Growing up, I’ve always kept to myself. My sisters always encouraged me to converse like a “normal person” would, the more I was told that, the more I withdrew from society. At that point I knew that being around crowds just overwhelmed me and that I was happy on my own, I enjoyed the little solitude I was given time to time.
Going through high school, I labeled myself as emotionally unstable because of my strong need to be alone and lack of interest in what teens my age would find relatively interesting, I believe the exact label I used was “emotional wreck“.
I’m the type of person that wears her emotions on her sleeve, one can see if I’m deeply hurt or joyful. Some think it’s a weakness, I prefer to look at it as authenticity. Conflict situations affect my whole; from eating patterns to behavioural habits. It often messes with my digestive system and gives me aches. The believe I had attached to that was that I just bottled things up, making me the “emotional wreck” that I was. My new label was “I have issues” since that’s what I was told my many.
Browsing through the Internet, trying to understand myself better, I stumbled upon articles about Empaths, to my surprise most of the traits (9 out of 10) described me. I knew that I was an introvert but never aware that I was and empath as well.
Turns out the line between being an introvert (empathic or not) and being depressed are often blurred, simply because an introvert like spending time alone, consciously chosen solo activities rather than group activities and enjoys life like that, which often get diagnosed as depression.
One thing is, being an introvert doesn’t mean you have “emotional problems” just because you like solitude. There is a difference between being shy and being an introvert; in a room full of people, a shy person stands against the wall because they do not know how to approach people or are afraid where as an introvert would stand in the exact same spot by choice (often related to being overwhelmed by crowds or just not liking certain people)
Now that I understand what being an introvert and an empath entail, I’m getting rid of all those labels I gave myself and fully embracing the fact that I just like to be on my own or with a small group of people and there is nothing wrong with that. Not wanting to do what other are doing is OK too, just makes me unique and being proud & comfortable with that – authentic…