Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Don’t Let the Chainsaws Cut You Down


If you have a rainforest mind, chances are, you’ve met a lot of chainsaws.


Maybe you weren’t invited to birthday parties because the other kids didn’t want to hear about the BBC documentaries that you loved. Maybe you were bullied in school for choosing NASA over Disneyland or Jane Austen over Justin Bieber. Maybe your teacher told you that “no one likes a know-it-all.”


Maybe you had to hide the fact that you knew the answers in class and got A’s on the tests without studying. Maybe you were teased for your intense emotions. Maybe you ate lunch alone in the cafeteria most days.


And now, as an adult, you’re still getting cut down. At work. Your supervisor criticizes you for not being a team player. You’re so tired of waiting for everyone to reach the conclusions you drew. Two days ago. You’re desperate to find a colleague who shares your concerns about the questionable ethics in the organization. You’re told that you’re too meticulous, too serious and too sensitive. Your coworkers are threatened by the speed at which you accomplish tasks. But you don’t understand why they can’t keep up.

With friends, if you can find them, you may be doing most of the listening. They come to you for counsel but don’t reciprocate. When you risk sharing your ideas, you see their eyes glaze over when you start to explain why you’re thrilled that MIT is now sharing free classes online. They don’t share your exuberance for Virginia Woolf or your anxiety over the melting ice caps. They don’t cry with you when you gaze at the night sky.

What’s a rainforest mind to do?

Don’t let the chain saws cut you down.


You have a right to be you. The planet needs you to be you. If you’ve had to hide for years and now you can’t even find yourself, start looking. You’re the one with the tender eyes and the sweet mischievous smile. You’re the one who continues to believe in compassion. You’re the one whose heart knows what to say. Find yourself. No chainsaws.

All rainforest.


photos from Creative Commons at:


Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

39 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Chainsaws Cut You Down

  1. I love you for encouraging us to be true to who we really are. I’m as true to myself as I know how and have few real friends. That’s alright with me. I rather be true to me and those around me than to be fake among fakes.

    Thank you!


  2. Paula, every post you write feels as if it’s written just for me. Thank you for your analogies, your poignant words, and for consistently reminding me that myself is a lovely thing to be.


  3. You’re welcome, Nicole. It helps me to know that what I’m saying is resonating with you. Thanks.


  4. I started reading your blog because I have a 2e son and suspect my husband is gifted as well. But the more I read the more I see myself in your words. I was the one who did well in school, whose friends got upset with me for getting A’s without trying. I was the one who burst into tears and walked out of biology class when my instructor pointed out the blood stains on the skull he showed us, who refused to dissect animals. I’m the one who can’t read the news about the Nigerian girls because I put myself in the place of those mamas and daddies, of those girls, and then I feel helpless and angry and defeated. I’m the one for whom grocery shopping is an anxiety inducing event because I have to read the labels on everything and I won’t buy this one because it was imported from Argentina and those have too much pesticide residue and that one probably has MSG lurking in the natural flavors and why-on-earth-can’t-we-just buy-normal-food-that-isn’t-adulterated! And if you pass me in the toothbrush aisle and I have a glassy, panic stricken look, it’s only because I’m completely overwhelmed by all the choices. I’m the one who has to question everything, who thinks outside the box, who travels so expand my experience and my mind, who feels like if I don’t take my kids to see the world I’m failing to give them a proper education. My husband and I still prefer documentaries or historical period movies to most modern ones.
    Sorry, that was a bit of a rant. I feel like I’m coming to understand myself more through this, and through learning about giftedness in my children. It’s overwhelming at times. I hope I can give them the kind of upbringing and education they deserve. Thanks for your words.


  5. Thank you so much. I’ve needed this, for a while now, actually. My own chainsaws have been getting the better of me for almost a month now, and it’s nice to hear a perspective where I don’t “read too much,” or have the “wrong” interests or hobbies, where I am myself, and that’s exactly who I need to be. Thank you.


    • Sounds like you may be referring to your own internal chainsaws. Yes, we’ve got those, too. Many times, we’re toughest on ourselves. Perhaps I will blog about that! I appreciate hearing from you and am very glad to help.


      • Actually, both! My own internal tell me not to be so weird, so different, don’t make it obvious. My parents are responsible for the reading thing and the ‘your interests are cray-cray’ thing. In either event, this was something I needed to hear. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Paula when I read this just now it made me cry…how do you know me? That is exactly how I feel or even more when people would be that way…thank you for writing…you are a blessing to be sure… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. beautiful, thank you


  8. Thank you! I finally understand myself, my children (all 4 identified as gifted), and my husband. While we are all so wildly different, I am the teachers pet, full of compassion and way too much empathy, and the hubby is the one who only works on a project until he has figured it out and then gets bored! My children are amazing and all over the place. My youngest has anxiety, he is 5. But they are brilliant and I have always felt so alone in my own issues as well as my children’s. Thank you so much. I am now a follower of your blog! I have found a peaceful retreat!


  9. Thank you for writing this. It was exactly what I needed to read right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: The Most Unnecessary Blog | Your Rainforest Mind

  11. This also takes place in mental health agencies. I really relate to what you said about waiting for everyone to reach the conclusions that I drew. I make predictions and no one usually agrees with me and when it turns out I was right all along, no one cares or even remembers what I said! And what if there isn’t much brain power on your team? I don’t want to seem superior at work, but it can be so frustrating when you are alone in a crowded office 🙂 People think you are snobby or arrogant and that doesn’t make you popular, to say the least.It is certainly a catch 22 type of predicament. Intelligence is rarely appreciated at work, but conformity is highly valued.

    So I look for my next job and hope I choose better this time.


  12. Dammit Paula, this made me cry. The chainsaw analogy is so true it hurts. Thanks for reminding us we’re valuable and even needed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, yes. So very valuable. So needed.


  14. Every post by Paula is ‘about me’, it is absolutely amazing to read and feel the understanding. Very comforting and reassuring. I heard the metaphor of the cheetah surrounded by lions before, but chainsaws and rainforest is very realistic, describing ‘us’ and people around us. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you. Sometimes the most important thing is to know someone else understands, and to feel less alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What do you do when you are sure the chainsaws have won?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have just found you- I am so, SO glad that I have! I used to use the term kaleidoscope mind to describe what it’s like in my head- I love the Rainforest Mind image too. So much I want to say! I’ll just read and absorb for now, you’ll hear from me again. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You know you have a rainforest mind when you’re drawn in by an article like this, one that resonates so deeply in every way, and then you get to the part about free classes at MIT and immediately go in search of their catalog. 😜

    Excellent blog as I research the subject for my newly confirmed rainforest daughter and try to make peace with my own rainforest childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: How Can I Be Authentic When I Overwhelm Everyone? | Your Rainforest Mind

  20. I am almost read your every post , your writing as like as magic. your article”Don’t Let the Chainsaws Cut You Down” just amazing. Thanks paula prober.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Can’t help but well up when I read this… And yes, friends seeking my company and listening ear has been a given, always – and the “don’t reciprocate” part with that a lot, too. (not on issues that matter to me or which I really need another take on, another angle of viewing it or simply someone to be a sounding board or something). Looks as if “we” – as in RFMs/gifted ones had to do most of the work ourselves when trying to socialize with non-RFMs, no?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks for the encouragement,,,i always thought i was a “something abnormal” due to chainsaws,,but you changed my perception

    Liked by 1 person

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