I recently found a message board for gifted adults. I felt semi-intimidated, it reminded me of The Dummy Police feeling from elementary school. The feeling has the official title of Imposter Syndrome. Basically in elementary school, for at least five months, I was sure the Dummy Police were going to run into the program I was in, say a mistake had been made and I was actually really stupid, and throw me back into the regular school system. I was terrified in an attracted/repulsed way to the idea. If I went back to the normal school system I wouldn’t have so much pressure to succeed, I could wilt back into the background and vanish, which seemed really attractive. On the other hand I was really excited to be learning, instead of going over what I already knew. And I was excited that people paid attention and were interested, instead of being bored and saying everything was stupid and stuff. And I liked that people didn’t think I was weird for being quiet, because everyone was pretty quiet, at first. But I think people came out of their shells more, because they didn’t feel like they had to hide anymore.
It turns out that I felt really okay on the message board, and people were talking about more than just being smart, they were talking about all the strange things that come along with it, like having low self esteem. And then sense of being bullied and not fighting back not out of weakness but out of a profound empathy for what fighting back would do to that other person. It’s true, I have only ever thrown a punch once in my life. Other than that, I cannot do it. I probably could physically fight back if I had to, but I would be upset by it. I think it makes life so strange, I honestly sometimes don’t understand how people can live with themselves.
I think the Overexcitabilities really do make a huge impact on intelligence, but no one ever told me before. It’s strange to realize there really are tons of people who don’t know how to really empathize with someone. I heard of a Buddhist monk who was teaching and a dog was barking, so a man in the audience threw a rock at the dog to shut it up so he could hear the monk. But the monk was so enlightened that he shrieked and fell over and ended up with a bruise on his side in the exact spot where the dog was hurt. I think that’s how I understand empathy. Not that I get bruises, but sometimes it almost feels like that. And while you would think someone that sensitive to life would shrink away from horrible things, if it has a larger meaning I will look deeply into it. I don’t watch horror film or gore, but I will watch intense documentaries or go to the land where things have happened and things like that. If it really happened to someone, I often feel obligated to find out more, and often that can be physically painful to do. I nearly suffocated at a concentration camp once, and that was even before I read on a sign that I was at a small closet where prisoners were pushed into and suffocated. I get that at other sites too, sometimes I’ll stumble on some fear someone left behind and get deep urges to run when there isn’t any threat around.
I guess that’s why I started this blog in the first place, things happened to me during my time in the psychiatric industry that no one was willing to hear about. And so it was kind of festering. And I couldn’t really use my brain to do all the things I used to do to let things out, but I tried. When I think about those few years on an antipsychotic it seems like it is always night time, like there was never sun, just dark grey clouds blotting out even the stars, and an endless night where things were never warm. Ray Bradbury wrote this story, All Summer in a Day, and that kind of reminds me of it too, the sun only comes out for one hour after seven years, these kids live on Venus, and they lock a girl into the closet just before the sun comes out, because they’re jealous of her because she remembers seeing the sun, she can describe it, and people say she’s going back to earth. And there’s this description of her, “She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost.” That’s how I felt on psychiatric medication, all erased and muted to a manageable level.
Now I’m being told that I’ve been comparing myself to the wrong people this whole time. I can’t measure myself based on what’s standard for Joe Blow, I have to measure myself based on what’s standard for Einstein or Da Vinci or Edison. And after doing that, jeez, I’m totally fine. I found out MD’s only have an average I.Q. of 130, and I’m way over that. I often wondered why I questioned medicine so much and got into trouble, I wasn’t supposed to know certain things, and I certainly wasn’t supposed to question a Doctor. But honestly, they make mistakes all the time! And why can’t they handle being questioned? Are their egos that fragile?
Also, people really don’t know anything about the gifted population. We’re a tiny minority and we scare people. I don’t know why. I think some of us prefer people don’t know about us.
I had this nightmare once when I was a kid where I was drawing perfect circles, and this guy kept running up and scribbling all over them when I was done. So I would draw another perfect circle and the guy would scribble it out again. And I did it over and over and finally got so mad that I punched my mom in her sleep because I thought she was the scribbler.
Goddamn scribblers! Scribbling all over the important things in life.
I’m also meeting a lot of people who have gotten tangled up in the psychiatric system a la Janet Frame. It’s kind of scary, to think of the grander implications of it. The fact that time after time highly intelligent people are killed or damaged because people don’t understand them. And it’s true, sometimes I feel like I’ve got the mute button on, just so I don’t say something really profound that will freak everyone out. I know people usually think I’m either mentally ill or possibly cognitively impaired, but I don’t think I can ever really get them to stop thinking that. Sometimes I want them to think that so I can find out how they would treat people of those groupings.
I don’t want to be treated by anyone anymore though. And I’m not sure how to be myself and survive, and not survive myself but survive everyone else. I’m not a danger to anything, but I am awfully terrified of society as a whole, based on it’s lack of empathy and acceptance of difference. For now I’m listening to other people’s stories, and reading autobiographies, trying to figure out how people protected themselves while still doing amazing work. I’m tired of using only parts of myself to be friends with people too. I wish I had a few more people in my life who I could be all of me with. I’m afraid of being judged, and then I know based on my psych history that judgment carries terrible penalties.
What a strange world, to feel so small and yet hide something so big. I am trying to make some kind of meaning out of being deprived of my intelligence for four years. I don’t know how though. It’s tragic, like walking around half dead. I remember in the psych ward this orderly was making fun of a patient because she said the world was full of dead people, and I thought, yeah, she’s totally right, and he’s one of them!!! I mean it as a metaphor of course, though in a spiritual sense it’s kind of true. And this is the other issue, in that I find metaphors are sometimes the only way to explain something. I was talking about sex with a friend recently and I suddenly switched into describing it how I experience it as, which is like going to the carnival and passing by all these different rides, and some are really SCARY but that’s why you have to do it. And then I realized I lost her somewhere along the way and she thought I was talking about an actual carnival. No, I was talking about sex. Right. Um, and anal fisting would be like the Ring of Fire or a wooden rollercoaster. And missionary is a merry go round. And oral sex is like the ferris wheel and fisting was like the Gravitron.
I haven’t been to the carnival in ages.
Um, this has nothing to do with anything, I just wanted to post it at some point: