Today I am asking the question – Is it ok to be an introvert?
As you probably know I am in therapy for my mental health issues. Psychotherapy. It’s group therapy and sometimes it’s very tough. Last week was particularly tough and I was hit pretty hard by a conversation that only happened in the last 20 minutes of the group.
A member was attempting to convince the psychologist that she is not lonely and that she does see people and socialise. She attends groups and sees family and friends regularly. I jokingly said “You have a better social life than me!” To which the psychologist turned her attention to me and said “So Amy, who do you see in the week?” I quickly answered “No one” but the moment those words passed my lips I felt different!
I felt intensely sad, anxious and embarrassed. I sat in silence for the next 15 minutes whilst the remainder of the group continued the discussions.
I felt numb.
I felt like a freak!
A complete loser!
I thought I was getting better but really I’m a lonely recluse that no one wants to see! I wanted to burst into tears and run! But I waited until the end of the group before I finally did that!
Needless to say the rest of the afternoon and evening I thought of nothing else. I was plagued by these awful thoughts and couldn’t see a way out. I was convinced that I was a horrible, awful person all over again. All of that hard work over the past few years – gone!
I did speak with my husband that evening and I did begin to think slightly differently. I started asking myself:
“Is it ok to not want to socialise all of the time?”
“Is it ok to prefer your own company?”
And you know what – YES! Yes it is!
I am an introvert. And it is ok!
I don’t like big gatherings or parties, they make me feel extremely anxious. If I do force myself to see/socialise with people because I am so on edge and anxious I am then left completely and utterly exhausted! Even a cuppa and chat with friends will leave me completely drained! It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing my family and friends, I absolutely do. It’s just something that I have to really consider and plan out and even then on the day my moods might change and it’ll be impossible for me to see anyone. This then means letting people down, which I hate doing so sometimes it seems easier to not make plans in the first place.
I do think some of my issues with socialising etc are amplified because of my mental health problems. Depression can creep in and cause me to cancel plans leaving me feeling awful. BPD can leave me feeling left out and ignored at gatherings. If where I am supposed to go involves food of any kind my anorexic brain goes into overdrive! And my anxiety makes me believe that people don’t really want me there and are talking about me! I think you can now see why I am left absolutely exhausted!
Like I said, I am an introvert. Even though I spent the majority of my life pretending to be anything but! Just to fit in and be liked I would force myself and pretend to love clubbing, partying, being centre of attention, when really it was hell!
I am done pretending. Why should I? Just to please other people?
I am starting to learn (slowly I admit) that it’s ok if I’m not the same as everyone else. It’s ok that I don’t want to party and socialise all the time. I love time on my own and time on my own with my son. I believe we need to embrace the fact that we are different. It’s what makes us special and not one the sheep following the herd desperate to be a part of things even if it’s not truly what you want!
My son is the complete opposite to me. He loves big gatherings, loves being the centre of attention and talking to everyone and anyone! I think it’s fantastic! I am certainly not going to hold him back. Again, just because we are different doesn’t mean one of us is right and one of us is wrong. We are simply different and as long as that is ok with us then nothing else should matter!
Never change who you are just please others.
Lots of love to you all
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here
To read more about being an introvert, we strongly recommend this amazing book by Susan Cain –
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