I often have conversations and/or responses to articles etc… via facebook, forums, groups etc… that I intend to transfer over to my blog ( and often even state that intent once my responses/ thoughts on things evolve into length that is more appropriate for blog entries, lol). So, today I am going to try to convert a couple of things over with a few edits to help with the transition.
A few months ago a friend posted this article to my wall, and asked me for my thoughts on it.
Essentially the article discusses studies done on the links between spirtually-minded people, anxiety/ mental disorders, and high levels of intelligence. The point of debate in the article was how mental illness links in—-whether having spiritual understanding makes you more susceptible to mental health issues ( and vice versa), or if it simply is a result of being more aware of the concerns and suffering in the world…. thus creating more worries, and being able to see/ understand things that others do not. Additionally, the article discusses the connection of high-intelligence with those who report having anxiety ( higher the IQ = higher level of anxiety), and whether it is possible that anxiety is actually an “evolutionary advantage” that serves to help to detect threats, danger, know when things are not right etc…. much akin to the instincts and awareness that animals have (studies found those with anxiety were able to detect threat while others could not). All three elements are then connected as the possibility of being psychic/ spiritual gifts, and not really mental disorders…. but rather common factors found in those who have extra-sensory abilities to see and receive information that others cannot—-be it emotional states of others, detecting danger, potential future outcomes and the like. It could be a case similar to how the symptoms/ components of an illness can be recognized, but seen incorrectly as the source, rather than the larger ailment that is missed. Spiritual gifts are not an “ailment”, however I just saw the correlation in how things are sometimes incorrectly labeled when the larger picture is not seen or understood.
So, now that I have summarized, I will transfer over my original posts/ thoughts on the article.
Okay, Lots of thoughts on all of this. I guess I am the right person to ask considering I typically score 142 or higher on IQ tests, am highly empathic/ psychic, and also have anxiety issues, lol. Bare with me, this may span a couple of posts. I can say there definitely are links between all three, but the article definitely is not exact, or true for all circumstances or people.
Firstly, the link between empathic sensitivity and anxiety is VERY real. I have seen this countless times over the years both with people who know they are empathic/ gifted in that way, as well as people who really have no clue that they are because its just a normal/automatic input that they use without really being aware of it. One of the largest signs, symptom whatever you want to call it….. is when people get really antsy/ pressed-in feeling when around a lot of people, even if they normally are an extrovert. It especially is true when around a lot of CRANKY or stressed people (sometimes its a feeling that can result even from being around a single person who gives off negativity, or who maybe poses as some kind of threat to us—-inner alarm bells). The reasons for this is, empaths are like sponges. I myself am VERY good at grounding/ blocking things out etc… however, little trickles get through none the less. So imagine being around a couple hundred stressed-out people ( such as stressed-out holiday shoppers)….that means all those little trickles get absorbed, and add-up. It then creates that pressed-on anxiety feel, even if you initially were fine being around all those people. In reverse, an empath can also pick-up those very same trickles when they are around a lot of happy people—say a performance, sporting event, happy event of some kind…and can gain a “high” of sorts, and be giddy and super happy in a way that is beyond the norm. If you are someone who experiences the obvious mood-response depending on what is around you, that is likely all the more reason to consider that you have empathy rather than anxiety. Warning, Disneyland is NOT the happiest place on earth for empaths ( I love it anyway!)…no matter how happy you are to be there, when you get in those long lines surrounded by tired, irritated, hot, foot-sore people, it just becomes a bit hard to tune-out. Its quite literally a sensory overload of sorts that happens—-imagine it as having high beams turned on right in front of your eyes, or standing right next to massive speakers that make your ears ring. Your body reacts to the over-stimulation, and struggles to process all of it —just as when any other sense is overwhelmed.
Typically, my advice to people who have the issue of anxiety-like responses when their “gifts”/ sensory abilities are overwhelmed….. is to find a place that is either alone, or even just has a greatly reduced number of people. This can be a bathroom, a changing room, a seat that is a bit removed etc…. and take just a few minutes to breathe, focus on letting it go etc…. and then typically it will ease-up/ lift etc….especially if it really was a reaction to receiving too much sensory information. When a light is too bright, or music too loud… you turn it down to ease the reactionary symptoms, right?
However, not all anxiety experienced by those who have spiritual gifts is linked to that sensitivity. My actual anxiety issues are not really connected to extra “sensory” ( for the most part)….for me it is two specific areas that have to do with some past experiences that have created self-protection mechanisms of sorts that are hard to get past even when I want to. Kind of like feeling tethered/ held back, clenching up tight and feeling locked down/ constricted….it can be hard to release it and step forward…even when I want to do so, and when I logically know that I am safe. I typically can differentiate between the sources—–BUT, I am pretty highly self-aware, and not everyone can recognize the source, in fact many people do not even know what it truly is/ where it is coming from etc… thus why some may be confusing generalized, or social anxiety with heightened sensory input/ gifts.
There are two things mentioned in the article as being common for those who have spiritual gifts. Neither of which I agree with (or have seen) and I know many who are in this category (of having gifts). There are a lot of misconceptions out there, which is why I think many people are quiet, or even scared to explore/ develop themselves in that area—meaning, because of fears of how others will react, what they will think of them etc…I know that I personally have received very negative responses from people throughout my life, often those who I could have helped had they been open to simply considering, rather than just labeling me as being “nuts” (even when things I have shared were revealed to be true). I have been professionally helping people with my gifts for years, been involved with psychic crime studies, and have thousands of five star ratings and feedback detailing accuracy, how I have helped them etc.. yet I still feel hesitant in sharing that part of myself with everyone due to the risk of negative reactions, and the assumption that I am lying or crazy. The same is true of everyone else like myself that I know, and its not fair that people cause us to doubt our own selves, and even feel ashamed of our gifts that help bring clarity and healing to others. It is backwards. These issues contribute to stigmas, confusion etc..and why sometimes those who are gifted get labeled as something else, struggle in the dark, and fear if they speak of certain things they are experiencing others will think they are crazy…. and sometimes they themselves even fear that they are.
I have not personally seen a link with mental disorders and those who are gifted (other than the connection with anxiety/ over-stimulation). In fact, its usually the complete opposite. Spiritual workers typically are people who are very loving, grounded, stable, highly intelligent, and have a greater understanding of how things, people etc.. tick…and thus why so many essentially become “healers”, and a help to others. I have however noticed a special “connection” via my own experiences and conversations. Many with gifts seem to have experienced hardships when very young, so I do think there could be a link there. It may be due to having had to develop and depend on extra sensory to determine threats, moods, bad people etc… to keep ourselves safe. Some people speculate that it could be a form of being “marked”, “blessed” etc… in some special way, and thus maybe the trials etc… were a training ground of some kind to help us develop the use of our gifts, and thus combined with what is learned from the hardships— the ability to in turn help others. Again, its only speculation, but… I can say that I have often discovered that the things I learned might not have appeared to result in a gain for my personal life, but rather gave me knowledge that has instead impacted/ helped with countless other lives…. and to me that is the larger blessing, and has given me immense comfort, and even peace regarding understanding the “why” behind things, as well as has strengthened my faith. Sorry if that is a bit left-field, but just sharing some personal experiences and insights regarding possible connections and reasons for those who have spiritual gifts…. really, there is no way to be sure, but for myself, even if people think that I am a string-short of a full lute, I know what is true, and I have seen how much those gifts have helped, and affected others in positive ways. I even feel kind of selfish and conceited in a way to take credit—it is just different than say, with singing, or drawing, even though I have spent years learning how to hone, be open, trust what comes to me etc…
Another misconception is that those who have gifts are a bit “out there”….believe in crazy things, surround themselves in incense and crystal balls, and are not really in touch with reality. Wrong. The only people I have seen do this were those who actually were not really genuinely gifted, but rather either wanting to make others think they were for whatever reason ( and thus thinking due to misconceptions that is how one acts/ pretends), or because they truly had some kind of mental condition that had them out of touch and believing nonsensical things. These are the types that make those in the spiritual community groan when they pop-up, because not only does it feed misconceptions, but it also typically means others will have to mop-up the damage they create in misleading people who turn to them for help. In general, most of the spiritually-gifted that I have interacted with actually feel deeper connections to their chosen religion/ beliefs due to their experiences, are well-grounded, and are otherwise just regular people…. your neighbor, that nice lady at church, your third-grade teacher….. it really is indiscriminate. Its usually not something people sought or created, it just happened.
Intelligence. Yes, it does link to both anxiety and gifts. Often those who are very intelligent have the need to debate, look at all angles, solve puzzles, prepare for all possibilities etc….I know I do. Sometimes the more we know, and the more we look at things…the harder it is to just leap. Instead, far more likely to have stress, feel held back, worry about a multitude of consequences that can be seen etc…. its part of the draw back of being able to see, and understand the larger picture, and the grinding wheels behind it all. I see these issues even with my very intelligent clients, they often are more likely to feel anxious about making their choices…. in part because they tend to put more weight/ importance on things, and over-think all of it. Thus comes the phrase, ” too smart for your own good”. It happens. It can have draw backs in personal lives–especially when people over-think, and complicate their own feelings, reactions, and communications with others ( *cough* guilty*cough*). As for those with gifts, they too often are very intelligent, and have the ability to see beyond, into, how and why things and people click, how to solve issues etc…. for me, I often feel like I am interpreting and untangling internal individual languages, and sorting through the multitude of layers people build-up within themselves. It essentially is code deciphering at times….. not sure how else to explain it…we all interpret our gifts in different ways. Additionally, interpreting dreams, and other messages that can come in the form of symbols, representations etc…requires a special understanding/ intelligence etc.. as well.
As for mental disorders other than anxiety linking to intelligence and having gifts….. I really cannot say. Though I had ptsd a decade ago, that was circumstantial and not due to natural wiring or chemistry ( and my two specific areas of anxiety stem from that in ways as well). I actually am a naturally calm person who leans towards being positive, cheerful ( I rarely get mad, do not like to fight/ raise voice) etc… and I do not have depression issues. I can see how for those who are deep thinkers though, it could be perhaps easier to get sucked down within. I personally think it just really depends on the individual, and various other factors that determine the pre-disposition for those kind of issues.
So, in closing I just want to add… Sometimes the anxiety-like tension ( for those who are gifted) can simply be because you are blocking-out gifts, information, messages etc… that are hammering and pressing away in muddled confusion…and when that is the case, typically what is needed is time alone to get in-touch with yourself…pray, meditate, whatever it is that you need to clear and open yourself into a better place of reception so that you can de-tangle it all, and let the messages through. Many report having anxiety-like experiences, headaches, inability to sleep…etc… when they were denying, and ignoring their gifts/ insights/ revelation ( however you prefer to term it). I have experienced that myself. It does not just go away, it builds-up, and keeps pressing at you until you look at it and accept it….its another one of those things that may sound crazy without having experienced it first hand. The main key to receiving insights/ connecting to your gifts? Trust. You have to be able to completely calm and silence everything else rattling in your head, and go with what initially comes to you without doubt, without twisting it etc….this is one of the reasons those who are gifted struggle with reading for their own selves, or those close to them ( maybe a mechanism to keep things fair?) It sounds so easy, but it is not… trusting ourselves is one of the hardest things to do. When I help people, I kind of step-away from my own self in a way, and try not to second-guess what comes to me…. its kind of like turning pages of a book, only instead its info that just pops in my head. Sometimes it can be hard for me to keep up with it. It never fails… when I am calm, trust, go with it etc.. things that otherwise may sound odd to me, ALWAYS mean something to the person that I am helping. It is the same for when we need to sort out what insights we do receive for our personal lives… have to try to be clear, and trust without layering it with our wants, doubts, desires, concerns etc….When you do receive clearly, you will know. The pressing stops/ lifts, and does not come back. Again, this demonstrates why gifts and anxieties seem so alike each other, connected.. or maybe even one and the same. It is up to the individual to explore and determine.