Aesthetics Wiki

Trigger warning : this article has a heavy focus on sensitive topics like self harm, depression, mental illness, drugs. If any of those topics is triggering to you, please do not pursue the reading of this page.


Gifted Child Burnout is an aesthetic depicting the mental state of a former gifted child who learnt the difficulties of life, and is facing the fear of underachievement, anxiety, depressing, self harming perfectionism, as well as the fear of rejection and disappointing people who had high expectations on said person. It dives into the imagery and topics of school, mental illness, self harm, lack of sleep, food, and other self destructive behaviours. This aesthetic is used to expose the toxicity of schooling systems and grades, and is used by “burntout kids” to express themselves and cope. It is not meant to romanticize self destructive behaviors, and should not been seen as such.

In short, Gifted Child Burnout is a “perfect kid” trying to escape reality.

Visuals and Philosophy

From its origin, Gifted Child Burnout depicts the imagery of torn school supplies, as preppy yet debauched style, unhealthy coping mechanisms like cigarettes and drugs, insomnia, staying up late at night and not being able to wake up, a messed up sleeping schedule and poor eating habits. Crying, dim lit rooms, blank pages, depressed quotes, pills, cuts, blood, fire and ink stains are common visual motifs.

Gifted children were held at high standards from their early childhood, as everything came easily to them. Life was easy, until they realized the cruelty of this world. Many gifted children suffered from trauma, bullying, rejection due to their uniqueness, which caused them to develop signs of mental illness, like depressing and crippling anxiety. Many gifted children are thought to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and/or Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD). They often face issues with procrastination, time management, constant sadness, emptiness or pain, all caused by the fear of underachieving, which causes self harm and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Quotes like “I am never good enough” can be included into edits, usually dark and depicting learning imagery. One might express themself through clashing symbols, like clown makeup in a dark academia outfit. It is more of a mindset than a visual aesthetic.


  • Watching weird videos late at night.
  • Procrastinating for days the writing an essay at 2 a.m.
  • Having nightmares.
  • Setting unhealthily high expectations on oneself.
  • Giving up any activity that doesn’t come easily.
  • Refusing to ask for help.
  • Refusing to show weaknesses.
  • Escaping the real world by daydreaming about comfort characters from books (see maladaptive daydreaming).
  • Hating society, but not wanting to disappoint.
  • Being a bad bitch alone but no breaking a rule at school.
  • Trying to get validation from any superior authority.
  • Constantly questioning oneself.
  • Being perceived as cold for using good grammar and punctuation.


Gifted Child Burnout fashion often include elements from dark academia and alternative fashion, like:

  • Turtlenecks.
  • Doc Martens.
  • Dress pants.
  • Dramatic and smudged eyeliner.
  • Overly expressive fashion.
  • Chains.

Gifted children dress as if they had given up on life, but still trying to get into college.


Like any aesthetic depicting mental illnesses, this aesthetic can be seen as controversial, as it could potentially be perceived as romanticizing depression and self harm. Its aesthetic can easily be blended with Sadpeople, Grunge, Weirdcore and even Traumacore. If the child was gifted in a particular subject, themes of aesthetics related to the subject, like Art Academia, Science Academia and Cryptidcore can be spotted in the child’s aesthetic. As Gifted Child Burnout is a very personal experience, the way this aesthetic is represented can vary vividly between people, which would cause it to be seen as a false aesthetic, or something overly specific.