Friday, March 14, 2014

Anxiety Adventures Part 9: On Being an Introvert

Being An Introvert

This excellent article from the Huffington Post  lists 23 traits of an introvert, and, not surprisingly, every one of them is a trait I possess. I suppose that my introvertedness (introversion?) is exacerbated by my social anxiety. Or maybe vice versa. 

One thing really stands out to me: the need to be alone to "recharge".

There are times when I want to be alone so badly I can't stand it. I adore my family-- I really, really love my children and my husband, but sometimes I feel like my brain is melting and my head is filled with fog and I feel a little crazy until I get some time alone. All alone. Sometimes on Sundays, when we get home from church, I will escape to my room for a while. Part of me feels guilty that I'm not downstairs enjoying my family (especially when I hear them laughing), but part of me is glad they are old enough to be okay without me for a while.

And those minutes on Sundays are refreshing, but not enough. I crave time alone. I almost never have it. I found a great explanation of this on a website called Space2Live. She talks about how energy sucking interactions are for introverts. We love and want to be around people, but then we need to not be around those people for a while, so we can decompress and recharge. 

My problem is that I never have that time. My commute is only 6-8 minutes, and when I walk in, I'm immediately bombarded by my kids who require my attention almost all the time we're together. My daughter, who is 11, and who zips back and forth from talking non-stop to spending hours in her room reading, is the most demanding, but my 14 year old son is almost as needy. They are my kids and I love them, so I set aside my need for a quiet, empty house (as Knowles mentions on Space2Live, we can feel another person in the house-- even if they are in another room, it's not the same), and I take care of their needs. 

It's all good, but it does build up. I have quiet times at work, but it is not mentally restful. I don't walk out of work feeling recharged-- on the contrary! I really miss having the house all to myself. I really miss being a stay-home mom. That period of time when the kids were all in school and I was home didn't last long enough. Now, the only time I'm off work, they are also out of school!

I think daydreamers are mostly introverts-- mentally escaping when we can't physically be alone. When I was young, I used to stare out the classroom windows for long stretches of time and then I'd have to mentally shake myself awake to refocus on what was happening in school. It's a miracle I did as well in school as I did! I still daydream, though not nearly as frequently. Reading has taken the place of daydreaming for me. I adore reading. Escaping into another world and living vicariously through characters is such a pleasure.
I don't mind being an introvert. I just wish I had time to really take care of my own need for solitude and seclusion. I wonder how long it would take me to fully recharge. Maybe if I took one day off each month and just spent it alone... hmm...

The internet has the best stuff about introverts. This is probably my favorite thing I saw today. It's a cartoon-slide show telling how to best care for your introvert, and it explains what it feels like very well. Here it is all in one picture:

So, what about you? Are you an extrovert, introvert or a balanced mixture of both? 

No comments: