For most of my life I have felt a certain anxiety. As a kid, it was often prompted while I was away from home. School and sleepovers generally brought out a sense of nausea and I was told that I probably just got homesick a lot. Sure I loved my mom but I felt it as a freshman in college. I was READY to be on my own. I feel it now as an adult. It’s usually brought on when I’m travelling to visit friends and family (never when I’m traveling alone with Adam) and lately it’s been happening in my own house. That’s when I got confused. How I can I feel “homesick” when I’m in my own house with Adam and Desh?
And that’s when I started making the connection. The anxiety is brought on when I know or anticipate that I will not be getting any (or much) alone time. It was the most amazing breakthrough.
- School for 8 hours as a kid? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
- Attending a sleepover? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
- Visiting a big group of friends? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
- Hosting visitors in our own home? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
Okay the bathroom thing was kind of a joke (or not). I have been known to sit in a bathroom stall for 5 minutes to regain a little strength. I’m an introvert and being around people is draining. Not because the people I surround myself with are annoying, exhausting or loud. It’s just not how I get energized. I get energized by being alone. Silent. No talking. Doing what I want.
It’s really hard to admit. It feels selfish, rude and arrogant. It’s even hard for me to realize just how much of an introvert I am. Before spending large amounts of constant time with people – I feel tired or overwhelmed just at the thought. But once I’m with them? I’m usually really flexible, pleasant and hospitable. I’m not a hermit or mute – just an introvert.
So what are some ways that I protect that alone time?
- I try to go to bed earlier than I normally would. I’m a night owl and can stay up until 4am daily but usually only on days where I’m alone or working. If I’m traveling or have company – I’d rather go to sleep at 10pm.
- I try to run errands by myself, write emails or listen to music on my earbuds throughout the day to put space between me and other people. It probably won’t last more than an hour but it feels like sacred time.
- I trust and rely on Adam more than I realize. He’s my buffer, he understands me and I honestly never feel exhausted by his presence.
- I’m really intentional with my time. I schedule meetings towards the end of the work day (I need the morning/afternoon to be productive since meetings tend to pull energy out quickly).
At the end of the day, I just need to be more comfortable with admitting all of this to people when necessary. I have a fear of offending people and I never want them to think it’s their fault. Just like extraverts need special care – people like me do too!
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