Being an introvert simply means I gain my energy by being alone. As an introvert, I do love to be out with people, I love to party, socialize, build relationships, and explore the world. Yet, in order for me to continue doing these things I have to spend some time alone to recharge my batteries.
It used to be that I felt depressed because I was alone, however, I was happy being alone, but then was mad at myself for wanting to be alone, however, I didn’t want to be around anyone, but I was depressed because I was spending time alone. Yes, that’s how my brain was wired — thoughts would ramble on and on without end because solitude made me feel good, but I felt this intense guilt from within because I had this cognitive distortion causing me to have an all or nothing way of thinking. I would think , “Everyone is out doing something. All these people are out enjoying their beautiful day. I am the only person home alone right now.”
Remember that I said I actually wanted to be alone? Well, that’s the thing about depression — we create our own misery by thinking about things a certain way — and it’s almost always thinking of things in a negative way.
A lot of the work I have done in therapy sessions and on my own has been to rewire my brain by facing those cognitive distortions head on and challenge my irrational distorted thoughts by analyzing them and replacing them with positive rational ones.
It has been good exercise and the process has helped me a lot.
One of the things I have rationalized is that not everyone is out doing something on weekends or weeknights. Also, I’ve come to realize how much I love being alone. I love recharging my batteries by staying home every once in awhile. Most importantly, I understand that it is OKAY to stay home and it is OKAY to spend quality alone time when I need it.
I spent the past three days with co-workers for a work retreat in Santa Barbara. We attended workshops and lived together the entire time. When I am away for work I enjoy socializing with my co-workers, having dinner, and grabbing a drink or two. However, the entire experience tends to be pretty draining because it really does take a lot of energy out of me.
I returned home on Friday night and have this weekend free before going to San Diego on Monday morning for three days to attend another work related conference. I will be living with my co-workers again in a large Victorian home.
Being an introvert does not mean I am some anti-social weirdo. All it means is that I need to understand when I need to recharge my batteries and regain some energy — and I do that by spending time alone. I knew today was a day I wanted to and needed to be on my own. It is a Saturday night and I am very happy to eat a delicious watermelon, watch some television, and organize my apartment.
Knowing myself better and understanding why I prefer to spend some time by myself helps me tackle my depression. Because yes, it may be Saturday night and some people are out doing typical 20-something things: drinking, dancing, spending time at a restaurant, etc. At the same time, others are staying in: relaxing, watching 48 Hours, cooking dinner, ordering delivery, reading, exercising, etc.
The world is not black or white. The world is colorful, beautiful, and full of people with many interests.
Tonight, I am grateful for the opportunity to spend a day in my adorable apartment. I am grateful because I am fortunate to have a place to be alone, calm, relaxed, and for having the time to fall in love with myself. I am so happy right now!