Mental Health: An Introvert’s Perspective

By Joshua Mooy Chi Mun (BAC Apprentice)

 

An uninvited guest visited Malaysia in early 2020, and is currently overstaying. Our then Prime Minister made necessary steps to cast this uninvited guest, Covid19, out of our country. Before vaccines were invented specifically to cast out this intruder, the Prime Minister had to urgently make decisions for the well-being of his people. He came up with a “Movement Control Order” whereby only ‘heroes’ of this story could go out and control the situation. The rest of us, ordinary folks like you and me, had to play our part too. We were to stay home and hope for the best.  

While many people started getting worried and panicked, with some having mental breakdowns due to the lengthy lockdowns, there is a group, referred to as “INTROVERTS” who felt this was a true vacation they always wanted, or paradise. No more offices. No more school. No more meeting people. Just them – alone, with their inner thoughts and ideas.  

 

Are you an introvert? 

Many might be curious, how do you know that you are an introvert? Do you go to a psychologist and wait for them to diagnose you? Not necessarily! Introversion is not a personality disorder. You don’t need a diagnosis from a doctor. You can simply identify yourself as an introvert if you fall within these signs: 

  • You enjoy solitude, in other words, having your me time 
  • You don’t like to work in a group 
  • You feel tired after being in a crowd which requires you to “recharge” later 
  • You would prefer to message/ email people rather than having a conversation with them over zoom meetings/ phone calls 
  • You have a small circle of friends and that’s all that matters to you 

The list goes on. Basically, it’s the opposite of what extroverts like to do. However, one of the many misconceptions about introverts is the way we act around people. We may seem shy or we hate people but this is entirely not true. Despite getting tired in a crowd or dislike working in a group of people, introverts still want to hang out with friends and meet new people. However, we just don’t like it when someone pushes us to do it.  

 

Challenges introverts face 

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Ben Parker 

For introverts, our great power is what I would call: “THE PHANTOM CLOAK”. We can disappear partially or completely even by being present in a group. We are often forgotten or left out. 

In addition, we HATE meetings and we definitely HATE ice breaking sessions. These are the perfect two examples an introvert would have to face whether at work or at school. Who even thought that ice breaking session should be on the  to-do list? Oh right… extroverts! 

Meetings 

For an introvert, meetings are challenging. The main reason is because unlike extroverts we are unable to thrive on human interactions. This means that we can’t simply go up to a person and start having a nice conversation with them as though we have met them for years. Imagine having to go to a meeting for the very first time as you newly join the company and your project manager asks for ideas on the spot and everyone is pitching in except you. It feels so frustrating, then and there, as your brain just goes blank due to anxiety. And this is merely because as introverts we find it difficult to think on the spot. We need time to think.  

Ice Breaking Sessions 

This is the most nerve-wracking for introverts. This is beyond our limits. In situations like this we are always put under the spotlight for social interactions. We don’t really like to be put under the spotlight for these kinds of things. Ice breaking is also known to be quick. We have to think on the spot. What topic would this person like to talk about? Would the conversation bore him/her and make him/her feel uncomfortable? There would be so many questions running through our head but no ideas coming to our head for a conversation because of the anxiety of not wanting to screw this up but we have no choice but to do it anyway.  

How can you help introverts? 

To help introverts with these challenges:  

  • Give a heads up on what we are to discuss in meetings to come so we can prepare 
  • Give us time to think. Don’t rush us 
  • Be encouraging when we speak up  
  • Give us time to warm up to others and eventually we would break the walls ourselves – in other words, stop all ice breaking sessions!  

 

Being an introvert is not easy, at times we feel our energy being drained by being around others, especially extroverts. As hurtful as it may sound, introverts do not make friends easily, instead, we get adopted by extroverts. It is true. All we need is just a little time to adjust and adapt to surroundings. 

In short, introverts and extroverts are like Yin and Yang. Or borrowing Thanos words: “perfectly balanced as all things should be.” 

If you feel that you are an introvert, and you simply need someone to speak to and understand you, and what you are going through, connect with us at ReachOut. 

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