I really love that this blog has pushed me to have some healthy conversations with myself regarding my limitations, my fears and my anxieties. It’s helped me clarify a lot of things in my head and hopefully it helps you, readers, realize that you might not be alone in navigating the general anxiety of adulthood.
This time around, I’m thinking about limitations.
When I was in high school, I was close friends with a girl who I spent the majority of my time with until one day, we weren’t as close. I didn’t spend as much time with her, I stayed home more, read more books and took more naps and just stayed in. I didn’t have any bad blood but she assumed that something must have gone wrong – something must have happened – my opinion must have changed. We got into a fight because she couldn’t understand and I couldn’t fully explain that I just didn’t want to hang out with anyone really, that I was more content being on my own.
It’s a pattern that I’ve seen in my life, and a pattern that has always made me feel incredibly shitty about myself. It’s a pattern that people have used to judge me and to justify their negative feelings about me. And I’ll admit – I’m guilty of the same thing. I figured there must be something wrong with me, that I must be the bitch that people were saying I was. That because of my limitations, I deserved to be the bad guy. I felt guilty, until I felt angry, and then I just rolled into being sad.
I’m at the point now where I’m not going to feel guilty anymore.
I’m going to accept that there are people out there who think they know me better than I know myself, but I’m not going to allow that to make me feel obligated to push my limitations.
I’m a very public person. I over-post my life on Instagram – what can I say, I’ve got cute dogs! I like to go out and have nice meals, explore museums, go on trips, sip on fun drinks and have conversations with people. I love going to events and meeting new people – whether they’re friends of friends or they know me from my blog. In this sense, I’m extroverted.
I also feel exhausted after a day of work or any social event. Sometimes I even feel exhausted going to brunch with friends or family. My time spent at home – with my (cute) dogs, taking care of chores, reading books, watching crime shows, cooking dinner or sometimes just laying in bed playing with snapchat filters – is so important to me. It’s what makes me feel refreshed, revitalized and prepared to face whatever the day may hold; from flat tires to work meetings, from birthday parties to bumping into someone I know at Target. I like my alone time, plain and simple. In this sense, I’m an introvert.
My introverted side allows me to balance myself and keep my mental health together. But it also contradicts the extroverted personality I present to people. A real problem that so many people with anxiety go through is the feeling that people just don’t believe you when you say, “I can’t, I’m really overwhelmed" because they don't see a reason for you to be overwhelmed. You wind up coming up with other, more reasons. “I’m broke.” “I’ve got this headache that won’t go away.” You feel obligated to come up with some concrete, physical reason for not being able to hang out – because being upfront and saying, “I just need to recharge,” only seems to pass for so long.
I have this habit of pulling back from people, I know, but it doesn’t come from a place of anger or annoyance. It comes from my need to put myself first. In the past year, I have been focusing on setting my limitations and not breaking them. So often, I’ve pushed past what I know I need in order to appease my extroverted side – only to wind up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed the next day.
I can’t change the opinion people have of me. People will phase through their time spent with me and they will make the decision; to realize my limitations and anxieties are just that – mine – and don’t reflect on them, or to go the “everyone was right about her!” route. I’m getting to the point where I’m not letting it phase me quite so much. I can work on better understanding myself and what I am capable and incapable of handling – so that I can better explain myself and my limitations. From there on, people can believe me – or not.
All I’m saying is, I’m working on it.