Intelligence is perhaps one of the most significant results of evolution that humans have received. This unseen ability has allowed us to rise to the top of the food chain, and over the course of thousands of years become highly advanced species creating such intricate systems and complex structures. While some of our work with average intelligence, some people seem to be gifted with unparalleled amounts of mental capability that we simply consider them geniuses. But what seems like a blessing to us, may not be without its drawbacks, as most geniuses suffered from a psychological disorder.
What is a Genius?
While geniuses do possess a high IQ, it is not just about the numbers. Genius is someone who shows exceptional ability to think outside the box, be creative, highly self-aware, and even ask questions about life that most simply never think of. While all these aspects make a person excel in life, they also induce multiple kinds of mental disorders that have been observed in most geniuses. Most famous people like Sir Isaac Newton and Ludwig Von Beethoven suffered from depression.
Geniuses and Mental disorders
It is no surprise that these two aspects are related. Aristotle, a famous greek philosopher even stated this phenomenon as “There is no genius without having a touch of madness” and throughout history, many studies have been conducted resulting in similar observations.
- Inner Conflict: Even though smart people have contributed immensely to the betterment of our lives and their knowledge was vital in order to create the world as we know of today, their inner world was not the same. As much as they have improved the world for others their own mind became worse. Psychologists today believe one reason why it happens is because of the contradictions they have within their minds. For each and every single event in their lives, they ask if it could’ve turned out a different way or they think of alternates of the circumstances and the problems that would’ve surfaced with new circumstances as well. While the average person never thinks of the alternate possibilities or questions why things unfolded the way they happened, geniuses on the other hand question everything. “What if?” has always been a big part of their lives, and due to that, there’s always constant friction of thoughts occurring within them that leads to mental issues.
- Unable to Connect: It is seen that another common trait among smart people is that they all find it extremely difficult to connect with others. As they don’t feel the world around them but they think it in their head, they usually lack empathy. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t understand the pain of others, they do but they just can’t seem to express their concern or comfort others in a traditional and more accepting way. Additionally, when it comes to connecting with people their thought pattern doesn’t match with anyone and sometimes they even begin to question what they mean to others and others to them. This leads them to isolate themselves when not needed. As humans are highly social beings not socializing even if a person doesn’t like it has negative effects on our mental health and over a long time it takes its toll.
- Self-Aware: Most of us live our lives without even asking the question of who we are? or what does our existence even means? These questions that demand to know the very basis of existence only arise once a person is suffering through extreme times and their overall view of the world becomes negative. Unfortunately, all of the geniuses at some point in their lives had asked this question themselves. Perhaps they all had a bleak perspective of the world. Still, they all had a great understanding of themselves, their likes and dislikes. One can even say they knew so much about them that they fail to find any reason to explore more and tend to develop depression.
- Intellectual Overexcitability: First time this term was used by a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski. During his clinical observations, he noticed that the people with higher IQ seem to have higher neurotically allergic that cause nervousness which seems to be absent in average IQ people. He also saw that these individuals have a very unique and heightened way of reacting to the world especially in their imagination. He also noticed that these people were the ones who had symptoms of neuroses, such as anxiety and depression.
- Creativity: As it is established that geniuses are highly creative people. Though creativity is what makes them who they are and they are able to utilize it properly, having such a creative brain also translates to other problems as well. Having the ability to create within the mind is exceptional but since the mind is something that cannot be controlled by most, it creates chaos within itself. It can be understood by the example of painting ironically, as it is up to the artist to paint a beautiful picture or madness onto the canvas it is the same with the creative individual. However, even with such amounts of intelligence mind cannot be controlled which results in madness, disorders such as depression, and anxiety are common among them.
Though there are other factors as well that contribute to mental illnesses in smart people, these are the main aspects that affect them the most. While there are still some studies that have found no correlation between intelligence and mental disorders and people stand by that, other studies and observations cannot be ignored. Even if we take into consideration that being a genius doesn’t translate to mental illness, the fact is that pretty much all of the geniuses were psychologically ill which cannot be overlooked. Overall, it would be fine to say that intelligence and psychological disorders are related.