[I am stealing your idea of embedding URLs in my text. I think it is pretty "cool, groovy, winning"].
Although one may feel they have lost years living in their head, the time may also be seen as having been well-spent under the circumstances (for example, writing) and in addition to honing skills, and potentially producing works, the time may have prepared a person to begin interacting more with others on a regular basis... as you appear to be doing.
It may certainly in some cases; and in general, it is probably unhealthy to mourn the lost years too much. [Interestingly, I just stumbled upon this: resilience might be an overlooked, important component of grief
From my personal experience, I would also add the potentially beneficial effects of (at first, unwillingly) stepping out of usual paths and therefore gaining more freedom in one's choices and independence in the point of view. The time spent in your head can also be incubation time for interesting ideas, or as Sartre presumably put it in the context of drinking alcohol: "I liked having confused, vaguely questioning ideas that then fell apart."
On a more serious note though, I would still argue (crumbily):
However important it is to point out the potential benefits or upsides in one's "lost years", the years might still simply be lost, or at least lived at a decreased quality of life (depending on the case) and that is something that needs to be acknowledged. [I am not saying you didn't]. In the context of other disabilities, efforts have been made to quantify this kind of loss
. I've read reports about gifted people ending up stuck at home, being unable to work, barely able to speak, depressed, way into their adult life. And while I have been lucky enough to have the resources - through my education, social background (= middle class), social support, maybe also personality, motivation, grit - to manage myself out of difficult situations, I still feel like I have to be very careful to not lose all structure again.
Considering that profound giftedness might exist at higher rates than expected under the normal distribution (see slide 4 here
) - I haven't checked other sources concerning this subject - I think that we might have a not overly dramatic, but still sensible issue at hand here.
I was definitely not able to write or hone skills in the state that I was in, and I had to (and still have to) go through convoluted ways to get stuff done properly.
But then again, it might also very well be the copacetic feelings speaking here, and me being young and naive, not able to see the more complex intricateness of things, relativizing...
Personally, I think that focusing on the middle levels, the daily interactions, adding value, affirmation, validation to IRL relationships may be more rewarding (or fulfill a need); in other words, the middle level may be the pinnacle or peak, and a job or career may simply serve as a means to that end.
It is a beautiful point you make here. My dad likes to talk about this theory
by an Austrian/Jewish philosopher who makes the point that humans find most meaning in relationships. Most certainly interesting work to look into, and even more interesting to put into practice.
From the other side around, chronic depression might be associated with "interpersonal avoidance patterns".