In high school, I was always able to have alone time, because my brother was so much older than me, it often felt as though I was an only child. I took that time for granted, and didn’t realize how necessary it was for me to exist and thrive as a human being.
Don’t get me wrong, I like going out with friends or going to the occasional party, but I need to spend time alone. It’s never what I’m doing that is so important, but that I get time to breathe and not have to worry what to say or how to act. I don’t mean to say that I am trying to act like someone else, but when you have anxiety, specifically social anxieties, you overthink every word, every text, every interaction.
College was when I learned that I needed that I needed and craved this time by myself to recharge. I’m usually not doing anything important or anything that needs silences. In fact, most of the time, I’m watching something on Netflix, reading, doing a puzzle, or just scrolling around on the internet.
College was also the time I felt the most selfish for wanting to be alone. I was lucky enough to have people want to spend time with me, and many times I would go hang out with them, even when I really just wanted to be alone. I loved those people, but they were also very different, and didn’t need the breathers I did. I often felt like a bad friend or lazy, because that’s the way it probably came across to others. It got worse as college went on, as I was overloaded with classes, became more stressed, and my depression symptoms really started to take over my life.
Comments would always be made about how I don’t do a lot anymore, or I’m always in my room. Sometimes, I would lock my room, and do something quiet, just so no one would think I was there if they came a’knockin’. I felt awful, but it was easier to hide than to either feel pressured into going out with others, or have to reject an invitation from one of my dear friends.
It wasn’t until after I graduated that I realized that maybe I was being selfish, but it was for good reason. I didn’t just want that time alone, I needed it to recharge, refresh, and be a functioning member of society the next day. Some people need coffee every morning, some need to smoke a few cigarettes, and some people need to go run around the block. Just like they need their vices and energy releases, some of us need some time alone to process everything.
To the introverts, to those with anxiety, and to everyone who needs time alone for your own reasons, be selfish. Pay attention to your mind and your body. You need to be healthy both mentally and physically, and if you need time by yourself to make sure that happens… TAKE THAT TIME. Talk to your friends about it, and if they love you (like I’m sure they do), they will completely understand. Now, I’m not saying to neglect friendships, but it’s your job to respect each other.
To the extroverts who love their friends dearly, but don’t understand why they’ve locked themselves in their room for two hours, we recharge differently. Simply put, we have different needs, and that’s okay too! Once we’re both refueled and ready, we can get together and take on the world. But, let me finish this crossword first, okay?
We should be taking care of each other, but we can’t do that if we can’t first take care of ourselves.
Disclaimer: Not all introverts, may feel this way. These are my experiences with introversion, anxiety, and depression, separately and combined.
Featured image was found here.