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Why I Find It Hard Being an Introvert With Avoidant Personality Disorder

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As an introvert, you often find comfort in a quiet place; you get exhausted in social situations really fast and you have to refill your energy by being alone. You prefer to be an observer and analyze a situation before interacting or speaking up. You tend to be quiet rather than talk. Unfortunately, not many people understand because we live in an extroverted world.

Now add a mental illness on top of that, an illness that messes with your mind, making it hard to socialize. I have a Cluster C personality disorder, so being the anxious type makes the mix of introvert and mentally ill really hard.

It makes me love and hate loneliness, isolation and silence. It’s so confusing that I can’t explain why I’m fine being alone today and hate it tomorrow. It makes me question my illness even more because I can cope with my symptoms one day, while they nearly kill me later on.

Since my family members are all extroverts who love to talk non-stop and meet people all the time, I often feel out of place. I’m the only introvert, or at least the only one who isn’t able to disguise herself as an extrovert. In my family, I’m the introvert whose quietness no one wants to understand, and the anxious girl who isn’t able to hold one decent conversation.

But the problem is, you can’t see the difference – I’m literally the only one who can tell.

I’m the only one who can feel when the silence that once was comforting becomes a burden.

I’m the only one who knows that this quietness isn’t because I prefer to listen, but because I’m too mentally exhausted to talk.

No one knows the difference between my alone time that I enjoy and the one that’s killing me.

No one understands that it’s not shyness that stops me from meeting people, but the anxiety attacks that come along.

They don’t know the difference between wanting to be alone to gain energy and wanting to be left alone because my thoughts get the best of me, and I don’t want anyone to see me like this.

No one knows that when I’m staying at home, it’s not because I’m busy doing stuff like reading or writing, but because I’m mentally not able to leave my room.

It’s the difference between keeping people at a distance because I’m doing fine alone, and not letting anyone close to me because I have trust issues and I’m scared of people leaving me behind like trash.

They don’t see the difference between not leaving my comfort zone because it’s actually comforting, and not being able to leave it because it keeps me hostage.

They will never understand what it’s like to be an introvert, let alone what it’s like to be mentally ill. So how will they ever understand what it feels like to be both?

I hate being an introvert. I hate explaining why I remain quiet. I hate that I have to justify myself for not talking. I hate explaining why I prefer to stay at home rather than to go out. I hate being the outsider in family gatherings. I hate that I can’t socialize like everyone else.

I hate being mentally ill. I hate feeling alone. I hate to not be able to express myself for fear of rejection. I hate that I can’t leave my room. I hate that I don’t have friends. I hate that I can’t let people get close to me. I hate that I have to avoid situations out of fear. I hate my anxiety attacks. I hate that I have to calm myself down every single day. I hate my thoughts. I hate my hypersensitivity. I hate that I can’t travel and meet people like I so badly want to.

I hate that it’s my own brain that betrays me every day.

I hate that my illness makes me hate myself.

And I hate that they will never understand what it feels like to be me.

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Getty Images photo via Cineberg

Originally published: January 31, 2018
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