When I was younger, I was always the center of attention in my family. My younger brother didn't come into the world until I was around 4 and a half years of age, so I was the apple of my parent's eye (so to speak).
I was used to always being doted on, being taken are of, having birthday parties planned. I was used to being surrounded by countless friends and having a myriad things to do every day that involved some form of fun.
This way of life continued throughout elementary school, even after my brother was born. I loved being around friends, family and acquaintances because being the center of attention was a normative part of life for me.
That was until I hit high school.
In high school, I began to find that I had more time to myself. I had hours and hours of homework to complete, tons of work to finish and eventually sleep (if I ever found time to incorporate it into my schedule).
I would spend a lot of time alone in the library, at home watching television, or simply sitting on a couch and reading a book. I had never really spent that much time alone as a child because I was always surrounded by nannies or school teachers, friends or family. This was my first real experience having time by myself and... I kind of liked it.
I began to seek out quiet nooks and crannies to read, write or relax. Sometimes I would just stream movies onto my laptop and relish in the quiet space I had found for myself. I began to stay in my bedroom for longer periods of time and I didn't find parties that much fun anymore. To many, it seemed like I was depressed; however, that was not true. I was actually just happy to have found a quiet space to let my mind relax.
This nomadic attitude continued throughout high school and on into college. I love to find quiet coffee shops, a cushy couch, or just a nice bed and let my mind ease into a state of relaxation and anti-stress.
Parties aren't that fun for me. Sure, I love to go out with my girls and dance the night away, but not every night. I prefer quiet movie nights with a glass of red wine to a frat house bash with a double fist of beer in my hand.
A lot of women in my sorority used to think I was depressed; they would barrage me with questions to gage whether or not I was mentally stable and, to their surprise, I seemed to pass all of their mental probing tests.
You see, I'm not actually depressed. I'm just introverted.
Being introverted doesn't mean you don't like to have fun. It means that you have fun doing a variety of things, and some of those things might include sitting in a quiet space and reading a book or watching Netflix.
I can't tell you how many times I have been sitting in my room and my sisters will come in and ask what's wrong with me. Nothing is wrong guys. I had a busy day, and getting amped up for a party right now doesn't sound fun to me. I'm sorry, and yes, I still love you.
Being introverted does not mean that you are depressed.
In some cases, people who are depressed have symptoms that match the tendencies of those who are introverted. This does not mean that people who are introverted have depression. Depression is a mood disorder with feelings of sadness, loss, changes in sleep habits, loss of energy, self-loathing, suicidal thoughts, loss in interest in daily activities, etc. The word "introvert" is an adjective describing people who may be shy, quiet, reserved, timid, or simply just enjoy being alone every once and a while.
Just because I want to stay in for the night, sit on my butt and read a book does not mean I'm mad at you or that I'm upset.
Sometimes busy days can drain an introverted person and make us feel overwhelmed and our fuse for daily social interaction can run short. We just want to relax and maybe let our mind get ready for the night and coming morning.
Being introverted does not mean that I never want to go out or that I never want to party with you.
That is not true. Not at all. Sometimes I'll have an rush of energy and want to run around town with you. Sometimes I won't, and that's okay. And maybe after going out with you, I'll collapse into my bed and enter into a comatose state in which I need to recover from our wild night out for the next three days. I'm okay, I swear. I just need to recooperate.
Being introverted is not a bad thing, not at all. It just means that our social tendencies are different from ambiverts and extroverts. There is nothing wrong with an introvert, we just like time alone. It does not mean we are depressed, it just means we need to decompress from the stress of our daily lives, alone.
If you are friends with an introvert, please take the time and be patient. The world can be quite overwhelming for us at times, yet it can also be amazingly intriguing and exciting for us at others. We're not crazy, we're jut introverted, and that's okay.