There definitely is a link between high intelligence and mental illness, is there really?
However it is an issue of definition, I for myself am what most people would call "gifted", or "way above average". Many people would probably say that I am insane, but I don't feel that way, not at all. So why do people think I am often distracted, confused or even insane?
Well that is what I am trying to answer by delivering you an insight to my mind.
First of all many average intelligent people think high intelligent persons are not as intelligent as they claim because they seem very distracted from time to time. What those people don't know is that we are not, we are very focused in such scenarios, there are a lot of thoughts flashing through our minds, pulsating at a high frequency. I think the best way to explain this, is with a metaphor: "think about it like driving a car. If you drive a car with a small engine it won't need too much attention, you can put your foot down whenever you want. But if you are driving a car with a truckload of horsepower you need to be much more focused, sure you can accelerate faster but you will also get tired very fast." That's why it is so hard for many high intelligent people to concentrate on something for a long time, the mind gets hungry and what you can provide with your attention isn't enough, so it drifts of to other thoughts. A typical scenario in my everyday life is: "starting thought1 (intentionally), starting thought2 (unintentionally), continuing thought1, random numbers (totally unintentionally), continuing thought1, where did those numbers come from?, continuing thought2, thinking about those numbers again, starting thought3, continuing thought1, those numbers" this happens way faster than you can read it. I know this might seem insane, but I think it is quite beautiful to be able to have one thought a whole day, continuously interrupted and continued. Another reason for average people to think high intelligent persons are confused is simply the fact that they are not able to keep up with the complex logic connections the "gifted" person establishes in her/his mind.
Insanity is such a strong word, but how do you define it? Again I can only talk about my mind: I carry a lot of personalities with me, all the time in a dialogue between me and a few of those personalities. But those personalities are not in the position to take control over me; their purpose is to entertain my, constantly bored, mind. Is this really insane? Or is it a part of the definition of high intelligence?
To me it almost looks like insanity and high intelligence share the same symptoms, but aren't the same "condition". Even though some of you might think I am insane, I know I am sane.
I hope you like this short insight and forgive me for my English (I am from Germany). This article has no scientific content; it is completely founded by my observations on my own mind and just displays my opinion.