I care a great deal about all of my reviews that I have gotten on my book on amazon.com. But there is one in particular that I want to share because it is written by James Webb PhD who wrote the book with information in it that I so wish I had known about when Kaitlyn was growing up. He started the organization SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) that helps parents learn about the emotional needs of very intelligent children and help these children as well. The reason I want to post this is because with so many people that I want to reach, the parents and teachers of these children/young adults hold a special place for me…..because so few people think these type of children need any help at all and that can be so wrong. Dr. Webb also let me include an article in my book on this subject as well.
“We know that suicide is devastating to parents, family, and friends. But what if it is your own daughter who never gave you any indication that she was depressed? She seemed so kind and happy, made excellent grades, had many friends, and had high aspirations and career goals. She was in Medical School, doing very well there, and suddenly she was gone. She had carefully planned her suicide, leaving notes and instructions to be given to her family and friends—and she left a legacy of pain and an emptiness for so many others.
My Bright Shining Star is Kaitlyn’s story, written by Rhonda Elkins, an anguished mother who is desperately struggling to understand why her highly gifted daughter, who seemed to have everything going for her, would take her own life. This is a painful story, but one that is worth reading, particularly if you are the parent or teacher of a highly gifted child or young adult.
I wish that I could say that Kaitlyn’s story is unique, but it is not. As a psychologist, I have known several families of highly gifted teens and young adults who have similar stories. Our society seems to think that a bright mind will find its own way, and that people who are highly gifted and talented are somehow immune from problems. In fact, people who are bright are more often idealists who can see how the world might and should be. But they can equally keenly see how the world is falling short of how it might be, and they become disillusioned and feel helpless to make a real impact on the world. Because so few others share their intense and sensitive perceptions of the world, they feel alone and wonder if their life really has any meaning. They become existentially depressed. It appears that this is a major part of Kaitlyn’s life story.
Rhonda Elkins is determined to try to make Kaitlyn’s death not be in vain, and she is seeking to alert parents of other Kaitlyns throughout the world so that they can understand and hopefully prevent similar tragedies. In her book, Rhonda bravely describes her family and her life with Kaitlyn in painfully honest fashion, and from her research since Kaitlyn’s death, she is able to point others toward resources that she never thought she would need—groups like Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted and various books about existential depression in gifted children and adults.
I strongly recommend this book whether you are a parent or teacher of a highly gifted child or adult, or whether you are a very bright young adult who may be struggling with issues similar to Kaitlyn.
James T. Webb, Ph.D., author of Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope.”