In a very general sense on the introvert vs. extrovert spectrum, I definitely fall more on the extroverted side as I largely get my energy from being around other people. While this definitely isn’t a bad thing, I sometimes get overwhelmed by feeling dependent on other people. The more my mental health has worsened over time, the more I’ve had to grapple with this issue. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are a couple of ways that I’ve learned how to take care of my mental health as an extrovert, and specifically regarding depression. This article is completely inspired by this one here from Medium, so be sure to check it out to learn more. < 3
Find ways to be with others without physically being with anybody
Depression and extroversion are opposing forces, and the contradiction of the two is often extremely overwhelming in itself. Depression causes feelings of loneliness and often drives an individual to isolate themselves from others. Yet, extroverts like to be around others and get their energy from other people. On days where you have to balance the two, finding ways to be with others without physically being with anybody is extremely important. One way you can do this is by sitting outside in a public area. Being amongst white noise is something that I’ve found to be extremely comforting, and it allows me to be by myself without feeling like it's overwhelmingly silent. When I’m ready, eventually I step it up to talking to friends who I know I’m close enough with that we can just sit in silence together, but through facetime where I feel like I have some sort of control over the interaction. It’s a perfect way to still enjoy another person's presence, but in a way that won’t feel too overwhelming. [bf_image id="xnxbv9rp4vb7fc7ff3nzt8rg"]
Find alternative ways to energize yourself
To put it bluntly, depression drains you, and the more an extroverted person falls into these behaviors the more they feed into their depression. Extroverted people tend to function with the energy they receive from social interactions, so it’s important to find other ways to energize yourself! Whether that is simply going out to exercise or doing a chore that makes you feel productive, it’s important to find ways to get yourself out of your lull and definitely out of your bed. Focus on the little things and don’t take on more than you can emotionally handle! It’s completely fine to take certain things out of your purview for a little while so that when you get your energy back you can begin to take on more.
Seek verbal feedback from loved ones
In lieu of always being around other people, extroverts tend to depend on nonverbal cues and feedback from others. For example, if people laugh at their jokes or are closely paying attention to a story they're telling, they’re affirmed enough to know that they’re well-liked and fitting in. But, depression distorts this and causes you to misread signals that might not even be there. For me, I commonly find myself completely reading too much into things and thinking that I’m annoying everyone around me. It’s important to communicate how you feel to someone that you feel comfortable with and to help you disprove your thoughts. This is a really important step because if you let yourself fall into a pattern of overthinking and misinterpretation, you’ll continue to feel worse and worse. [bf_image id="f58q4js8t56hh6qv6cm8bhf"] Depression comes in many different forms, and it’s important to be able to learn the best way to deal with your mental health that works best for you. This Mental Health Awareness Month, make sure you’re really listening to yourself and nourishing your body with what you know it needs, whether that being a healthy meal or quality time with friends. Nobody knows you better than yourself, so it’s vital to be your own biggest advocate.