We usually think of it as a weakness or a curse. It is a brain disorder but what if we started recognizing those with depression as gifted? Would it help sufferers see themselves as worthwhile if we collectively saw it differently?
1. Extraordinary gifts
At the therapeutic boarding school where Charles attended for about a year, the talent there was unlike anything I had seen before, particularly in the areas of art, music, writing and humor.
Most of these kids struggled with various mental health issues including substance use disorder but when you saw all of them together, I couldn’t help but notice the high concentration of talent. It’s like inner pain comes with exceptional gifts which are often overlooked by the gifted one because they take it for granted and don’t realize others don’t have this talent. Feelings of low self esteem often add to that self perception.
Early on these kids often struggle in schools which have stripped away anything that isn’t a hardcore academic subject which I think kills their spirit. The secret is to add back arts and humanities to allow this population to shine. Innovative teaching would massage these talents, help them thrive, and create a platform for innovation.
Someone who suffers depression has a lot of heart and can see through to your soul. When no one else will listen, when everyone else pushes you away because you are talking about things that are painful, these friends are there for you.
This population, in particular, suffers when they don’t feel a sense of connection or belonging. I think they’re the ones that will reel us all in from our current “silo-ed” existence because they crave it. And human beings need it. We need it now.
They don’t thrive in an environment where they are expected to sit still for hours upon hours like miniature adults memorizing stuff. Most of this population thinks outside the box and is very entrepreneurial. Outside the box thinking is more the norm and I think we should be cultivating that instead of forcing them into homogenized learning environments.
In short, it would be a boring world without those with special gifts. I know I treasured so many of Charles’ that quite honestly I was in awe of.
Charles gave real, genuine hugs that made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. As a baby and a child, he was cuddled in my lap, always asked about family and loved family gatherings. His love came from the soul. Everything did.
These are the things I loved about my own son, despite his challenges. It’s what made him special. It’s what I miss now that he’s not here. I hope we get to the point those with depression can get the help they need to realize their full potential.