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Catching you up (9)

by JustEliza on 6 April 2010

(Selections from November 2008)

Even without the vitamin supplements, which worked wonders in making me more agreeable and calm, I'm certain I've reached another plateau. Acknowledging my giftedness brought with it an introspection into my intellectual confidence and creative potential. It's hard to accept how I hold myself back, how I've resisted taking charge of my decisions: making real choices that pay real respect to my real feelings and beliefs.

I attribute this to withdrawing from my parents and withholding my thoughts and ideas (and life) from them, as well as the many years of being bullied. I'm comfortable with submission. That cold, numb place is more familiar than anyone's arms. But I've said this already. What I really want to know is how being gifted yet not being gifted impacted my mental health.

I think a lot about graduate school. More specifically, I think about the circumstances surrounding me leaving it. It's a recognisable turning point in helping me to finally seek treatment today, and I know it deserves more consideration. Despite the massive lows, studying that subject under that professor was something that really inspired and challenged me. I understand now why he selected me to work with him and pulled so many strings to make it happen. He saw in me exactly what I now see in him: another passionately gifted person struggling to resolve the same life experiences. I knew that, but I felt like my failure to stick with graduate school meant I didn't have the same thirst for understanding anymore, that I wasn't meant to be a professor.

I do not regret leaving school. The breakdown was inevitable. I needed to consolidate my life experiences and be in a more stable, loving environment. As I fill those needs and the world becomes a safer place, it becomes easier to recognise the more complex aspects of me. I can point a finger at myself, ask myself candidly again… Why am I afraid of going back to graduate school? …knowing full well the answer is blinking in neon lights in every memory I have. School has only ever held me back, bullied me into submission, or provided a platform for my exclusion.

When have I ever truly been welcomed, accepted, and understood by someone? I don't just mean pieces of me. I mean the whole, unrestrained me.

I am not blaming others for rejecting me; most of the opportunity has been lost by my own self-willed reclusion. I have undeniably been playing it safe: playing up to what I know people prefer, fitting my own needs into what is blatantly possible. Could it really be that I underachieve when others still marvel at my talents? I can feel myself holding back from asserting that belief. But it's me I'm talking about, and I know what it feels to really try, to push yourself, to concentrate and perform. I haven't performed at that level in a long time.

And I need to.

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