When you have a rainforest mind, you have an extraordinarily active thinking, feeling, imagining, designing, questioning, intuiting, seeking, wondering, worrying personhood. This rainforest (gifted!) phenomenon is not only a mind-thinking thing. It includes all of who you are.
(If it had not been too cumbersome, I would have called it rainforest mind-heart-body-spirit-soul.)
Many of my clients tell me they feel overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of thoughts and feelings. The constant intense drive to create, to question, to understand. The constant highest standards and raising of the bar. For many, it can feel like mania or obsession with no end in sight.
This can be disconcerting, disheartening, and discombobulating. Right? (Not to mention exhausting…but I could not think of a ‘dis’ word for exhausting…)
If you are a parent of one of these children, well, you know what I am talking about. But this does not end when you turn 21. You are rainforest-minded for life.
That is the good news although on some days it may feel like the bad news.
How, then, do you cope? How do you manage such intensity, especially during such tumultuous times? How do you explain to friends and family that you are not able to simmer down, or relax, or slow down, or chill in the typical ways that
muggles most people do.
Well. Here are some ideas.
First of all, understand that this level of intense personhood is normal for you. Self-understanding and self-acceptance form the foundation of managing your multitudes.
Then, you will need to find your unique techniques for soothing yourself, for calming your mind-body when it goes into a worry-overdrive or when you step over a line into a self-critical having-to-prove-your-worth zone. Or even just when you need some down time because your body can not handle what your mind wants to produce.
Make a list. It might include: Being aware of what foods rev you up or calm you down. Cuddling with your pup or kitty. Deep breathing. Time in nature. Herbal remedies. Essential oils. Talking to a friend who gets you. Dancing/Exercising. Therapy. Accupuncture. Naturopathy. Baking bread. Playing music. Listening to music. Draw/paint. Journal. Warm baths. Tea. An emotional support sweater. Reiki or other energy work. Singing. Spiritual practices, rituals, and ceremonies. Meditation. Tapping. Reading. Healing touch. Screaming expletives in your car.
What else might you add to the list? Your list may need to be very long. You may need to work with several practitioners for different needs.
How do you explain this to friends and family? Other than explaining the rainforest mind concept (show them the quiz?), you can reflect their concerns back to them in your typically empathetic way and then let them know you have a particularly active and complex brain-body and a uniquely wired nervous system. You tell them you know it can be overwhelming for them, as it can be for you. But, you are gaining greater self-understanding so that you might know your most effective paths to inner peace and well-being while also giving yourself permission to be as creative, curious, and expressive as you need to be.
If this does not work, find them a good therapist. Seriously, in some cases, they may not get it or get you. It may mean you have to decide how much time and energy to put into the relationship. (This is a complicated topic and requires its own post.)
And, yes, there are people who are twice-exceptional and who do have ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder, and other learning differences, plus giftedness. So, you may need to explore what 2e is if you are worried that your overwhelm is even beyond the normal gifted range and if the tools on your list never seem to be enough.
In my experience, though, your disconcerting, disheartening, exhausted discombobulation is more likely to come from the misunderstanding of your true nature and from not having the tools to manage and navigate in your extraordinary rainforest body-mind-heart-spirit-soul.
Know that you can find your way to less overwhelm and more combobulation. You can gain a more grounded inner peace while still passionately following your dreams. And, on those more difficult days, I will be right there with you, screaming expletives in my car.
To my bloggEEs: Tell us about your experiences of overwhelm and how you handle them. Sending you so much love and appreciation.