It was Sunday. We had had the kind of week where you just kinda have to make it work.
Although we were happy that our toddler could go to daycare again and have some much-missed playtime, it was also overstimulating and he wasn't sleeping well (he's an innie too). And when a toddler doesn't sleep, nobody sleeps... So, Sunday night we were pretty much worn down. After a little bit of a struggle, our toddler was finally hosed down and my partner was wrestling him into bed. The dirty dishes were staring me in the face and there were too many thoughts going through my head. I felt like I was about to burst and I just wanted to hide away and forget all of it: Forget putting myself out there, forget my new business, forget my Facebook group, forget my mailing list. The physical impulse to hide was so strong that I bend my knees and slid under our dining room table, crawled into the corner and put my head on the floor.
I just felt completely overwhelmed! Have you ever had moments like this? Sometimes it happens when I'm alone and I can hide under the table (the more convenient option). Other times it's in the middle of a conversation and I start hearing a ring in my ears and I blackout. I can't begin to tell you how many times I locked myself in a bathroom somewhere for probably far too long trying to get my word speaking ability back before I stepped back into the party/ meeting/ conference/ room with other people in it.
Overwhelm short circuits our systems. For a lot of us, it shows up as anxiety, blacking out, profuse sweating, stuttering, trembling, all of those lovely uncomfortable things. We usually get so hung up on the fact that we are short-circuiting that it makes matters worse and we beat ourselves up that we can't enter every space with the grace of an Audrey Hepburn or the rugged charm of a Clint Eastwood (both reportedly introverts by the way). As I had my head on the floor, I kept asking myself why I felt so overwhelmed. My inner critic naturally responded by saying that I didn't know what I was doing (true) and that other people were so much further than I am (also true. And useless). I had every reason to feel overwhelmed, but these questions were not helping me.
When overwhelm hits us, we go round and round in a little circle between feeling overwhelmed and feeling bad about it. When you ask yourself questions around this, rest assured that your brain will answer. So why not ask questions that help you move forward instead? I finally thought to do what I preach all the time and I started asking different questions, like: What can I do to lessen this anxiety? Or what would help me to feel less overwhelmed?
And I realized that I simply don't like being in the spotlight. Like most innies, I prefer to be in the background: If everything runs smoothly and you don't notice I'm there, that's when I feel like I've done a good job. So, what I needed was to take the focus off me and on to my community. I reminded myself of my wish for all innies: To help you design a life so you can thrive in a way that feels natural to you. And this thought freed me. My anxiety fell away and I was able to crawl out from under the table (and do the dishes).
I still don't feel confident all the time. In fact, hell no, I'm scared sh*tless sometimes when I put a post in my group or on social media. And if it were just for me, I would quit right now. But for soon-to-be-thriving innies everywhere, for them, I'm willing to fight.
Photo by Talles Alves on Unsplash