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Cassea

Existential Depression among the Gifted

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One of the struggles in my life has recently been diagnosed as existential depression. I had no idea that others didn't see the world this way. Through a long time of therapy it has been shown to me that this is a very different type of depression. I have dealt with an increasing amount of violence towards the way I see the world. In time it escalated to a viciousness I didn't understand. But then it was that it became about trying to "kill the thought' of the way I would question. Sometimes as a believer I feel that atheists do the same thing. It is not enough to discuss or debate. But the person is vengeful and angry. Bloody angry.

This shows that existential depression can develop in gifted children

When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others’ expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.

Prior to all the physical traumas in my life I was considered gifted. Part of my recovery entailed me looking at the way violence has occurred and the reaction. I have met many in my therapies that are going through equally debilitating physical, traumatic, and psychological issues.

None have the same experience with express harm. For a long time I wondered if I was paranoid. Then my therapist pointed out the way I saw the world. Are gifted thinkers persecuted and oppressed to the point of death? If so why?

http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/existential-depression-in-gifted-individual

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One of the struggles in my life has recently been diagnosed as existential depression.

I'd never heard of "existential depression" before your post. I'm looking for it in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV, and it doesn't seem to be a diagnosis in either of these standard references.

I have also experienced depression on and off for many years. I would expect that for many people with prolonged depression, some sort of existential nihilism is pretty standard; though I would not expect this in children, even in gifted ones. I think depression is quite uncommon before puberty.

Edited by Cybele

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Are gifted thinkers persecuted and oppressed to the point of death?

The answer to that question is "yes" without any doubt. It's been like that throughout history. It doesn't always go to the point of death, but it has in certain instances. Many more have been persecuted, oppressed, and ridiculed for seeing the world in a way the overwhelming majority of people do not.

If so why?

When the "common" person has their view and undestanding of the world challanged they tend to take it as a personal attack against them by the person presenting the opposing view and/or beliefs. This is especially true when the person presenting the contradictory viewpoint is stating things that the "common" person is so convinced isn't even possible, yet alone truth, that in order to even begin to have an understanding of such things they would first need to come to a realization that much of what they've come to believe up to this point in their life isn't what they've been lead to believe.

There are many people who aren't capable and/or willing to take such an inventory of themselves and the world to even allow for a dramatically differing understanding of things to take root within their mind.

Some people are too prideful. Others are too "simple." For some it's both and a combination of any numerous amounts of things in between. The "common" members of society, especially in today's present time, are conditioned to see things from one viewpoint only (more or less) from the very moment they are born.

Since this is what they are born into and raised with it it becomes difficult for some to ever take a step back and put deep thought into how much differently they, and the human population in general, would view things if the world we are born into shifted focus onto more wortwhile interests rather than being flooded with information overload about things that amount to nothing more than nonsense when compared to the "big picture."

In that statement I am referring to things like the nonstop manner in which we are bombarded with advertisements. The over the top manner in which sex is thrown in our face everyday. The manner in which the entertainment industry and the lives of "celebrities" skew our view of how we as humans our of equal value regardless of our "rank" amongst society.

I am referring to the manner in which mainstream news outlets don't tell or show us the whole truth about how things operate, they only show us what the manner is in which they want us to believe things operate. They present the news they want us to believe rather than presenting the news as it truly is. They present us with the information they want us to possess and believe in as opposed to giving us all the information available and letting us as individuals each come to our own understanding of what this information means.

This is only what is at the surface. It all goes much deeper than that, but as I said earlier, most people don't realize this about the world to begin with. And if you don't realize it to begin with then you aren't going to put deep thought into it (let alone any thought) to try and gain an understanding of such things.

It's far easier to "go with the flow" then it is to "swim against the current."

Edited by Left-Field
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I think depression is quite uncommon before puberty.

I haven't looked into how uncommon it is, but I do know children at very young ages have committed suicide. In current times, however, children are going through puberty at ever younger ages. This is especially true in females, but it is also occuring in males as well.

From my own experience I can state that I was very aware of the fact I did not view the world in the same manner as my peers from a very early age. I wasn't "different" because of my actions. I was "different" because I observed things in a way most children my age weren't pondering at any level let alone putting deep thought into such things.

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Are gifted thinkers persecuted and oppressed to the point of death? If so why?

There always have been and always will be gifted thinkers who are socially isolated and eccentric as well as those who are incredibly charming and sociable. There are gifted thinkers who have been persecuted as iconolast and blasphemous, and those who were perfectly conventional in their pursuits and acheivements. I don't understand the point of asking such a broad question, when the answer is clearly "yes and no".

When the "common" person has their view and undestanding of the world challanged they tend to take it as a personal attack against them by the person presenting the opposing view and/or beliefs. This is especially true when the person presenting the contradictory viewpoint is stating things that the "common" person is so convinced isn't even possible, yet alone consider a truth, that in order to even begin to have an understanding of such things they would first need to come to a realization that much of what they've come to believe up to this point in their life isn't what they've been lead to believe.

*snip*

It's far easier to "go with the flow" then it is to "swim against the current."

It sounds to me like you're equating unconventional and creative with intellectually gifted.

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It sounds to me like you're equating unconventional and creative with intellectually gifted.

It should be.

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It should be.

An extremely intelligent person can lack any sort of creativity. A highly creative person can lack intelligence, as measured by IQ tests or scholastic achievement.

Many people on these forums come up with unconventional theories and ideas. Highly intellectually gifted and creative people are out there changing the way the world works and thinks; I don't think many such people spend hours trying to convince others of their ideas on online forums.

It's too easy to say that people don't "get" or accept your ideas because they're intellectually "common" or because they would have to give up their preconceived notions of reality--as if it's your right to demand such a thing. If someone really does have gifts and ideas to offer the world, then they should prove it, not hold it over others as a way of feeling better about themselves (as seems to be done too often on these forums).

Edited by Cybele
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An extremely intelligent person can lack any sort of creativity. A highly creative person can lack intelligence, as measured by IQ tests or scholastic achievement.

Many people on these forums come up with unconventional theories and ideas. Highly intellectually gifted and creative people are out there changing the way the world works and thinks; I don't think many such people spend hours trying to convince others of their ideas on online forums.

It's too easy to say that people don't "get" or accept your ideas because they're intellectually "common" or because they would have to give up their preconceived notions of reality--as if it's your right to demand such a thing. If someone really does have gifts and ideas to offer the world, then they should prove it, not hold it over others as a way of feeling better about themselves (as seems to be done too often on these forums).

Nor written off with the standard put up or shut attitude. It's a forum. The vary notion of which is a place to freely hash out ideas. It can serve all sorts of different functions.

People that can look deeper into the human condition are very valuable. Undeniable truths exist there and those people that are aware of them are some of our best therapists, comedians, and healers. This feeling that there is something terribly wrong with human society is mover for many to change it. It's also a source for great depression.

I share the OP feelings on many levels. Even down to the the feeling of living in a giant flesh sack and being discussted by simple things like Being forced to use the toilet and wipe my butt everyday.

That dosnt make me gifted, but these feelings drive many to do great things for humanity. But the op is doing a great job of expressing it rather than botteling it up out of fear or worry that Somone is going to basically call her a whiner.

Edited by Seeker79
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An extremely intelligent person can lack any sort of creativity. A highly creative person can lack intelligence, as measured by IQ tests or scholastic achievement.

I meant that excelling in creativity should be considered equally as gifted as excelling in intellect. They're both gifted in different ways; not that they're the same thing. I won't comment on the rest because it doesn't apply to the creativity I'm referring to, and kind of goes off on a tangent at the end.

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Nor written off with the standard put up or shut attitude. It's a forum. The vary notion of which is a place to freely hash out ideas. It can serve all sorts of different functions.

Of course it is. I was just reminded of the way I've seen some posters dismiss those challenging their arguments by acting as though the other person is too "common" or "simple" to understand them. It's irksome.

I had to look up more on existential depression. One of the references at the bottom of the original link led me to this:

Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual's confrontation with the givens of existence.[1] These givens, as noted by Irvin D. Yalom, are: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation (referring to Phenomenology), and finally meaninglessness.

http://en.wikipedia....l_psychotherapy

From the above, it appears that some believe that all inner conflict, including depression, results from existential issues. So, in this view, "existential depression" isn't just a type of depression, rather existential issues are at the source of every case, and therapists are supposed to treat patients with this theoretical framework in mind.

Edited by Cybele

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Of course it is. I was just reminded of the way I've seen some posters dismiss those challenging their arguments by acting as though the other person is too "common" or "simple" to understand them. It's irksome.

I had to look up more on existential depression. One of the references at the bottom of the original link led me to this:

Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual's confrontation with the givens of existence.[1] These givens, as noted by Irvin D. Yalom, are: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation (referring to Phenomenology), and finally meaninglessness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_psychotherapy

From the above, it appears that some therapists believe that all inner conflict, including depression, results from existential issues. So, in this view, "existential depression" isn't just a type of depression, rather existential issues are at the source of every case, and therapists are supposed to treat patients with this theoretical framework in mind.

I understand how that might be irksome.... but you can understand how these people consider themselves deeper than those who might simply worry about say...make up... Work.... Etc etc. right? Deep down I think they are upset in the lak of careing and are unable to totally get passed it. I'm not convinced its totally a gift.... More like a curse for some.

I know in my case...... I could drive myself into a panic attack thinking about the fruitless flailings of humans. I literally lost sleep over the asinine behaviors of people...

It took a lot of meditation then a transpersonal crisis to come to terms with it.

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I understand how that might be irksome.... but you can understand how these people consider themselves deeper than those who might simply worry about say...make up... Work.... Etc etc. right? Deep down I think they are upset in the lak of careing and are unable to totally get passed it. I'm not convinced its totally a gift.... More like a curse for some.

Perhaps I misunderstood the intent of the post. Sometimes people assume an air of superiority or giftedness to gratify their ego, to rationalize in their own minds why other people don't agree with all their ideas or accept them socially, etc.

When I start getting worked up and depressed over existential issues, I realize that I have too much free-time on my hands and need to find something to keep myself busy. It's simply not productive 99% of the time. I don't think it's necessarily a sign of intelligence to worry about such things; perhaps of introversion and emotional lability. As for worrying about work, it of course depends on what you do as to how "deep" it is.

Edited by Cybele

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Perhaps I misunderstood the intent of the post. Sometimes people assume an air of superiority or giftedness to gratify their ego, to rationalize in their own minds why other people don't agree with all their ideas or accept them socially, etc.

If you are referring to my earlier post then you have, indeed, misunderstood its intent.

I don't think of myself as superior (or inferior) to anyone. I do know that I am a much deeper thinker than the typical person, however. Those who are deep thinkers are more likely to gain better insight and deeper understanding of the things they contemplate than those who approach things in the manner you state in the quote below.

Ego and a feeling of superiority have nothing to do with. It simply falls along the same manner of thought which states a person who plays chess every day is far more likely to understand the game than a person who has played it only a handful of times throughout their life.

When I start getting worked up and depressed over existential issues, I realize that I have too much free-time on my hands and need to find something to keep myself busy. I don't think it's necessarily a sign of intelligence to worry about such things; perhaps of introversion and emotional lability. As for worrying about work, that of course depends on what you do.

In your first quote above you state:

"Sometimes people assume an air of superiority or giftedness to gratify their ego, to rationalize in their own minds why other people don't agree with all their ideas or accept them socially, etc."

Yet you then go on to state the following in the second quoted section:

"When I start getting worked up and depressed over existential issues, I realize that I have too much free-time on my hands and need to find something to keep myself busy. I don't think it's necessarily a sign of intelligence to worry about such things; perhaps of introversion and emotional lability."

Do you not realize that based on that statement it is you who is gratifying your own ego (by implying anyone who gets worked up and depressed over existential issues does so only as the result of having too much free-time on their hands), and rationalizing in your own mind how it is those who see things differently than yourself that have the "mental hiccups" (by suggesting that rather than being some sign of intellignece it is instead an introversion and emotional lability) rather than vice versa?

Edited by Left-Field
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You guys are mistaking different with intelligence. I meant many amazing and strange people. They probably had many similar problems. It does not make them gifted or intelligence.

One who thinks deeper is no better then one who does not. Success and "gifted" are personal means and are impossible to discuss as everyone feels different about them. I meant many people are successful which I believe are stupid. In my mind may make them a failure in my own personal opinion. However they have money and live a good life. So to others they are a success.

One could say you are proud your daughter because she makes alot of money and lives a good life. You could be disappointed because she is a prostitute.

You can't...objectively use these terms.

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i had never heard of existential depression before. i thought this sort of thought process happened with most people who are depressed.

i know that in my case i used to drive myself almost crazy with it - my brain never seemed to stop.

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You guys are mistaking different with intelligence.

How can you be so sure of who is and isn't doing that?

I meant many amazing and strange people. They probably had many similar problems. It does not make them gifted or intelligence.

I don't think anyone is implying that all people who suffer clinical depression or any other kind of mental illness must therefore be gifted and/or intelligent.

What is being said is that there are many great minds throughout the history of the world which belonged to people who suffered from serious bouts of depression or other mental disturbances.

I think it is also being suggested that those inclined to put deeper thought into things the "common" person does not consider are more likely to suffer from depression than the "average" individual. I believe studies on this have been done which indicate that to be true, but I would have to look into that more before I could state it definitively.

One who thinks deeper is no better then one who does not.

I don't think anyone in this conversation up to this point has claimed otherwise.

Success and "gifted" are personal means and are impossible to discuss as everyone feels different about them. I meant many people are successful which I believe are stupid. In my mind may make them a failure in my own personal opinion. However they have money and live a good life. So to others they are a success.

One could say you are proud your daughter because she makes alot of money and lives a good life. You could be disappointed because she is a prostitute.

You can't...objectively use these terms.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think anyone in this thread has equated one's success into possessing intelligence (although I may have overlooked a post that has done so).

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If you are referring to my earlier post then you have, indeed, misunderstood its intent.

I don't think of myself as superior (or inferior) to anyone. I do know that I am a much deeper thinker than the typical person, however. Those who are deep thinkers are more likely to gain better insight and deeper understanding of the things they contemplate than those who approach things in the manner you state in the quote below.

Ego and a feeling of superiority have nothing to do with. It simply falls along the same manner of thought which states a person who plays chess every day is far more likely to understand the game than a person who has played it only a handful of times throughout their life.

I believe I read your post and got insulted by its tone and the repeated quoted references to "common" and "simple" people; the way they are brainwashed into focusing on interests and beliefs that are not worthwhile or truthful.

In your first quote above you state:

"Sometimes people assume an air of superiority or giftedness to gratify their ego, to rationalize in their own minds why other people don't agree with all their ideas or accept them socially, etc."

Yet you then go on to state the following in the second quoted section:

"When I start getting worked up and depressed over existential issues, I realize that I have too much free-time on my hands and need to find something to keep myself busy. I don't think it's necessarily a sign of intelligence to worry about such things; perhaps of introversion and emotional lability."

Do you not realize that based on that statement it is you who is gratifying your own ego (by implying anyone who gets worked up and depressed over existential issues does so only as the result of having too much free-time on their hands), and rationalizing in your own mind how it is those who see things differently than yourself that have the "mental hiccups" (by suggesting that rather than being some sign of intellignece it is instead an introversion and emotional lability) rather than vice versa?

How am I gratifying my own ego by giving advice based on my limited personal experience? I never meant to suggest that all people who spend time pondering existential matters have too much free time on their hands. I offered something that helps me. It is not productive to ruminate and brood. If you think something needs changing, then do all you can to fix it.

Further, by saying that I too engage in similar behavior, I am pointing out that what I do as well is not necessarily a sign of intelligence. It can be a sign of emotional disturbances and mood disorders, or it can lead to such things. I don't consider it intelligent, in my case, to get stuck worrying about things. It is one reason why I consider myself introverted. I am talking about myself and personal experience when I say such things are counterproductive. What else can I reference, of course?

I think intelligence and giftedness are to be assessed by what you produce and what you are capable of, not your habits or tendencies, or even the topics of your thoughts and concerns (whether they are stereotypically intellectual or superficial). The most intelligent person I know is very action and goal oriented. He is constantly driven to achieve and does not spend time pondering philosophical issues or moral injustices. I do think getting too caught up worrying about such things can be counterproductive. This is just my experience.

Edited by Cybele
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i had never heard of existential depression before. i thought this sort of thought process happened with most people who are depressed.

i know that in my case i used to drive myself almost crazy with it - my brain never seemed to stop.

It seems that there is no such thing. It appears that the OP article misrepresented a psychoanalytic theory as a diagnosis. Existential psychoanalysis views inner conflict and depression as arising from existential issues in the same way that freudian psychoanalysis interpreted neuroses as arising from early childhood and sexual repression.

Edited by Cybele
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How can you be so sure of who is and isn't doing that?

Because I made 0 assumptions about such a thing. I may be doing it in my head. But you would have no idea.

(its really weird how your so quick to turn things back into people instead of dealing with the intintal concern)

I don't think anyone is implying that all people who suffer clinical depression or any other kind of mental illness must therefore be gifted and/or intelligent.

What is being said is that there are many great minds throughout the history of the world which belonged to people who suffered from serious bouts of depression or other mental disturbances.

I think it is also being suggested that those inclined to put deeper thought into things the "common" person does not consider are more likely to suffer from depression than the "average" individual. I believe studies on this have been done which indicate that to be true, but I would have to look into that more before I could state it definitively.

Who are you to separate a great-mind from me? Who is anyone to judge intelligence objectively? My point is you can't. I meant many people who I consider great minds you have never meant. The people you consider great minds? They are only successful. They went down as history as a "great mind". You cannot objectively say they are. As "great" is an opinion. Making the entire subject of this thread subjective beyond belief.

I don't think anyone in this conversation up to this point has claimed otherwise.

Well I believe you would be wrong.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think anyone in this thread has equated one's success into possessing intelligence (although I may have overlooked a post that has done so).

You just did by referring to great minds. They are successful minds who we were taught about. Not necessarily great.

.

Edited by Kazoo
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i had never heard of existential depression before. i thought this sort of thought process happened with most people who are depressed.

i know that in my case i used to drive myself almost crazy with it - my brain never seemed to stop.

You should read "L'Enfer" by Sartre, Although it is a novel, Sartre was an existential philosopher before falling into the communo-maoist flawed perspective. Another interesting book about it woudl be "The Outsider" by Colin Wilson. It was the author's first book, a very good study on Existential Depression. A must read by those who would like to know what it is to be different.

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Success and "gifted" are personal means and are impossible to discuss as everyone feels different about them. I meant many people are successful which I believe are stupid. In my mind may make them a failure in my own personal opinion. However they have money and live a good life. So to others they are a success.

One could say you are proud your daughter because she makes alot of money and lives a good life. You could be disappointed because she is a prostitute.

Being gifted at something doesn't obligatorily demand success. It just means excelling at something. I could be a gifted nose picker, but it won't win me any awards or admiration, much as there are probably many gifted prostitutes around, who won't make anyone proud of them.

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I have a mensa level IQ (or used to) and always could quickly read and understand long comprehension passages. But especially when it comes to spirituality and faith. At 7 I was in a church with my priest with another person who left the church. I was telling them about how there was a pattern of washing in the bible. Cleansing of sins. I spoke about how this was an way for God to help us to see the need for the sacrifice of Jesus. The priest understood but the other person yelled at me for talking about the Bible that way. She grew angry and wanted me to work on the handouts for class in Sunday School. I was considered "disruptive" and couldn't focus. I remember thinking as a child that it was so sad that we had to sit and color pictures and copy things. I was told not to come back to class at one point because I would cry. The woman was very aggressive and angry with me. The priest wasn't. I always wondered why the woman was so angry.

Edited by Cassea
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I have a mensa level IQ (or used to) and always could quickly read and understand long comprehension passages. But especially when it comes to spirituality and faith. At 7 I was in a church with my priest with another person who left the church. I was telling them about how there was a pattern of washing in the bible. Cleansing of sins. I spoke about how this was an way for God to help us to see the need for the sacrifice of Jesus. The priest understood but the other person yelled at me for talking about the Bible that way. She grew angry and wanted me to work on the handouts for class in Sunday School. I was considered "disruptive" and couldn't focus. I remember thinking as a child that it was so sad that we had to sit and color pictures and copy things. I was told not to come back to class at one point because I would cry. The woman was very aggressive and angry with me. The priest wasn't. I always wondered why the woman was so angry.

my guess is that she felt intimidated by you. it's very hard for some adults to accept that a child has insights that are seemingly beyond their comprehension.

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I have a mensa level IQ (or used to) and always could quickly read and understand long comprehension passages. But especially when it comes to spirituality and faith. At 7 I was in a church with my priest with another person who left the church. I was telling them about how there was a pattern of washing in the bible. Cleansing of sins. I spoke about how this was an way for God to help us to see the need for the sacrifice of Jesus. The priest understood but the other person yelled at me for talking about the Bible that way. She grew angry and wanted me to work on the handouts for class in Sunday School. I was considered "disruptive" and couldn't focus. I remember thinking as a child that it was so sad that we had to sit and color pictures and copy things. I was told not to come back to class at one point because I would cry. The woman was very aggressive and angry with me. The priest wasn't. I always wondered why the woman was so angry.

my guess is that she felt intimidated by you. it's very hard for some adults to accept that a child has insights that are seemingly beyond their comprehension.

Most people are afraid of one who doesn't perpetuate the status quo. Indeed that women was angry as anyone else who would be forced to ask her/himself new questions to which answers would require thinking.

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I have never heard of this term, but I do relate to it. For the longest time I've been depressed and hated the world because I felt like I was too different to be related to. Some of the "abilities" I have, the things I've seen, and the experiences I've been through have placed me apart from humanity. I know I'm not alone in it but I have never met anyone that I could share these things with. Now, I just look at it and figure that there must be a reason for it.. and even if I'm alone in it I make myself feel better by remembering that I'd rather be this way than like everyone else. It is lonely and utterly frustrating at times, but i've learned to live with it.

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