Introverts, rejoice (in hiding, of course)

28 Mar

8:53 pm

Well, if no one else is going to say it, I might as well:  as an introvert, I’m kind of loving this social-distancing, sheltering-in-place stuff.  I mean, I haven’t seen any media story cover the COVID-19 pandemic with the angle of, how do introverts feel to “have” to be alone all the time.  It feels like the elephant in the room when I’m talking to people who really know me.  I keep joking about it, like, haha, this is how I usually live, my life hasn’t changed at all, secretly wondering if I was, am, and will be judged for being an introvert (some might say that I am bordering on hermetic these days).

Of course, all the stories zero in on extroverts, or are written from the (more common?) extrovert mindset:  this sucks, to not be able to have human contact, to not be able to get together, to not be able to talk or hug in person.

Um, not if you’re an introvert!  It kind of truly is how I live my life most of the time.  And, a part of me feels slightly scared (is there something terribly wrong with me?) and another part is intrigued (what is it about me, about my own company, that sustains me more than that of others?).  For me, the timing of this pandemic is a relief, considering my days and nights are stressed by work and trying to maintain a sense of sanity and normalcy in the face of my severe perimenopausal night heat.  As an introvert, I find myself thinking, I finally don’t have to make excuses anymore for not wanting to go out or be with other people in a social setting!

I mean, I am used to working from home, but also, spending my time alone and doing a lot of things alone–and preferring it that way!  Even to me, that still sounds bad, but it’s taken me 45 years to not feel the urge to apologize for who I am; it’s probably never going to feel perfectly right, but at least I’m on my way toward being more accepting of myself.

Like, my life is pretty much EXACTLY the same as it was pre-lockdown:  I spend all day home, alone, working, except for the (admittedly relieving–even introverts need connection!) conference calls that I typically almost always conduct via voice (we don’t normally dial in using video); I work out alone; I usually don’t go out to dinner or (gasp!) the bars anymore.  Once in a while, I’ll hang out with a friend or go to the beach with a group, but it’s rare.

Of course, I have my people, those one or two or three people whom I’ve let in, who know me, and with whom I can be myself.  Even still, I need my space and “me” time.  And, by that, I mean, time alone to observe, to process–and, to get the kind of deep, soulful feedback from myself that I need to feel full, whole, good.  I’m not saying I don’t enjoy others’ company; more often than not, though, I prefer my own, maybe because I am overly self-conscious, maybe because I feel like I “get more back” (in terms of what makes me feel grounded and optimistic) from my inner self.

That being said, I totally understand that feeling of being out of control and insane from spending too much time alone!  I’ve been working from home, as a writer, for almost a decade; what I’ve found helps me is this:

  • tracking my time (making to-do lists, writing in a journal);
  • processing the negative thoughts that just start to whir when you’re alone a lot (again, writing in a journal is essential to me getting all that junk down on digital paper, as it were, and letting it go/clearing the way for positive thoughts); and
  • doing things outside my home (and, that could be, doing yoga on the deck instead of in my bedroom, just to see a change of scenery).

It’s not easy, and I feel for people who don’t have significant others, pets–anything to help you feel less up in your head after a long day of being and working alone.  I have hated it at times, but, the alternative is one, not being a writer (I’ve done that, and I’m probably going to do that again–though an introvert, I can swing toward extroversion for extended periods of time as well; a true Gemini!); and two, writing from an office with people around me, which isn’t really different from writing alone at home except there are people around me, talking or distracting me.  I guess the biggest difference is that I don’t have coworkers to chat with, and that can grate on anyone’s nerves, even mine!  Dogs don’t talk back to you (in words, anyway).

And, all that being said, it does suck to not be able to go out and see friends, hug your people, etc. etc. etc.!  But, this, too, shall pass, this, too, shall pass.  (at least we don’t have to worry about keeping stocked with red wine, right?)

12 Responses to “Introverts, rejoice (in hiding, of course)”

  1. Mary March 29, 2020 at 2:38 am #

    I love being alone. I did drink alone for years and when I got sober (3 years) I figured I had better change that but I found myself using the time for prayer, reading, writing and resting. I have a huge family, a busy job and raised my kids by myself, I’m tired and I want to be alone! My meetings and my faith and my alone time are what keeps me sober.
    Great post.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 5, 2020 at 11:32 am #

      This is SO heartening to hear–I love “I love being alone, period”. Thank you. And, it sounds like you have a lot in your life to balance your alone time…

  2. Lovie Price March 29, 2020 at 3:26 am #

    i have been pretty much a recluse by choice for the last year myself. I kind of feel the universe was preparing me. Being night shift and a home care nurse ( one on one) for decades i was already quite used to it. But i had stopped going to a gym ( september) went off social media ( 6 months) and stopped doing many other social activities once i moved away from the city(october). In February( before all this became big news) the last thing i decided to eliminate was being part of a once a month event we had hosted for 3 years as well. It’s just crazy how ironic all of these moves have put me into this place in life at this exact time and being able to foresee the emotional patterns evolving on a large scale, and in individuals. That being said, as much as i have tried to explain to others this whole time how the isolation can really affect you, no one understood much of it. Twilight Zone!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 5, 2020 at 11:40 am #

      I get it. Was there a reason you chose to be more alone this year? Lately, I don’t have time/cannot stand passive aggressive behavior (mainly directed via text or social), so I have been avoiding those interactions. It definitely is a balancing act finding what to let in and what to reject–for your own sanity and mental health…

      • Lovie Price April 7, 2020 at 3:50 am #

        well, at first i had just decided that Facebook was becoming way too toxic for me. So i deactivated , committing to 6 months and starts the new blog project ( that was in July last year) In the course of it, i made so much progress in my own life in that short time – just made the decisions as i went along about other things i should eliminate, at least for a while. At certain points it was extremely lonely and isolating. But i am a stubborn person so i persisted.I got back on in January but with a whole new perspective which led to some additional major changes along the same lines in February for personal growth . It was just a weird coincidence that this happened a month later. I would never have imagined it! ..Basically started just a deep daily awareness of changes i wanted/needed to make.

  3. Adrian March 29, 2020 at 8:51 am #

    I agree. I have my one or two people here who I see some (a few minutes a day) or a lot (live with him), and my buddies are in my other city that I can’t visit right now (though when I do visit I often just want to be alone 🙂 ). My freakedoutness about the economy keeps me from enjoying the enforced solitude, but the permission to be alone is cool. And, totally with you on that last line!!! As I was stocking up on coffee beans, in full view of my partner, I found myself thinking how very very grateful I am that I don’t have to be sneakily stocking up on beer. (I was a secret/alone drinker and he doesn’t know about my struggle.) So glad I walked away from alcohol before this nightmare. Thanks for the post.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 5, 2020 at 11:42 am #

      Aww, thanks for you comment, too! I love that–“permission to be alone”. I guess I wish I didn’t need it, before the pandemic, but that is what I have been trying to work on, which is, being OK with who I am and my choices, no matter what others say or do. And yes, SO glad I am not worrying about, how am I going to keep stocked up on red wine?!

  4. Robert Crisp March 29, 2020 at 7:05 pm #

    Fellow introvert here. The only difference for me is having to supervise my children while they do school, and my wife is working from home. We’re all sick of each other..
    But I’m not sick of myself.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 5, 2020 at 11:43 am #

      Haha–yeah, I am used to working from home, and being with my partner and dog constantly. And, I am SO glad you are not sick of yourself! I do get kind of sick of myself…until I step back and remember to be grateful (for all of it). Thanks for your comment–

  5. limetwiste March 31, 2020 at 4:09 pm #

    Yes. Absolutely agree with this. Fellow introvert here. My highlight of going out to see humanity used to be the supermarket. Now I shop online. Communication now is email or text. Being with myself all day is a joy. Being sober over a year now and my sleeping patterns are normal. If I get anxious about the world and Corona I just sleep more. My desire to have an edible garden has had me dump the lawn and place raised vegetable plots instead. I am very thankful of this. It takes time to become comfortable with yourself. I feel like I have been training for this for years.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 5, 2020 at 11:46 am #

      SO wonderful to hear this–“Being with myself all day is a joy”. It sounds like you are managing early sobriety very, very well, so congrats!

      • limetwiste April 7, 2020 at 7:15 am #

        So far so good but this Covid 19 is a testing time.

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