Extrovert versus introvert: The roommate struggle

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Among the biggest challenges in this volunteer experience was figuring out a way to adjust to living with a roommate. The final two years of college, I didn’t have a roommate. As a junior, my roommate transferred to a different room the first week of the semester and I never got a replacement. During my senior year, I was able to live with a family I met through church. I lived with other people, but it wasn’t the same thing as having a roommate.

But the focal part of this new experience was living with someone much older than me. The best way to explain why this relationship was so challenging is that we were polar opposites. This was truly my introduction to the differences between extroverts and introverts. She was a solid extrovert, and I was a bottled up introvert.

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Sensory Anxiety: Not your ordinary anxiety

I’m reblogging this from Eating Off Plastic.

I never considered my anxiety being different because of Sensory Processing Disorder. But after reading this, it makes a lot of sense. I think this also helps explain why repeatedly trying to face situations doesn’t always make it easier or less stressful. In many instances, the physical symptoms keep showing up with the same intensity.

This is probably a good explanation for why I’m jolted awake by my neighbor and experience the rapid heart beat. I mean, this has been going on for months. My body still isn’t adjusting to it. It still reacts as if this is the first time.

For those who don’t experience anxiety in this way, perhaps this post will offer some insight for why saying “just keep trying” doesn’t always help.

Before you dive in, a quick note. This article was written for the STAR Institute for SPD for Sensory Awareness Month 2017. Sensory anxiety is a topic near and dear to my heart. After it was published, I heard from so many people around the world about how this particular article had really moved them. […]

via Sensory Anxiety: Not your ordinary anxiety — Eating Off Plastic

Finally embracing my giraffe status

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Giraffes are beautiful, too.

For a long time, I have related to giraffes. I towered over my classmates at an early age and felt like my awkwardness made me stand out. Just like the giraffe, it was hard to blend in. There’s no place for a giraffe to hide, and I felt like all of my insecurities were equally on full display for everyone to see.

Experiences over the past two weekends have left me with an overwhelming sense of peace in the realization of how far I’ve come on this journey of self-acceptance in just a short time frame. And I credit it with being honest and open in writing while working hard to internalize these new ways of seeing others and myself.

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I need sleep

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Today has been a rough one. Once again I was startled awake by my upstairs neighbor. So being awake was accompanied with the usual racing heart and the immediate surge of anger. I didn’t want to move out of bed though because it was super comfortable. Yet the more I lay there, the more aggravated I became. So the stomping continued and then there were louder thuds. Did she drop something? Is she jumping? What is going on up there?

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Making accommodations in the classroom

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I came across this quote at some point during my college experience. I instantly fell in love with it. I very much liked the idea of continuing through life without letting something outside your control get in the way. I just didn’t know how relevant this quote was, how much it actually described me.

Like the bumble bee, I didn’t know about the external obstacles that were always before me. I just kept going. Pushing through the awkwardness and the insecurities. Doing the best I could to work with the irritations and annoyances that cropped up.

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From deep in thought to pulled into conversation: Changing directions like Titanic

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Credit Stephan Gürtler. I like this image because as a representation of being lost in thought, it shows a peacefulness of the experience. Being a deep thinker doesn’t have to mean a chaotic frame of mind or that it’s painful; it can be calming and enjoyable.

I’m a deep thinker. I can get lost in my thoughts very easily. It’s a comfortable place to be. There’s just so much to consider!

I can’t live there permanently, though. There are other people in my life. Yet, it can be challenging to transition from my thoughts to a conversation with someone, especially if I’m being pulled into that conversation. Sometimes I don’t want to leave my bubble. So there may be some deliberate or subconscious resistance, a longing to continue with what I’m doing rather than acknowledging that someone is trying to get my attention.

I feel like this might be a similar experience for someone who is accused of having selective hearing. You’re so absorbed in whatever you’re thinking about, that you lose track of the things around you.

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From happy to angry in 2 seconds

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The holiday season reminds me of times when I was a kid and we had relatives come for a visit, especially those we didn’t see often. We might spend the day together or just a few hours. I was happy around them. The visit was pleasant without any hiccups.

I remember being on the front porch waving goodbye to them. And there would be a very real and noticeable internal shift. It was like a flipped switch; I went from happy to annoyed in an instant.

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Walking 900 words an hour: The importance of writing things out

1I take hour-long walks around my neighborhood at least 4 times a week. This time is used more for brainstorming and reflection than a focus on speed and exercise. The physical activity is secondary, honestly. I feel better after the fact, but the real accomplishment is happening on my phone.

Instead of simply thinking about topics and hoping I remember the wording once I’ve returned to my apartment, I have taken to typing these thoughts into the notepad app on my phone.

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When sound sensitivity disturbs sleep

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It happened again. In the pitch blackness of my room I am now awake. Whereas a second ago I was immersed in a deep sleep, now I’m jolted awake.

My heart rate takes off, pounding against my chest. That panicked feeling of everyone has begun working on a project but you got caught in a daydream when you snap to attention and realize you’re behind and better start working right now. That kind of panic sets in.

So I’m awake. My heart’s beating super fast. And then I hear it. The thumping sound that somehow matches my heart beat. A sound that I can feel reverberating in my chest, right alongside my heart. But this sound isn’t in my bedroom. It’s coming from overhead. It’s the reason I’m now alert. My neighbor is awake.

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Learning through example of family life

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As junior year began, I no longer had 8 am classes yet I wanted to continue going to daily mass. There was some relief. The time was changed to 7, so I could sleep in some!

The later time brought in a new demographic of the parish. No longer solely retirees and individuals rushing off to work, now there were also mothers with children. The home schooling crowd.

There was a wide range in ages. I was impressed by their reverence, how serious they were about being there. The younger ones weren’t always cooperative; they are human of course. Generally speaking, though, they seemed to have a greater sense of awareness of what was going on than I did at that age.

Introductions were made. Though life was busy and chaotic for them, I was fortunate to meet women who had found a sense of calm within their routines so they could be open to welcoming a stranger.

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