Introversion 101: Child Introverts

Introverted Children are very different from Introverted Adults, they’re learning about themselves, becoming frustrated and confused by other children around them and the way adults speak and interact with them. They wont quite understand their ‘version, and most likely won’t until they reach adulthood, so it is important that we encourage them from a young age to ensure them that the way they feel and act is not wrong and help them to flourish without a loud mouth.

Disclosure: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, these are just tips based on my own experience of my own introversion and introverted children around me.

The all-fringe-and-freckles girl above is me, I was an introverted child, I loved to read and write, explore my garden, but I also loved to sing and act on stage. I was rubbish at talking to adults, I hated meeting new grown ups, they often found me rude because I wouldn’t say thank you after they dropped me home or had me over to their home. It was never that I wasn’t thankful, I was nervous to speak, to initiate conversation, to sound silly or say it wrong. Needless to say my mum drilled politeness into me and it was something I learned to do.

It can be hard to interact with introverted children, especially if as an adult you’re extroverted yourself. So how can you help?

Do’s

  • Do engage with them. Ask questions, encourage them to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings.
  • Do try an Introvert/Extrovert quiz with your students/children/family and explain how each may think and act, there’s nothing wrong with understanding yourself and others a little better, no matter your age!
  • Do discover their interests, their hobbies, the things they enjoy doing and then focus on it. Ask them how their hobby is developing and praise them for it.
  • Do encourage them to discuss their interests with other children, this allows them to have a chance of running a conversation.
  • Do let them have their down time. If they’ve had a busy day make sure they have time to relax at points during the day, or after.
  • Do find outlets for their creativity, give them the tools and the oppurtunity to let their words out through their fingers, through song, through drama, through whatever medium they enjoy.
  • Do offer them the ‘why’ to instructions you give them, they will want to know and knowing why will stop them wondering and allow them to concentrate on the task.

Dont’s

  • Don’t think about what you can do to get them to be more like the more extroverted children around them. They will never be the same as them. That isn’t to say they won’t present the same energy, participation or confidence but they will do it in a different way.
  • Don’t force them into situations that they have expressed being uncomfortable with.
  • Don’t push them in times of conflict.  Introverts can hold a grudge and brew anger like no one’s business. Don’t assume and don’t tell them their own emotions, ask them how they feel, if they don’t want to talk, don’t force them. But make sure you come back to it later on, closure is key, don’t let them brew in their own heads too long.
  • Don’t call them OR assume they are shy or quiet, that is not for you to decide, just because they don’t scream and shout like other children it does not mean they’re shy, they’re thinking a different way, processing information differently. Give them the right outlet? They’ll shout above you all.
  • Don’t force them to make decisions, there is a lot of going through their minds as they wont just blurt out an answer, give them options.

Thanks for reading! This is the last in my Introversion 101 series for now but I may revisit later on so stay tuned!

Check out the rest of my Introversion 101 series!

 

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Do I Regret University?

University was not a dream of mine, or something I had really thought about at all. And though I hate to admit it, I mainly went through pressure.

I graduated four years ago and I can’t help but feel regretful a lot of the time. I feel so behind many of my friends that chose to work full time instead of continuing to study. Though I worked 30+ hours alongside studying it was just a ‘job’. But that ‘job’ turned into a career and I’ve ended up in a position I don’t enjoy and I’m finding it hard to find what it is that I actually want. If I had worked for those three years, would I know? Would I have realised that what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to do?

So why did I go? There are a few reasons.

  • I was the eldest child and was somewhat pressured into going. My parents didn’t specifically tell me to go but neither of them had gone themselves and obviously they wanted me to do well so I was steered away from my idea of a gap year, let alone not studying at all.
  • My partner at the time was a year ahead of me and a year into their studies and I didn’t want to get left behind.
  • I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I thought killing time would help me decide.
  • Friends were going to uni and again, I did not want to be ‘left behind’.

So in the end I found a course last minute and was accepted on to it with my O.K grades and the rest is history.

I didn’t study hard, I didn’t enjoy the classes, or the books we read, or the subjects we studied, I only made a few friends and the one I knew beforehand pretty much annoyed me the entire three years. I spent a tonne of money on travelling and hundreds of text books, and wore myself to the ground working on the side.

Did I get anything from it?

I’ve been on two graduate schemes since graduating and I’ve been asked this both times. It is a question I HATE to answer because my degree doesn’t define me, but yes. My degree was simply ‘English’ and I took side courses such as drama, theatre, and Spanish language classes. So I did gain various skills, such as time management, networking, general social skills with peers and teachers alike, and general written and spoken communicational and presenation skills.

(I also must add, I was accepted on to my first grad scheme before I even did my final exams, and neither ever asked me to prove I even had a degree or went to university at all and there were others on the course that had not been to uni!) 

I didn’t move away as the Uni was reasonably close to home and I only attended one night out with uni peers the entire three years because I worked every night Wednesday-Saturday. Would it have been different if I hadn’t? Who knows.

But yes, I regret it.

All of the things listed above that I learned, I could have developed through working, whilst also establishing myself somewhere, finding where I was meant to be in the working world and earning some decent money.

And yet here I am, 25 years old, living at home with my parents because I don’t know where I want to live, struggling to find what I want to do and generally feeling pretty worthless with a huge sense of a lack of achievement. A lot of people congratulate me for being in Management roles since age 21 and I’m not saying at all that I don’t think that’s great, but when you don’t feel fulfilled by your job, it can be hard to feel positively about the position you’re in, whatever that may be.

Well that got deep…

Would I suggest you do not go to University?

No. That is always up to the individual, but make sure it is your decision and be sure to know why you are going and what you want from the 3-5 years. Why will it help you get to where you want to be? If you have a specific career path in mind and a degree will help you shoot up the ladder then by all means, use that resource. But really consider why it is important or necessary for YOU.

Let me know how you feel about going (or not) to university below and as always if you can spare a few pounds feel free to buy me a coffee but clicking the image below 🙂

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Breathe, compose, relax, repeat.

So in the constant cycle that is the life of an anxious mind, cue existential crisis.

I have just returned to work after a holiday, which never seems to get easier, and my brain is scrambled. I’m fussing over work problems at home, I am dreading getting in my car to drive to my workplace and I am worrying about what I’m doing with my life/career.

So another Dear Roxanne, from me, to me:

  • Take yourself away from work when you’re not at work. The place won’t burn down without you, your managers problems can wait- YOUR JOB IS NOT YOUR LIFE. YOUR JOB DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. YOUR LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR JOB.
  • Focus on what i enjoy, no really, plan that trip you want to go on without worrying about who will cover you while you are away. Read the book you’re trying to read, use the time you have to do it, finish editing your novel, get down the gym. Do the things.
  • That thing you keep wanting to do and try? Do it Roxanne, do it. Book those Archery classes.
  • Make that thing you joked about making into a business into an actual business, or at least begin doing it. It’s a great idea and you won’t know until you try, so go and try.
  • Pamper yourself. Chuck on a face mask when you get home tonight and enjoy it. Don’t worry about getting to sleep early because you have work tomorrow, enjoy the now, worry later.
  • Go on a walk a.k.a Pokehunt when you’re off on Sunday, catch them ‘mons.
  • Take a random day and plan a random adventure, take a drive, take a picnic, take a damned break.

Feel similarly right now? Take a breather and grab a pen and write down your wants and your needs and GO GET THEM. You’ve got this okay?

Slipped Discs

Slipped or herniated discs are a very common injury, a lot of people don’t even realise that they have them. Mostly seen in people aged between 30 and 50… I managed to slip two when I was 14.

The cause of the injury (he will hate me for sharing this) was a friend of mine dropping me on my head on our school field, following this I damaged it further on my trampoline. I began to walk with a hunch and one shoulder fell, when I first met my physiotherapist he asked me to stand straight and I did, he asked me to look in the mirror and I was pretty mortified to find how crooked I was.

I visited the doctor a few times before they finally gave me an x-ray, which came back clear and he said I was fine. At this point I could barely stand, sitting was painful and walking to school was becoming difficult but there was no break, so I was fine?

We convinced the doctors to send me for an MRI, which was luckily covered (and all future appointments, consultations, physiotherapy, operations and another 5 MRI’s) by my dads private healthcare plan. Without that I can only imagine it would have taken months and months longer for a proper diagnosis and care.

The MRI came back showing 2 prolapsed discs. L5, which I had already worn away and L4, slipped_disc_mri_scanwhich was jamming into my spinal cord and crushing a bunch of nerves, (the slipped disc at L4 is the little white bean thing, the 5th one down!) this was causing me severe sciatica, pins and needles all over and constant shots of pain throughout my body when I moved in certain ways. The prolonged pressure of the prolapses had caused my spine to curve as well, which had been the reason for my change in posture.

I was immediately signed off of school, told not to sit AT ALL and only to lay or stand and physiotherapy began. I was taught how to sit, stand and sleep ‘properly’ and had exercises each waking hour to realign my spine.

There was one rule that I did break though…

I was starring in our school production of High School Musical as Sharpay and my understudy was a smug little… well, madam. I decided she couldn’t outshine me so I did all of the planned evening shows. The last night I remember my pain being pretty intense and all we had were GHD straighteners which I heated up and held to my back for some sort of relief. I laid in bed that night and new it was only going to get worse from then.

I was booked in for a Micro Lumbar Discectomy following our holiday to France, which was a holiday we went on every year, taking the drive down to the South over a two day period. A couple of weeks before our trip mum called me down for dinner and I tried to stand to eat it but was crippled with pain and instead laid on the sofa on my front to eat. Knowing I would have no chance sitting in a car for 10+ hours we booked a flight that my dad would have to escort me to.

Following this I only got worse. Walking was difficult so I spent most of my time laying down and as most of my physiotherapy involved my arms they became nice and muscly but the rest of my body was weak and unstimulated. Sitting on the toilet to pee had me in tears and I’d often need to lay down on the bathroom floor after to get back my strength.

The day before my flight was due my mum could see that even sitting on a plane for an hour was going to be impossible for me so she went to the doctor to demand painkillers (before then I had been on no pain relief) I had ibuprofen and co-codamol and walked up to my bedroom, with a few pitstops, relatively easily, for the first time in what seemed like forever. We decided that we would dose me up and drive to France, which I did, and did so pretty much pain free.

The medication, along with sun, the pool, and copious amounts of stolen Bacardi loosened me up to the point that I was jumping in the pool and running around by the end of the trip and after a consultation once we arrived home, the surgeon said I had worn both discs away and would not need surgery. My medication was changed to take me off the addictive tablets and stop my stomach from being destroyed and after a while I was a normal kid again.

I write this because of an article I read recently by Lara Parker ‘If Women Want To Be Taken Seriously By A Doctor They Should Just Do One Of These Things’ and it made me think about my situation. Looking back I know it shouldn’t have taken so long for a diagnosis, I remember my male PE teacher forcing me to run (hobble) 1500m even after I’d said my back was hurting. The doctor dismissing me over and over even though I couldn’t even stand straight.

Now I have a high pain threshold, made more so by this experience and by generally being a clumsy bitch, but I was hitting 8’s and 9’s during my suffering, I was 14 years old, played for 7 sports teams at school, swam, rode my bike, and I couldn’t walk the 15 minutes to school. Had it taken so long because I was young? Because I was female? Did they think I was exaggerating? I remember texting my mum one day walking to school before diagnosis, I was hobbling, stopping every 20 or so steps to rest and to cry my eyes out and I told her I didn’t think I could go to school, but even she was dismissive then (she helped me every second of every day later on don’t worry!).

This was probably over the course of less than a year and I do have issues now, one small movement can put me out for a few days, one bad sleep can be excruciating, but day to day I am generally fine and would never know I had a problem. But I have several disabled friends with chronic illnesses that can’t be seen from a quick glance, from a meeting, or even from a full day of socialising from an outsiders point of view, these are all women and most of them have no diagnosis. To live your entire life fobbed off, ignored, told you’re exaggerating, people assuming you’re lying or playing up your symptoms, I can’t even imagine what that could be like. If you know of any research companies or campaigns for undiagnosed chronic pain and illness please comment below and I’ll add them to this article and support where I can.

As always please feel free to buy me a coffee if you are able to by clicking the link below, thank you for reading.

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An Anxious Mind

In November of 2016 I was signed off of work. My doctor wanted to put ‘Mental Health’ on my sick note but it wasn’t an option, so we settled on ‘Anxiousness- Symptom’.

I have always struggled with sleep but about a month before I went to my doctor after barely managing 2-3 hours a night. I had never been diagnosed with anxiety until then, 24 (& 3/4) years without a word for the way I often felt. It was daunting and the label made me uncomfortable at first but it made a lot of things make sense.

I started to connect issues with my mind from the past, like when I started my first full time job in a nightclub and the rude words from one customer would hammer me down for the whole week that followed. It reminded me of the times that I’ve been in busy places and suddenly felt that I could cry and needed to leave for reasons I couldn’t explain. I thought about the times that I maybe write something or say something bluntly and worry for days about whether I’ve insulted a friend, or even someone I’ll never see again.

Having a diagnosis has made dealing with this easier, I don’t beat myself up over things I do or the way I feel. I can take time out when I need it, I can sit back and just breath and wait for the shit storm in my head to clear and not feel bad about it. Of course there are still days when I struggle to move from my bed, purely because I can’t will myself to, there are still days when the black cloud of the abyss starts to form over my shoulders and pushes me down. But if I see it coming I can push it away before it gets to me.

I’ve had people ask me about it and I’ve been quite open. These people have all been really surprised at my honesty. Am I supposed to be embarrassed? Or ashamed? Because I’m not. I’m glad to have a reason for my problems.

Not everyone is okay to discuss their mental health and there are much more complex issues than anxiety, but if you spot your own symptoms in someone else, please talk to them, reassure them they’re not broken, or paranoid, or crazy. If I had someone discuss it with me earlier on, I could have spotted it in myself, if I had I might not have got to the point where I’m breaking down at the doctors and being signed off of work with anti-depressants. I might have found a healthier mind earlier on.

If you’re feeling low there is always someone to talk to, a friend, family member, a doctor, please reach out.

Repeat after me: EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY.

As always please feel free to buy me a coffee if you are able to by clicking the image below, thanks for reading!

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JanuaryFebruary Reads

Lots of Chinese mythology themes in these two months! Broken up by some magic (and a random mental illness novel thrown it as my dad suggested it to me). Joined the two months as I was a super busy with work commitments and general life and only managed 6 books-shame.

  • #1
  • Book: Serpentine by Cindy Pon / @Cindypon
  • Quick facts: Chinese MC, friendship, lesbian love, Chinese folklore themes.
  • Thoughts: Really beautiful imagery throughout, from Zhen Ni’s family palace to the villages and forests that Skybright ventures to. I adore the description of Skybright’s Serpent form and how she learned to control her inner self. I felt that it was a real reflection of what all young women face as they hit puberty and go through the phases of becoming a ‘grown-up’. The love between Zhen Ni and Skybright was so touching , a real sisterly bond that was deeper than their social status. Skybright’s humour and strength was admirable and Kai Sen’s relentless quest for love and a better world was so beautiful.

  • #2
  • Book: All In The Mind – Alastair Campbell @campbellclaret
  • Quick Facts: Depressive MC
  • Thoughts: Raw, real and heart breaking. The story follows a physiatrist over the course of a weekend as he tries to help his patients whilst battling his own demons of depression. It really reminded me why depression was an important theme to involve in my own novel. Cried like a baby at the ending. I really liked the change in pace near the end which, although hard to read sometimes, was a great reflection of Martin’s mind.

  • #3
  • Book: The Graces – Laure Eve / @Laureeve
  • Quick Facts: Coming of age, magic(!)
  • Thoughts: River reminded me so much of myself as a child and how I always felt that I had some kind of connection with the natural world, (I’m glad to be off of my anxiety meds because obviously they’re holding me back from my full magical potential.)The story follows River’s journey to accepting the ‘weirdness’ her parents had tried to control and she realised that it was something to be proud of and be put to use rather than pretend it wasn’t a part of who she was. I really loved watching her realise that this front she put on to get in with The Graces wasn’t a front at all and she was pretty damn cool all along.  Lots of multidimensional characters and no parts that bored me at all, real great pace and a generally great read.

  • #4

  • Book: Sacrifice – Cindy Pon / @Cindypon
  • Quick Facts – As book one above but more demons (yay!)
  • Thoughts: I was SO glad that there was a second act to this story, although Serpentine was a great read as a standalone book. Pon throws Skybright, Zhen Ni, Kai Sen and Stone into an even deeper and darker world than in Serpentine and they’re all pushed to find their place in the madness to protect themselves and those they love. I was glad to see Skybright really becoming the heroine and also Zhen Ni who had really grown since her heartbreak in Serpentine. As ever the descriptions of the world are stunning, from the Mountains of Heavenly Peace where the Gods dwell to Master Bei’s extravagant palace and what lies beneath. Some great travel sequences and fight scenes and although we lose a beloved character the ending left me satisfied (while still dying to know how Skybright fairs in her next adventure to break the deal that threatens the mortal world!)

  • #5

  • Book: Under A Painted Sky – Stacey Lee / @staceyleeauthor
  • Quick Facts: Chinese MC, friendship, adventure
  • Thoughts: It took me a long time to get into this book, 25 chapters in fact and I  couldn’t quite work out why for a while. I think for me, the girls travelled faster than the story line, that being said the last 150 pages had me HOOKED and I really loved the ending. I loved how Sammy viewed the world through Chinese beliefs, myths and folktales and how she connected everyone with the animal of their birth year. A real story of love and friendship.

  • #6

  • Book: Dragon of The Lost Sea – Laurence Yep
  • Quick Facts – DRAGONS, Chinese mythology, magic, sorcerers, more magic. Children’s book.
  • Thoughts: I read this in a few hours and loved the story. Yep says he had originally based the story on a Chinese folktale about the Monkey King and a river spirit, with the now Main Characters being only minor ones added near the end of writing, but they quickly became more important and ended up leading the tale. Told from the POV of the Dragon Princess Shimmer and some chapters in the POV of orphan Thorn. I’m so glad this has THREE(!) sequels and I’ll likely treat myself to them in the next couple of months. Really great imagery and an interesting tale.

Thanks for reading! As always if you’d like to buy me a coffee please follow click the image below.

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Introversion 101: How To Handle Extroverts

As a high percentage Introvert in a corporate world, one of the things I have struggled with in the past is handling Extroverts. Whether it be in casual or formal conversations, if you’re not aware of your own actions or that of others in such environments it can be hard to react both appropriately and professionally. This does not just apply to the working environment though but also in social situations.

Before I began to study a little more into the ‘versions and gain some self awareness, I found that I can react in two different ways to a highly extroverted person or in a extrovert led environment.

1) I caved into myself and allowed the louder individuals the floor, letting them exert the pressure of their energy into the room.

And 2) I try to ‘play up’ to them and fight to reach their level of loudness and impact.

The first made me feel unnecessary and weak, the latter was exhausting and fake. Neither are effective.

Hopefully you’ve had some self reflections after my previous blog post on Introversion Self Awareness, so I thought I’d explore what we can be aware of from an extrovert as an introvert, and how we can better react and respond to them. (Of course everyone is different so this may vary but I’m writing upon my own experiences!) So how can you better engage with extroverts? Here’s a few challenges I’ve faced and a little run through of What they may do, Why they do it and How you can react.


What: They like to talk. Why: Speaking out loud will often help an extrovert engage with their own creativity. How: Listening and observing is most likely a natural skill for you- use it!

What: They want a reaction. Why:  Whereas an introvert will process quietly (which can sometimes come across as uninterested) an extrovert may need a straight forward response that shows your engagement. How: Vocally react to their ideas and opinions.

What: They can overlook the smaller details. Why: Introverts often question everything while intaking various information, the extroverted mind though can skip important details. How: Ask questions on the smaller details of their plans or ideas, this will allow involvement from your part and show them that you’re interested without being overbearing.

What: They may repeat themselves.Why:  As observers, introverts tend to remember small details due to our way of intaking data and processing our long term memory. Extroverts may forget smaller details. How: Don’t be offended and remember that it isn’t because they don’t care but their Short Term memory can often take the front seat and minor details are not logged. Let them know that you remember what it is they’re telling you, they’ll appreciate that you’ve taken in their words.

What:  They may be fast paced. Why: Extroverts tend to vocalise their thoughts as and when they come and the more they care about the subject being discussed the faster they will go. How: Understand where their energy is coming from and get in board! It might leave you feeling a little exhausted but a change of pace can be healthy. BUT If they need a reminder to take a step back don’t be scared to voice it!

The next time you’re in a meeting or discussion with someone new, see if you can spot these characteristics and have a go at reacting to them that wont be uncomfortable for you and will held you build relationships and hopefully hold better conversations.


 

More of my Introversion 101 series:

If there’s anything you’d like to see in this series or on any other topic I’ve touched on please let me know, thanks for reading!

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