Okay brain let’s do this. Here are the things that need to happen tonight:
Today was a fun day* wherein I got to explain to multiple people that I haven’t been available much/will not be at their social thing/will continue to not be available because I am depressed and everything is exhausting but people are especially exhausting and no, it’s not caused by something in particular and no, there isn’t much you can do for me right now except just be okay with the fact that this is how I work sometimes and maybe reassure me that you still want to be in my life.
This has been going on for most of my life. Attempting to explain it to people (instead of just vanishing for days/weeks/months) is a relatively new thing. And I’m torn between wishing I could get enough better at it to be able to explain coherently and without fucking crying and never ever wanting to have to explain it again. Because like. When it’s just me dealing with my own depression I my default setting is mostly “ugh okay this is happening again I have to remember to go for walks and get outside and try to sleep and eat regularly and that my brain is probably lying about everyone hating me” and it’s…basically all logistics and managing and making calculations of energy and priorities. When I have to try and explain it to anyone else I fall the fuck apart and I hate that one of the most obvious ways depression manifests for me is how much harder communication gets.
*Today actually was a fun day, sarcasm aside. I made pancakes and planted things and had sex and read a beautiful comic based on Finnish folklore. All of these are things that make me happy. I am trying to remember that.
wildborscht asked: I'm not sure to be honest, I've been seeing a lot of posts about caring or introverts and making yourself feel better if you're an introvert. As an extrovert I often struggle to find ways to feel better without crowding other people, I've seen you express similar feelings. I was wondering if you had any ideas around this.
Being an extrovert is when your primary source of emotional validation and strength-gathering is from other people, rather than internal. Basically, when you’re 3000% done, do you desperately want to be around others to recharge, or do you want to be alone? Just as introverts are often unfairly stereotyped as shy, socially awkward, nerdy, standoffish, etc, extroverts are often unfairly stereotyped as shallow, ‘party girls/boys,’ loud, aggressive, or attention-seeking. The fact is, you can be a shy, awkward extrovert with social anxiety who loves books and haiku poetry and never wears makeup, and you can be a flirty, socially adept, confident, fashion-obsessed hipster introvert who never misses a party.
But when it gets into self-care, especially on Tumblr, most of the advice out there is written with the assumption that the person has introvert tendencies, and that can be really hard for extroverts who are struggling. When that well-intentioned post for how to deal with a depressive episode, panic attack, or the urge to self-harm is essentially a list of ways to isolate yourself and create a personal bubble, the extrovert is left wondering why the thing that was supposed to help instead is making them feel even worse, and can sometimes even think that they must be extra fucked up and maybe beyond help or not able to “even do this right.”
Obviously, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all self-help advice, but speaking as an extrovert with mental illness (PTSD, paranoid schizophrenia, and situational depression, for the record) these are some things that I’ve found to help that may go against the traditional mold for when you Need Human and your social circle is, for whatever reason, not a good option at that moment:
- Know your IHOP.
And your Denny’s, your Waffle House, your Dunkin Donuts, your WalMart, and any other 24 hour establishments. If you’re feeling desperately lonely at 4am, just going out to one of these places and seeing other humans also up and doing things can be a world of help. Even if you’re broke, they’re usually super understanding if you just say “I can’t afford anything right now, but I couldn’t bear being alone at home any longer, I’m having a hard night.” EVEN BETTER: Use social media to connect with someone else, and do a challenge together, like a who-can-snapchat-them-all-first scavenger hunt for 10 pink things that start with vowels.
- Social media is your best fucking friend.
Tumblr, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook…you can always find someone who’s awake and bored. If by some freak of timezones, no one’s on, take a quirky question or a list of interests to Omegle and give it a whirl. And remember, if it’s a stranger, it doesn’t matter that today you just could not find a single fuck to give for showering.
- Talk out loud.
Seriously, just not being silent makes such a difference. Sing along with music if you feel too self-conscious, or read a book out loud to yourself and act out the parts.
- Learn something off a You-Tube video.
Choose one of the ones where the youtuber is talking directly to the camera, and one where you have to do along with or talk back. Your lizard brain is stupid, and that can do wonders for a feeling of perceived interaction. This is even better if it’s something that involves you physically or emotionally, like dance or sign language or a magic trick.
- Make something for someone
If you just don’t feel like you can do the communication thing but you need the human thing, pick a person - whether someone you know well or a random act - and make them something special. Write them a fic, draw them a picture, make them a video, write them a letter…pour your heart into it. It’s an act of connection, and it can be a huge help when you don’t have the spoons for Real Human.
- You don’t have to earn it…but don’t steal it
There is no reason to feel guilty for needing/wanting attention or human contact. You don’t have to “deserve” it, you’re not bad for it, you’re not an “attention whore” or “drama queen.” It’s ok to be honest and say “I need someone to pay attention to me.” What’s not ok is to lie about something to get that attention…which ironically, often comes from the belief that you’re only worth it if you’re either the victim of a tragedy or hero of an epic.
- Safety first, especially if sex is involved
Obviously, your mom was wrong about the internet being nothing but 40 year old pedophile ax murderers, and there’s actually nothing wrong if consenting adults enjoy casual sex as a form of human contact, but don’t be stupid about it. Let people know where you are. Meet internet people in public places. Trust your gut. Keep your phone with you. Watch your drinks. Have a way to get home on your own. And you always, always, always, always, always have the right to say no and have that matter. Even if you put up an ad on Craigs List saying you wanted to fuck the first human to show up at the 3rd street Wendys wearing a blue carnation, you can always say no.
- Respect other people’s boundaries
If a friend - especially an introvert friend - has set limits on contact with them, respect those unless it’s a true emergency. If you’re suicidal, oh hell yes call your best friend no matter what. But if you’re just feeling bored and lonely and they’ve said they’re at a family event/have a test in the morning/aren’t feeling like humaning right now, use one of the other coping methods. Likewise if they’ve said they don’t want to talk about X topic.
- It doesn’t have to be about you
It can be really easy for extroverts to wind up bullying and bulldozing without meaning to. Extroversion does not have to mean narcissism. Again, this often comes from the perception that we have to “earn” attention, so we PERFORM like Rachel Berry living in the Big Brother house with a meth habit…and panic and feel like we’re going to be alone forever if we don’t dazzle constantly. Stop. Even when people are your oxygen, you can’t breathe in unless you stop talking. LISTEN to someone else. Try it. Ask them to tell you THEIR story, show you THEIR thing. It’s so much more fulfilling than trying to spin another routine just to get a smile.
- Show your colors
Wear things that reflect your interests if possible, even if that’s just a TARDIS phone case, a Coffee Snob sticker on your laptop, or a pair of Devil’s trap earrings. These kinds of things are super awesome conversation starters, and help you find friends you would otherwise never have discovered. It also helps incredibly with the sense of just being connected to other people when you walk through the grocery store and someone grins and flashes you a Vulcan salute because you’ve got a Star Trek bag.
- Don’t be afraid of micro-interactions
Not everything has to be a soul bond. Extroverts are often looking so hard for CONNECTION that they miss connections. Make a conscious effort to see the people around you. Start small talk in the checkout line. Call the cashier by name. Compliment a total stranger’s awesome umbrella. Roll down your car window and yell “that’s my favorite song!” when you hear it on someone’s stereo at a red light. Tell the random passerby you love their shoes. They’re only in your life for a split second, but it’s like saving your pocket change. Those nickles and dimes add up, and somehow you wind up able to afford all kinds of awesome stuff.
Find something that suits you - tutoring, helping at an animal shelter, a food bank, blood drive, hotline, whatever - and set up a regular volunteering schedule. No matter what, you’ll know that at X time on X day, you’re going to get positive interaction, and that can get you through some really shitty times…plus, because it’s volunteer work for a good cause and not a club or fun thing, you’re more likely to still do it even if you’re having a bad time with self-esteem or feeling like you don’t “deserve friends”, and it’ll make you feel better about yourself.
Important. I kind of lean both ways? But when I need to feed the extrovert this is a really helpful list.
I am a pretty hardcore introvert, but this is a super useful resource for those who are not! And sometimes for those who are - there are times when Meaningful Social Interaction is totally beyond me, but just bouncing off the existence of other humans helps and takes me out of my own headspace.
You know, I love the Allydia queen-and-knight thing that fandom’s got going on and all, but what about the reverse?
Allison as the warrior queen, beautiful, shining, bold, who took her kingdom by the sword and will protect it with her life, queen of silver crown and silver bow, fierce and just glorious ruler. Lydia as her very most loyal and beloved lady-in-waiting, who keeps Allison’s hearth and castle warm.
(And when the other sort of battles need to be fought, the duels of sharp and poisoned tongue, and honeyed words, and secrets kept or whispered in glorious ballrooms—well, in those battles, the Lady Lydia will ever be her Queen’s very best champion.)
Allison knows how to rule, how to command armies and soothe the fear in soldier’s hearts. She won this land by dint of her strength and by the way that she can make people, for both men and women took up arms to follow her, believe in the future she sees. She wears silken finery with hidden pockets for her daggers and disdains jeweled swords in favor of a simple but effective crossbow. She protects her kingdom by standing tall and looking danger right in the eye before daring it to try to take what is hers.
But Lydia? Oh Lydia ends wars before they are begun, a few well-placed words over a quilt as she stitches with her fellow ladies-in-waiting. She keeps the castle airy and beautiful so everyone who visits can see how richly a Queen of Allison’s standing lives. She makes sure that every guest, even the poorest representative of the smallest town, is given lavish quarters and luscious meals so that all will know of the Queen’s largesse - of how she can not only afford to be so generous, but of how well she thinks of all her subjects to treat them so.
She grinds powders that will dust Allison’s face to make her skin refuse to absorb poisons, brews potions that will slick a needle that she ‘accidentally’ pricks a fellow Lady with that will cause her to swoon and sicken when her Lord begins to make trouble. But usually she keeps healing tonics bubbling over the fire, is too busy making poultices or youth creams to bother with that. Queen Allison will not build her kingdom on nothing but corpses - there is no future in a country that does not love you as their savior.
She leaves the Death making to Stiles, the Queen’s Alchemist. Lydia picks out those for death, but she does not sully her own hands with the making of their demises. She does this so that she can touch Allison each night with hands relatively clean. Allison knows that neither of them are pure, not anymore. But there is a difference between killing a man when he can try to fight back and destroying him from the inside out while he has no idea what is happening. Lydia thinks Allison would be okay with it, would trust Lydia to know what she was doing. But she doesn’t want to put that on Allison’s head. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and it is Lydia’s duty, nay privilege, to lift it off each evening and rub away the dents it leaves on Allison’s fair skin. She will not add to the weight of it.
meanwhile Scott is Allison’s right hand man and her knight, he was her squire when everyone derided the princess knight, stood by her when she had nothing and then refused reward when she had everything, he rides with her to war because she trusts no one else with her back in battle, but otherwise he prefers to be the Head of the Stables - spoiling the horses and rolling with the puppies, and Derek is the actual Head of the Guard who always desperately tries to convince Scott to come back officially to the guard, 'YOU ARE A LEGEND' his eyes say as he stares stonily at the man playing with puppies, 'WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO FIGHT WITH ME AND BE MY BROTHER-IN-ARMS' his jawline says as he clenches it while he lifts hay under Scott's directio, he ends up being an un-official stable hand which makes all of the guards under his command facepalm mightily, wow I got really into this AU xD, teen wolf, rainbowrites fic, ish.
EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.
Like on one hand, the actual text, because yes that’s perfect, the two of them. But then also the tags, ahahahahaha. 'YOU ARE A LEGEND' his eyes say as he stares stonily at the man playing with puppies
If you’re battling a mental illness and didn’t want to wake up this morning but did anyways, you’re a motherfucking badass. Because living with a mental illness is hard and I’m damn proud of you for still being here and fighting. You’re metal as hell and tough as nails. So keep on fighting, you kickass Viking warrior. You can win this.