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What to Do If You Are an Introvert With a Mental Illness

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If you’ve ever wondered if you’re an introvert or extrovert, there are a plethora of articles out there explaining the difference, but sometimes it can still be difficult to really know if you fall into one of those categories. Typically if you’re an introvert, you are more reserved and shy – being a homebody would probably describe you best. If you are an extrovert, you are more outgoing and you likely enjoy the social scene.

I find myself relating more to the introverted lifestyle, and my mental illnesses (if interested, check out my previous posts explaining my illnesses and experiences) play a large role in why I feel that way.

I find it incredibly hard to navigate my daily life when I feel this reserved. A huge part of me enjoys the idea of being a host – I love planning get-togethers/events, decorating and striking up conversation. But that’s where a lot of that excitement stops. Once an event or get-together happens, my anxiety kicks in and I become a hermit – I find myself sticking close to my husband, sitting away from the group and chatting less than I imagined.

There are also many days that I actually want to be a homebody. To be honest, I’m not a huge people person. I had a decent amount of friends in school, but there were a lot of complicated instances that arose that led to my trust for people diminishing and hurt my attempts at making new friends.

Additionally, being an introvert and mentally ill has its downsides: my husband is a people person. We have frequently talked about making couple friends, and as much as I love the idea of having people to do things with, it also terrifies me. My depression frequently surprises me when we have plans, and all of a sudden I find myself in bed for hours, trying to find the words to tell my husband why I can’t go. It breaks my heart to see the disappointment on his face. I’ve forced myself to go out and do things so many times that, right now, my illnesses defeat me. It’s a dark abyss that I can’t escape, no matter how hard I try. So, I let my illnesses win, and I lean into my introverted side, and I stay in like I do 90 percent of the time.

When you’re an introvert at heart and happen to have a brain that doesn’t quit, it’s hard to not let down someone in your life. The thing you have to try and remember is that you can’t let it destroy your soul or your passion. You have to push through those dark days and keep your mind focused on the sunshine ahead. Don’t feel ashamed for being an introvert or having any kind of illness. I often blame myself for everything that goes wrong around me because that’s what my brain tells me. So, if you feel the same way, you need to find that one positive and focus on it. Channel that negative energy into something you enjoy, and then enjoy the hell out of it.

I’ll leave you all with this: whether you’re introverted or extroverted, whether you’re ill or not, we all need to learn to love life more. I feel like every day there is a new news headline that is furthering my social anxiety and helping breed my paranoia. Take some time to disconnect and surround yourself with meaningful experiences. Let’s help make the world a brighter place because we have one life and it deserves to be beautiful.

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Originally published: March 7, 2018
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