To Thyself be True
Sometimes the answers come when the searching ends, when the thoughts calm in their intensity, when life itself is busy carrying you through it all.
I have searched for years to understand what my particular issue was with my mindset and how I viewed the world. It was more than apparent to myself and others that parts of my behaviors and thinking were apart from the norm. In that searching I had found aspects that fit but it still didn’t fill the whole picture and the examinations continued. During the last few years I had allowed myself to ease up on my curiosity, to take new pictures of the world as it is now, and reexamine the changes I had made inside and out. I was not the same person, the world was not the same either because of those changes. Real growth had occurred and I had learned much of myself and the world in doing so.
About a year ago it hit me that I knew myself well enough, I had some things to work on both mentally and physically, so I set out to do the real life changes and not just the ones coming from a keyboard or thought exercise. The health concerns were ramping up and my inner voice was just making noise most of the time. Paying attention to just the next indicated thing became difficult and feeling like my days on Earth were numbered, I set out to go quietly into that goodnight. So the epiphany of self that came while I was waiting was kind of a huge surprise. While I had long known I was an HSP, a Highly Sensitive Person, I also knew that I had a deep self loathing and that my expectations were often perfectionistic. I knew I had a pretty severe case of depression, and anxiety was often on the plate of responses. I also had my history, my family life, and my addictions to measure in the whole scheme of things. Yes, that is some stuff to work on, and I was determined to clean house with some of it on my way out.
I don’t know when the first impetus came from, but there were many that followed since last Summer. It is very much like trying to remember a word, and then when you don’t try, it comes. I had poked at the edges of my conditions, and have heard of the disorder before, but I scoffed at the thought until I didn’t. I have never allowed myself to self diagnose anything I ponder on these pages. I mull it over, I see if it fits and what I can learn from it, but I always reserve that decision for someone trained in it. This was different, it was found in an blind manner, as in I wasn’t looking for it. Like many older adults, I have found that I am on the Autistic spectrum, and that specifically I am what is commonly called gifted. Yeah, I hear it too…
Whoever decided to call it that really did people with it a disservice. It is just a name like ADHD, or Asperger’s, but the mental connotations that happen when you say that to someone is incredible to watch. If truth be told, people act as if it is a personal attack on their ego’s, which is hilarious when you think about it. I got to this conclusion by examining what I did over the years, and why I did it, as you can see by the numerous pieces here. I had done much of the work already and the pieces that pointed to giftedness just kind of fell into place when I wasn’t looking. Of course I had to find out more, I had to disprove this somehow. But in trying to do so I found my skin and everything beneath and inside.
Since professional help for all of my issues has always been financially impossible, I resorted to what I had done before. The first thing I did was take the proper IQ/EQ tests as put forth by the experts. That was daunting as the real tests cost money and I didn’t want to be scammed, so I found the sources and when I could afford it paid the costs of having them professionally done. I was tested out, there were so many that I lost track of the number, the kinds of tests were different, yet the results mostly the same. Between 135-145 was the conservative number, apparently I was intelligent, but that was just the first part. As I started looking around some huge pieces of my puzzle filled in, and then some more, and before long the pieces of my story that never found a place had finally found their forever home.
When I searched for “Gifted Adults” I thought that I would soon be proven wrong in my suspicions. But it was then that I realized I didn’t know that much about what it all entailed. Sure, high IQ was a part of it, yet, just like the whole gifted business, I didn’t understand what an IQ was completely. When I read and studied the resources though it was like reading my own story. Validation, understanding, comprehension, and insight, all the things which I suffered through most of my life were right in front of me for the first time. I cried a bit, but have been mostly numb throughout it all. What this means in the big picture is everything, and at the same time so spiritually sobering, a slow sorrow for what could have been kind of feeling.
On intelligence I knew there were more than one way to measure it, and in trying to tell my story of how I found my disorder sometimes the best way is by example. Now I know the follies of using videos as information sources but the ones I have chosen though are just the best way to get my points across, the research I found is greater than that by far. * The Nine Types of Intelligence: I resonate enough with many of these areas, some too much, and not enough, but the connections are there regardless. I am not saying that I excel in any one thing more than another, that’s not for me to decide.
With this in hand I came across *Gordon Smith’s quiz, and *Maggie Brown with her talks on Giftedness that hit the spot so much with me I beamed. These links are integral in the discovery process I went through. Gordon Smith’s quiz was a Yes on all questions, which allowed me to see the parts so much clearer. While Maggie explained what she called “othering,” which I have been reading all these years as other people just don’t like me. Oh it’s true that others don’t care for me, Giftedness can leave people with some bad interpersonal habits, and I was holding quite a few. But the general feeling and noticeability of disliking that I always noticed, and felt in groups of people especially, was the othering aspect that humans in general do.
Of course I needed more, I needed to appease the doubts inside. In looking at *The Six Kinds of Giftedness, I realized I fit into a few of them, but number four hit the nail square on the head. *Nine Signs That You are a Gifted Person also checked all the boxes, which left me feeling like my skin was getting some sunlight. *Lynne Berresford’s TED talk on it highlighted some of the perceived defects of character I thought I had, and some more areas to work on, and work with. Within all of these insights were the last pieces of my story, the ones that filled in the blanks. The HSP sensitivities were a part of it, as well as the depression and anxiety. I may have more involved as well, but until I can be properly tested, I only have what the evidence tells me, and what my heart already knows. Yes, it’s hard to stand on this one, but anyone that knows me should be able to easily see the connections to my real self.
When I was a child growing up I was made to believe that since I was curious, it meant that I was somehow dumb. Because I always questioned things, it meant I must not have learned the first time, and that I was slow. Not knowing any of this led to a lot of adverse side effects, both then and now, but I am not upset at anyone, I am not bitter, but I am struggling to find connections with others because of this. I will say it is immeasurably reassuring, and at the same time profoundly sorrowful to find yourself as you are towards the end of life. I had found my “thing” and wanted to share it, but found I had nobody really but my wife to tell now because of the effects of the disorder. It’s not something that you usually share in public, but it is something that may be helpful to others. As this is going to be felt for the rest of my life, and as more answers and questions come, this is my long talk, my voice. I may have learned something along the way, so I might as well pass it on.
I was asked why it was important for me to find my “thing?” To find a name for it, and not just accept yourself as you are? I guess the best answer is because it was missing… I can look back on my life very clearly now, the road is all but filled in because of some gifts freely given. I have learned to learn, and found myself more fully than ever before when I wasn’t even looking. Today I am grateful, and humbled, and in need of connection again with what I know of myself as I am now. But I do so knowing more of what my skin is; why my heart is? And where my head is coming from. Thankful that I can put down the shovel after all of these years, because I have finally found my foundations.