Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The Holiday Season Blues — Rainforest Mind Edition


I spent time rereading my old blog posts this week. I was pretty impressed, if I do say so myself! (including the thoughtful, sensitive, insightful, lyrical comments) I wasn’t sure what to write next. But considering the holiday season, it seemed appropriate to gather up some posts that might be worth revisiting, particularly those that would be relevant to the holiday season blues–posts about the particular challenges for RFMs getting through these times and facing the usual familiar loneliness, intensified, along with the pressures of being highly sensitive and socially conscious in a pandemic, climate crisis, and increasingly divisive world.

As much as I hate to admit it, I succumb to the blues this time of year. Even with my trusty blog, adoring fans, thriving practice, emotional support animal sweater, and kind-hearted friends, I can still lose sight of how privileged I am and, instead, head down the luge into the psychic swamp where old therapists go to eat their pumpkin pie alone and reread Carl Jung’s greatest hits for the tenth time. It isn’t pretty.

(photo by yogendra singh, unsplash)

So, I am with you, my sweetest rainforesters. Join me in the psychic swamp. We shall eat our pumpkin pie alone together.

Surviving the Hectic, Harrowing, Holiday Season Hoopla

“…No one is immune to the hectic harrowing holiday season hoopla. You may think that you’re the only one bewildered, lonely or sad. You aren’t. And if you’re super sensitive and if you have high ethical standards and a social conscience, this may be a particularly tough time. It’s a crazy world right now. And if you’re like me, single and childfree, you might have mixed feelings while you watch the frenetic humans running hither and  yon…”

Fifteen Quick Reminders To Help You Make It Through the Holidaze

“…2  You’re not a failure as a human being if your siblings went to Stanford and are all doctors and have two and a half kids and you’re still wondering what to do when you grow up because you took a detour into drug treatment and psychotherapy because your soft heart and gentle spirit needed to heal…”

Finding Meaningful Friendships When You Are (Annoyingly) Perceptive And (Excrutiatingly) Sensitive

“…Of course, you can always start a blog or write a book. I have found some of my favorite humans through my writing. One of them, Tina, would win the girlfriend of the year contest, if such a thing existed. She lives 1,254.1 miles away from me. Is 18 years younger. (OMG. I could be her mother.) Has two teenage kids and a hubby. But that doesn’t stop her. Or me. You see? You can think outside the box when it comes to friendships. You will need to. Because of the wonders of technology, though, it is possible to experience a deeply satisfying, sweet, loving, even daily connection. The daily part has been important to me. Being single, I have longed for a person who checks in every day. And so, it seems, does Tina. It is a long-distance-but-that-doesn’t-matter girlfriend love fest…”

Super Sensitive? Super Smart? Super Lonely

“…It’s hard to find other beings with rainforest minds. Maybe you get frustrated by your relatives who dismiss your insights and take your kindness for granted. Perhaps you long for deep conversation and exuberant debate but end up with small talk and platitudes. Maybe you think it’s your job to save everyone so you befriend all comers, willy nilly. Maybe you meet someone who looks like a prospect but when they find out that you speak 4 languages, write music, paint, read books obsessively, and adore quantum physics, they remember that they have a dying uncle in Idaho who needs them. Right away. Maybe you’ve never found a soul who has the same capacity for sorrow and joy…”

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely?

“…You think you’re explaining your ideas quite thoroughly and clearly. But your listeners aren’t listening. They’re lost in your creative leaps and poetic language. Or they don’t really care about the future of the electric car. Or they think your enthusiasm for mycelium is weird…”

Lonely? Find your Pips

“…You were too excited by Jane Austen. You were too curious about black holes and sea anemones. You were too emotional when you were teased. You were too incensed when teachers were unfair. You were too disappointed when the world let you down. You still are…”

“Beam Me Up Scotty” Social Responsibility And Your Super Smart, Sensitive Soul

“…Get in touch with the activities and skills that bring you joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Then, use your creativity to turn one or more of them into a community building or global-oriented service project that will change minds and hearts. Design a project that will spread more love. That will soften the divide and reduce the fear. It doesn’t have to grow into a global phenomenon. But it can. You may hesitate because you feel that whatever you do won’t be grand enough. Won’t be perfect enough. Don’t let that stop you…” 


To my bloggEEs: You know that writing to you sustains me, right? How is your holiday season? What is challenging for you? What do you do to create peace or to find others? And, if your holidays are joyful, tell us about it. Share the joy! And keep writing those thoughtful, sensitive, insightful, lyrical comments. Much love and gratitude to you all.

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.

40 thoughts on “The Holiday Season Blues — Rainforest Mind Edition

  1. The hardest part for me is when people ask ‘what did you do for …thanksgiving / b-day / xmas …. etc etc and you say you worked on your water filtration system, or read a great book they’ve never heard of and could care less about, or you forgot it was a holiday and just did …whatever you list they think you’re strange or kidding …..
    Trouble is, for me, I would love to have peeps to celebrate occasions with; and it hurts to keep having people who mean well say they hope you had a special birthday etc. Just makes me sad. such a woos i am 😉

    As always, your blog brings us all a smile, a glimmer of hope, a ray of sunshine, an island in the distance to remind us of our path.
    Thank you

    Longer days in 17 days, 22 hours.
    Hugs to all of us 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

    • That’s what I’ll tell people when they ask….water filtration system. Yeah! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • The thing that puzzles me in that question asking what I’m doing or did on a holiday day is the assumption others have made in its asking. Thinking that my beliefs and behaviors are as theirs are is such a peculiar thing. Random people on the street offering holiday greetings aside, I find it very odd when the question comes from people I thought had been paying attention to me. Like the puzzling lack of acknowledgment let alone reciprocation of points of personal importance I’ve shared. I sent handmade solstice day cards for a time. Crickets chirping tended to be the response. Isn’t it all so very curious?

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is probably a healthy way to think about it, M.J. It’s all so curious! Maybe those of us with rainforest minds are better at paying attention and we don’t realize it’s a talent that others may not have???

        Liked by 2 people

    • I am particularly grateful for your trailing reminder, Sue, thank you! 🌹🧡 Only about 18 days left until the global light switch will work for increasingly longer hours in the day, thanks! And a brief and mindful hug, if you can tolerate it. 😇

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m just coping, that’s about it. I try to “forget” the upcoming “festive” days, pretend that they are “normal” days.
    Now with COVID rising up to code dark red in The Netherlands, even the Christmas plans might be canceled. Don’t really mind, though, although it would be nice to see my family (mom/sister) together again, even though I know it’ll drain me. Luckily I have my Beagle Indie, he keeps me sane and in a routine. Especially when Christmas is not canceled, he has never had that many walks but on that day I need to step out frequently.
    Just counting the days, just as itssue42! Thank you for that reminder! Gives me a way out of this seemingly endless dark days with lots of rain/storm/wet snow/practically no sun/dark clouds and cold (don’t have a lot of bodyfat to keep me warm, so I’m cold to the core!) And it’s not even freezing in daytime! So, no, I’m not a Fall/Winter type! Hanging on, feeling overwhelmed, and trying to make that the least obvious for people to see.. keeping my head down, talking to as little people I can possibly manage, until I can feel I can breathe again.
    Sorry so glim this time! Winter blues (and Fall blues) just g er me every year again..,🙄😳😱
    (If only I could hybernate this season! 🤣)
    Om the bright side, I live near the coast, so the sunny weather is more prone to show itself here!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Stay safe from Covid, clignett!! And give your Indie a hug for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Holding you in my thoughts where we, and our beagles, the four of us are all basking in the sunshine and bright spring flowers. I wonder if there’s a SAD club who all travel to Australia or New Zealand in our winter, then back to the northern hemisphere come spring. 🙂 Special Hugs and don’t forget to put on some music and dance a little (if that appeals)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I did travel to new zealand a few years ago for the winter and it was lovely, but way to expensive to do it every year. think nice car expensive. but if I could I would.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I’m very much the same around this time of the year, Cignette! And yes, freezing to the core, enduring being cold to the bone becomes harder from one year to the next… Getting to hibernate for weeks would be so cool! In fact, that’s what I’m trying to do, get as much sleep as possible with frequent naps during the day. Naps are a godsent!😇

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Winter blues (and Fall blues) just get to me every year again.. that was what I wanted to write 🙈🙈

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just read this at 5am and it was really what I needed. I am single and childless, not by choice. 3 days ago I drove an hour to collect my elderly aunt, also single and childless, from two lovely paramedics. They had checked her out after she’d called an ambulance, but could find no urgent clinical need. She’s just old, anxious, a bit forgetful and living in a decrepit house. I had to sign for her like a parcel. She is now ensconced in my nice, warm, safe guest room. I’m very unsure how things will be going forward. 3 days in and I’m already completely tired out. Please wish me well.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you, Paula, for these reminders. Reading you makes me feel understood, makes me feel closer to different people with whom I share traits and feelings. It definitely makes me feel better. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am trying to keep myself in some kind of festive mood. so even if I am also in cold wet grim, ( and deep red covid) Netherlands I already have my christmas tree up. ( not supposed to until after december 5 when sinterklaas is done, but I dont celebrate sinterklaas and love the lights in a christmas tree) and once it is christmas I will go for a hobbit marathon and at new years it is lord of the rings. ( extended edition of course)
    also single, childfree and wanting to hybernate from late october to early April. as a kid I had this theory that while most people evolved from monkeys, I evolved from the brown bear.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ah, yes, brown bear hibernation! Makes sense. It’s interesting so many have difficulty with the darkness. I actually prefer the dark, wet days to the dry sunny ones. I live in Oregon where, before the climate crisis was so intense, we had pretty dark rainy fall-winter-springs and I loved it. The sunny, hot, dry summers make me anxious. (fire season) But I do understand how most folks are more energized and positive on those sunny days.

      Liked by 3 people

    • “as a kid I had this theory that while most people evolved from monkeys, I evolved from the brown bear.”

      The European Hedgehog in my case!

      Early humans may have survived the harsh winters by hibernating – The Guardian

      Liked by 6 people

    • Oh! I can feel that too. You may think it is weird, if you know that I live in Spain… but we have cold days here too 😂 (NB: 10ºC is already cold for me🤣).

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Thank you, itssue42!
    Oh, if only that were possible! Indie needs the sun as much as I do, maybe that’s a beagle-thing as well? 🙄😁
    Special hugs back! 🥰🥰

    Liked by 3 people

    • My beautiful young-at-heart boy is happiest when the autumn winds are up, temperature around 50F, sun glistening through the trees, scents of many wild things in the air. Then he can drag his hapless devoted peep off-roading (as I call it) where we simply follow his nose wherever it leads…. often thru thickets, across wide creeks etc. Very ‘refreshing’ way to spend 2 hours 😀 and it gives him such joy that it’s contagious. Spring IS coming. As they say, “change your beliefs, change your reality”. Focus on the good. Have to keep saying that to myself over and over during dark days. It does help some.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Haha, itssue42, your young-at-heart boy is the same as my almost 4 year old puppy (yes, puppy! He still looks the same, and acts the same way 🐶🤣), BUT.. only he starts in spring.. then you can see him wagging his tail again, following the famous nose to endless smells. As much enjoyable for him as for me (and whoever sees us, they just start laughing: “a real beagle-nose!!”.
        So we’re counting the days to spring!

        And, yes, renovatio06, hibernation is preferable now. Freezing cold winds now which leaves me almost breathless, and so cold that it feels like pain.. Still have to go outside to let Indie do his business, but otherwise.. nope! Not gonna happen! Thank god for internet shopping! 🤣🤣

        Liked by 3 people

  8. I just had a new idea for meeting people. I am on Instagram posting memes and videos. People following me there will leave comments. They are likely RFMs. You can then click on their comment and find their account and see if they look interesting and maybe even from your country. You can follow them and possibly reach out if you’re curious. It’s kind of an odd idea but you never know! Either way, you get to watch my videos and see how I’m coping with my free range overexcitable hair these days! 🙂 Here’s the link:

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’ve had reasonably good experiences there. I wish it were independent, and not a part of Facebook. I’ve not noticed a particular problem because of that association. And I don’t link my accounts. Coaxing out longer deeper conversations can be difficult. I’ve asked others and they indicate the same conversational difficulties. The brilliant upside I’ve experienced is regularly talking to people from all over the world about art & creativity. I post only my finished artwork and mostly follow people posting similarly.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ooh ooh checked out your Instagram link and saw “The world needs more overthinkers”. I want that on a t-shirt definitely 😀

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Paula,

      Couldn’t we do an online meet up with some rainforest people or so?
      Might be a too big idea though, but I think it would be great to meet virtually and talk about this season and feasts and how we are coping!


      Liked by 1 person

  9. I recently found this blog after seeing you give a talk on the Shift Network. This is so great! It’s like I’ve found my own island of misfit toys. I go hide in the woods for solstice and do my best to miss the madness at Christmas. I feed the birds and count the days until the end of January when day length is greater than 10 hrs and plants start growing again in the cold frames.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Just an extra note to those of you who LOVE the holiday season. I tend to forget about you. Know that it is perfectly wonderful that you love the magic, sweetness, and joy that is also available. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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