The field of Psychology is the scientific study of people – how they think, feel, and behave. This analysis leads to various classifications and categories. Examples are optimist/pessimist, controller/pleaser, extrovert/introvert, etc… .
Introverts, more than extroverts, tend to hold their feelings in. They are emotionally retentive, often with periodic built up blow ups. Thus, they tend to be more anxious than extroverts who often are emotionally expressive, sometimes in excess.
Jenn Granneman, in an eloquent article, has listed 15 signs of an “anxious introvert” functioning with high anxiety. I list them and offer commentary based on my clinical experience.
- YOU ARE ALWAYS PREPARED: Expecting the worst outcome you over prepare “just in case”. You are very reliable as seen by others. They don’t know that it is your fear/anxiety that is the driving force for this behavior.
- YOU MAY BE FREAKING OUT ON THE INSIDE, BUT YOU’RE STOIC ON THE OUTSIDE: You are good at hiding your underlying anxiety. Emotions are compartmentalized and pushed down so that you are not really seen externally as you feel inside.
- YOU SEE THE WORLD IN A FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT WAY: You over generalize your emotions. You are still anxious as the fear factor remains even though there no longer is cause.
- YOU CONSTANTLY FEEL THE NEED TO BE DOING SOMETHING: You tend to be compulsive to always be getting things done, staying on top of things. Staying busy distracts you from your anxiety and gives you some sense of control.
- YOU’RE OUTWARDLY SUCCESSFUL: You are achievement oriented, organized, detail oriented, and proactive in planning ahead for all possibilities. Yet it is never enough. You feel you should be doing more.
- YOU’RE AFRAID OF DISAPPOINTING OTHERS: You tend to be a people pleaser. You are so afraid of letting anyone down that you work real hard to make them happy and like you. You often sacrifice your own needs for the needs of others.
- YOU CHATTER NERVOUSLY: Your nervousness causes you to chatter on and on. Thus, some people actually mistake you for an extrovert.
- YOU’VE BUILD YOUR LIFE AROUND AVOIDANCE: You have shrunk your world to prevent being overwhelmed. You stick to routines and familiar experiences that give you a sense of comfort and control. You avoid intense emotional experiences and any situations that will trigger your anxiety.
- YOU’RE PRONE TO RUMINATION AND OVERTHINKING: You do a lot of negative self talk. You often replay past mistakes in your mind. Your mind races and you cannot enjoy the good moments because you are expecting the worse.
- YOU’RE A PERFECTIONIST: You try to calm your fears by getting your work or your appearance just right. You cannot accept being wrong or inferior in any manner.
- YOU HAVE ACHES, REPETITIVE HABITS, OR TICS: Your anxiety may manifest itself physically in various forms.
- YOU’RE TIRED ALL THE TIME: Since your mind is going all the time, you have trouble sleeping. Dealing with constant underlying anxiety is exhausting.
- YOU STARTLE EASILY: Your nervous system is in overdrive. Therefore unexpected sounds or sights startle you.
- YOU GET IRRITATED AND STRESSED EASILY: Since you are constantly living with low level stress even minor problems or annoyances frazzle you.
- YOU CAN’T “JUST STOP IT”: Anxiety is not something that you can tell yourself to stop doing. BUT you can do things to lower it. Another article.
Respected Reader, does any of this ring true for you or anyone you care for? If so, such an expanded awareness of the anxiety issues presented here can be a first step in getting on top of its diminishing impact.
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates