Monday, November 17, 2014

The Misunderstood Introvert

Shushu pre-haircut

Shushu post-haircut

Destin, FL- Navarre Beach 43 degrees 

Ballet ballet ballet

I haven't completely abandoned the blog, but I swear things have been so insane and I am traveling so much that even blogging seems to be too much at the moment.

But what brought me to blog today was how sometimes the medical community seems to be a bit misinformed about us: introverts, HSP... I went to see a psychiatrist for my anxiety. This is someone who has seem me for almost 4 years now. I told him I wanted to go back on medication because I was having a hard time managing my anxiety with just meditation, ballet, etc. 

Then, I went to to tell him I understood what my real issue was: that I was an introvert working in an extremely people oriented carrier: I am traveling a lot, I do presentations to sometimes 500 people in 4 days, and I am constantly dealing with people's medical issues. I said that this overwhelmed my brain and I felt so depleted. Now, I have a good relationship with this guy and he knows I worked in counseling in the past, so knows I have a good grasp on mental health... but he asks me if I had ever taken a stimulant drug such as Adderall.

I immediately repplied: I do not have ADHD! 

This scared me a little. Not for me, because I have a good understanding of mental illness and my own triggers, but because what if another introvert and/or highly sensitive person goes see a medical professional because their brains are in overdrive and they get prescribed Adderall???? How many introverts and/or HSP get prescribed medication instead of guidance?

I am not saying some introverts do not need medication, a lot of people do, but I also know that if I worked alone or in an environment with less stimuli, I would be a lot less anxious. I traded off careers that made me happier and were more rewarding for careers that I kind of liked but that paid a lot more. Now, that's my choice, a trade off that I made, but it did not come without consequences and I understand them. But a lot of people out there do not and get type cast with a mental illness. 

The second misconception was when I mentioned to him that I was back to ballet. He said "great, socializing is very good." I understand that he wanted to make sure I am not isolating myself, but honestly that's exactly what I need because I am with people about 50 to 70 hrs a week and I am EXHAUSTED because of it. So I didn't get into the fact that I was looking into going to central florida to a log cabin for 2 days without nobody, just me.

That's why I feel this blog is important. I never felt as though I was a misfit growing up because my whole family is like me. My mom, my dad, my brother (who probably is the most introverted of us). We never liked guests over, we liked routine, and many times we each went to our rooms and talked to each other around a movie, meal times, etc. My parents never forced us to visit relatives, participate in holiday parties or to socialize. But when I moved to Florida, as an adult, certain expectations became more apparent and being an introvert became more of a problem as people could not understand my need to be alone.

Solitude is not anti-social behavior. Grieving is not depression. Over stimulation is not generalized anxiety disorder. 

Not everyone is driven by money, not everyone see success as by many awards one receives, some like the internal reward of a life lived in truth.


P.S. I have not proof read this... 


15 comments:

Cloudia said...

I agree with you totally! Are your familiar with the work of Elaine Aaron PhD? Sounds like you understand your temperament well.



ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Jacquelineand.... said...

It's good you are conversant with medical (and your) issues. Too few people are, and end up paying the price; glad you are getting some much-needed alone time. =)

Sherri B. said...

I know I keep saying it, but I relate to all you say 100%. It's frustrating that this extrovert-driven world doesn't understand introverts/HSPs. We're looked at as being defective when we just need space and alone time to re-energize and function in a healthy way. Your last two sentences describe exactly how I exist in this world, too...I'm sending you good thoughts! xo <3

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I completely agree that there are A LOT of misconceptions about introverts. Solitude is not unhealthy. In fact, it is quite the opposite! We learn so much through our times of introspection and solitude. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday :)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Introversion is too often misunderstood as something being "wrong" with the person. Of course the standard of what is "right" is extroversion. It's a sad truth that we often have to fight for our right to solitude and time to recharge.

Kathy, PaperPumpkin said...

I feel this post, Ana! My introvertedness seems like such a hardship in this loud world. And for the first time in years, i cried at work yesterday. The demand and pressure was just too much. Today I am relieved to say that I am home, alone, in the quiet of snow, on an unexpected day off due to weather...and it couldn't have come at a more needed time. Ah. Is it weird to admit that sometimes my anxiety is so great, that I can't meditate??!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

*sigh* Introversion is still so misunderstood. I can certainly understand how you become overwhelmed and anxious in such an environment. Moments of solitude are vital to an introvert. Why is this so hard to understand? Especially by a mental health professional?

Kristin_Texas said...

I completely understand. I just got back from Disney World and I have to say the noise alone was overstimulating. (So many screaming kids and nothing but crowds). Thanksgiving is coming up, and I think people are coming here... and on Christmas I have to go to my brother and SIL's new house.

I am NOT looking forward to it at all, but I have no choice.

Forced socializing, small talk and gift giving (and to people that ignore me the rest of the year) is why I never am a big fan of the holidays. Sometimes it isn't just drugs people should say no to, but holiday gatherings as well! (I know that sounds silly, but it's so true).

Magic Love Crow said...

I agree with everything you have said! I hope you get your alone time! I find more and more, that I need that too! And, sometimes, it's hard for my mom to understand.
Your puppy is so cute!
All the best!!!!

Rosemoo said...

Well said! :D

Ileana said...

That question your psychiatrist asked you is disturbing. Someone with less knowledge may have ended up taking the new med and dealing with a whole new set of issues. I don't know a thing about anxiety and depression, but you seem to be your best doctor. You have self awareness, knowledge based on training and experience and you know in your gut when something is just not right...and most importantly, you don't ignore this. I think I may be more introverted than I thought after reading several of your posts. I think I'm a little of both, but I need alone time to refuel. I also need people and new experiences fuel me as well. Oh, I think I'm just a hot mess. lol ;)

Bohemian said...

I am in Agreement with you on this topic. I am glad you know yourself well and are your own best Advocate, many do not have that insight and therefore can be misguided. I am an extrovert but The Man is an introvert and is more content in Solitude than Socializing... we compliment each other and respect that what works for one of us does not always work for the other. I Hope you are able to diminish the Anxiety levels in a balanced way you have a Peace about. The Man and a Teen Grandson we're raising both struggle with severe Anxiety and it can be so debilitating... so we too, as a Family, are trying to navigate the best way to address it medically or holistically. Blessings and a Happy Thanksgiving from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Red Shoes said...

Hey you...

How is your art coming along?

I was telling someone today that I may have been born 150 or so years too late. I so easily could have been one of those mountain men... 'Jeremiah Johnson'... that just disappears into the Rockies... and lives alone... lives off the land... I could so see that...

Yes, and meanwhile, the medical community seems Hell bent on bending shaping us into something that can be plugged into some kind of square hole or what have you.

Happy Thanksgiving you...

~shoes~

Mamka said...

Thank you for writing the introvert selfhood. I still am. I need the silence and the small program. I know the anxiety. :( It's not easy.
It has long been taking a medicine, so I'm fine. But care must be taken to rest enough. God bless you!
Mamka from Hungary

Palomasea said...

Amen, amen, amen...
I second Elaine Aron...her books are wonderful.
I,too, have had to majorly readjust my life....
Wishing you true joy and peace of mind, dear Ana...
It scares me to think of similar souls being placed on the wrong meds.
Much love to you,
~ Irina