To the outside world I was always described as a ‘shy’ and ‘quiet’ child, who lacked confidence and assertiveness. I was the sheep of the group, conforming to the majority in order to fit in. Taking a back seat and letting the person with the biggest personality take the role in leading the group. Of course this was never ideal, but it was better to be liked than to be on my own.
Throughout secondary school I became desperate to fit in, changing and adapting parts of my personality and hiding my true emotions and opinions in order to be liked. I can admit now that it’s pretty fucked up, but unfortunately it’s what most young people, girls and boys are doing in order to be the person they think their peers and society wants them to be. Looking back now, I find it sad that ‘smaller’ personalities tend to be over looked, and underestimated.
I was always someone that preferred my own space, only feeling truely comfortable when I was completely on my own with my thoughts. I have always had lots of friends, or ‘acquaintances’, people I meet up with on occasion, but have always struggled to maintain close friendships. Simply because maintaining close relationships require a lot of effort, and small talk, which I lack in. Most people favour topics that involve talking about other people, or materialistic matters which has never interested me. Mainly because it always involves negative thoughts and feelings, and I find those people are toxic and all consuming.
I have always been a deep thinker, which I find can be challenging in today’s society, and the combination of my experience with anxiety and the desire for a deeper meaning caused a strain on my social life, and my outlook on the world. I struggle to understand why humans intentionally harm each other, how they can be so cruel to bully and cheat others and still carry on with normal life . I have always been conscious that my actions can upset others, which causes me to become very paranoid. I would compare myself to the people around me, and be envious of what they had. And I would exclude myself from certain group outings because I felt I had nothing to offer. All of these factors contributed to my issues with anxiety, as it played a huge part in how I became to perceive myself in such a negative light.
I first became aware of what it meant to have an introvert personality when doing a ‘personality test’ whilst I was unemployed during my worst point of anxiety (and some sort of pre mid-life crisis). I discovered you were either an ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert’ and I’d definitely met more extroverts in my life, or so I’d thought.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve been more open about my mental health, and the significantly low points in my life. I’ve found I am having more open conversations, and discovered I have more in common with people than I thought. So many people are experiencing mental health today, and even the people with the most ‘extroverted’ and ‘confident’ personalities are suffering in silence, hiding behind their personas. I am glad society has started to recognise the importance in having these conversations, because this is what ultimately contributes to saving lives.
I have accepted that I am never going to be the ‘biggest’ personality, and not everyone will like, or understand me. But I know I have one of the biggest hearts and my intentions are always to do good, I will always prefer my own space to that of society’s, and I continue to search for a sense of well-being that goes beyond shallow thinking, and I definitely don’t conform anymore. I want people to realise that being an introvert, and being unique is something to be proud of, and it’s ok to admit that you’re not ok.
Be kind to others, because you never know what they’re battling through.