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tiredlilone

Intelligence and depression

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I have tried to read through many of the posts here to see if I could find common ground or offer any help to anyone.  One thing I seem to notice here is that the majority of those depressed tend to be deep thinkers, intelligent, very sensitive and compassionate.    I notice friends of mine who do not suffer depression seem to be less sensitive and while I don't want to call them less intelligent I feel they are more oblivious to things does that make sense?

Why is this?  Is it the way our brains are wired to be more in tune to problems/situations?  Is there a way to turn off the deep thinking without antidepressants?  Sometimes I feel like one of those velcro walls where each ball thrown sticks to me as someone's words stick.  They might not be really saying anything that is super offensive and to many they would let it roll off their back, for me though it seems to go deeper.  An example is we have new neighbors next door with girls.  I have all boys and anyone who has had both know there is a difference.  Anyhow my son is hyper ADD and sometimes he goes outside in bare feet to bounce a basketball etc.  I overheard her make a comment to another neighbor about her putting shoes on her kids feet unlike those people next door.  Now normally most would not care but it bothered me.  Why?   

 

 

Edited by tiredlilone

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Someone concerned enough with whether or not the neighbor's kids are wearing shoes that they have to mention it has their own set of problems.

To your other point...ignorance is bliss. I've always wondered if being smart makes people a high risk for disorders. Certainly the way you're viewed by your peers as a child can have an impact. I've never researched the connection, but I believe that if I had my personality traits without my intelligence, I'd be in prison or dead. I can't imagine what life would be if I had the smarts without the issues. I had the highest test scores my entire life, but social anxiety and college campus didn't work out.

Personally I'd make a sport out of annoying that neighbor once I heard something like that. ?

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The "natural" state for humans is barefoot, of course. :)

Yes. Ignorance is bliss. I overthink everything. I bludgeon myself with thoughts. I can blow up the slightest issue to the point of driving myself into a deep, dark depression. In fact, I'm doing that right now.

 

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SoCalace - I do like the name by the way.  Interesting to hear you explain your situation.  I guess God makes us a certain way for a reason right?  I also have some social anxiety so school was not first on my list!   and LOL with the neighbors.  I just literally cringe when I see them.  Ughhh

JD4010 Ignorance is bliss... I so wish I could turn this stuff off.  My husband and I are complete opposites.  He let's everything roll of his back.  Jokes or negative reactions towards him fly over his head.  I am hypersensitive to it and can pick it up fast.  I also blow up at the sligtest issue.   So is there hope what can we do to desensitize ourselves?  I've been on this earth for 40+ years and still have yet to figure it out  :(  

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Hahaha. I gave up trying to desensitize myself. I think it's a personality trait that's almost impossible to "unlearn". Both of my parents suffered from depression throughout their lives too, so there's a biological basis for the way I process stuff. My dad left when I was a little kid, yet people are struck by how much I am like him.

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I was just having a conversation with someone a few hours ago about this very topic!!

I absolutely think that smart, sensitive people are wired in a way that makes them prone to depression.  I've said before that I wish I was developmentally disabled, because the people I've known who are DD seem so much happier than I am.  People look at me strangely or get offended when I say that, but seriously...I don't think it's a coincidence that pretty much everyone who posts here is above average in intelligence.

On the other hand, not all smart and sensitive people are depressed...so I think there's more to it than that.  I'm not sure what that is.  I know that the way my parents treated me as a child had a lasting effect on my self-esteem and my ability to feel at peace.  So I'm sure upbringing plays a part in it.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the answer is regarding turning your thoughts off.  Some people find meditation helpful, but meditation requires you to be able to sit still and concentrate, so if your meds aren't working you may have a hard time meditating (but it's worth a try, IMO).

As far as the sensitivity goes, that's another thing I struggle with.  When I'm on a medication regimen that works, I'm less sensitive.  

I try to reason with myself after someone does something that hurts me.  I ask myself if maybe the person is having a bad day or just cranky.  Or maybe they're just a jerk.  It's hard though, because--when people do things that hurt me--I have a tendency to ask myself what I did that made them want to do that to me.

I've found that I need to be on a working medication regimen before any sort of therapy will work.  Without it, it's like I'm trying to build a house on quicksand.  So, really, anything I try seems to fail if I'm in crisis.  I need to get the medication right in order to be stable enough to make gains.  

Once I get stabilized on medication, I'm not as easily hurt by people's remarks and things they do.

I will say though, that even before I was depressed, I was a sensitive kid (according to family members).

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There's a really deep picture that someone made or something but it's of Albert Einstein in therapy. Without words, the picture shows that the people who think the deepest tend to find it hard to climb out of these thoughts. Ignorance is bliss as other comments say. I find myself jealous of those people. I find it difficult to let go of people's comments against me or family members also. It's best to have a little voice in your head to reassure yourself and know that their comments don't mean anything. They don't know you  

 

 

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So not only do we have instant thoughts about the situations we go through, but also the deeper long term philosophy about our lives. Similar, and effected by each other, but different experiences. I use mindfulness everyday. It does a lot for me, but a part of it helps manage the over thinking. A sympton i imagine a lot of depressed people have. I do not envy those who do not endure our pain. They will never be able to understand the full spectrum of life. They will not learn to adapt, nor how to fight for thier lives. Great topic.

Edited by glfinding

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@tiredlilone Trust me I get it.  I agree totally with @SoCalAce  I WOULD be in jail if not for my intelligence.  Personally, I think the depression and negative thoughts are a price to pay for actually being able to do something with our lives.

I don't mean to sound elitist, but at the same time most people just want to get a job with a pension and health insurance, have their 2.5 kids and raise them in the suburbs with their white picket fence.

What are they accomplishing?  How are they furthering anything?  Where are they leaving their mark?

At the end of the day I think some people are just meant to be the workers of the world while others are mean to be the visionaries.  Maybe it's the price we pay for having this potential.

Who knows?

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I think people who are not depressed have plenty of diversions, and so cannot obsess on the unhappy state of the world. I mean really, all the kids starving, all the dogs that need to be rescued, the pollution, polar ice caps melting, world population, crime, wars-- That is like a cake store to a depressed person.

 

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14 hours ago, glfinding said:

 I do not envy those who do not endure our pain. They will never be able to understand the full spectrum of life. They will not learn to adapt, nor how to fight for thier lives. Great topic.

Wow what a great thing I love this thank you!   I love this group you all are wonderful people!

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Not sure, but I have read several studies that say there is a connection between mental illness (depression the ones I looked at) and intelligence.....many intelligent people have battled depression  ...and many still are just like us.....

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On 2/21/2017 at 11:08 AM, tiredlilone said:
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I have tried to read through many of the posts here to see if I could find common ground or offer any help to anyone.  One thing I seem to notice here is that the majority of those depressed tend to be deep thinkers, intelligent, very sensitive and compassionate.    I notice friends of mine who do not suffer depression seem to be less sensitive and while I don't want to call them less intelligent I feel they are more oblivious to things does that make sense?

Why is this?  Is it the way our brains are wired to be more in tune to problems/situations?  Is there a way to turn off the deep thinking without antidepressants?  Sometimes I feel like one of those velcro walls where each ball thrown sticks to me as someone's words stick.  They might not be really saying anything that is super offensive and to many they would let it roll off their back, for me though it seems to go deeper.  An example is we have new neighbors next door with girls.  I have all boys and anyone who has had both know there is a difference.  Anyhow my son is hyper ADD and sometimes he goes outside in bare feet to bounce a basketball etc.  I overheard her make a comment to another neighbor about her putting shoes on her kids feet unlike those people next door.  Now normally most would not care but it bothered me.  Why?   

 

 

Great post and question. I've thought about and observed this for a long time now.  I have noticed in my own friends exactly what you are describing (and also, although I never fully credit it, also in myself).  

There is evidence for a link between intelligence--especially of a certain kind we might call 'deep thinking' and depression.

To wit, "Plagued by mental health disorders—such as depression, bipolar polar disorder, and schizophrenia—are a host of artists, writers and famous people throughout history. In fact, many times the eccentric tendencies of genius are associated with mental illness. 

An article in Medical Daily titled “Why Smarter People Are More Likely to Be Mentally Ill” claims over thirty studies have documented the connection, concluding:

“Affecting some 2.5 percent of the U.S. population, bipolar disorder alone has touched many of our greatest achievers, including Vincent Van Gogh, Buzz Aldrin, Emily Dickinson, and Ernest Hemingway.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ending-addiction-good/201503/is-there-link-between-intelligence-and-mental-illness

I read a book somewhat about this a few years ago, called 

Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

This is hardly surprising, but the sheer documented number of great artists from all walks, who suffered from depression is really striking.  (A movie loosely based on the book's premise has been made).  The author, Kay Jamison herself came out a couple years ago with bi-polar disorder, noteworthy because she is arguably the preeminent expert in the US on manic depressive disorder.

One of my friends, who is a depressed savant says it is because we, the depressed, 'see with too many eyes.'  I think that's a big part of it.
I also think this is why so many of us--myself included--like you, are more sensitive than average.  How could we not be?  To me, it bespeaks a deeper realization into what really matters, though I know that is a broad statement.

I have read in other books about great world leaders (both good and bad) who suffered from depression - most know about Churchill and Lincoln.   Fewer know about Kennedy, Hitler,  and Napoleon.  (Really interesting book btw).  

A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

One interesting topic this book discusses, is the work of one of Freud's students who, after studying mental illness, spent the rest of his career attempting the difficult task of defining and studying what is 'normal' or considered well-being or 'homoclite'.  It was more difficult than anyone would have assumed.  It's like the appellate court judge trying to define obscenity - we 'know it when we see it' but how to define or categorize it?

My favorite in this genre (and obviously this is one that I like; and I'm not trying to just drop book titles), is Lincoln's Melancholy, by Joshua Wolf Shenk - I knew Lincoln struggled with depression, but I did not know how serious, or how well we now have this documented, nor some of the remedies he tried (including things like co*aine).

Finally, somewhat along these lines is an interesting and unsettling theory called  Depressive realism, a hypothesis developed by Lauren Alloy and Lyn Yvonne Abramson that depressed individuals make more realistic inferences than do non-depressed individuals.

It has been tested through significant research and shown to be applicable in many situations, where, in fact, those of us who are depressed have good reason for our more pessimistic expectations as they do often prove to be more accurate than those of our non-depressed friends.

Edited by gandolfication

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On 2/21/2017 at 11:08 AM, tiredlilone said:
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 One thing I seem to notice here is that the majority of those depressed tend to be deep thinkers, intelligent, very sensitive and compassionate.  

 

 

I wanted to add a couple thoughts.  

I have always liked being around interesting people (who doesn't?).

But when I was younger, and largely because of my very straight-laced and religious upbringing, this was limited and almost entirely consisted of other pretty straight-laced, religious and otherwise 'normal' people.
Through college and law school, I was intent on running for political office, which meant not only making top grades and holding leadership positions, etc., but of course also, not getting into trouble.

For some time now, after experiencing depression most of my adult life (starting with a couple episodes during college and law school), I have learned that I really actually have a pretty strong preference for being around an interacting primarily with people who either do suffer from or at least have experienced and understand depression.  This is not entirely adaptive for me, but so be it.
We are a more interesting sort, and I won't apologize for saying that.  It is simply the case.

Nothing wrong with 'normies' but the fact is on balance, they are less interesting than those who see with too many eyes.

Edited by gandolfication

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