Yes, another post from a white, middle-aged woman about the perils of being an introvert. I am a late-comer to this party, as I just recently discovered a name for this “thing” that has wrecked havoc upon my sanity for many decades!
In addition, I am a highly sensitive person, who seeks constant validation from complete strangers who don’t give a shit about me. And I drink alcohol to calm my anxious introverted self.
Now that we’ve been properly introduced…
Two day of music, cramped spaces, and having to talk to complete strangers when they are talking to me has left me drained. Even after 9 hours of sleep Monday night I could barely gather my wits to function. All I wanted to do was be at home in my pajamas doing whatever the hell I wanted. (Sleeping.)
By the way, I can’t lay claim to the phrase introvert hangover, I read it somewhere.
Introvert hangovers are a thing — a real thing. They are a reaction to over stimulation and can manifest in headaches, sweating, fatigue and nausea. Sort of like a real hang over. I also suffer from anxiety, crankiness, and hot flashes.
I had used up every bit of my energy for those two days that was available for socializing, being in public and paying attention. Eventually my resting bitch face appears. In the past I have been called a snob and a Debbie downer.
Before I had a name for this “thing” I thought I was that snobbish, no fun gal that people called me. Or that I was seriously damaged.
I remember my second ex-husband and the conversation we would have because I just wanted to be left alone and look out the fucking window. I loved looking out the window and not talking. In fact, I loved it so much I looked out the window — a lot.
“Are you okay.”
“I am fine.”
“You want to watch TV or something?”
I continue to stare out the window. “Nope I’m fine.”
At that point he would go into a tirade about how when his ex-wife said she was fine, she really wasn’t. (Of course that could have been because he was really kind of a jerk — but I digress.)
I wanted to scream at him. “If you don’t shut the hell up and let me look out the damn window in peace, I will no longer be fine and I will punch you in the face.”
I began to question my sanity. There had to be something wrong with me. Normal people didn’t want to stare out the window for hours on end. Did they? There was something wrong with me, like bad wrong, like crazy wrong.
And the awful, really awful and frustrating part was I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling. I had no words. “I don’t know why I’m so tired, I’m just tired and I want to take a nap.”
Well, then I was lazy, which I’m not. I slogged a half-marathon once, I’ve conquered 14er’s. That is not the mind set of a lazy person.
Having a name for this “thing” is half the battle for me. The other half is knowing I have the right to:
Feel the feels.
To decline invitations.
To compromise with friends and loved ones on activities.
To define and defend my boundaries.
I have the responsibility to take this new found self-awareness and use it for good, and to create growth in my life.
Knowing what I know is not an excuse for:
Being a flake. If I made plans I need to follow through.
To be pretentious — “I am an introvert and we are this enlightened bunch of people” bullshit.
I am not much into labels. However, I am totally down with being fully aware of how I operate in the world. Since I have been able to name this “thing” and understand how to co-exist with it, my life has been a hell of a lot calmer. That’s the bottom line right there.