Today, Elodie Crépel shares her vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Elodie! She is a therapist, mediator, author, and trainer on neurodiversity. She currently lives in Scotland.
NB: I also had the pleasure of interviewing her husband, Alexis, who you can discover by clicking HERE.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Totally but surely because I can’t imagine it any other way.
.WHAT BEING GIFTED MEANS TO ME
A capacity to perceive the imperceptible, the potential to transcend oneself to bring one’s difference to the world, the possibility of doing beautiful things… after that, it’s all subjective and absolutely not an obligation.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
Wow, good question, I have the image of a Swiss army knife, a galaxy, a computer with several RAMs, a puzzle… many things in fact! Of all this and nothing at the same time, or finally I would say “a continuum”, of what and where it goes I can’t say, but that’s what also makes the beauty of giftedness, isn’t it?
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
I knew it when I was 22, but in the end, I think I really understood it a little before I was 30… it took me more than 6 years to admit that the psychologist wasn’t wrong.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
First of all, denial (the psychologist was necessarily incompetent, or a variant: she certainly wanted to please me, etc.), then a sort of collapse (“but who am I really?”), anger of course (“why wasn’t I told anything before?”, “why do I feel so stupid then? Etc.), then a phase of acceptance but with a kind of resignation (“well then, I’ll stay like this all my life, they can’t do anything for me, they can’t help me, in the end, it doesn’t make any difference to know it…”) and finally a kind of “I don’t care” exaltation I would say! At the moment I’m working on this subject, and the more I learn about it, the more I realise how exciting it is and how out of touch it is. Finally, the world of neurodiversity is a bit like getting out of the matrix, and you have to accept to take the red pill to fully get out (which sometimes generates a lot of complications because we are confronted with a world that wants to keep us in a neurotypical-norm).
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
It depends on whether I feel the person is concerned or not. If not, I will remain factual and explain what it is and especially what it is not (in particular, stop with the myth of the genius, the mental calculator, the incredible memory, or the totally depressed person who does not fit in). If it’s someone who is potentially concerned, I’m going to be more open about myself, and my experiences, heart-to-heart, and see if it resonates.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
Well, nobody was surprised when I said I am gifted and I think that’s what made me angry too: why did I feel so stupid, lame, out of touch, not normal all this time if that was the reason without even being told?
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
I think it allowed me to stop beating myself up about my difference because it finally had a name. I was therefore more serene and more confident to move forward with this new information.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
Nothing more or nothing less. Knowing that I am gifted was just another step in my self-knowledge, but it was not the end of it and never will be.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
I don’t know and I think I’m at a stage where I don’t really care… because whether it’s giftedness or anything else, people project a lot of things, especially onto neurodivergent people.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
The current trend (in France) on the subject, which leads to misinformation and to all the professionals shooting each other in the foot to have the first word on the subject. As long as we do not understand that this is a social fact above all, and absolutely not a field specific to mental health, we will not understand the usefulness of multidisciplinarity, which I believe is essential.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
The uniqueness of all gifted people: no one is really alike, so we must stop trying to tick off lists at all costs. We are all unique in our atypicality, coloured or not by our experiences, encounters, life history, culture, education…
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
This feeling of rejection that we sometimes generate in others and which can be more or less violent.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
When I meet my a gifted person, all of a sudden it makes my heart go boom, it tickles the butterflies in my stomach and it excites the neurons in my brain: an incredible feeling!
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
The power of gratitude.
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
As I said before, this all-black, all-white side: genius on one side, suffering on the other.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
There is nothing shameful or arrogant about thinking or talking about being gifted. It is a characteristic like many others, and it is precisely the people concerned who need to talk about it first!
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
To avoid having stereotypes on a subject they don’t know, and to stop believing everything that is said on TV (ideally: check your sources).
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Cross-check his/her sources when he/she goes to get information and if possible beyond the French-speaking sphere which is still too limited today I think.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
To lock yourself into your false self for fear of being alone, and once you discover you are gifted, blame everything on your giftedness and stop at that point!
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Don’t be afraid to step outside the box: try and don’t be afraid of failure, it’s just an experience that will lead you to a better understanding of yourself.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
The same (laughs)
After that, I think the most important thing is to be aligned with your values.
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
Wow… lots of them! It depends on what you’re going for: psychology, personal development, spirituality, science… the important thing is to have a very broad vision of a subject: so don’t hesitate to read books that go in the opposite direction of our thinking to help us move forward.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
It remains only a tool: used by an untrained professional it can be useful (and no, not all psychologists are in fact, despite what they say, it is essential to train in addition to a master’s degree, at his expense on the subject), otherwise it is useless (that’s why we have people who come out with a heterogeneous profile and no clear answer: the shrink is not trained and does not know how to go beyond the test which is – I emphasize – a software program that must be completed). Anyone can enter scores on a table and click to find out a figure, if we need a professional it is precisely to observe, analyse and interpret the test (WAIS or other).
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
I don’t think so, it’s quite a personal process. Some people don’t feel the need to know and why force them? Really, I don’t think it’s a waste not to know as long as you find the answers you need to move forward somewhere.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
I don’t really know, I think there’s a real presence, a look, an energy, a hyper-awareness.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
The intensity… in what they believe or live, defend, desire…
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
It is essential to understand that giftedness is only one piece of the puzzle of who we are, so yes it has an impact (when a piece is missing in the middle of a puzzle it is visible) but it is not everything.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE)
The fact that giftedness is not a subject of psychology, but a social and anthropological subject above all because it is because there is a given norm that we question neurodiversity. It is because there is a way of being/not being and of doing/not doing that the subject exists. Finally, the more you open yourself up to difference, the less different it seems (or at least more than any other difference, such as height, weight, skin colour, etc).
.AN INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY ON GIFTEDNESS
This multidisciplinarity, the fact that giftedness is not confined to psychology. Today, in French-speaking countries, it is psychologists who have the upper hand on the subject, but why? It is not a mental health issue per se, it can be essential for therapeutic follow-up, but coaches, nutritionists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, teachers, etc. are also concerned by potential training on this subject. Because they too, in their profession, have to accompany or help gifted people. It is time, for the well-being of the gifted, that we open up knowledge to all professions.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
This ties in with everything I have already said, but it is true that if I had to sum it up in three points it would be that:
- gifted people make their voices heard
- we stop making harsh generalizations
- we open the subject beyond the simple psychological window
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
After this explosion of visibility [in France], I’m afraid that it’s going to close up again. It’s quite common to see this in subjects that are in full expansion, and there follows a period of closure, where the head is cut off at the end…
.THE MISSING QUESTION, WHICH I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO ANSWER ON THE SUBJECT?
I think that for the synthetic person that I am there are enough questions (laughs).
Thank you Gloria for this nice work of bringing Giftedness to light!