When you think of an extrovert you don’t tend to think of their overthinking brains and their mind-numbingly introspective questioning to everything. They’re seen as the loud, outgoing ones. HUSH spoke to 21 year old Eliza, who shares her experience about her personal conflict between her mental health and extroverted personality.
7:30am. An hour before my alarm yet here I am having woken myself up with my brain over thinking before my eyes are even open. Then when they open the tears start falling and once they start they can’t seem to stop. I sit up, close my eyes once again, breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth and I’m ready to start the day.
When asked to describe myself in three words I tend to steer away from the adjectives that depict an anxious person, ‘nervous’, ‘shy’, ‘worried’. I’m so conscious of the fact that people do not see me like this and I for sure do not want to be your stereotypical anxious person. On the outside I’m calm and collected and if I act like this maybe I’ll start feeling like it. I realise this is fucking ridiculous and there is nothing wrong with being anxious but, anxiety never fit with the image I had of myself as a self-assured and confident woman.
I am in every sense an extrovert. I draw in my energy from being around people and I like being in others company. I like long talks until 5 am, I like being the loudest in the room, I like big parties with people I know and I like that comfortable silence when sitting with someone you love. However, there are certain social situations that fill me with this feeling of dread that I can never seem to shake off that likes to question my every move. Did I say that too loudly? Are they whispering about me? Are they laughing at me? I find it hard to maintain conversations with people when I don’t want to, like bumping into someone on the street. It’s not the small talk that I mind, I’m quite good at chatting shit. It’s the million and one thoughts inside my head, like a silent panic attack where my brain can’t breathe. It’s simply the fear of social awkwardness and my defence mechanism is to get louder and louder. Makes sense (lol).
There are days I am so full of energy and my words cannot keep up with me, they’re unable to come out of my mouth quick enough and end up stumbling over one another, my sentences don’t make sense and I’m uncontrollably laughing. I can no longer contain the disorganised mess that are my racing thoughts. Everything is hilarious. ‘You’re happy today!’ I wait for the crash because of course everything that goes up must come down. 2 days later and I’m unable to leave the house and all that I can manage to do is cry, god when did I get so dramatic? My emotions often betray me, I’m ready to say my point in an argument yet all I can seem to do is fucking cry. The words are on the tip of my tongue but the long thought out essay I had prepared to reply simply doesn’t leave my mouth.
Maybe these days of crying are my own way of ‘re-charging’? Being by myself used to feel like a punishment. I couldn’t comprehend how anyone could enjoy their own company. I don’t seek isolation and I never understood the need to ‘re-charge’. Five hours alone was enough to send me into break down mode, I have too much energy to be sat doing nothing, my brain constantly asking ‘what are we doing next?’ It’s like having a bad and good angel but unable to understand which is which, one constantly wants to be surrounded by people the other questions if they even like you. I often feel like a burden on those around me, I’m talking too much, I’m talking too little, maybe it’s just my presence that’s annoying them. When a text goes ignored the first thought that pops into my head is that they’re pissed off at me, they’re purposefully ignoring it, rather than the rational and actual reason that they’re simply busy. It can be tiring.
The smallest things trigger stress related levels. Stupid things like putting a wash on, needing to buy butter, calling the doctor. I write them over and over again in my diary and I just can’t bring myself to do them. There has and always will be that part of my brain that overthinks everything. There are weeks I am on top of the world, I am comfortable with who I am and my anxiety soon feels like a thing of the past, but it comes in waves. A week later and I’m hit with turmoil where everything and anyone is making me cry, I feel trapped inside a body that isn’t mine and it doesn’t make sense to me.
Coming to terms with my mental health has been long long journey and I’m discovering new things about myself every day. But I feel this is what makes us human. The things we feel and the emotions we let out, they make us who we are. I have a positive outlook on life and I always see the glass half full and the feeling inside that is constantly hungry for more makes life fucking exciting.
HUSH has spoken to an expert who has given their top tips for anyone suffering with anxiety, COMING NEXT WEEK.