COMING OUT OF LOCKDOWN

From INTROVERTs to EXTROVERTs – COMING OUT OF LOCKDOWN

Written by Esther

Lockdown is ending and the UK looks set on its path to some semblance of normal.  But why many people are rejoicing and already wrapping up warm to take advantage of the social arena that the pub garden or terrace provides, some of us aren’t quite jumping for joy.

During lockdown 2.0, actually, just before, I decided to go alcohol free.  During lockdown, I have become very comfortable with embracing the introverted side to my personality.  I say side because I don’t fully fit the full-blown introvert but I creep more that way than I do towards extrovert.  This I believe puts me somewhere near the category of Ambivert! If the spectrum was introvert through to Ambivert, I’d class myself as a secret introvert.  You can see I’m still toying with where I think I sit here!

I think this to be the case because as I navigate the alcohol-free journey, my true self continues to reveal itself slowly.

What I have come to realise is that my extrovert side, when it came to be socially involved was centered around alcohol.  Take that away and oh my days… what a difference being sober makes.  My few attempts at group gatherings have shown to me just how much I was masking my true personality type through chemical intervention!

With lockdown coming to an end, this has left me feeling a type of way.  I’m not sure I can label that feeling exactly.  I’m not fearful of it.  Perhaps more ambivalent with a secret edge of ‘hmmm I’m kind of ok with how things have been’ – recoiling as I even write it in the face of all the extroverts out there!

Introverts, Extroverts and Lockdown

As I said before both personality types sit on opposite ends of a spectrum, there’s room in between and for some it’s in the middle a type coined Ambivert so it is possible to be both! 

Let’s also quickly put an end to the myth that extroverts are always outgoing and that introverts are shy.  This could be an entire blog about this and there are many out there, it’s a fascinating subject!

Extrovert types will draw energy from the world and people around them, they relish new experiences, tend to make new friends easily and generally thrive on group activity.  They can feel lonely and drained if they spend too much time alone.

Introvert types are more thought out, they draw their energy from within so tend to think more deeply and reflect much before making decisions.  They are more of a quiet observer and because of this can be deemed shy which isn’t necessarily the case.   They need plenty of alone time.

Lockdown has provided a ‘safe space’ for many introvert types to go about their business unjudged and in peace and the poor extrovert types have been left climbing the walls desperate to get back out into the world, or something like that!  

For some introvert types the return of the ‘norm’ may feel a little uncomfortable to outright fearful depending on where they sit on the spectrum.  I think what is important for these individuals is to recognise their needs and make provisions, coping mechanisms if you like to make the transition and future landscape easier to navigate.  

That applies to extroverts too when early sobriety is thrown into the mix!  They are faced with the desire to get back out in the world but have the real challenge of not falling foul of the temptation to slip back into old drinking habits!

So what now?

My life pre-covid was very different to my life now.  I no longer drink and have quit other bad habits.  I am leading a healthier, more active lifestyle, my mental health has improved tenfold and I’m enjoying the simpler things in life.  I’m no longer drawn to wishing the week away so I can go out with friends for a night out in soho and partying until early hours.  In fact, the thought of it now sends shivers as without the boozy veil, it really isn’t appealing to me.

This has set in motion some personal challenges.  I like people, I have a wide circle of friends and I want to be present and to do this means turning up for things.  My few recent experiences of being in the company of people drinking has been ok but only for so long but there is the feeling sometimes of being judged or labelled the boring one, but the reality is that that is more likely coming from me than from others.

I think I will pick and choose more carefully the events that I say yes to and I will work on being comfortable with the fact that I will likely be the first one to leave.  

My time with my closest friends will be spent more one on one partaking in long dog walks or a nice intimate dinner or movie and a takeaway.  Enjoying more quality time and real conversation which I’ve come to value so highly.

I don’t have the foresight to know all of the questions let alone the answers yet and with lockdown easing I see this as the next stage of my journey unfolding.

I’m choosing to be confident in my choices and although I’m not feeling ecstatic about life returning to normal, I know this is more to do with me having to present my new, more authentic and exposed self to the world with no excuses or lockdown to hide behind!  

Once I have conquered that, life can go on around me any way it wants!

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