Why do I think a lot

"I think too much": This is behind high mental efficiency

Camille is around twenty and is studying. She comes to my practice because she wants to do something about her "lack of self-confidence". As soon as she tries to explain her difficulties to me, emotions overwhelm her. She bites her lip, holds her fist in front of her mouth, can hardly hold back the tears and apologizes again and again for her "oversensitivity". At the same time, she is constantly trying to "pull herself together" and continue with her explanations.

Step by step, the image of a clever and creative young woman emerges who has not actually had to deal with any serious failures. But on the contrary. To her own amazement, she easily passes her exams every semester. Objectively, everything is going very well. Nevertheless, massive self-doubts gnaw at Camille. Your fellow students seem to get more and more confident over time. They have no doubt that they have chosen the right course and are firmly convinced that one day they will find their place in society.

"Somehow she always has the feeling that she is fooling everyone"

Camille, on the other hand, feels increasingly out of place and wonders whether she is studying the right subject at all. Somehow she always has the feeling that she is fooling everyone. In social interaction, too, she feels completely different from her friends. The interests of her fellow students seem miles away from what drives them. Correspondingly, the conversations with friends also proceed. If she sits together with friends in the evening, sooner or later Camille will feel alienated. All of a sudden she wonders what she's actually up to here and what on earth other people find so great about this superficial chatter. The whole happiness seems to her to be artificial. And she really only wants one thing: home as soon as possible.

Camille has been trying to find out what's wrong with her for some time. She constantly seems to sink into a sea of ​​doubts and questions. The craziest ideas run through her head. She feels herself becoming more and more insecure and fearful. The path to depression is mapped out. And Camille is not an isolated case. Many people come to my practice because, like Camille, they want to know why they feel out of place in their environment, why they are
not being able to accept herself and certainly not the chaos in her head.

Like all of my books, this one has its roots in my practical work as a therapist. For seventeen years it has been my job to listen to other people, to observe them and to try to understand them. I learned what Eric Berne, the founder of transactional analysis, calls "Martian listening". In doing so, you take up the other person's conversation as naturally as if you yourself came from Mars. Like a tape recorder, the ears register certain words or fragments of sentences that keep recurring. In this way one discovers the key words for the experience of the other, the basic concepts around which his narratives revolve.

A very specific type of sentence recurs regularly in some people, and these sentences should keep me busy from now on:

• I think too much.

• My friends think I am complicated and ask myself way too many questions.

• My head never comes to rest. Sometimes I would like to pull the plug so my mind just stops producing thoughts.

There are also a few more sentences that complete the picture:

• I feel like I come from another planet.

• I just can't find my place.

• I feel misunderstood.

Such small sentences have condensed in me to the image of a type of person who thinks too much.

The different forms of mental high efficiency

In Germany, mental high efficiency is usually treated under the heading "high sensitivity". To this end, the non-profit "Information and Research Association for High Sensitivity" (IFHS, represented on the Internet at www.hochsensibel.org) was founded in Bochum in 2007. The term "highly sensitive" is very new in scientific circles and has only been highly respected since a pioneering publication Journal of Personality and Social Psychology from 1997, where one spoke of »sensory processing sensitivity«. The fact that people are generally reluctant to acknowledge the symptoms has enormous consequences for those affected.

Many a life fails because of a lack of self-esteem, which can easily lead to depressive moods. Unfortunately, only a few of the mentally highly efficient know what they are suffering from. In France, in 2003, the Gappesm (Groupement Associatif pour la Protection des Personnes Encombrées de Surefficience Mentale) founded, the "Association for the protection of people with high mental efficiency". The experiences made there were summarized as follows: