I keep hearing this phrase (or variants of it) in a few different places. Last night, in a conversation with my husband (a very bright, geeky, info-junkie, mechanical engineer), I realized how much that affected him. I have a lot of very complex thoughts that run through my head from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep.
Sometimes it’s just one big stream of consciousness type of narration that goes through my head, one thought triggering a whole cascade of other thoughts. I wish I could channel some of that thought process into something actually useful, like developing a new career path for myself.
I hold imaginary conversations in my head with certain people I wish to talk things over with (some of them are just internet friends). There are specific people whose perspectives I trust that I know would help me gnaw things out with…showing me a side of things I didn’t think about before, helping me to understand why I’m feeling the way I do, and why I think about things the way I do. I have these dialogues in my head with what I present to them, and my guess as to what they might say in return (based on prior responses to me in certain matters).
Bits and pieces of songs, books, famous (and not so famous) quotations, and movie lines pop in my head during the day – some that are things I haven’t heard in a while that make me reminisce about someone I miss or that make me have an “a-ha” moment to something I’m wrestling with. They are often very relevant to the topic I’m contemplating. They often help me to make sense of something, or trigger another thought process. It continues to amaze me that something long forgotten gets called up again when I need it.
I realized last night that my husband couldn’t keep up with the fast changes of thought I have, that builds momentum when I am trailing one thought after another. He realized that he wasn’t the only one that couldn’t (when I told him that’s not the first time I’ve heard that).
One of the things that I explained to him was my intense need for mental stimulation. We both had a revelation when he asked me if I needed stimulation all day long and I said, “yes, I do”. It was a revelation to us both because he didn’t realize what I need and I didn’t realize he didn’t know it. He didn’t realize I needed so much stimulation because I derived a lot of it from my career. Prior to quitting my job, the work I did before challenged me, and so did talking with my colleagues and friends at work, so, by the time I came home, I was ready to mentally slow down and kick back a little. He was also MORE than a little bit relieved to know he wasn’t the only one who had struggled to keep up with me.
The lab work I did was engaging enough to keep one level of my mind busy (and definitely kept my hands busy), but I still needed to talk to other people throughout the day. I had post-docs and resident doctors come through the lab that I had to train, I talked to genetic counselors about results, I talked with my lab director about efficiency in the lab and communicated with technicians to trouble-shoot problems. I had to write standard operating procedures and I had to oversee the lab, ensuring consumable materials were ordered and quality control was documented. I had to run some genetic tests as well and I had deadlines to consider and I enjoyed the tension of it to a point.
Until I actually had my second daughter, I actually thrived in that kind of highly stimulating environment. I tried to make him understand that while I love being here for my kids, I am suffering from the lack of challenge in this role.
Now that I’m re-discovering some abilities I thought I lost, I am chafing at the bit to do something with them.
I fight hard against the feelings of bitterness and disappointment in myself. I fight hard against feeling I am “entitled” to more. I fight hard against the worry that I’m going to cause friction with my husband if I decide to go back to work. Not that he’s against it, but that I tend to be a workaholic and throw myself into it at times. I am a tiny bit afraid (as he is) that I just might enjoy work so much that I will find reasons to stay at work.
This is why I’ve been having some weird posts of late. I have to find ways to keep myself challenged, and sometimes I get discouraged when I can’t find enough satisfaction. I’m incredibly frustrated because I know I have skills and talents that are being grossly underutilized.
So…and this has been on my mind of late…if my blogging has been alternately weird, and probing and silly (like the cabbage post), understand that my mind is simply going a bit loopy with all the things I’m contemplating. I wonder what the heck you all think when you stop by my blog.
I get a lot of reads, and few comments, and that’s okay. If you get the sense that I’m weird, and pathetic, and lonely, and a bored housewife in need of a swift kick in the pants but won’t say so because I asked you not to, that’s okay. I am all that.
If I’m a little “out of touch” as a commenter said of me before, I would have to agree. I am “out of touch” with most folks. I am very different than most folks around here and it is very discouraging to know you are way out-of-step. It’s awkward and it’s a bit embarrassing. So you decide to withdraw a little bit, which leads to isolation which makes your self-esteem plummet, which makes you blue, which makes you depressed, which makes you not care, which makes you consider medicating yourself (can we say maladaptive coping strategies anyone?). All of which makes you nuts.
Life becomes very different when you take an intelligent person out of their highly stimulating environment and with others that challenge them. There is more than a bit of frustration when you know what you’ve lost in terms of professional support. I’m really saddened to know I’ve become dependent on a “virtual village” of internet community when I desperately wish I could have that in real life.
I don’t know what this means. I might take a bit of a computer break. I don’t know. I mean, I SHOULD, but I don’t know if I can. I’m so dependent on it for affirmation (not just on my blogs, but on gifted message boards – dispensing advice as well as receiving it, and through emails). Yeah, even if I do try, we’ll see how long that lasts. Not blogging/journaling/communicating with others is like not breathing.
Discovering our unusual mind
For many, however, a complete honoring of the self must begin with discovering what sort of consciousness, what sort of mind they possess. That their own perceptions and judgments are unusual may have been obvious since childhood, but they may have spent their lives assuming that this difference was a deficit, a fault, even a defect of character or a sign of mental illness (Lovecky, 1986; Alvarado, 1989). Thinking independently may seem foolhardy or antisocial.
~ Stephanie S. Tolan
Many gifted adults seem to know very little about their minds and how they differ from more “ordinary” minds. The result of this lack of self-knowledge is often low, sometimes cripplingly low self esteem.
~ Stephanie S. Tolan
While the fundamental characteristics of gifted adults are the same regardless of whether or not they were identified earlier in life, those who were not identified face the challenge of making sense of their gifted characteristics without the gifted label to guide them in any way
~ Cheryl M. Ackerman, PhD
But for the adult whose life circumstances do not readily provide an arena for the positive use of these abilities the result may be a feeling of frustration, lack of fulfillment, a nagging sense of being tied down, imprisoned, thwarted (Roeper, 1991; Smith, 1992).