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Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope Paperback – September 14, 2013
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"It is the best book on gifted children and adults that has been written in the last ten years. This book should be studied. It should be studied for the wisdom in it and it should also be studied for the beauty of language that is utilized." - Michael F. Shaughnessy, Ph.D., Special Education Professor at Eastern New Mexico University and Consulting Editor for Gifted Education International and Educational Psychology Review "Dr. Webb addresses the subjects with a style that is at once both welcoming and reassuring while at the same time being thought-provoking and inspirational." - Stephanie K. Ferguson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Early College and Director, Program for the Exceptionally Gifted Mary Baldwin College "Another in a long line of not only informative but life-changing contributions by this author to the psychology of what it means, how it feels, and how often it actually hurts, to be gifted. And how to cope with it." - William H. Smith, Ph.D., ABPP (Former Dean, Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences) "An in-depth and sensitive treatment of this very important topic. Searching for Meaning will be an excellent resource for all gifted individuals and the clinicians who work with them." - Jerald Grobman, M.D., Psychiatrist and Senior Supervisor of Psychology Interns at Lenox Hill Hospital "If you are gifted and are constantly searching for meaning, there is no doubt that this is a book for you." - Susan Daniels, Ph.D., Co-Author of Living with Intensity and Professor of Educational Psychology, CSUSB ..".by laying the foundation of why so many bright minds find themselves confronting disillusionment and depression, [Dr. Webb] is then able to build on this understanding to help us climb back into the light." - Suki Wessling of Avant Parenting "Dr. Webb describes issues and feelings that many of us experience, and he provides a way to cope with and accept them... A soothing balm to the whirlwind of emotions experienced by disillusioned bright idealists." - Paul Beljan, PsyD, ABPdN, ABN, Pediatric Neuropsychologist and Co-Author of Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults "Searching for Meaning... gave me an immediate connection to my daughter's struggles with plenty of insight and tools for anyone to make positive life changes... Webb understands his subject deeply and knows how to give valuable advice... I'm recommending Searching for Meaning to [my daughter]-and to you." - Wendy Skinner, teacher and author of the book Life with Gifted Children
From the Inside Flap
Bright idealists often find themselves disillusioned and searching for meaning in today's world. Grasping for answers can lead to existential depression. Searching for Meaning helps idealists understand their quandaries and describes various ways in which they attempt to cope with their disillusionment. Helpful information and suggestions provide courses of action to nurture idealism, hope, happiness, and contentment.
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It was only in her suicide note that she left for us that she let us know that she had been depressed all her life and hid it from us to protect us from it and “to protect myself from it.” She said she would have died years ago but could not bear to put us through this pain but to forgive her that she could wait no longer. She said she was exhausted from the weight of it. One would never dream she was ever depressed much less suicidal.
The reason I wanted to tell the story of my daughter here in my review is to let all of you who read this know that if I had known about existential depression in gifted children, my daughter may still be alive today. Knowing very early in her life that she was exceptionally intelligent, I made sure that she was intellectually stimulated. Our family was full of love and she received love and support from us. But what I did not know is that very intelligent children can have emotional issues that no one would think they would have. They are bright so therefore think more deeply about life and the meaning of everything than other children their age which sometimes makes them feel alone. She never seemed to be lonely, she had friends, and she was involved in so many activities so I never for one moment thought she could ever have depression. I have now learned way too late, that she did have problems, problems I may have recognized had I been aware of what Dr. Webb writes about in his book.
The book describes the unique problems that very bright children can have and explains why they have them. Not only does it give one understanding of this type of problem (existential depression) but on into the book it gives coping mechanisms to help them work through this type depression and find hope. It helps parents to understand and be able to help them.
In my research after my daughter died to find out how someone could never show signs of depression and are highly achieving could take their own life, I came across an article about existential depression in the gifted child by Dr. Webb, which brought me to this book.
This book is for parents of gifted children, their teachers, counselors and for gifted individuals themselves.
I beg anyone that has a gifted child in their life to not assume that since they are so intelligent that they do not have emotional needs and possible emotional problems. We tend to think that their life will all fall into place. Sometimes that is not true.
This book is the most helpful information I have found since my daughter’s suicide that helps me to understand her depression. I only regret I did not know this information many years ago.
This book should be mandatory reading for all teachers, counselors and administrators at all places of education from Kindergarten on through grad school. It’s that important.
1. Age. Consider the stage of brain development of the bright individual, as this affects the way they process information, and therefore, the differences between what they will understand and accept at say, age 21, vs. age 25.
2. Health Issues. Specifically low thyroid and sleep apnea. If anyone, gifted or not, is experiencing prolonged depression, their complete medical condition should be evaluated, particularly thyroid. A full spectrum of thyroid testing should be carried out, as low thyroid is so very often not diagnosed, and yet its symptoms include depression, weight gain, and cognitive loss.
3. Time for grieving. The bright individual who is experiencing this existential depression will likely be unable to 'snap out of it.' Remember, that, as described in this book, this type of depression is related to disillusionment and loss of ideals. This bright individual, typically young, especially young adult, is now facing a profound loss - both internally (they aren't going to be the best at everything) and externally (the world is not the place they thought it was). They need time to process this profound loss, and time to grieve/mourn this loss. This may take years, as in the case of my loved one.
4. Inappropriate and/or ineffectual treatment with antidepressants and/or other mood/thought disorder medications. Perhaps your experience will differ, but in the case of my bright loved one, the experience of going through the typical trial and error process of medicating depression was disheartening. How much better it would have been if the caregivers and professional treatment providers had been familiar with this book by Dr. Webb, so that we could have approached treatment in a more effective manner.
Most recent customer reviews
I will first say that the detailed information on bright people's propensity for being sensitive,...Read more