A CASIGY™ IS . . .
Creative, Curious, Complex
Intense, likely Introverted, possibly Intuitive and/or
Gifted. Does This Describe
Then you may be a CASIGY™!
Do you have a vivid imagination? — pervasive curiosity? —a strong need to know that’s not easily satisfied? —a complex inner life? Do you notice many things that others don’t? Do you have heightened senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight? Are you quickly bored? Are you easily overstimulated? Do you have intense physiological or emotional responses? Do you have a need for solitude? Do your best thoughts often come when you’re alone? Do you think quickly, often on several tracks at once? Do you thrive on challenge? Do you have extraordinary abilities AND vulnerabilities? The more of these questions you answered YES to, the more likely it is that you might find that the acronym CASIGY™ describes you.
As a creative, acutely aware, super sensitive, intense, introverted, gifted person, you may sometimes feel like an alien from another planet. You may not encounter very many others like you; making and keeping friends or relating to others at work or school can be a challenge. Others might think, and sometimes tell you “You’re over-reacting. You’re too sensitive; you’re too intense” or “You think too much.” After a while, you may begin to believe them.
But wait; did you know that as a CASIGY™, your central nervous system is more finely tuned than most? As one health professional said to me as he stitched the end of my finger, “Your nerve endings must be right on the surface.” Yes, indeed; about 20% of every species have a significantly more sensitive central nervous system, according to Elaine Aron. She did research about high sensitivity and created the term, Highly Sensitive Person, HSP for short. Gifted people are described as the most intelligent 3 to 10% of the population. High sensitivity is widely identified as a common characteristic of Gifted people. Elaine Aron takes issue with this perspective, as she has encountered many highly intelligent people, including her husband, who are not highly sensitive. Maybe those gifted people who are not highly sensitive don’t have the same difficulties in life as those who are sensitive, or don’t seek self- help materials, or don’t come for counseling; all I know is that in the literature I have encountered, and in my clinical experience, gifted people are likely the most highly sensitive of us all.
Other characteristics of being a CASIGY™ also include acute awareness, creativity, curiosity, complexity, intensity and often introversion. Each one of these characteristics by itself can be challenging to live with. Put them all together, and it can seem impossible to live a normal life. But what is normal? When you live your whole life outside the norm, must normalcy be determined by the larger group or even by your tiny subgroup, or can you set your own definitions of normalcy? We all start life with normalcy being defined by those around us; part of our growth and development can hopefully be growing so we are each able to identify for ourselves what is ‘normal’ for each of us.
Another way of looking at this is that if you were a CASIGY™ horse you would be more like a race horse than a plow horse. A race horse is internally driven to race, thrives on racing and pines when not given a chance to race. A race horse also needs peace and quiet between races, startles easily, and can be flighty. Our society has a much greater need for plow-horse type people than for race horse type people. This creates great pressure, even if it’s subtle, to fit in to meet those needs. But if you’re born a CASIGY™ and try to be “normal”, you’ll be about as happy and well-adjusted as a race horse hooked up to a plow.
Curious people want to know things, have a drive to learn and discover new things. You wonder about things, have questions that don’t occur to others, and are inquisitive to an extent that others aren’t. The discrepancy between a “normal” level of curiosity and that of CSIGYS can lead to you being considered too nosey, too impertinent, and too curious. It can also lead to you making new discoveries, inventions, and great innovations.
Creative people have an abundance of ideas, think outside of the box (box? what box?), often have many interests, are sometimes driven by your creativity. Creative people invent things or have ideas about what you want to make or invent (or what you want someone else to invent). You often find that originality and uniqueness is very important to you. You want to draw, paint, cook, sew, knit, carve, write or make music, dance, take photographs, whittle, weld or in general, create things. Creative people often feel like you’re living in a desert if you are not involved in a creative process somewhere in your life.
Introverts get energized by solitary pursuits and enervated by being around large groups of people. Introverts have a few close friends, while extroverts often have many friends and acquaintances. Introverts often do more listening than talking, while extroverts love to talk. Introverts use different, longer, neuron pathways in the brain, so that it takes you longer to complete your thoughts. This explains your dislike of being interrupted and also sometimes creates what I call “delayed intelligence” when you (hours or days) later think of what you wish you could have said. In the United States about 49% of the population is extraverted, which means 51% is introverted. However, in the gifted population, about 75% of gifted people are introverts and only 25% are extraverts.
Gifted people are highly intelligent, often creative, curious, complex, highly sensitive, intense, introverted people. Gifted people may also have asynchronous development—high levels of ability that far outstretch the norm, and at the same time may have other areas that are equally below the norm as the high levels are above the norm. This can also be connected with what is called being Twice Exceptional (2E) or having Multiple Exceptionalities. The cognitive dissonance that this creates is tremendous, and has a profound ripple effect in the lives and families of 2E people.
The combination of the above situations often creates a great chasm of disconnect between you and others around you, sometimes even those in your families. This is especially true when none or only part of this asynchronous development is recognized and dealt with.
When creative, highly sensitive, introverted, gifted people face adversity, illness, tragedy or loss, or stresses such as life transitions, work stress, relationship concerns, parenting problems, anxiety,or depression, you seem to be more affected by them than are less sensitive, less intense people. As a CASIGY, you can quickly and easily feel like your feet have been pulled out from under you. It can be tough to know what to do to get them back under you again. And when you notice that these things seem to affect others around you much less than they affect you, feelings of inferiority and inadequacy can quickly creep in to add to your distress.
Don’t let me forget to mention that when CASIGYs™ struggle with mental health issues, you sometimes have difficulty getting help that is relevant to your needs. You find that you may be misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and mislabeled. This only adds to the list of concerns you started with, and intensifies your anxiety, depression, and low self esteem or whatever it is that is haunting you. And if you, your child or teen or other loved one is 2E, or Twice Exceptional, then all of the above gets compounded.
Ok, enough already! By now it is painfully obvious that the characteristics that others often believe give CASIGYs™ an unfair advantage in life, instead may make your life more complex and challenging. But it’s not all bad news. You’ll be happy to know that –
Being A CASIGY™ Doesn’t Have to be a Downer
The good news is that your Awareness, Creativity, Curiosity, Complexity, Sensitivities, Intensities and Vulnerabilities don’t have to run or ruin your life. You CAN become fully alive and fulfill your true CASIGY™ destiny. But how do you do that? There are specific skill sets that can help CASIGYs™ heal, thrive and prosper. These skill sets include these
- Finding the Magic in being a CASIGY™ MisFit: You can
- learning to cope with your exceptionalities
- healing from your wounds
- maximizing your CASIGY™ strengths transforming your liabilities into your greatest assets
- Balancing your CASIGY™ awareness, sensitivity, creativity, complexity, intensity and over-excitability.
- Recovering from the adversity that troubles you while harvesting the benefits hidden deeply within it.
- Discovering your Purpose and Mission and fulfilling your unique Destiny.
Sharon M. Barnes, MSSW, LCSW is attuned to your unique CASIGY™ needs. She’ll help you release your creativity and channel it toward your goals. She’ll help you to develop skills and strength that will enhance your inner life, relationships and work. She provides powerful Tips, Tools and Training to help you discover your own CASIGY™ pathway to joy, healing and fulfillment. Sharon will accompany you on your pilgrimage through the wilderness of self-discovery until you reach your chosen Destination of Delight, if you choose to have her do so.
She would love to hear from you. You may call her at (USA) 303-987-0346 or email her.
© 2012-2015 Sharon M. Barnes, LCSW, PLLC