existential depression and the gifted

Category: Education

Presentation Description

The presentation outlines the definition and causes of existential depression in individuals with an emphasis on gifted and talented individuals.


Presentation Transcript

Existential Depression and the Gifted:

Existential Depression and the Gifted Jennifer Bennett TEG 500

Slide 2:

It’s very hard to keep your spirits up. You’ve got to keep selling yourself a bill of goods, and some people are better at lying to themselves than others. If you face reality too much, it kills you. ~ Woody Allen

What is Existential Depression?:

What is Existential Depression? A depression “that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence” (Webb 2002). Usually marked by a traumatic event such as a major loss or illness. The person’s understanding of themselves or their place in life disintegrates. Existential depression can happen at any time in a person’s life.

You are not alone.:

You are not alone. A number of prominent people, artists and scholars have experienced existential depression. Ernest Hemmingway Eleanor Roosevelt Charles Dickens Abraham Lincoln

Why do gifted students experience Existential Depression?:

Why do gifted students experience Existential Depression? It is believed that anyone can experience Existential Depression. Gifted youth may be more at risk due to their abilities for substantial thought and reflection. Gifted youth ponder about heavy topics at much younger ages, and can worry about death, their place in the scheme of life, and the inconsistencies around them. Gifted students may feel stress or troubled when they can’t seem to find the necessary answers.

How can we help?:

How can we help? Actively listen to our students and validate their feelings of isolation and confusion. Provide safe havens for discussion. Try to discuss heavy topics in class (death, religion, murder) Use touch to break through feeling of isolation. A hug, a handshake, a high five can establish physical connections for students. Be aware that existential depression can come and go. A student can relapse at any time.

Existential Depression can be a positive experience:

Existential Depression can be a positive experience Provides a time for reflection, introspection, and growth. “In truth, this low-grade and chronic depression is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, It reflects my underlying dissatisfaction with the way things are, with the way I am, and with the way the world is, and it leads me to continue striving to do better in order to give my life meaning and to help others find meaning,” (Webb 2009).

Slide 8:

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates


Resources Webb, J. (2002). Existential depression in gifted individuals. SENG: Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. Retrieved from http://www.sengifted.org/articles_counseling/Webb_ExistentialDepressionInGiftedIndividuals.shtml . Webb, J. (2009). Dabrowski’s theory and existential depression in gifted children and adults. Davidson Institute for Talent Development . Retrieved from http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10554.aspx

authorStream Live Help