I am an extrovert. I get lots of energy from being around people and stuff. I have some sensory issues that seem to be getting a bit worse as I get older, but I still love being in lively environments that give me the energy I need to remain vibrant myself.
I fretted last year that perhaps I was losing some bit of extroversion because I was increasingly desirous of just being alone. I had a new Meyers-Briggs assessment and found that I was even more extroverted than I used to be. I’m just really tired and that’s why I want to be alone…so I can go to sleep.
My darling Hope seems to be an introvert. She likes to be around people, but really seems to get more energy in super small groups, or alone with her own selected stimuli.
Here’s the thing though: because she struggles with anxiety, she presents as an extrovert.
It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, but I get it now.
Between the anxiety and her ADHD, she can chatter on for hours and hours. She bounces around. She can be boisterous and her voice really carries. Her conversations wind themselves like backwoods roads that have lots of little roads off of them: one left turn and she’s tripped down a long road to nowhere for a 15 minute drive.
Now these behaviors aren’t really associated with extroversion, but if you don’t know much about intro/extroversion, you might easily run up on Hope and think that she’s a little lively ball of people loving fun. Um, no. She’s just spastic and riddled with anxiety.
So, I’ve really, really, I mean really been on my “time-in,” attachment parenting tip these last couple of weeks. Movies, board games, cooking, rice krispy treats, dance parties. I’ve limited our screen time on devices unless we were watching something together. I’ve done her hair. I’ve cleaned her room and not freaked out about all the food wrappers. I have listened with interest as she talks through her social issues, her crush issues, her skin issues, her hair issues, her body issues, her issues’ issues. She has been delighted to just have all this time with me.
And I. Am. Exhausted.
The only time Hope is not chattering on or bouncing around is if we go somewhere. Her brain is so busy and so tired that it literally shuts down and she falls immediately asleep. Sometimes we can’t even get out of the parking lot of our condo property before she is asleep.
It makes me feel like those infant parents who take the kid on a drive in hopes that the kid will stop crying and fall asleep.
My brain and body have quite a bit more stamina and resilience than Hope’s so I’m able to hold it together until night fall, but the constant stimuli is just too damn much for me. I’m exhausted.
Sometimes while she’s talking I am literally wishing she would just be quiet. She never does though.
I take Yappy to the dog park nearly every day just to get a little quiet time, but then I low key chat with the other dog owners.
It just never ends and even extroverts need a break to recharge that small bit of ourselves that is introverted. I don’t even remember going to bed most nights, just mildly cursing when the alarm goes off in the morning because I know the interactions will start again within an hour.
How do introverts even kind of manage this level of interaction and engagement????
I’m hitting it hard right now because school is out and most of our evenings are free. I have an opportunity to make some headway on our relationship before the school year starts again. I see the fruits of these labors, I do, but OMG this is just crazy.
How do folks manage the need to just go into your quiet closet to recharge a bit each day?