I was struck deeply with the news of Robin Williams'
passing. Even though it has been several
weeks since his passing, I mourn the passionate and creative spark that he gave
so lovingly to all of us. This poem, written part in grief and part in the lack of acceptance many gifted individuals experience, is meant to highlight intensities that when not accepted will lead to the person feeling out of place in this world.
I would like
to share Dr. James T. Webb’s August 12th
post from LinkedIn: “The brightest, most creative
individuals often suffer from depression, as did Robin Williams who died
yesterday of an apparent suicide. His death was a tragic loss to us all.
I have no doubt that he was a highly
gifted man who struggled with existential depression. His intensity,
sensitivity, and search for life meaning, characteristic of so many gifted
people, permeated his life. This was evident
in his movies like Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting that portrayed the
social and emotional needs and conflicts of gifted and talented people who
struggle in a search for idealism and excellence in a world of mediocrity that
so often seems uncaring and that fails to understand zany creativity that helps
us laugh at tragedy. In his idealism, he was disillusioned many times, and he
wrote about it candidly, including how he used alcohol to numb himself from his
pain. Many other bright and creative minds like Robin Williams are facing
similar struggles. I hope we can help them find a better solution so that they
don't feel like Mork from Ork waiting for a mother ship to come rescue them
from this strange world.
The existential depression
components of bright and creative children and adults need to be included in
prevention and treatment, and good information is available in books and in
online articles. Mental health providers often know about existential
depression, but they are less familiar with how it relates to bright minds.”
Does depression occur more often in the gifted
population? Overexcitabilities certainly
intensify a gifted person's experiences.
However there doesn’t seem to be an answer either way. One thing is for certain – understanding the
signs is important. Here are some
in Highly Gifted Adolescents by P. Susan Jackson and Jean Peterson