“My Brain Is Bursting At The Seams” — The World Of The Gifted Adult

photo courtesy of Erwan Hesry, Unsplash

“I want to do everything at once and no one wants me to. They think I can’t focus. They want me to do one thing and do it for them the way they want it done..and it is so hard to climb the ladder unless you ‘participate properly’… just keep getting knocked down again and again.

When I do ‘focus’ my brain is bursting at the seams. It is ‘loud’ and repetitive and always running in the background. I don’t feel ‘smart’. I feel mentally ‘harnessed’ all day and then after work I feel too tired to soar like I want. The anxiety builds up, and then I just feel alone in an ocean of humans, doubting that I’m even one of them. It’s been like this since I was very young, but now I can’t just run away and hide – I have to be an adult, a mom, an employee and hardly ever myself.” (from our blog comments)

Do you feel “mentally harnessed?” Too tired at the end of the day to “soar?” Are you “alone in an ocean of humans?” Do you have a bursting brain?

Welcome to the world of the rainforest-minded.

You are not alone. I get you. And there are many others out there just like you, although they may be hard to find. You are not crazy. You are not a complainer or ungrateful. There is nothing wrong with you. If you are a gifted human, which you are, you are bursting– with thoughts, emotions, questions, ideas, curiosities, hopes, dreams, fears, analyses, creations, and more. There is a huge range of activity in your rainforest mind.

“They think I can’t focus.” What does “focus” even mean if you are gifted? If your brain is running on several tracks at once, maybe you are not meant to think of or do one thing at a time. If you are not a linear sequential thinker, you may have to have multiple projects and activities going at once. You may need to be thinking in more than one language at a time. And it is quite possible that the “proper” way from their perspective is limited by their smaller capacity to imagine possibilities. How do we redefine proper for the gifted mind?

I understand how you might not feel smart. You may not fit the traditional definition of what smart is supposed to be. If you don’t have a long list of achievements that society deems worthy, you may feel quite ungifted. If you are sensitive, idealistic, and optimistic, you may feel less bright because the cynics and the critics have been labeled the intelligent ones. If you have trouble explaining your viewpoint to others because they want quick fixes and easy answers or if you have difficulty making decisions because you are so aware of the multitudes, layers, and implications, you might begin to imagine that your way of thinking is lacking. That you are lacking.

That is why I am here.

To help you see the truth. Because when you realize you are smart, that you are gifted, you can begin to find the energy to soar. You won’t be fighting yourself as much. You will be less anxious. You will find a sturdier ladder to climb. (Or you will climb a mountain, instead.) You will discover the nourishment you need because you will know that you are capable and that you have a right to your expansion, to self-compassion, and to your youness.

And, heaven knows, my darlings, the planet desperately needs more and more soaring rainforest-minded humans.

Come. Fly with me.


To my bloggEEs: Tell us if your brain is bursting. If you have felt harnessed and unable to soar. What has helped you manage when you have many obligations? If you were to let yourself soar, what would that look like? Thank you so much for being here. Let us know of any resources you have found that are helping you understand your giftedness and that are supporting you through these difficult times. (And, if you are reading my books, please write a review on Amazon. Reviews will draw more attention so that more RFMs will find us! Thank you.)




Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

60 responses to ““My Brain Is Bursting At The Seams” — The World Of The Gifted Adult”

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  1. j'adore champagne Avatar
    j’adore champagne

    Yep. I get what she is saying. I’m having to work retail right now and after even a five hour shift if being told how they want it done I have NOTHING left at the end of the day. And I truly mean nothing. Not even the energy to work in the PhD proposal, or take that tango class. Paula, thank you for pointing out that it might be management’s brains that can not fathom that anyone can possibly know what they are doing and do it multi-tracked (sometimes I even think in French for fun) and it’s not me.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yup. Not you. 🙂

    2. Carlita Avatar

      conozco ese agotamiento… y de verdad que llega un punto en donde pierdes la certeza de si el mundo está tan loco, o es que de verdad el loco es uno. es decepcionante y aveces te pone en la necesidad de tomar distancia, de dejar todo como está, porque lo que termina comprometido es tu integridad incluso espiritual…. Yo he terminado optando por romper con personas (incluso familia) y las nuevas, las mantengo a distancia.
      Es muy solitario… pero puede ser mejor… quizás.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        It can get better, Carlita! <3

  2. Lindsey Barr Avatar
    Lindsey Barr

    Hi Paula! As a young single adult I really appreciated this post. Navigating college (especially choosing a major) is full of many twists and turns with a Rainforest Mind! I have written a poem based on the questions you asked the bloggEEs:

    I cannot contain all that is in my mind
    Possibilities jockey for space among ideas
    Which leave my thoughts no room to stay thoughts
    They tumble from my mouth when I am alone
    When I am walking or driving or folding laundry
    In a string of witty personal dialogue
    That would make less brain-crowded people
    Think I was insane or perhaps simple-minded
    The former might be true, the latter far from it
    But less brain-crowded people tend to not hear
    My thoughts that have become spoken words
    Because I do my best to hold them inside
    When I am around members of humanity
    (A club which I feel I am only partly part of)
    I get by in “normal” life in whatever way I can
    Sometimes allowing the excess of my mind
    To slip out and flow into the task at hand
    Giving it a touch of uncommon flair
    But mostly I am battling distraction left and right
    And trying to keep up with my more-human peers
    But if I could, I would pour it all out
    If I had time free of any other responsibility
    I would open my mind and dump it onto paper
    With paint off a brush or ink from a pen
    The possibilities and the ideas would run together
    Forming words I could not have spoken
    And images I could not have adequately described
    Letters and colors would dance
    And I could be everything I feel I can be
    An artist, a poet, a mother, a teacher
    A teller of tales both real and imagined
    A lover of my beautifully tangled rainforest life
    I am getting closer to it
    I feel its far-off thrumming

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, Lindsey! Lovely! Thank you. We are “brain-crowded people!”

    2. cmd1122 Avatar

      Amazing 😉 Thanks for sharing this…so beautiful.
      Good luck choosing a major. Having to choose one felt as if it was gonna kill me for many years (even though I chose one of the most interdisciplinary degrees I could, though even that didn’t cut it, haha). It is NOT easy. Life is short and there are only SO many hours in a day.
      BUT you are so much more than your ‘major’ (duh). I’ve learned personally and in watching my friends’ paths (I’m now in my late 20s) that it is possible to work one’s way into MANY areas that one doesn’t have formal studies in (by learning on the side through self-directed study, volunteer experience, applying learning/doing on one’s own to practice and improve, convincing the right people that you are passionate and smart and genuinely interested…though, yes sometimes certifications are needed). 🙂 It is not easy, but it is possible (and it is super fun and satisfying to be involved with projects that you maybe aren’t ‘qualified for’ (on paper) as much as the other people in the room).
      One’s major is a lot less important that we are taught (master’s focus is perhaps more important). And also, sometimes you just can’t focus on all your passions during your years of full-time study, but life always seems to bring you back to the passions that you may have left for a time on the sidelines.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thank you for sharing the insights you’ve gained from your experience, cmd1122. The specific personal examples that you and others provide add so much to the blog.

  3. M. J. Cuthbertson Avatar
    M. J. Cuthbertson

    I did have a brief conversation a few months ago with an educator that put a lovely article describing 2E in the local newspapers for parents. I emailed her immediately asking about resources that might be available for adults describing the difficulties I’d had finding any help regionally.

    She had a fascinating reply. She said her 41-year-old brother was 2E and was in the same boat as I was neither her brother nor she could find any adult resources regionally. I sent her Internet links I’d found, including one to here, and said I hoped they helped.

  4. M. J. Cuthbertson Avatar
    M. J. Cuthbertson

    In the small number of years I’ve known that I’m 2E here’s one of my primary observations.

    A majority of people I know find it perfectly plausible to believe in the imaginary and mythological as absolute parts of their reality. While simultaneously convinced that there is no possible way my brain is wired as it is and thinks so completely different from their own. They are certain, as I describe or explain, I’m making it up or lying.

    I’ve not a single solution so far, but maybe this observation is a place to start the conversation.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      M.J. I wonder if you could share some of the written information on the 2e person or on neurodiversity with some of these people. How frustrating it must be to have them not understand you. But, it could be good to find a simple place to start. I’m not sure that telling them they “believe in the imaginary and mythological” is a good idea, though. They might feel criticized and misunderstood themselves.

      1. M. J. Cuthbertson Avatar
        M. J. Cuthbertson

        Funny story about that. The decades I had no idea what was wrong with me and was searching for some answers I made several friends all of whom worked in education. When I discovered 2E and all the pieces I’d been collecting fit together I excitedly shared that news and a description with those friends.

        Every single one of them had exactly the same response. I have no idea what 2E is, you can’t possibly have it, and then radio silence. I haven’t heard from a single one of them since.

        Naturally, I’d never make that kind of an invasive observation to someone. It’s simply something I’ve noticed about how people are willing to accept certain kinds of information and dismiss others. It seems people are more willing all the time to accept the ways the brain might go wrong, but are not yet willing to accept how the brain can go right. And from my frame of reference, everything about 2E is positive except that little thing of dealing with people.

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Oh, yes, That “little thing…” Educators actually ought to know about 2e so they’re better able to understand some of their students!

        2. cmd1122 Avatar

          “It seems people are more willing all the time to accept the ways the brain might go wrong, but are not yet willing to accept how the brain can go right.”
          In my personal experience as a trained teacher, I can say that many educators are not trained (hardly at all) in the ways the brain can ‘go right’. Even the basics are barely included in many Ed programs. I had never heard of 2E until finding Paula’s blog.
          I’ll never forget how one day an educator in a staff room was telling us about his gifted nephew and how bright he was as a little kid… followed by how gifted kids just ‘grow out of it’ and that ‘the other kids catch up’. I didn’t know what to say to that, but many other educators at the table actually seemed to agree that ‘the other kids catch up’, so the problem is ‘solved’. Sigh…

          1. Paula Prober Avatar
            Paula Prober

            Sadly, I’ve heard those statements from educators for years, cmd1122. So frustrating!

  5. Anna G.G. Avatar
    Anna G.G.

    The following part really meant a lot to me: “If your brain is running on several tracks at once, maybe you are not meant to think of or do one thing at a time. If you are not a linear sequential thinker, you may have to have multiple projects and activities going at once.”

    Theee years ago, at age 49, I finally got the diagnosis bipolar disorder type II. When I’m hypomanic my brain can run in a hundred tracks at extra high speed. It can be very creative but also very exhausting! But I also get exhausted when being in a normal,
    non-hypomanic, state. I’ve been burned out quite a few times and people always try to teach me to focus on one thing at a time. And I always feel miserable since I can’t manage to! But perhaps it’s not what I should do. Perhaps it would be more adequate for me to think of two or five or ten things instead of a hundred, and not try to force myself to think of only one thing. And the same with activities and projects. I’d rather not be a desert instead of a rainforest.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      When you have a bipolar II diagnosis, it gets more complicated, Anna. This means you’re 2e or twice-exceptional. The diagnosis is important so that you can understand the best way to manage the bipolar issues along with understanding your giftedness. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amanda Avatar

    Thank you for this. I am starting a sabbatical with far too many ambitions for growth. It makes it hard to start, and I always feel the not getting enough done because there is more to do than I can.

  7. Dhyana Roche Avatar
    Dhyana Roche

    At nearly 50 I have started stimulant medication for ADHD after my highly gifted son was diagnosed and had seen a huge turnaround on meds. He feels so much better about himself now that he is able to accomplish what he dreams up. It’s a revolution!
    My brain is still just as “fast,” but gone is the free-floating anxiety. I feel focused, laser-like. And the mental exhaustion has gone. I am more present for my family, too, and less reactive. Look into an ADHD diagnosis

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      There are definitely what are called twice-exceptional (2e) gifted folks who are both gifted and ADHD or gifted and autism spectrum, etc. It can be hard to distinguish what’s what, though, and misdiagnosis can occur. But when it becomes clear that there’s a 2e issue, it can be such a relief to find the right combination of solutions. Thanks for sharing, Dhyana.

  8. S Avatar

    Tough place to navigate. I feel intuitively when I have done an excellent job at work and have hit the bases and learned something really amazing. Then I get an ‘improvement plan’ which I interpret as a list of things that are wrong (even though I am told it is a list of things I already do, that just need to be ‘elevated’). After my own relentless pursuit of ideas, and my sense of success, this plan is both heartbreaking and a bit insulting. I am sure this is a sensitivity thing.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sensitivity in the workplace can be hard to navigate for many of us. Thanks for sharing, S.

  9. artyplantsman Avatar

    This is so me! And your writing describes it so well!

  10. Ryan Avatar

    I can relate to this so much, except rather than being unable to focus because I have so many interests, I simply can’t find the energy to pursue interests because I have so many tedious responsibilities. I’m a single parent to a 2e tween who works full-time spread out over six days a week, so I can see my child as much as possible. My jobs are unsatisfying but necessary, both because I originally chose parenthood over career, and also due to imposter syndrome. How do you do everything at once when you barely have energy for anything at all at the end of the day? Relatedly, how do you socialize with other rainforest minds when the core passion is the same, but the knowledge base and skills, which are used to connect with and relate to others, aren’t there due to this lack of time and energy to pursue anything of interest?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      This is a hard one, Ryan. It sounds like it might be impossible right now to find the time and energy. Maybe for right now you just need to have compassion for yourself and your situation. Maybe appreciate your choice to be an attentive parent. I don’t know you but here are some ideas that might help: Perhaps, you could carve out a bit of time once a month that is just for you? Do you tend to not ask for help? Do you believe that you have to be the responsible one all of the time? Are there ways you could gain energy by taking better care of your physical self with healthy eating, exercise, or supplements? Are there small steps you could take to make your responsibilities less tedious? Perhaps you can trust that this is a rough time but that it won’t always be this hard. Think about what gives you pleasure. Make a list. See if there are simple things on the list that you can do for now, until your schedule eases up. I hope that helps. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Carla Padua Avatar
      Carla Padua

      Ryan, cómo te explico? vivo en un país que atraviesa un tiempo de profunda crisis en muchos sentidos, soy madre soltera de dos hijos, y somos nosotros tres desde que tenían 4 años; no hay red de seguridad o sistema de apoyo familiar (familia extendida, etc..). En medio de la crisis tengo un trabajo que no me alcanza para los gastos básicos, ni satisface. Hemos tenido etapas de no tener qué comer, y me he sentido agobiada, abrumada, derrotada y solitaria. En medio de eso, no soy como los demás a mi alrededor, ni de cerca, entonces no hay con quien compartir las ideas, la visión, los sueños. Mi mente vibra en otra longitud de onda, y eso dificultad la adaptación a un medio que ya de por sí es difícil. Por favor, trata de leerlo y no aburrirte por lo largo, pero no es corto de explicar:
      Qué hacer? Lo primero es que tomé un vaso de calma, porque el otro lado de la moneda de un cerebro capaz de ejecutarse en varios planos, es que los anhelos, las angustias y los miedos se ejecutan de igual manera y es realmente agotador. Lo segundo es que, en medio de todo ese torbellino, me tomé un tiempo para el autoanálisis (recuerda que en nuestro haber tenemos la capacidad de ser profundamente reflexivos) sobre la vida que tengo y la que quiero. Alguien me dijo que somos la suma de nuestras circunstancias (que no controlamos nosotros) y de nuestras decisiones, que si podemos controlar. Entonces decidí hacer un plan, no desde mis anhelos o expectativas, sino desde mi realidad. En ese proceso aprendí algo que seguro te han dicho -como me dijeron a mí igualmente- y es que tú decides el estado de tu hijo a través de tu propio estado. No lo entendía, y de hecho puedo decir con mucha humildad y amor que mis hijos fueron mis mejores maestros. Descubrí que ellos aprenden a ser hijos día a día y yo aprendo a ser madre de igual manera, así que mi estado de ánimo determina por mucho nuestra relación. Pero, ¿cómo disfrutar el día a día, el tan desgastado “aquí y ahora” si tu aquí y ahora es demandante, agobiante, abrumador y agotador?… Porque ahora no sólo estoy en un torbellino, dando vueltas y llevando golpes, sin sentido, orden o camino, sino que poco a poco he ido construyendo un PLAN DE VIDA, un objetivo y me apego a él. Entonces, entendía que las crisis pasan, y que los sacrificios no son un proyecto para toda la vida, si tienes un plan y cada día, das un paso pequeño en función de ese plan. Mi plan incluye a mis hijos, mi vida financiera (que aún no está de cerca resuelta y es muy dura) y todas y cada una de las cosas que quiero para mí y para ellos. Entonces sigue siendo demandante y con momentos de estrés, pero he ido aprendiendo a confiar en mi intuición y descubro que SI SOY CAPAZ de construir una relación hermosa con mis hijos y SI SOY CAPAZ de resolver los problemas que la vida me presenta a diario, porque a las personas RFM nos encanta desentrañar problemas. Eso si, un paso a la vez, sin sentirme culpable por no poder con todo al mismo tiempo, sin someterme al juicio de las madres que “tienen todo resuelto”, sin medirme con otros. Mi primer paso fue soltar la necesidad de demostrar que soy capaz de hacer lo que hacen los demás.
      Cuando esta crisis inició, yo no había sido identificada como superdotada, y cargaba sobre mí años de negligencia familiar, inseguridades y una autoestima tan golpeada que me llevó a decisiones erróneas por montón; mis hijos tampoco y sufrían el ciclo de mis propios patrones erróneos de vida. Hoy mis hijos tienen 12 y 14 años, atravesamos dificultades financieras muy duras, pero sólo eso. La vida se hay ido acomodando, no por energía cósmica o divina, sino por mi propia obra, por TOMAR CONCIENCIA DE QUIEN SOY y de lo que SOY CAPAZ. Y con dificultades, errores y angustias, TENGO UN PLAN y sé que todo esto va a pasar, porque estoy haciendo lo necesario para que suceda. Entonces, no escogí mis circunstancias, pero si mi camino. Y en ese camino, a mi alrededor físico, no hay personas con quien compartir mis intereses, pero en la era global, mi refugio, mi comunidad de personas como yo, está aquí… e iremos viendo que más aparece.
      Ahorita tu hijo es pequeño y quizá sientes que todo es muy duro, que hay un esfuerzo que te limita a otras cosas (créeme es difícil saber que necesitas alimentarte mejor, cuando apenas tienes para comer) y seguro tienes que hacer sacrificios; no ignores las dificultades, pero aférrate a lo bueno que hay a tu alrededor, y hazte un PLAN. ¿qué vida tienes ahorita? Y ¿Cuál vida quieres para ustedes dos?… y cambia TODO LO QUE DEBA SER CAMBIADO, pero ajustado a tu plan.
      Disculpa lo largo, pero entiendo tu angustia porque es la mía también.
      Espero esto pueda ayudarte un poco.

      1. Carla Padua Avatar
        Carla Padua

        Ryan, how do I explain? I live in a country that is going through a time of deep crisis in many ways, I am a single mother of two children, and we are three since they were 4 years old; There is no safety net or family support system (extended family, etc.). In the midst of the crisis I have a job that is not enough for basic expenses, nor satisfies. We have had stages of not having what to eat, and I have felt overwhelmed, overwhelmed, defeated and lonely. In the middle of that, I am not like the others around me, nor closely, so there is no one with whom to share ideas, vision, dreams. My mind vibrates in another wavelength, and that makes it difficult to adapt to a medium that is already difficult in itself. Please try to read it and not get bored along, but it is not short to explain:
        What to do? The first thing is that I took a glass of calm, because the other side of the coin of a brain capable of running on several planes, is that the yearnings, anxieties and fears are executed in the same way and it is really tiring. The second is that, in the midst of all that whirlwind, I took time for self-analysis (remember that in our credit we have the ability to be deeply reflective) about the life I have and what I want. Someone told me that we are the sum of our circumstances (that we do not control) and our decisions, that we can control. Then I decided to make a plan, not from my desires or expectations, but from my reality. In that process I learned something that they have surely told you – as they told me equally – and that is that you decide the state of your child through your own state. I didn’t understand it, and in fact I can say with much humility and love that my children were my best teachers. I discovered that they learn to be children day by day and I learn to be a mother in the same way, so my mood determines our relationship by far. But how to enjoy every day, the so worn “here and now” if you here and now is demanding, overwhelming, overwhelming and exhausting? … Because now I am not only in a whirlwind, spinning and taking blows, meaningless , order or path, but little by little I have been building a LIFE PLAN, an objective and I stick to it. So, I understood that crises happen, and that sacrifices are not a life-long project, if you have a plan and every day, you take a small step based on that plan. My plan includes my children, my financial life (which is not yet closely resolved and very hard) and each and every one of the things I want for myself and for them. Then it is still demanding and with moments of stress, but I have been learning to trust my intuition and I find out that I AM ABLE to build a beautiful relationship with my children and I AM ABLE to solve the problems that life presents to me daily, because RFM people love to unravel problems. Of course, one step at a time, without feeling guilty for not being able to do everything at the same time, without submitting to the judgment of mothers who “have everything resolved,” without measuring myself with others. My first step was to let go of the need to show that I am capable of doing what others do.
        When this crisis began, I had not been identified as gifted, and I was carrying years of family neglect, insecurities and self-esteem so beaten that it led me to erroneous decisions by lot; My children either and suffered the cycle of my own wrong patterns of life. Today my children are 12 and 14 years old, we are going through very difficult financial difficulties, but only that. Life has been accommodating itself, not by cosmic or divine energy, but by my own work, by TAKING AWARENESS OF WHO I AM and what I AM ABLE. And with difficulties, mistakes and anguish, I HAVE A PLAN and I know that all this will happen, because I am doing what is necessary to make it happen. So, I didn’t choose my circumstances, but my way. And on that path, around me physically, there are no people with whom to share my interests, but in the global era, my refuge, my community of people like me, is here … and we will see more appear.
        Right now your son is small and maybe you feel that everything is very hard, that there is an effort that limits you to other things (believe me it is difficult to know that you need to eat better, when you barely have to eat) and surely you have to make sacrifices; Do not ignore the difficulties, but hold on to the good that is around you, and become a PLAN. What life do you have right now? And what life do you want for both of you? … and change EVERYTHING THAT MUST BE CHANGED, but adjusted to your plan.
        Sorry for the length, but I understand your anguish because it is mine too.
        I hope this can help you a little.

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Carla. This is beautiful. It sounds like there is so much upheaval in your country. You are so strong and amazing! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

          1. Carlita Avatar

            Gracias! en medio de este torbellino, el reconocimiento y el aliento son extremadamente necesarios para recargar la energía.

      2. Ryan Avatar

        Carla, I haven’t replied to your comment until now because I was too overwhelmed. I can’t begin to express how encouraging your message is. I truly feel you understand my situation, and because of that, I have taken your advice to heart. I wish we could connect outside the blog, I’d love to chat with you more. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your message, and the time and heart that went into it.

        1. Carlita Avatar

          Ryan, eso suena excelente. Creo que es una fortuna encontrarnos. Puedes contactarme por cdpaduam@gmail.com, con la paciencia que nos signifique las diferencias idiomáticas. Será un gusto poder conversar.
          Saludo inmenso.

  11. Gail Post Avatar
    Gail Post

    Beautifully written, Paula. It captures the very full mind on overload… and how to embrace it!

  12. cathytea Avatar

    In addition to being gifted–or rather, as an integral feature and neurological cause of my giftedness, I am also autistic, which means my brain has more synapses than the neurotypical brain. I’m sure all rainforest minds are not neurotypical. To function as an independent adult, I’ve had to learn to harness my brain to do the executive function tasks my responsibilities require of me. Last year, my resolution was to allow myself the experience of immersion, which is a natural gift of the rainforest mind. This year, my resolution is to gift myself, daily, with time in which my mind can wander its native paths. For others, that may look like I’m spacing out or just really weird. For me, it’s the silence in which I hear the whispers of the universe, infinitely informing, deeply relaxing, and the wellspring of my vitality and energy.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Love that, cathytea: “…the silence in which I hear the whispers of the universe, infinitely informing,…”

  13. Nimue Brown Avatar
    Nimue Brown

    I like my brain best when it’s sauntering about free range. but, when I’m working, or want to be really involved in something I also have the scope for super-focus. I can do things quickly, and I can hyper-focus for hours, but by the end of it I’m just a limp rag. I spent a lot of time feeling silly because most people with normal work lives don’t seem to get so wiped out… but coming round to thinking this may not be a fair way to measure things.

    1. cathytea Avatar

      I posted my response before I read yours, and once I read yours, I realized I could’ve just written ”see above”! Yes! Free-range mind!

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for this example, Nimue. How do we measure a free range mind?? What does super-focus look like??

      1. Nimue Brown Avatar
        Nimue Brown

        Not sure on the first one. On the second one, I think the average attention span is about twenty minutes, so being able to concentrate fully for an hour or more? I know when I’m doing it, and I don’t know how to articulate the difference. It feels like my brain is working in an entirely different way when i enter that kind of space.

    3. cmd1122 Avatar

      Hi Nimue. I love the beautiful image of a brain “sauntering about free range” (how exhilarating)!! Don’t measure how wiped out you feel after work with how you think other people feel (maybe they don’t have as much energy as you think they do). Also, maybe what you tend to do after work is very different from what many people tend to do and requires more focus and brain power than the average (?).

      I relate to what you say about hyper-focus. It is so hard not to hyper-focus until complete exhaustion when doing something I find meaningful. Setting timers on my phone to remind myself to eat, refill my glass with water, get up and stretch/go out for fresh air and even to go to the bathroom are helpful–though sometimes I turn off the timer and continue working away until I realize that the timer beeped for a good reason! Being strict with my max bedtime in a particularly creative period is key to ensure adequate sleep, but a constant struggle, nonetheless. I have said way too many times to friends, “I’ll sleep when I die”.

      After work, a brisk walk, a hearty snack, a shower, comfy clothes and music to clear my headspace allow me to feel energized for what I want to dive into. Though, honestly, many evenings I am too tired to truly delve into what I want to; there is just not enough high-quality energy and brain focus capability left. So that has me rearranging my schedule some days to allow time for what I enjoy before I head to work (playing an instrument–with a mute for the sake of my neighbours– or reading for a solid hour). Or I leave the evening kitchen clean up until after I’ve played an instrument to make the most of every minute of moderate energy I have left before giving into menial tasks that I can do when sleepy.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thank you for sharing your specific examples, cmd1122. Very helpful.

      2. Nimue Brown Avatar
        Nimue Brown

        Thanks for this. I think figuring out when to take breaks is going to be key for me…

  14. FredB Avatar

    Overthinking is my superpower.

    A tweet from Dec 28.

  15. Iowan42 Avatar

    Giftedness doesn’t help, for sure, but it is part of the world that people will try to knock you down. Giftedness encourages them, though. You’re probably scaring them.

  16. Carla Padua Avatar
    Carla Padua

    Reblogged this on Altas Capacidades y el universo de una mente de Selva Tropical and commented:
    Simplemente revelador

  17. Carla Padua Avatar
    Carla Padua

    Uff! Hola Paula! Feliz año que comienza. cargado de proyectos y expectativas. Tus libros, los cuales amo, los leo con calma, con las dificultades de no manejar el idioma y las limitaciones de los traductores online… Pero realmente LOS AMO!… Leí el artículo y pensé que la primera parte era yo hablando… ¿qué si se me estalla por las costuras? hace tiempo que es un flujo insilenciable de ideas, argumentos, sueños, posibilidades, escenarios, diálogos… es un permanente Big Bam… a veces difícil. Pero creo que lo que lo hace más duro es tratar de limitarlo. Uso la meditación y los mantras para tranquilizarlo, porque a veces pienso, literalmente, hasta que duele, pero es maravilloso saber que no es que no soy humana, sino que SOY ESTE TIPO DE HUMANA, y se cuánto puedo dar, y donde me ha tocado dar sola, brillo al máximo. Pero la sociedad nos exige “bajar el nivel” y es frustrante. Mi tarea para este año y mi propuesta? Creo que explota por las costuras, porque no le damos espacio para fluir, para ser, estamos desgatadas en ser lo que otros esperan que sea y no nos escuchamos, por eso nuestro cerebro grita… Un poco de calma para que podamos dar espacio, camino y sentido a lo que nuestra voz interior tiene para decirnos. Es tremendamente revelador.
    Abrazo Fraterno a ti, amiga Paula, y a todos mis hermanos RFM…

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank heaven for Google translate!! Thank you, Carla. Our Spanish speakers will appreciate your comment. As do I. Glad you’ve enjoyed my books. I’d love to find a publisher who wants to translate into Spanish.

    2. cmd1122 Avatar

      My translation of Carla Padua’s above comment. (Note: Carla used a neat word, ‘insilenciable’, which I’ve translated as ‘impossible to silence’ to try and capture the depth of what I think she meant rather than ‘unsilenciable’).
      Wow! Hi Paula! Happy New Year to the year that is starting, packed with projects and expectations. Your books, which I love, I read with calmness (with the difficulties of not dominating the language and the limitations of online translators)…But I really LOVE THEM! … I read the article and I thought that the first part was me speaking… What if I am bursting at the seams? It has long been a while since I’ve had a flow of ideas, arguments, dreams, possibilities, scenes, dialogues that is impossible to silence….it is a permanent Big Bang…sometimes difficult. But I believe that what makes it harder is trying to limit it. I use meditation and mantras to calm it, because I sometimes think, literally, until the point that it hurts, but it is wonderful to know that it is not that I am not human, but rather that I AM THIS TYPE OF HUMAN, and I know how much I can give, and where I have [had] to do things on my own, I shine to the maximum. But society demands us to “lower the level” and it is frustrating. My task for this year and my proposal? I think it is to explode at the seams, because we don’t give the space to flow, to be; we are worn down by being whatever others expect and we don’t listen to ourselves, that’s why our brain screams… A bit of tranquility so that we may give space, a path and meaning to what our inner voice has to tell us. It is tremendously revealing.
      A Fraternal Hug to you, friend Paula, and to all my RFM brothers…

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thank you, cmd1122 for this translation and thank you Carla!

        1. cmd1122 Avatar

          My pleasure, Paula. It was a fun bedtime activity and I also discovered Carla’s blog. I enjoy returning to your blog before bed when the night is quiet, and the flurry of the day has finally passed. Giving myself time to ponder the lives of others, reflect on my own, write in my journal and wrap myself up in waves of music …to just be… allows me to recharge and calm my mind before drifting off to sleep. Knowing there are other humans out there similar to me is wildly reassuring, especially on those days when I am drained. There are many reasons to feel drained, on many vastly different levels, but your blog helps me improve my ‘defense mechanisms’.

      2. Carla Padua Avatar
        Carla Padua

        Muchas gracias por la traducción!… si imposible de silenciar… así que lo mejor es aprender a escucharlo, darle orden y acuerdo… dejar que fluya y prestar más atención hacia dentro de nosotros mismos que hacia fuera….!

        1. cmd1122 Avatar

          De nada 🙂 Debo aprender de ti en dejar que todo fluya. Presto mucha atención por lo que pasa afuera, y siempre me ha costado prestar atención a mí misma, y más por prestar atención por lo que pasa dentro de mí (el yoga me ayuda).
          Es increíble cómo logras ser madre soltera y aún prestar atención por lo que pasa adentro, más aún dado la situación en tu país. Bueno, igual me imagino que es algo necesario para evitar de no explotar, jaja.
          (No soy madre y hasta ahora la idea de tener a mis propios hijos no me atrae tanto. Admiro a las madres, pero a mí me gusta mi independencia y tener tiempo para proyectos y arte, y para involucrarme en actividades en mi comunidad).
          Te mando buenas vibras y espero que las cosas mejoren pronto en tu país.

          1. Carlita Avatar

            Namasté!… tengo a mi favor, haber iniciado la maternidad al tiempo en que quise hacerlo, es una aventura maravillosa (no con las ideas de las revistas, sino con nuestro propio caleidoscopio), pero mientras no te sientas parte de esa aventura, las otras aventuras también son geniales. Y lo de fluir, bueno, no imagines que es un estado de iluminación permanente, sino más bien una tarea de cada día… con altos y bajos… pero a la hora de resumir creo que ayuda resumir un poco y sobre todo, priorizar. No te dejes divagar por las ramas, o terminas con crisis existencial… Un día a la vez.
            Yo también espero que mi país mejore, pero bueno, al final estoy decidida ha recrear mi vida a la versión de lo que soy yo realmente… Ojalá puedan acompañarme en ese viaje, pues será excelente poder compartir con personas con quien coincida existencialmente…

            1. cmd1122 Avatar

              Gracias por los buenos consejos, Carlita y perdón por la demora (parece ayer que leí tu comentario).

              jaja…creo que si fluir fuera un estado permanente, la vida sería tal vez hasta aburrida. Y bueno, ya he intentado divagar demasiado por las ramas y sí que resultó (en varias ocasiones) en crisis existenciales. Gracias por recordarme de no hacer así de nuevo (probablemente lo voy a hacer en algún momento, pero entiendo mejor cómo controlar los altos y bajos, y permitirme –sin juzgarme– mis tiempos de creatividad, de solitud, de optar por no ver a personas que me trasmiten mala energía y me critiquen demasiado). También cambié de trabajo hace 8 meses, lo que me permite más tiempo libre y creativo, para varias actividades que me llenan el alma, sobre todo aprender el cello.
              Somos felices de acompañarte en este viaje, me imagino que por eso somos tantos que seguimos el blog de Paula, para acompañarnos a la distancia, sentirnos un poco más conectados a algo tan difícil de identificar y nombrar y explicar a la gran mayoría de la gente… Leer palabras que afirman que somos dignos de explorar quiénes somos en el fondo y no sentirnos tan miedosos, ni tan locos, al hacerlo. Y a aprovechar de cada día para crecer y ‘poner nuestro granito de arena’ en este mundo de locura a la vez.

              Thanks for the good advice, Carla, and sorry for the delay (it seems like yesterday that I read your comment).
              haha…I think if flowing were a permanent state life would maybe even be boring. And well, I have already tried to ‘wander too much down the branches’ and yes that resulted (in several occasions) in existential crises. Thank you for reminding me not to do that again (I will probably do it at some point, but I understand better how to control the ups and downs, and allow myself –without judging myself– creative, solitary times, and times to choose not to see people who transmit bad energy and criticize me too much). I also changed jobs 8 months ago, which allows me more free and creative time for various activities that fill my soul, especially learning the cello.
              We are happy to accompany you on this trip, I imagine that is why we are so many to follow Paula’s blog, to accompany each other from a distance, feel a little more connected to something so difficult to identify and name and explain to the vast majority of people…Read words that affirm that we are worthy to explore who we are in the background and to not feel so fearful, or so crazy, in doing so. And take advantage of each day to grow and ‘put our grain of sand’ in this world of madness at the same time.

              1. cmd1122 Avatar

                ahhh…too sleepy… *to explore who we are deep inside* (not ‘in the background’, haha…though this blog let’s us explore who we turn into in the background when we are not in the ‘right’ place with the ‘right’ folks doing the ‘right’ activity–whatever/whomever that may be!)

                1. Paula Prober Avatar
                  Paula Prober


  18. Jessie Avatar

    Paula, I relate to this so much. Thank you for articulating it so well! I realized I had racked up traditional achievements only to prove that I could, to all the people who discouraged me from being the way you describe here. But it didn’t make me happy. I need my multiple projects, and I’m prouder of those than the traditional achievements.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, Jessie. So important to discover who you really are and what feeds your soul.

  19. unschoolingNL Avatar

    You are a Guide. With a capital G. The Gifted Guide. I am so thankful I found you 💖

  20. Robin D Geohegan Avatar
    Robin D Geohegan

    Excellent, as always! One thing that struck me was “if you have difficulty making decisions because you are so aware of the multitudes, layers, and implications, you might begin to imagine that your way of thinking is lacking.” This is me! How do you manage to work with this and actually make big decisions?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      For big decisions, I’d say, develop your intuitive abilities. Learn how to distinguish between your thinking and your intuition. This isn’t easy but RFMs are often quite intuitive. So it could be a matter of exploring how you best access that part of you. Meditation? Yoga? Guided writing? Breathwork? Shamanic journeying? Journal writing? Guided imagery? There are many ways. Here is more on the topic. https://yourrainforestmindbbwpc.wpcomstaging.com/2014/08/28/gifted-adults-decisions/ And here’s another: https://yourrainforestmindbbwpc.wpcomstaging.com/2014/08/21/why-decisions-are-difficult/ It can help just to know why decisions are so hard and analyzing the level of importance of the situation/decision. Working with your perfectionism can also help.

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