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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers

Gifted adults and existential depression

Gifted adults are more likely to experience “existential depression.” This often begins during childhood for gifted individuals and is usually linked to thoughts surrounding death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness.

Read more about the Characteristics of gifted adults.

Questions gifted adults can ask over their life-span, that contribute to existential depression, might include:

  • Why does society put such strong restrictions regarding sex-roles for men and women?
  • Why can people be so mean? Unthinking? Uncaring?
  • Why should I try to make a difference when I can have so little impact?
  • Is this all there is to life? Is there no ultimate meaning?

Read more about The purpose of life: A philosophy for living.

Most adults ask questions of this sort, but for gifted adults, the questions can be unending. Struggling with existential issues can lead to frustration and anger when sufficient support, and the opportunities to discuss the questions, do not exist for gifted adults.

It is this frustration and anger, directed at issues that gifted adults can’t control, that can lead to serious depression.

Working with a psychologist who respects the importance of these issues can be helpful. Books, and memberships in organizations where complex philosophical questions are discussed can also help.

Relaxation techniques that include yoga, deep breathing, and getting out in nature to hike, cross-country ski, or garden are additional useful options. These types of activities “feed the soul,” making the angst more manageable, and can provide a setting where gifted adults are able to find meaning.

Read more about How Psychologists diagnose depression.

Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta 

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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers
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