am I right? Yes.

* Fast, deep, and wide learning = curiosity: The world needs more people who know something, think deeply, ask questions, seek answers, and analyze possibilities. When things get dull, I can always captivate myself. #dazzle

* Sense of humor: I am fun to have around in uncomfortable situations. I laugh at inappropriate times, and I will laugh uncontrollably like Muttley… remember that cartoon? If not, I can tell you that it’s not just a chuckle. People will usually overlook my quirks because I can make them laugh (even if my own family might be a different story).

* Creativity: Whether it’s art, music, problem solving, designing, filming, synthesizing, brainstorming, writing, parenting, teaching, or something else; creating is medicine. I love thinking of it this way.

* Perfectionism: I have the intrinsic, driving need to create beauty, harmony, balance, and justice. Everyone benefits from excellence and quality, right?

* Empathy: Sensitivity… it makes me a better everything. I understand and feel the hearts of humans, animals, and all of nature. I’ll stand my ground when I need to but I will never start a war.

* Potentiality: I can change jobs easily when things get dull. There are countless ways that I am useful, needed, and appreciated.

* Social conscience: I need to make the world a better place. Because of my sensitivity, intensity, learning capacity, curiosity, sense of humor, creativity, perfectionism, empathy, and potentiality, it will be a better place.

So?

WHO CARES? WHY DOES IT MATTER? I’m not yelling, that is just the way these notes look.

It matters. Even if no one else cares, it matters that I know and that I care. Why?

I have a rainforest mind. There have been people that have tried to cut me down, make me less-than, and change my form. No more!

I will understand that what I imagined were poor communication skills were my inability to slow my super-speedy thoughts. Not to mention my assumption that everyone thinks as deeply, quickly, and multidimensionally as I do. They do not. This is why they probably do not understand me.

I will give myself permission to be the insatiable learner that I am. I will allow myself to be obsessed with beauty, balance, harmony, precision, and justice. I will understand why I’ve felt lonely all these years and stop thinking it’s because I don’t smile enough, that I loathe small talk, or that I suck as a person. It’s all energy — and I know another’s before they even open their mouth. That’s a gift.

I’m grateful for this life and for the gifts I have. If you read this far, I am grateful for you also.

- Stacey

Notes based on/excerpted from this book by PAULA PROBER: Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists. 2019 Highly recommend!
Paula Prober, M.S., M.Ed. is a licensed counselor and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. Over the 30+ years she has worked with the gifted, she has been a teacher, consultant, adjunct instructor with the University of Oregon, and a guest presenter at Pacific University and Oregon State University. She has taught sessions on gifted adults and on parenting gifted children at conferences and webinars. Presently, she is counseling gifted adults and youth and consulting with parents of gifted children. She has written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and the Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association and online with Rebelle Society, Introvert Dear, and Thrive Global. She blogs about gifted adults and parenting gifted children at
rainforestmind.com. I love her!

--

--

I write about my life, experiences, and knowledge gained; no topic is off limits.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Stacey Rowe

Stacey Rowe

I write about my life, experiences, and knowledge gained; no topic is off limits.