Today’s post is written by clinical psychologist and speaker Michael Alcee, Ph.D.
If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably felt anxious or depressed and haven’t known why. You may have even been given these labels by others to help make sense of your experience.
While well-intentioned, this advice isn’t always helpful and may actually leave you confused and disappointed: ‘You mean there’s more that I have to deal with than just being an introvert?’
The sneaky reason for introvert depression and anxiety
For many introverts, anxiety and depression is the effect and not the cause. Wait, what??
On the surface, it’s easy for you, family, friends, and even counselors to think that anxiety or depression is your primary issue. If we zoom in closer, What really causes problems is not being tuned in to how you work best as an introvert. There’s a big difference!
Many introverts are anxious because they get so drained by social stimuli. Modern society makes it hard for introverts to find naturally available recharging spots to regroup.
It’s confusing to feel so different and even worse to be so often misunderstood by extroverted friends, family, significant others, teachers, and colleagues.
Why suppression leads to introvert depression
Introverts get depressed because they automatically suppress their natural style and feelings.
They do this to fit the expectations of others and our largely extroverted society. They easily lose touch with who they are from the inside-out, and mistakenly buy into society’s old scripts of them as loners or wallflowers.
Both of these conspire to form the lion’s share of anxiety and depression for so many introverts. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
In today’s video, I’ll talk about how you can move beyond your anxiety and depression as an introvert, kick start your self-worth, and feel like a ‘somebody’ again!
Michael Alcee, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist based in Tarrytown, NY. He specializes in working with individuals who have introverted traits, those who are ‘highly sensitive’, and those with obsessive-compulsive disorder. His practice is geared toward helping all of his clients expand their creative potential and illuminating the relational patterns that lead to an expansion of fulfillment and well-being. He loves to talk and give keynotes at organizations, schools, libraries, etc. about the link between introversion and mental health. Visit his website: drmichaelalcee.com
I Really appreciated what Michael Alcee had to say on the matter of Anxiety related to Introversion. I’ve lived that. In testimony, I will validate all he says.
There is so much suffering introverts go through when, in ignorance by those that drive societal expectations and, by proxy, the introverts themselves. For instances, introverted people with chronic anxiety and presenting behaviors related to that ARE, INDEED, quickly diagnosed with things like: Bi-polar disorder, chronic depression and anxiety; borderline personality, etc.
Are these diagnosis true just because a doctor says so? To answer this, I’d inquire: How much information did the doctor really assess for in order to come up with these ideas for which they prescribe…seroquel, Lithium, Paxil…Depakote , Lexapro or Ativan…on and on? Was the diagnosis derived by a survey that takes 10 minutes to fill out? Was it a 15 minute interview where in a person discloses their deep suffering, anxiety…desire to not live in this suffering (anxiety, sensitivity…)? Did they find out more about the cause, or are they just reacting to another’s reactions…and can’t cope themselves with what is before them?
It’s a tough place to be for sure and for both.
Granted, any human being, despite their education and their experience would be hard pressed to not freak out (even when they don’t/can’t show it) when someone who is suffering can’t see their own way past their own long history (story) and then come to a solution on their own that gets them past it especially when they are living in the middle of what’s contributing (being highly sensitive AND in opposition to people who are not, work/school dynamics that are not accommodating…life situations that offer no room to think; no space to rest or get a handle on things…and all this compounding over a life time up to this moment when all seems hopelessly overwhelming).
The Path of least resistance seems expedient and practical (and within the confines of limited resources), so: Concur nature! Give it a pill and suppress it. No need to fix it because that takes too much time…
…Unless it’s Michael Alcee who offers, also, that “Nurture” element additionally. Both perspectives are valid; Nature and Nurture exists simoltaniously and holistically within the life. I like that Michael Alcee considers both and gives compassionate acknowledgment of both while focusing specifically on what is generally NOT considered; nurturing is also helpful and essential…too!
Of course, all that I say is simply rhetoric and should not be construed as medical or mental health advice. Always consult a medical and/or mental health care provider when there is illness (physical or mental, emotional or even spiritual). And also…be aware and willing to advocate for yourself. We are all important, and be aware and advocate for your choices. YOU are important! YOUR LIFE…is important. Don’t suffer in anxiety if your don’t have to, but if you are…seek help. There are all kinds of Michael Alcees out there (thank God!)
A lot of employers now have Employee Assistant programs where in all kinds of counseling are available FOR FREE (to the employee). This includes mental health, financial (also a huge source of anxiety to many a sensitive soul), legal…and so on.
Thanks for the Video. I felt really good after seeing it.
This is a super article. Add to being an introvert, also being INFJ which comes off to other folks as being a little ‘odd’ and you’ve got total misunderstanding of self by others and misunderstanding of self by self!
Great share thank you ?
It took me a minute to realize that single is how I need to spend my life. I tried dating after my divorce and found my depression and anxiety returning. The anxiety of having plans nearly every single night of the week with social aspects is too much for me. Coupling that with being a dad with split custody, I couldn’t juggle the social aspects of a relationship and as a father. I’d rather my daughter get all of my social energy when she’s with me and then when she’s not, spending my time alone to recharge for the next time she’s with me.
I’ve been spending a lot of time alone out bird watching and found that I’m happier now than I have been since before meeting my ex when I was a loner single with a loner single roommate I saw maybe twice per week. I chose bird watching because a) I love looking at birds in the wild, but more importantly, b) It allows me to be alone, but because I’m always actively listening for calls I’m not familiar with and movement in the forests, my INTJ brain doesn’t have time to sit there and plan for the plan’s plan’s plan. It forces me to engage my extroverted sensing and shut off the introverted intuition. It’s like a mini vacation for my brain that gets me out of the house.