Realizing My Introversion During Self-isolation
In the days when I still attended school, I was deemed an extrovert by my teachers and school officials. Never did I falter in putting myself “out there.” I was best known as the girl who won the talent show by belting out a Dixie Chicks song while playing the guitar. But as the years passed and my disease progressed, I became more of a homebody.
My transition from extroversion into introversion paralleled my transition to home teaching in high school. Still the social butterfly that I was and probably always will be, I thoroughly enjoyed my Monday and Friday mornings spent rambling on with my homeschool teacher.
Since graduating high school I’ve remained an “introverted extrovert.” Having mitochondrial myopathy requires me to rest often to avoid fatigue, which prohibits always being on the go. Sometimes I’ll notice that a whole week has gone by without having ventured outside my house.
Still, without the need to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak, I doubt I would’ve been made aware of the extent of my introversion. As others fight the itch to engage in social interaction and continue the preoccupations that once consumed their daily lives, I have managed to enjoy my little bubble.
I’ve filled my newly available time with hobbies and tasks that would normally be postponed due to everyday life or insurmountable procrastination. In the first week of quarantine, I rediscovered my lost love for puzzles, honed my amateur photography skills, and sewed a patch onto the bag that I keep on my wheelchair. I also plan on starting a few new hobbies such as embroidery and macrame.
Now, don’t think that I’m somehow immune to the feelings of anxiety and panic. Certainly, I’ve experienced these fear-based emotions. Meditation and the occasional minuscule dose of prescription anti-anxiety medications have been my saving graces in helping me restore a calm state of mind. Many physicians, including the Centers for Disease Control, have touched on the fact that prioritizing our mental wellbeing is as important as our physical health during these times of pandemic pandemonium. I personally couldn’t agree more.
Another useful way to maintain mental health is to avoid the news as much as possible. The media tends to focus on the negatives more than the positives. Keeping this in mind when watching television or scrolling through your social media feeds will hopefully minimize dread and hopelessness.
If you had told me a month ago that I was an introvert, I probably would’ve bluntly told you you’re wrong. I’ve always imagined introverts as cat-loving tea addicts. But as I sit here, finishing my cup of mango coconut tea, I admit that I have more in common with introverts than I could’ve ever imagined possible.
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