Beat the mean reds

This time last year I was on the last few stops of my year abroad. For all it's fun and whimsy I returned exhausted and overwhelmed by adventure. I'm a ravenous inquisitor, I like to know and understand things on a deeper level. There is so much I want to see and experience and I am hypersensitive to things that are fun and beautiful. For this reason I pushed myself to do as much as possible and despite the consequent brokenness I wouldn't change my year abroad lifestyle for the world. It taught me so much about myself mainly that, despite being confident and fond of company, I'm actually more of an introvert. In order to function in the world, I need a pockets of time to myself. I need the space to reflect and digest and be quiet. I'm wary of labels and boxing people into categories, because the truth is no one is absolute; there is a gross misconception that introverts can be distinguished by how loud or shy they are. This is completely silly, because some of the shyest people I know hate spending time alone and would therefore be classed as extroverts. It's also not a question of deep vs. shallow. My Mum and youngest brother are pretty extroverted and they are profoundly insightful. 

During the six months following my year abroad I suffered hugely from anxiety and would often feel frightened and overwhelmed being in large groups of people. I often refered to these episodes as 'a bout of the MEAN REDS' (shout out to Holly Golightly). The anxiety was triggered by exhaustion. Once I realised that I was just tired and not frightened, managing my mood became much easier. This wasn't just sleep tired, this was soul, mind, emotion- tired. I needed those moments where I switched off from the world and retreated into the quiet place. I started setting my alarm earlier and spending 30 mins every morning just listening to the radio, reading my bible or something equally edifying, praying, watching, reflecting. Slowly but surely, getting out of bed became easier, I could make it to the end of the day and still have the energy to spend time with my friends. These days there  is a lot of literature about mindfulness and beating anxiety, introverts vs. extroverts. More and more people are struggling with this and it's hardly surprising in this crazy fast world we're living in. The best piece of advice I got was to listen to myself. I got asked the following: when you're feeling low, what are you inclined towards, what does your heart, your mind and your body cry out for? Mine always cries out for disconnection, whether that's through a quick nap, delving into another world by reading a novel or a moment of prayer and reflection. It doesn't eradicate the problem, rather it helps with the day-to-day management. What I want to know is how other people tackle the mean reds? What are your methods for disconnecting or connecting? Let me know in the comments below!!!

In the meantime, here's a good Lifehack article.

1 comment :

  1. hey ellie :)
    i can totally relate to this! i think of myself as quite introverted and i need my disconnecting, also i never found it hard to spend time alone without getting bored. i like to create, tidy my room, write, read, or spend some time in the internet, reading blogs or discovering new things on pinterest.
    i'm quite shy (working on it) but i love people, discovering and spending time with friends and even new people.