sometimes i get the blues, those times when i get depressed and extremely down on myself. i doubt my abilities, my personality, the way i have led my life. i doubt it all. most of the time when i’m feeling down, i throw my pity party complete with food and netflix in bed. and running in the background is my own interior monologue telling me that i’ve done something wrong, that i should be different, that i should act a different way.
as much as i try to live my life as a responsible adult, doing what i want, being friends with who i want, i am influenced by societal pressures and images of what my life should be like in my twenties. all the friends i should be hanging out with, all the dinner parties i should be attending, all the brunches i should be hosting. frankly it all sounds exhausting. to be that outgoing all the time, to be spending that much money all the time, to be constantly happy and peppy and outgoing, it is all overwhelming.
i am not by nature an outgoing person. i am probably very close to the traditional identity of an introvert. spending time with people, especially larger groups of people, drains me of energy, i quickly tire and withdraw. i recharge at home by myself, from watching my favorite shows, to cooking and baking, to reading a book. i have no problem being alone. i don’t like meeting new people, and i find it hard to figure out how to translate meeting someone new into making them a friend.
i struggle with social anxiety (as i know a lot of people do). i am not at all convinced that people will like me, will want to talk to me, will want to be friends with me. in situations where there are large amounts of people, i probably come across as aloof and snobbish as i don’t make a lot of conversation and i don’t approach people i don’t know. usually when i do make conversation with new faces, i can find a multitude of things to nitpick about them from their personality to the way they’re dressed, being overly peppy and too happy. this all sounds very self-centered, but in reality this is all a defense mechanism for myself, because it’s a way for me to rationalize not feeling comfortable around new people. i can simply write it off as “i don’t want to continue to get to know this person, because they smile too much and are an overly optimistic and cheerful person which doesn’t fit with my personality.”
i am a ball of anxiety a lot of the time. sometimes i am able to handle it, deal with it, realize that my personality and life experiences are unique and do not have to fit with what you see on websites or facebook. i am able to see that photos only snap a moment in time, they don’t show the whole situation, they don’t show the in between moments. other times, though, the anxiety in my head brings me down.
i tell myself i should be more outgoing, i should be more motivated, i should make an effort to hang out with my friends more often, i should exercise more, i should be a better twenty-something. the tricky thing about anxiety and feeling down, though, is that instead of just berating me for not being a better version of myself, anxiety also rationalizes why i can’t or shouldn’t change these things about myself. “you can’t be more outgoing because you hate other people and people find you aloof and unfriendly.” “it doesn’t matter how much you exercise because you’ll never be able to make a permanent and lasting change.” “making more of an effort to hang out with friends is a one-sided effort because they don’t really like you that much anyway. they hardly reciprocate the effort.” anxiety is a back and forth conversation where both sides bring their rationalization a game.
this bickering is most of what puts me into a funk, a bluesy, down on myself funk. and it sends me straight to bed for a netflix binge with food, without food, it’s kind of all the same. sometimes it leads to tears, but often not. i am a resilient person, and i do bounce back, but i don’t want it to sound like i come back stronger or more motivated or more confident. i come back to where i was before and keep going about my life and my business.