DEPRESSION IN BRIGHT CHILDREN
The bright child’s innate traits of perfectionism, sensitivity, intensity, abstract thinking, and concerns about moral issues makes them prone to existential questioning and, at times, depression.
Existential depression arises when an individual theoretically reflects on certain concerns of existence. Yalom (1980) identifies four ultimate concerns: death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. There are a variety of circumstances, from reading a book to experiencing the death of a loved one, that can trigger existential depression. Children may contemplate questions such as:
“Is there any purpose to my life?”
“Why do people do one thing and say another?”
“How much difference in the world can one person make?”
Depressive Disorders are generally characterized by a sad or depressed mood coupled with a loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities. A depressed child may also display sleep problems, a change in appetite, low motivation, low energy and express feelings of worthlessness, guilt and despair. A child verbalizing suicidal ideation and exhibiting identified symptoms should be taken seriously and immediately assessed by a professional trained in this area.