On being introverted and highly sensitive

Two parts of me that have always been there are my being an introvert and highly sensitive. These attributes are an important part of who I am. Unlike most of western society I do not get my energy from going to parties,  clubs and being around a lot of people. I recharge my batteries with quiet time alone. Further, being highly sensitive, particularly in my hearing I can get over stimulated in noisy environments which drains my energy. This means that when I am in situations that are over stimulating for me that I will sometimes withdraw from the conversation at hand and ‘turtle’.
What does this mean for having “a life”?

It all depends what you mean by having a life. Given that I am single, if it means going to clubs Friday and Saturday nights, busy Sunday activities and something most nights then I don’t have a life. That is an extroverted life that will quickly drain an introvert. For me having a life looks a lot different. When I go out it is usually with a few people, usually friends to something or somewhere that isn’t overwhelming. After being to an event where there are a lot of people I need some time alone to restore my energy.

When I’m particularly stressed or over stimulated I find my senses become even more sensitive. One instance I was riding on the bus and I found myself noticing all the little harmonics from the diesel engine, in another instance the alcohol swab prior to an injection almost made me jump through the ceiling. At times like this time alone and quiet are the only way to restore my energy and return to a more ‘normal’ state of being.

This month I have been on vacation from work, taking all of my annual vacation time in one block. I had all sorts of ideas about things that I wanted to accomplish in that time. Have I done them all? No, but that is okay. I used the time to deal with some lingering issues in my personal life and recharge the mental and emotional batteries. I have also been able to identify some things I would like to get done before I go back to school in September. I have already let people know that come September my energies will have to be focused on school and my job. I will still do things, but only as my energy and internal strength  allow.

It comes down to balance.

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