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I Am An Extrovert.

Did any of you know that? I didn't.

Back in my formative years, maybe at age 24 or thereabouts, a shrink explained to me that I was an introvert. My GP also described me as introverted. So you know, the authorities had spoken.

I now think that had more to do with Anxiety Disorder and secondary depression.

I might backpedal here, I don't think I'm a full on extrovert. I just don't think I can be typed as introverted.

I like people, I tend to feel energised around people. That's so long as illness doesn't get in the way. And even then, the loneliness drives me mad.

It's seeing people that makes me want to draw, paint and knit. Not that I necessarily do those things, I just want to do those things - I feel creative and inspired.

When I don't like knitting, it's because I'm spending too much time alone and knitting just adds to the sense of silence and claustrophobia. When I can't think of anything to draw, it's because there aren't people around for me to contemplate.

Because of illness, I've learnt to live with solitude. I had to work consciously on this. Both strategies to minimise solitude (hello Livejournal!) and to cope with it. That was thanks to a later shrink, who never used the term 'introverted' but didn't bother contradicting it either.

So I think that old shrink was wrong.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2013 08:49 am (UTC)
The fact that you still enjoy/crave the company of people means you are ... I am thinking of several different descriptive phrases but they all boil down to a sense of 'normalcy'. I tend to find the company of others a stressor. After a lifetime of battling loneliness or the fear of loneliness, the one thing this condition has brought me is freedom from civilization. I haven't decided if this is a good thing yet.

Again, bottom line, you have a healthy attitude!
Aug. 11th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thankyou. I pride myself on my healthy attitude and take it for regular walks.

Aug. 10th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
One of my friends considers herself about 50% introverted and 50% extroverted. Apparently it's possible to be both.
Aug. 10th, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
I understand it's a sliding scale, so this makes sense.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - shehasathree - Aug. 10th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 10th, 2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
I keep wondering why so much attention is being paid to the intro-extrovert definition lately. I don't understand how a label is going to change a person's way of approaching life, I suppose. I used to worry about my excessive shyness until I found out that being with people energizes me as well. I understand it when you say that the energy makes you want to be creative as I experience a similar feeling.
My own anxiety disorder has made me far too miserable and withdrawn too often so what I constantly work on is overcoming that and bugger all to what people think of me. I don't always achieve that but labeling myself intro or extro wouldn't have gone as far in helping me as relaxing and just enjoying interacting with people has.

I don't think I made much sense here. Let's just say I tend to ignore labels and focus on the person.
Aug. 11th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
I guess I consider it to be a tool to see how you do things. A framework. But like most psych. things, incorrect application, and using it as a label is just silly.

And now that I've thought "hey I'm not a complete introvert" so many aspects of myself make so much more sense...it bothers me that I had to think this before I could feel okay about some of my needs that I was busily trying to ignore.
Aug. 11th, 2013 02:54 am (UTC)
Extroversion-Introversion is definitely a sliding scale. I have a number of friends who are pretty much in the middle and will go either way depending on the situation. I think the reason it has been getting more attention lately is partly because personality/temperament/work preference tests are still very popular and a few notable introverts have stood up and said "Oi! Not everyone loves being bombarded by people and that isn't a 'flaw' that needs correcting." For a long time the popular mentality was that the key to being successful (in business mainly) was to "get out there", "press the flesh", "network", etc.. Basically all the stuff you see American presidential candidates doing. They're all very much extroversion traits and if you happened to be an introvert and very uncomfortable with these approaches it was seen as either you weren't trying hard enough or simply weren't "leadership" material. Of course that's a load of bollocks and now there seems to be a shift to highlight that a) introversion isn't "wrong" and b) introverts can be highly successful, but they do it differently to extroverts.

There also seems to be a lot of confusion around what extroversion or introversion mean. The best definition I've seen is to consider whether you are primarily energised by being with other people or by being alone. If you go stir crazy without frequent social contact, you're probably more extroverted, if you go nuts without plenty of solitude, then you're probably more introverted. Things that have nothing to do with introversion or extroversion include: being assertive; being loud; being argumentative etc.. </p>

There's also a difference between what you naturally prefer versus what your situation, social conditioning, etc.. allows. You may be naturally extroverted and love frequent social contact, but be unable to do this due to illness. You may be naturally introverted and really dislike high levels of engagement with people, but force yourself to do it because you're job requires it. You may throw a big family gathering every Christmas because it is what your family has always done and everyone else enjoys it, even though you're an introvert and can't stand having all these people around.

Aug. 11th, 2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
Or possibly you can't stand your family.

I definitely go stir crazy(as you've seen) when my CFS symptoms are lower. The better I am the more I get in the faces of my carers and any other captive audience. Even when pulling myself together and doing the things that I think of as the things that bring pleasure, like creative things, I find the lack of social activity to be excruciating. Even reading seems like filling in time.
Aug. 11th, 2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
Hello from a neighboring oarlock
O hai there.

I have been having similar conversations with people in person ... that a very broken/ill/resigned to circumstances /what have you extrovert will look very similar to an introvert, but won't be one.

I don't like living in a cave, but had become resigned to it. I have lost most of my social contacts and cred through years of illness followed up by a several hundred mile move and am now trying to navigate blah blah blah I'm sure you can empathise with but I won't belabor.

Just wanted to let you know that I *very* much understand and that your experience is not an isolated one (heh).

Aug. 11th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Hello from a neighboring oarlock
O hai.

Empathy to the power of ten, my friend

and props for the bad pun. ;)

Edited at 2013-08-11 01:51 pm (UTC)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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