Introvert versus Extrovert

Okay, I always chuckle when folks start trying to talk about introverts/extroverts. And I’m chuckling because I’m a Ms. Talky Pants whose brain curls into the fetal position when I spend too much time with other people. More unfortunate is that I can go from being totally stoked and jazzed up in a crowd, to brain shut-down in about 4.6 seconds.

But as both an introvert AND a woman with ADHD, I can totally relate to this post about the 10 myths about introverts. It sounds like the book he mentions needs to be on my christmas list.

Why? Because despite being talkative, loud, and totally comfortable with being the center of attention, I’m an absolute introvert. Am I capable of making small talk chit-chat with strangers and friends alike? Of navigating large crowds of people? Of being “out and about”. Well, sure. I’m capable. But my recharge time is much longer. And requires me to be alone.

Have you ever tried to be alone in a smaller house, with 3 other (male) people? And two dogs. I’m not a helicopter mom, but I do have helicopter kids.

What’s more interesting to me is the scientific connection this book suggests between introverts and dopamine. Lack of dopamine availability also being one of those things tossed around in the ADHD Land.. Which makes sense to me– dopamine problems cause information overload, and brains shut down. Dopamine is produced in the anterior frontal cortex of the brain, which also happens to be associated with focus and attention.

Now, what chafes my inner thighs, are those people (extroverts and non-ADHDers) that not only don’t get it– they don’t even try. If I hear, “well just do XYZ, it’s not that hard” one more time, I might flip. No one would look at a leukemia patient and say, “just make working bone marrow”. But take something that can’t be shown on a lab report and so start the nay-sayers who have no problem at all in suggesting that I should just stop being the way I am.

And, yeah, I take Dextroamphetamine so I can calm down– and function. Yes, I could drink 8 cups of coffee a day without suffering from any excess wakefulness, shakes or jitters (I don’t anymore– that’s why I have a prescription now). So this makes me strange? A little, I guess. Or maybe it’s the typically-brained that are the strange ones now– my people seem to be outnumbering yours, you know.

I’ve never looked at an extrovert and said, “hey, you’re broken because you can’t keep your own company for longer than an hour”. Personally, I think my ability to be alone without being lonely is a character trait, not flaw.

I’ve never looked at a non-ADHDer and asked them why they are only capable of having one idea at a time. I mean, I’ve certainly thought it, but to say it out loud would just be rude. I can’t even begin to quantify how many times folks said my issues are an excuse or that I’m somehow abnormal for the way my brain works. What’s worse, is that I sometimes have those doubts of myself, wondering why I can’t manage stuff that others around me do so seamlessly.

Then I think about all of the wonderfully strange ideas I have in a single day. And how I see the world in such a lovely off-beat way. It’s nice to realize that I like my introverted and distracted brain just fine.

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