I remember a lot of things about our premarital counseling but the main thing was that I was defined as an introvert. I had never really heard the term, but it sounded a lot like me. I rebounded by being alone, I filled up alone. When surrounded by people, I would become exhausted and drained. The opposite of that is an extrovert, someone who gains energy by being around people, and someone who would likely go nuts being alone too long. How it works is (taken from The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D.) neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.
Our Pastor really focused on this, because Levi is an extrovert, and I’m an introvert. He talked about how to honor and respect his quality each of us have and how important it is. We naively nodded our heads, smiled and batted our eyelashes at each other and said “Ok, yes, we understand.”
Flash forward 6 years. I am currently at a coffee shop and not allowed to come home until the kids are in bed because I started t become increasingly depressed, weepy, and overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was sleep, and through talking about stuff we realized I haven’t been alone in 5 years. No, I’m not exaggerating at all. Aside from the shower (which, Moms…you know how that goes), sleeping (again, Moms lol), and an occasional run to Target for meds or something I haven’t honored or respected my own neat quality of introvertness (yup, I just made a word up). I have only left Ayden overnight once, and that was with Levi while I drove 16 hours in a car with my Mom to a wedding that was full of…you guessed it…PEOPLE. Everyday, since May 3rd 2007- I have been surrounded. Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life. I love my family. I even pride myself (a little too much probably) that I have always been with my kids and that I always put them before myself.
I have essentially plugged my ears, and closed my eyes to the warning of our pastor. I have ignored wise counsel. I have been in denial- I have THROWN myself into a life of constant motion, socialization, and engagement. This past week I felt as though my world was quite literally spinning around me and I couldn’t catch up. Nothing bad happened, in fact it was great! But I couldn’t see. Literally. It was chaos in my mind. I would try to do what I always do, pick myself up and start cleaning- that always works. Nope, I quit within a minute. It then accused to me that we were going to have a house full tonight, and then Levi would be gone all weekend as he works. Complete defeat filled my heart. What was wrong? Levi got home from a side job and I was just weepy. So, he kicked me out. And now that I’m here, I feel about 200x better. Wow. I forgot what this alone thing feels like. I forgot how good it feels to fill up, to be alone, to finish a thought, to be clear minded. it’s only been 45 minutes and I feel like I could take on the world! I have hours left lol!
So, I think I am going to re-embrace the introvert in me. I’m going to allow time just me, alone. I’m going to allow my husband to help in that. I’m going to say, “no” more often. I’m going to listen to the wise words of a dear friend back home in Oregon and let go of my control freakiness and just go be alone- even if it means ~gasp~ the father of my children actually have to care for them.
And, I’m not going to be ashamed of being an introvert. We introverts, although rare in today’s society offer some pretty neat things. For more- watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html