Outgoing Introvert

Outgoing introvert probably seems like an oxymoron but it’s not. I know this because I am one.

It probably started with anxiety as most of my skills growing up did. The silence made me uncomfortable, I couldn’t even do homework if it was quite. Through college I always had something on the TV as background noise while studying.

Silence in conversations or group settings unnerve me to an extreme level. I can sit with my husband and kids in silence but it took a lot of therapy to finally not be anxious sitting in a quiet room with family.

Most of my jobs in life have been in customer service, this is perfect for an outgoing introvert. I would get loud and smile and talk with everyone who passed by. Then I would go home and crash, speak to no one shut in a room reading or something else that didn’t require conversation.

A great article on the differences points out the below:

  • Introverts get exhausted by social interaction and need solitude to recharge.
  • Extroverts get anxious when left alone and get energy from social interaction.

This is how I know I am an introvert for sure. Before my MS started causing bigger issues for me when having conversations I often felt tired after talking with people all day. Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I enjoy it or even that there aren’t consequences for those conversations.

Just like most things in health and mind, there are varying degrees of everything. You can be an extreme introvert with shyness and that general stereotype or you can be the extreme extrovert who needs to be talking with someone most of the day, then there’s everything in between.

The problem with being an outgoing introvert is that everyone assumes you’re extroverted and don’t understand when you need to break away from conversations or skip events. Now that I have two fairly significant other medical issues people just assume it’s one of those when I cancel or reschedule.

Where do you fall?

Why They Need Moms in MS Treatment Commercials

A while back I was part of a study for advertising MS related medications. I think I’m the perfect participant because my short term memory is seriously messed up so I’m not likely to remember colors or wording unless it relates to me.

While looking at print ads I had to answer questions based on the information and photographs in each one. One was a couple going to an outdoor, grown-up party, one was an older couple walking on the beach and one was just a dude, at least I am fairly certain that’s what they were. Really, most drug ads are the same, unless they are targeted at kids you won’t see children in the advertisement.

The thing is, most people the companies are targeting, statistically, are mothers since there’s a 4 to 1 ratio of women to men for developing Multiple Sclerosis. The average age of diagnosis is around 35 years old, most women who are planning on having children start around 30 or younger.

When asked what I would want to see in an ad I told the person in charge of the study that I would like to see a mom playing legos with her kid or on the floor playing something else. I have kids, due to MS my fine motor skills are nearly gone so lego building is extremely difficult for my body and frustrating to my brain. I fall down frequently so playing on the floor with my kids is not something I risk because 5 concussions has taught me getting up from the floor can have you fall head first on to it.

I am less likely to go to an outdoor party at night because my fatigue and cognitive function are hindered more after 3 pm. When I see a beach in a commercial I assume it’s a hot one, not like the cool breezy beach of the Big Island in Hawaii, so I cannot see myself there because heat makes all my symptoms worse.

While having people running, riding bikes and other outdoorsy type activities is great because I am certain there are people with MS who want to stay active and do their thing; my goal is to get back a small semblance of my life before MS. I want to be able to hold a conversation with multiple people without my body shutting down the next day. I want to go places with my kids like the zoo or the aquarium or trick or treating.

I hope in the future this will be a change for the better. I hope the companies listen and be a bit more inclusive in their advertising, plenty of people are marginalized with this disease already.

Exhausted but Unable to Sleep

I’ve had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember. My mother tells me my whole life. I’m constantly tired because of my MS and when I get a chance I nap.

By the time I get into bed at night all I want to do is sleep. I have numerous medications for sleeping, pills to keep my nerves from being assholes, pills for back pain, pills for my spastic legs, other pills for things I can’t remember right now and cream for back pain.

You would think I’d have no problem falling asleep with all that assistance, and yet here I am, on my phone because while I’m exhausted and yawning I’m not “sleepy” yet. Usually I can listen to podcasts or play a matching game and that will help.

It can’t just be me, my husband falls asleep easily and my boys struggle some days (probably thanks to my genes).

Do you have issues sleeping or getting your kids to sleep? What works, I’m hoping for suggestions to try.