Archive for the ‘Health and wellness’ Category

A reply to a parent on Salon

March 29, 2014

Salon just published the thoughts of a parent of a profoundly gifted child asking for advice on how to deal with raising a child so far above average. See here for the article.

Here are my thoughts on “How do you give a kid a normal childhood, when his brain is so advanced?”:

You don’t try. He’s not a "normal" child so pretending he is or "not telling him" or "force him to be normal" will make his life worse.

He has gifts. Those should be encouraged. If he really is in the "profoundly gifted" category (about 1 out of every 3 million people – around the 180 IQ level) he will never really fit in so get used to it. He’ll have to get used to it no matter what you do. Recognize his talents and encourage them. Show pride in those talents to counteract all the misery he’ll have for not being "normal"

Realize that the latest studies show that social acceptance tends to drop 1.7% for females and 2.7% for males for every IQ point over 90 (yes, we as a society really do measure popularity on how closely you relate to a low-average IQ) so at a 180 IQ he’ll have had 1/11th the friends as a "normal", 1/11th the positive social relationships. When he gets older he’ll be 1/11th as likely to get dates, 1/11th as likely to have a girlfriend, 1/11th as likely to get invited to parties, etc.

That’s the reality of profoundly gifted people in this society. Pretending there’s a way for him to be treated as "normal" is not only useless but is damaging since you won’t have dealt with the emotional scars left by being so different from the ideal of "normal".

If he is bored in school, work with the school to get him moved up a grade every few years as needed. The argument that "he needs to be in his age group for social acceptance" is complete bull. He will NOT get social acceptance in any age group he’s in so you might as well accept that and stop trying to "fit in" and move to "encourage the extraordinary".

btw: I’m also in that "profoundly gifted" one in 3 million group so this is based on my own expriences.


It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week

December 9, 2010

Help the CDC prevent epidemic and pandemic flu. Get yourself and all of your family over the age of 6 months vaccinated.
Get Vaccinated… It's National Influenza Vaccination Week.

The 12-Stage Burnout Cycle

June 27, 2006

Scientific American MIND for June/July 2006 has a cover story on The Science of Burnout. The article isn’t available online but for anybody in the tech industry it’s worth a read. One item that was of particular interest was their sidebar of The Burnout Cycle. Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North note that the cycles don’t necessarily follow in order and some people skip steps or have more than one at a time but they’re worth looking over…

1 – A compulsion to prove oneself

The beginning is often excessive ambition: their desire to prove themselves at work turns into grim determination and compulsion. They must show their colleagues – and above all themselves – that they are doing an excellent job in every way.

2 – Working harder

To meet their high personal expectations, they take on more work and buckle down. They become obsessed with handling everything themselves, which in turn demonstrates their notions of “irreplaceability.”

3 – Neglecting their needs

Their schedules leave no time except for work, and they dismiss as unimportant other necessities such as sleeping, eating, and seeing friends and family. They tell themselves that these sacrifices are proof of heroic performance.

4 – Displacement of conflicts

They are aware that something is not right but cannot see the sources of their problems. To deal with the root causes of their distress might set off a crisis and is thus seen as threatening. Often the first physical symptoms emerge at this stage.

5 – Revision of values

Isolation, conflict avoidance and denial of basic physical needs change their perceptions. They revise their value systems, and once important things such as friends or hobbies are completely dismissed. Their only standard for evaluation of their self-worth is their jobs. They become increasingly emotionally blunted.

6 – Denial of emerging problems

They develop intolerance, perceiving colleagues as stupid, lazy , demanding or undisciplined. Social contacts feel almost unbearable. Cynicism and aggression become more apparent. They view their increasing problems as caused by time pressure and the amount of work they have – not by the ways they have changed.

7 – Withdrawal

They reduce social contact to a minimum, becoming isolated and walled off. They feel increasingly that they are without hope or direction. They work obsessively “by the book” on the job. May seek release through alcohol or drugs.

8 – Obvious behavioral changes

Others in their immediate social circles can no longer overlook their behavioral changes. The once lively and engaged victims of overwork have become fearful, shy and apathetic. Inwardly, they feel increasingly worthless.

9 – Depersonalization

They lose contact with themselves. They see neither themselves nor others as valuable and no longer perceive their own needs. Their perspective of time narrows to the present. Life becomes a series of mechanical functions.

10 – Inner emptiness

Their inner emptiness expands relentlessly. To overcome this feeling, they desperately seek activity. Overreactions such as exaggerated sexuality, overeating, and drug or alcohol use emerge. Leisure time is dead time.

11 – Depression

In this phase, burnout syndrome corresponds to depression. The overwhelmed people become indifferent, hopeless, exhausted and believe the future holds nothing for them. Any of the symptoms of depression may be manifest, from agitation to apathy. Life loses meaning.

12 – Burnout syndrome

Almost all burnout victims now have suicidal thoughts to escape their situation. A few actually carry them out. Ultimately, they suffer total mental and physical collapse. Patients in this phase need immediate medical attention.

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