This blog is written by Lee Collins, an Ambassador for Potential Plus UK. He talks honestly here, as a former child with high learning potential, about his feelings of detachment growing up.
Looking back I suppose I always felt a little bit separate from my friends and family; it’s not something that I’ve really picked up on until relatively recently and it does cause me to ponder who I really am at times. I have always had a large social circle but I have always kept a little of myself back, I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s something I have definitely recognised within myself, and it does at times cause me to feel slightly uncomfortable with who I am.
I can easily go long periods of time without speaking to friends or family and think nothing of it. Admittedly, this has at times caused some surprise, and the odd uncomfortable encounter, when I’ve gotten in touch with friends after months and years have passed; but to me the passing of time doesn’t seem important and certainly doesn’t affect or change how I feel about someone. I’m really not sure what people make of this; I guess they must still like me to an extent as people always seem happy when they see me. My wife tends to say that people feel I am a bit distant, can be somewhat analytically cold and not really that interested in ‘them’. But this isn’t the case at all, I am very interested in all my friends and family and care deeply about them all; but I’m just not interested at all in light-hearted, superficial conversation. If we were to get into a conversation of a serious, important or deep subject then I’d more than happily apply some brain power to it, but light-hearted inconsequential natterings only serve to sap my energy and leave me feel exhausted and detached.
I think this is perhaps the cause of the misunderstanding.
And to me it is a misunderstanding and not a problem, although I do now understand and accept that for some it is a problem; their feelings range from a feeling of being disliked through to having nothing of value worth listening to; I understand that now.
But still I struggle to do anything about it.
It’s a constant daily battle to force myself to join in, it perhaps doesn’t help that I am also an introvert, so tend to recharge through periods of solace rather than group communion. Clearly, informal and relaxed social gatherings are not easy for me; nor, I expect, for anyone else who has to contend with me being there; visible, known to most, if not all, but eternally on the periphery and somewhat detached.
A strange thing has happened recently though; I now seem to find myself seeking people out and engaging in conversation, admittedly there isn’t much talk of the weather or Eastenders happenings, and to be truthful some have found my subject selection somewhat too deep and serious to reciprocate. But it’s surprising how many return the conversation. It gives me hope that there are more of us than I first thought and that we aren’t as odd as the media would have us believe we are; which, actually, I feel is largely a part of the problem with society these days: we simply accept and care too much about what people say about us.
For the gifted, this is akin to an unwinnable game of double jeopardy. Do we speak what is on our minds and risk drawing attention, or ridicule, to ourselves? Or keep shtum and risk appearing at best disinterested, at worst aloof? Perhaps with age comes a certain recklessness but I think we have to throw caution to the wind and speak up; otherwise what’s the point in being able to see things in ways not able to be seen by others?