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Articles > Friends July, 18, 2022

An extrovert trapped in an introverted life

Jennifer Louise Mackie McCreedy
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6.00 / 10

Here’s my story as someone who is an extrovert, who feels trapped in an introverted way of life with many responsibilities.

I feel lonely, but I know I have friends. I know I have friends until I lay in my bed alone and question, do I really?

I see them going out to places together and I’m jealous and I’m sad but I don’t know, if given the invite I would have even said yes. Because if they asked me “do you want to come out tonight?”, I’d immediately run through my mental list of… concerns. A list of concerns I know not all people have, but first let me introduce myself.

I’m Jen, I’m 19 but turn 20 soon. I’m a carer for two people close to me, the elder sister in the household. I still live at home while attending university and I have issues with my mental and physical health. That is the pertinent information but some fun facts to lighten the mood? I love stationary, all things theatre and writing (evidently).

“do you want to come out tonight?”

1. Am I able to leave the person I care for an extended period just before bedtime?

2. What do I need to put in place to make sure everything works out?

3. How will being out late affect me waking up in the morning to do my caring duties?

Being a carer is so much more then helping a person to the loo and back; it’s being there for them just in case; it’s mediating the effects of their disability and their ability to live a relatively normal day-to-day life; it’s about putting someone first, because they can’t do that for themselves. Through lockdown, and especially the earlier times when lockdowns were relaxed, I began to realise the severity of their disability. And with more free time, that bond got tighter and soon it was easier to put them first; because what else was there to do?

But as normal has creeped its way back, this revelation has crippled me with fear. It has made me think of going out as a risk. A risk I don’t think is worth it. A risk I’m scared to take.

“do you want to come out tonight?”

1. How do I get into town?

2. How do I get home?

3. Is it worth the 35–40-minute drive?

I live at home, while that is related to my caring responsibilities, it also is down to convivence, financial concerns and my mental health. Having a top university just around the corner was pure luck (big thank you to my parents, you legends!), and so when it came to considering going into accommodation it felt like a waste of money: specially with first year being conducted wholly online. But it was more then that. It was more personal.

I was dealing with crippling mental health conditions. Correction. I’m dealing with crippling mental health conditions.

“do you want to come out tonight?”

1. Are you able to look into the mirror?

2. How much time do I have to fix myself?

3. Who am I going with?

4. How will I be compared to them?

5. Is going out worth the risk of relapsing?

Lockdown brought on the best in some people, but for me it only exaggerated pre-existing mental health issues and I spiralled. In addition to dealing with some very unexpected grief, it was not safe for me to be in a room on my own. I couldn’t be left alone; it just wasn’t safe. In addition to this, I couldn’t bring myself to even think about going out looking the way I did. I felt like an ugly waste of space, going out in public, seeing people in real life and not through a zoom call was terrifying. And I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. When social events returned to face-to-face, I simply didn’t return to the social events.

Even after a year of therapy, medication and attempts to control my mental health I am no better. I hate myself. I hate how I look. I hate what I do, and I cannot be left on my own for extended periods of time. With safety conquering the possibilities of having a social life, I remained at home. My accessibility to the social aspects of university was limited to scheduled seminars and lectures. But now I can drive, problem solved right? Wrong…

Because still I am terrified of going out. And I don’t have the ‘social’ network to even find out when or where my mates go put. I don’t get the invitations. I have friends, to a point. And the worst part? It’s all my fault. Going out terrifies me. Because; I hate myself; I hate how I look; I hate what I do. I leave events early. I keep to myself. I’m just the other one. It’s just how it is.

“do you want to come out tonight?”

Yes, I do. But in a way I don’t. It’s hard to explain because I hate the empty pit in my stomach when I scroll through social media, but I also hate the empty pit in my stomach when I think about having to get ready to go out. I want the invitation, but I dread receiving it.

I’ve resigned myself to sitting in my bed alone, crying and listening to sad songs. Maybe I should reach out to my friends? Maybe I should just try harder to find them?

Or maybe this is just my life now?

An extrovert trapped in an introverted life.

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  1. Jake

    I think it’s very hard personally. You have to keep Persevering. I know how you feel and it’s horrible. I hate feeling lonely but sometimes you need to go out with friends suggest Ideas and block out all the depressing thoughts and feelings that hold you down

  2. Daya

    I can relate a lot. I am a massive extrovert, but my lifestyle forces me into an introvert blackhole.

    I could never put it into words, but how you explained it makes sense.

    I hope you can find for yourself that you are beautiful. At least from the vibe you give in your writing, you are a wonderful person, and you are strong.

    I’m proud of you ♡