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January 29, 2011


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Edith Johnston

Marvelously said and compiled! I have struggled this last year to use the word gifted to describe myself and yet I had no problem using the word for my sons. The lack of acceptance and the desire to know myself and make things happen is intense. I have the XI book coming and have looked at the Misdiagnosed book description several times. As I work with those who have disabilities I work with the directing them toward their potential. Connecting here is great. I am expanding my work also and appreciate your perspective and talent. Thanks.

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Edith, Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate you reaching out and sharing a bit about yourself as well. It's funny how I always thought my intense need to understand things was both a blessing and a curse...and somehow lately...I'm realizing that I'm not alone in thinking there is a lens through which "thinking too much" could be seen as a "disability." It certainly isn't "common" or normal! LOL


Amy gave me the link to your blog. Thank you for sharing this information. I've never been diagnosed with anything (though chronically disorganized sounds about right, haha), but I was in most of the "gifted" programs growing up, and a lot of this sounds familiar.

I laughed at this:

"Intellectually able: grasps complicated issues relatively easily, takes leaps in the thinking process, has a low tolerance for stupidities, and may become careless when asked to do simple tasks."

Sounds like me to the T. :)

Lisa Rivero

As a board member for SENG, I was thrilled to see this post! You have described the experience and dilemma of those of neurodiversity (love that term) very well. I second your recommendation for Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults<--terrific book.

Glad to have found your blog.
~ Lisa

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Lindsay, thanks so much for sharing your comment and adding your voice to bring visibility to the secret shame and suffering that so many of us experience when we struggle to understand how it is that we can learn and understand really complex things in some areas, and yet the actual "doing" of daily tasks and repetitive routines can sometimes feel like torture. We can't "force" ourselves to "just do it" consistently. Sometimes we can, but many times we simply can't. It's scary sometimes..and can be depressing.

Welcome to our growing tribe of people "coming out" to normalize our experience AND learn ways to cope and thrive in spite of our challenges. I hope you'll stay in touch...this conversation is only just beginning!

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Lisa, thank you so much for your comment! I'm deeply honored that you took the time to read my post and acknowledge it. Thank you for the work you are doing with SENG and with your own blogsite. I'm looking forward to exploring your work further and continuing the conversation.


Oh my, this makes me want to laugh and cry. Thank you for writing this out. Too smart or too distracted/engaged by everything and everyone? Too much compassion/concern for many things, and too little to do it with? Is it smart to forget your glasses on the counter and wonder why the windshield is blurry? We all have differences and challenges, but that is not the same as dancing to the music of one....definitively, intuitively, naturally and yes, sometimes defiantly and forcefully. As people, not fitting in hurts no matter how hard we try to cover it up or how much one tries to see the positives of their situation. I wonder if there are people out there who want to be praised for being different, most I know want to belong and be noticed for their place in a group, not for their distinction from it. Not the same as being noted the cream of the crop, which is really just a statement and perception of others, being different from your core being someone who grows up very lonely without peers to relate to. Being mostly like the rest is somewhere many cannot go or tolerate or pull off, no matter how hard they try. Between a rock and hard place....can bring interesting and dramatic results. I don't know if I am smart or not so smart...but I do know that everyone has a (boat)load in this life and we are not designed to haul it all alone or in silent conformity or stupidly following xyz just because. As long as we don't throw out the baby with the bath water, or keep reinventing the wheel when it is in stock,we will be ok. It is about more than the one or the whole. Diversity is what makes things click on a larger scale...the nail that sticks up is not always just to be pounded down, sometimes you can hang a nice picture on it. May there be joy in the beginnings and endings and all the messy in betweens.


WOW is all I can say. I'm shaking as I read because I am not alone. I'm constantly getting in trouble for learning too much at work, thereby stepping on the toes of those whose job it is to learn said information-- however, as I am one of the lucky few who loves my industry enough to hyperfocus my ADHD brain on that exact subject matter, I don't know how to stop overachieving. I'm literally almost to the point of wanting to quit because I'm constantly beaten down, made fun of, and embarrassed for how I am.... I've been told that even though I'm technically helping the company, its not my job to think about certain things, so.... people (including me) don't understand that it's like telling a compulsive cleaner to live in filth. I'm too smart to stop learning; I'm too unorganized to live by a set guideline, and I'm addicted to research.... my self esteem is zero because even what I thought were strong points are faults at work. I'm not organized/tidy, I'm chronically late (trying to change that!!), I'm loud, I'm emotional, I'm unhappy with my appearance, I'm always stressed.... my ONE prideful trait has always been that I'm the smart one. I don't know how to stop "being too smart". Thank you for this information. I no longer feel alone, weird, etc. Icould cry.

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

@RSue - Thank you so much for your contribution to this discussion!

@ADHD in SC - My heart goes out to you. I KNOW how you feel. I was crying too when I first started understanding how incredibly deep the wounds of being "too smart" are. Thank you so much for "coming out" and sharing the "dark side" of being exceptionally intelligent. : )


Most of the gifted people are introverts.how does talking too much fit into this?


Ariane, I promised you a reply to this article and here's some high level thoughts on the attitude I grew up with about being "gifted" along with flighty (self-chosen word) and having multiple interests.

Why I’m not “Gifted”
I never considered myself gifted…I mean, really…I’m not a math, physics, or computer science major. I majored in business but excelled at liberal arts. But, I wasn’t a stellar sculptor, a solo-musician, or a language virtuoso. I was a mediocre dancer. But gifted, or even genius. No way.

I had too many interests to be “gifted”. I never stuck with anything long enough to get “good”. My friends and I all talked about how you needed close to 1000+ or 10,000+ hours to master something. I rarely found something interesting for more than a week. Forget 10,000 hours.


This may be off topic, but made me think about how knowlege of being different can be a plus or a hindrance, depending on the environment and how the individual embraces it (positively or negatively)
The good times are when one realizes they are different and how that work for them and others, and the times one is blissfully unaware of thier difference but content. Social & economic environment make a big impact on how we fare in life. With more population and less wide open spaces/resources per capita, modern people still look for those unexplored and open regions to discover, adventure, forge a path through, while being gently or harshly reminded of new or old realities and truth.
Having a hard time saying this...I did not feel different as a kid, just put upon with a lot of garbage due to family dysfunction and moving a lot. I got to see a lot of different types of people and places and learned to enjoy my own way of being in all that mess and beauty, and made or hoped things work some way some how, with some lucky breaks and heartbreaks along the way. Ignorance of one's differences is bliss, it hte environment supports is and it is not hurting anyone. knowledge of ones difference allows them to better integrate with others and to utilize it rather than be ashamed/frustrated or even done in by it.
And I like to think even though we all have differences, we all have a lot in common, in our pasts, presents and futures. That is where the real discovery and work is, taking what we have in common and using our differences to bring about a caring, accepting, flexing, smart for today and tomorrow community supporting result.


Mrs. Benefit, I would really like to talk to you, if you have time to. I appreciate the way you explained it. I need to sort things out in my head, and I believe that someone unbiased with as much experience in this subject as you could really help me out. If not, I completely understand.


Unfortunately this strikes too close to home for comfort.

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