Gifted is often portrayed as intelligent, glorious, and desirable. But the dark side of the moon is sometimes more realistic when describing gifted: cold, dark, and isolated. Our society has made mental health taboo to talk about, but for gifted individuals, it’s often something we struggle with.
Ever think of suicide? Maybe you have. I bet if you ask any sufferer of chronic illness they’ll say yes if they’re being honest. It’s one of those things that we don’t discuss. Our society views suicide as cowardly, stupid, or a waste. It’s difficult to admit it, but I can tell you from experience that suicide often promises relief: peaceful oblivion, a promise of rest.
I’m too tired and in pain to worry about social mores tonight, so you get the raw view of things.
I reached a low low low point tonight. I did everything right, but still ended up with a major migraine that had me handing the kids off to Mr. Genius and stumbling into the dark bedroom to lay in agony and wait interminable eons until my meds kicked in. And I did the most STUPID thing that I could – I cried.
Yup, I lost it. You see, I lay there with pain throbbing in every pore of my body and thought “I have 30-40 more years of this to deal with.” And that future seemed so bleak and horrible that I started crying. I realized that if it wasn’t for my kids, I would be seriously considering suicide just to make the pain stop. Who am I kidding? I AM seriously considering suicide. I just can’t do that to my kids, so I suck it up and live in pain.
Of course, crying was the worst thing that I could have done, because duh, migraine. So instead of an average migraine, now I have an epic migraine that still isn’t under control. I’m sitting at the computer wearing dark sunglasses, and hoping that the carefully hoarded narcotic leftovers from my sinus surgery will do the trick. Yup, this migraine is so bad that Oxycodone isn’t even helping.
I’m really kicking myself for giving in to the crying jag because I woke the Destroyer up. He’s oddly empathetic to me and my emotional upheaval scared him awake; sweaty, tousle-headed, and bewilderedly crying. He doesn’t understand the concept of suicide, but he sure picked up on mommy not being there for him, even in his sleep. I snuggled him and let my love radiate and reassure him, and he’s back to sleep with a drowsy “wuv u!”
So, suicide. You “normals” don’t get it, and that’s ok. I wouldn’t wish this kind of existence on my worst enemy. My personal demons are physical: I know that’s not the case for everyone. Perhaps it’s anxiety. Existential depression. Worrying if our planet will survive us, or considering the pain of so many people across the world. Gifted folks have a lot of demons, and sometimes they’re overwhelming.
And what if you’re not an adult, without the measured reasoning and logical capabilities of a mature brain? What if you’re impulsive and emotional and don’t think things through fully? Gifted kids may or may not be more at risk for suicide – we don’t have enough statistics to fully understand this subject yet, but I can tell you that gifted kids are more. More emotional, more in-depth, more intense. So any gifted kid dealing with depression is dealing with very deep, intense emotions that would paralyze most grown adults – and make suicide a very tempting option.
As always, if you or your child are dealing with this kind of major emotion and depression, seek help. Talking to someone about it helps a lot – especially for gifted kids who need support in order to deal with their intense emotions. If you’re the parent of a gifted child and you suspect depression, don’t ignore it. Take it seriously and get them help. Suicide because you’re depressed IS a waste – because the illness is making the decision to suicide, not the person.
I’m an adult. I have responsibilities, goals, dreams, and 3 little people that I really want to see grow up into the wonderful, intense people that they will be. So even though suicide is a tempting option, I know that I need to resist. I need to keep my promises, and keep going for those last few miles. I have the relentless logic of an analytical mind to berate me and point out all the false promises that suicide offers.
If you know someone who committed suicide, grief is a natural response for you and that’s ok. But realize that perhaps it was a valid option to them. Perhaps it was peace – rest – and relief. Maybe it’s not a waste – maybe it’s not cowardly. Maybe, for them, it was the right decision.
I don’t know. I do know that suicide is something we need to talk about more. We need to make depression, anxiety, and all the other demons something that society accepts as matter-of-factly as heart disease or cancer. It just is. Knowing the signs and what to do are so important, especially for parents and caregivers. Maybe if we talk about it more, kids won’t feel so alone and isolated. Maybe they won’t think suicide is their only option.
(Note: I’m going to be discussing pain management with my doctor, because if I’m getting to the point of wistfully thinking about suicide, I need help. If you’re like me, don’t let pain take over your life. You can do something about it – you don’t have to live with it. )