The Beginning of Survival: A Gifted Young Man’s Story of Depression

I am proud to know Eamonn Morris, a recently graduated gifted high school senior, who became painfully aware of his feelings of depression and anxiety, fought to make sense of them and seek meaning in them, and is receiving professional help in order to turn his struggles with depression into a positive learning experience from which he can move optimistically into the future.

One aspect of Eamonn’s self awareness is the realization that part of what he is dealing with is existential depression, a condition that is more prevalent among gifted individuals. Eamonn wrote poignantly and honestly about his personal experiences with this very real condition.

Gifted people may struggle more with feelings of depression and anxiety, partially because they are more capable of focusing on aspects of life that go beyond day to day details. Their capacity for perceiving the innuendoes of the world more fully, processing more deeply, feeling more intensely and sensitively, and imagining more perceptively and philosophically, can combine to create a more overwhelming life experience.

I feel it is imperative that those of us who work with gifted youth understand the underlying reasons for existential depression. It is a different way of viewing the world, of trying to make sense of one’s own place in that world, and wondering why it all matters anyway. Many of our gifted students experience this, and we can help them to validate what it is they are feeling.  Many of these students feel alone in the world, even when they are surrounded by family and friends who love them.

Eamonn’s story has many parallels to the movie It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, which I recommend seeing to better understand issues that gifted youth struggle with.

James Webb wrote a very helpful explanation about existential depression in gifted individuals; it’s causes and implications.

Read The Beginning of Survival: A Story of Depression, by Eamonn Morris.

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