I used to be someone who was EXHAUSTED by social situations, no matter who I was socializing with. I would definitely need to recharge with some quiet and alone time peppered between the time with other humans. My natural state was to seek out solitude, being around people was something that I enjoyed DURING and AFTER but it would often take a lot out of me to push myself to seek out other humans at the start because my natural instinct was to be home and alone.
But I’ve noticed something in the last two years…if I go too long without seeing friends, I get really really sad.
And this has NEVER been me before. NEVER.
When I stopped running it hit me that my friends were all running friends and my depression was starting to teeter out of control without contact with friends on a regular basis. I NEEDED MY FRIENDS. I’ve always LOVED my friends and LOVED hanging out with them but my “stasis” point was SOLITUDE because that was more natural for me. But when I stopped seeing my running friends I stopped seeing ANY friends and I’m starting to connect that with some of my downward spiral because I think I’m realizing I needed time around people. WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SOMETHING I NEEDED BEFORE.
Two more things affected me worse than they normally would affect introvert Kim this week: 1) A Knoxville friend making a trip out of town caused me to panic…WAIT. I NEED MY KNOXVILLE FRIENDS. and 2) Visiting with a Knoxville friend last night and I felt sadness just descend when I left her and her family which is NOT NORMAL for me. It’s not that I’m always jumping for joy when I’m alone, but I never feel like sadness is TRIGGERED by leaving people. But last night? It did. And the thought of one of my Knoxville friends not being here when I’m here? Made me sad.
I started thinking about it last night…what has changed?
The last two years, and especially the last few months I just feel like the news is hitting me harder and harder lately. I only lasted TWO SECONDS listening to the audio from children crying at a detention center on the news yesterday afternoon before I started crying uncontrollably. Voting rights are not being upheld. Transgender people going broke paying for hormone treatment out of their own pockets only to be LEGALLY fired for being transgender. Mass incarceration. Reproductive rights being trampled on. All of these things for years that I felt like I could see progress being made and suddenly it’s all being back-pedaled and I find the WORLD IS MORE DEPRESSING and what am I doing to cope?
SEEKING OUT SOULS THAT GIVE ME LIGHT.
It’s not just ANY people, it’s friends, real friends who balance out the darkness I feel that has descended on the world. I am seeking those people out and I’m reacting physically when I’m not around them. I’m seeking joy in souls that add love to my life to balance out the tragedy of the world around me.
As I said on Twitter last night: I think Donald Trump and his administration has made me an extrovert.
It may be temporary, but it’s a strange shift to find that I might naturally be drawn towards people instead of towards solitude. I seem to be recharging lately from others instead of from time alone. There are still moments where I crave solitude and I find it energizing but there are ALSO moments where I crave PEOPLE to GIVE ME LIFE and that is 100% new and I think 100% a coping mechanism triggered by current events.
So. There’s that? I seem to be turning into an extrovert? I’m still socially awkward and definitely still fight social anxieties – which is a weird combination when you’re seeking out people. But it seems now that maybe I’m starting to reach out to people more often than I seek out a cave to hide in? And this is a new development which might be a silver lining to all of this?
I’m still analyzing it all but I’m starting to open my mind to the possibility that maybe I need people now more than ever and I need to be aware of that when monitoring my mental health status. My cave is not my happy place consistently anymore.