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?
July 18th, 2016 at 1:27 pm
Have you considered meditation? Even ten minutes a day can be extremely restorative I’ve found.
July 18th, 2016 at 1:29 pm
Hey, thanks! I do meditate actually and I often try to include Hope as well. We use an app and it is helpful, but just oy…she’s a headful. 🙂
July 18th, 2016 at 1:29 pm
Thanks for the follow BTW! 🙂
July 18th, 2016 at 8:09 pm
I’m at the other end of childhood with a gaggle of toddlers who never stop. Like, ever. I don’t have any advice, I just tell myself it won’t last forever. I hope…
July 19th, 2016 at 10:14 am
I think I’m an extrovert, but when I was younger (childhood through my early 20s) I thought I was an introvert. In retrospect, I eventually realized I wasn’t introverted, I was depressed. Wanting to be alone because it recharges you and wanting to be alone because you hate the world are totally different things. The state of our mental health very much affects our ability to “people.”
When my daughter pushes me to the edge, it also makes me want to be alone. Lately I physically leave the house when I need it, and sometimes that’s not enough. It does go against the attachment parenting. I guess I just try to give her the best of me, and if I am an ugly mess inside then I am not doing her a favor by hanging out with her. Put your oxygen mask on first.
July 19th, 2016 at 4:47 pm
This comment about depression is important. It’s not just about anxiety in our house; depression lives here too. 😦 I don’t need nearly as much down/alone time when I’m not with her. I yearn for the engagement, but not in the way I engage with her.
July 19th, 2016 at 5:06 pm
Yeah. Anxiety and depression often like to live together. 😦
July 19th, 2016 at 3:59 pm
I am a big time introvert my kids not so much I take time first thing in the morning just to sit and listen to the quiet because heaven knows when they wake up its over. I am a morning person so me and my coffee just sit to recharge on the deck to watch sunrise.
July 19th, 2016 at 5:12 pm
Early in undergrad, one of my first few roommates kindly and respectfully, after dealing with me for a few weeks, basically told me to not talk to her in the morning because she needs that time to be quiet, and I was surprised and a little hurt at first (because I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t WANT to listen to my chatter), but then realized not to take it personally and respected her request.
I catch myself talking just to cut the silence, too. For whatever reason I’m just uncomfortable with quiet, and I think also associate “keeping the conversation going” with being polite.
I wonder if you could adopt a recognized quiet time of an hour or a couple hours and at first frame it as an exercise in productivity or focus, like as time to read or study but where one of the rules is you don’t talk for the whole period of time. Then afterwords maybe you could start to talk with her and ask her if it was hard for her to stay silent and why, to eventually at least get her more aware of how much and WHY she is doing the talking and hopefully get her to be more intentional about the verbal interaction.
Maybe it would help, maybe not? I have no real basis for suggesting this, other than “This is what I would try if I was having that issue with a member of my household.”