When being "gifted" gets you in trouble

And by gifted, I don't mean superpowers

Although some people's gifts may seem exactly that. The "gifted" I'm talking about has nothing to do with super-strength or the ability to fly. What I'm talking about are those special classes kids were sent to when they had a higher reading level or achieved a certain score on an aptitude test and were therefore set apart from an early age. I was one of those children and had I known the affect being considered "above average" from early age would have on me, I probably would've asked not to be included.

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I've always been an overachiever. If I wasn't the best, I felt worthless. Looking back it definitely all started with the so called "Gifted & Talented" classes I took throughout elementary and middle school. From an early age people told me I was special and that I was destined for great things. Beyond this, I never really had to study in order to get good grades. It wasn't until high school that I had to put in any true effort and it was then that the stress and anxiety set in.

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While in high school the stress and anxiety was manageable (mainly due to the low stakes I was facing), college was an entirely different story. My sophomore year I remember a time when I threw up in four different spots on campus in one evening due to the stress I was under. The worst part about it, this was outside stress I put upon myself because I wanted to be that "above average" kid everyone was so used to. College was when I realized I wasn't "gifted", I'd just reached that level of intelligence before everyone else. Even now I have a baseline of anxiety that never truly goes away.

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By now you're probably wondering why my story is important (or even where it's going). It's not to say that the "GT" classes (as we called them) weren't beneficial. They definitely offered me experiences I wouldn't have gotten to face otherwise. That being said, they set me up for a standard of perfection I'd probably never truly be able to attain again (mainly because I am a procrastinator). These are all conclusions about my mental health based on my own diagnosis. Who knows if it's even true. On this World Mental Health Day, the first step is realizing you have valid feelings even if others tell you it's in your head. If you need to see someone, go see someone. Even if it's only for a consultation. I never truly got into any "real" trouble but if I continue on the path I'm headed with no outside support... it's entirely possible I might get into some sooner or later.

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