My name is Ilse, and I'm what people call "gifted", but lately I've wondered if the name is a lie. For those of you who don't know, giftedness is a mental state typically profiled as high IQ with a totally different outlook on the world, separate form everyone that isn't gifted. I'm writing this to try and explain why and how we think, and how difficult this life can be. I also would like to reach out to other gifted students. So here we go.
Ever since a young age, I excelled in school, sports, music, and pretty much everything. The only thing I could not do was make friends, any time we played on the playground I would over organize and over complicate rules, because my brain, all the complicated rules and patterns and details made sense, but to other 6 year olds, I was just crazy and bossy. I did in fact get bossy because I wanted to explain. But no one likes "that kid". So that summer I turned 7 and my mom took me to a SENG conference in Florida, for gifted students, I met and talked to a tun of gifted students my age. Adults and experts explained to me that I was gifted and that I wasn't stupid or alone, just in a small percentage of the population. I connected with tuns of other gifted students. But eventually I had to return home.
Over the next two years I just learned to love the educational part of school, I was super engaged in school because it was fun, I didn't need friends because I was learning. I raised my hand all the time, I answered questions, I helped the teacher. I essentially became a classic teachers pet. I began to get bullied, and my mixed grade classroom became competive and I got bored, my grades dropped, I came home crying a lot, and next thing I knew I had to switch schools and went to another charter school.
When I switched schools I decided I would be "normal" and make myself fit in no matter what. To my surprise, I began to make friends. I had what I thought was a connection, but eventually I realized I couldn't call people friends if I couldn't be myself around them. I began to fall into depression. I was saved when I realized another smart girl in my class, who I had never really talked to before. She was introverted and quiet but very smart. I pushed and pushed, and eventually she began to talk to me. At first only about accedemics, then things like classmates. Over a few months, we became real friends. After befriending her I learned how to find people I could actually conect with, even if they weren't exactly like me. So from 6th to 8th grade I began to fit on a large scale for the first time in my life. I had a real group of friends. I went on a sports graze to expand my social life and keep active. I did everything I could to put myself in social situations where I could find people like me. I was ok, I was happy, school was great, friends were there, and sports were fun.
Summer of 2016 I attended Davidson's theee week THINK summer program for gifted students. There, in Nevada, something happened I had never imagined. I made real friends in a matter of days. There minds were just like mine. As a 14 year old I appreciated that connection much more. I was so happy. And over those three weeks I finally understood how it must be for other people to make friends. By the end of the three weeks, I had made a mental shift that will stay with me forever. I finally, truly understood what it means to be gifted, how different we truly are. I returned from THINK so happy.
Then came high school. Because I was at a charter school, my entire class split up to several different high schools, my friends were suddenly miles away in different groups, my best friend was at my school, but we shared no classes and had different lunches 2 out of 5 days. It was horrible. Not only did I loose all my old friends, but I couldn't even make new ones! I had been spoiled at THINK. I wanted a true connection. I became incredibly lonely. And to top it all off, second quarter of school. My mom was diagnosed with a life threatening, non cancerous brain tumor. My life became chaos. I fell into total depression. I saw a psychiatrist and went on meds, I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to eat, I wanted friends. So I started over again. I joined clubs, and sports, and found people. My mom came back from surgery safe. I made friends. And I'm ok again. The only thing that got me through that period without completely falling apart was my giftness. The fact that I could logic myself into reality. The fact that I had my close THINK friends I talked to daily on the phone. The fact that I had a psychiatrist who specialized in gifted students. So I'm left pondering if giftedness saved me or cursed me. I stil have my whole life to figure it out. But it's a legitimate fear of mine that I may never again fit like I did at THINK, or that I might always have to fight the downs of depression. I'll always ask, am I academically gifted or socially cursed?
(If you have opinions please share in comments)