Category Archives: Narcissism

You Are Not Your Introversion

I’ll admit, the whole “introvert vs. extrovert” thing is something that I once found useful. Habitually shunning human contact in favor of books or video games tends to lead to all sorts of unpleasant labels like “loner,” “shy,” or “recluse.” People never used “misanthrope,” but they should have, because it’s a badass word.

I found it freeing when there was this zeitgeist online to redefine my behavior: I’m not a hermit, I’m an introvert! You’ve probably read it before, but here’s what the meme ended up being:

  • While extroverts gain energy from social interaction, introverts gain energy from alone time.
  • Introverts enjoy other people, but they lose energy when they interact.
  • You should feel grateful when an introvert spends her/his energy on you.
  • Challenging an introvert’s need for alone time is worse than the Chernobyl disaster.

Behold My Shiny New Label!

While the concept of introversion isn’t new, this idea of introvert-as-superhero is. It’s a reframing of something that was once negative, turning it into a badge of honor for those who choose to sacrifice their limited “energy” resources for the sake of their friends and loved ones. Suddenly, it was hip to be square. ... continue reading.

Mentally Ill In The First World

I’d like to write a little rant about being sick in the head, and my experience of it so far. It’s not fun, and it’s not all that funny.

I’m writing this for the anxious, who find themselves paralyzed in ways that no one understands; for the depressed, who shrink further and further into themselves, until sometimes they disappear; for those with disordered relationships with reality, who live in the same physical world, but with vastly different perceptions. I’m writing for the soul-hurt, marginalized, stigmatized sufferers, forced to travel alongside everyone else, but burdened with invisible illness.

I’m Ian Harvey, and I have anxiety.

Whee

More anxiety than is normal. Much more. I know that it doesn’t look like it, but what exactly should it look like? I know I don’t act like it (usually), but I’m excellent at hiding abnormal behaviors. Hell, we all are. We hide and we hide, we tell white lies to ourselves and others, all for the sake of passing as normal. When you see us act out or break down, that’s because we couldn’t pass any more. ... continue reading.

Loving Your Inner Critic

It’s a new year, which means… well, whatever we want it to mean. For some of us, it means new beginnings, for others it’s continuing on a particular trajectory or slightly changing course. For others still, it’s just another day, but with an infuriating new digit to mess up on checks and forms.

Let’s pretend, however, that you’re not completely happy with something, and you’d like to make some changes. Maybe you make it a formal resolution, or maybe you just hope that you’ll conduct yourself a bit differently this year. I was taking a mental inventory just now, and I was hoping to eat better, exercise more, and… then I stopped.

Those are both worthy goals, to be sure, but I noticed a parallel line of thought: “I’ve got to stop putting so much garbage in my body. How am I going to reach my goal weight if I keep having 1000 calories of popcorn after dinner?” and “I’ve got to get back to the gym, I need some muscle.” ... continue reading.

3 Rules To Reduce Chronic Pain

I was sedentary for the first, oh, 20 years of my life. My only exercise was lugging my backpack, dense as a neutron star, from class to class because I was too lazy to make the detour to my locker.

I had back pain. Good lord did I have back pain, and it was ever so mysterious.

Poor kid.

That’s me about 15 years ago, taking a “before” picture (I think I was planning to start lifting weights… didn’t happen). Please realize that I thought I was in a completely neutral stance, feet even, shoulders relaxed, etc., and please notice how completely I failed. One foot was forward, one hip was hiked, one arm was rotated inward, and my entire torso was displaced 2 inches to the left.

Our bodies do the best they can with the stimulus that we give them. While our brains have access to a ton of information, the body will get limited cues, such as “needs to walk short distances,” “needs to sit for long periods,” and “needs to occasionally haul heavy loads.” Based upon these inputs, our bodies adapt. Mine had decided that I needed to be shaped a certain way to meet the needs of playing lots of lots of video games. ... continue reading.

The Anxiety Tripwire: My Intermittent Problem With People

Hi. I’m Ian Harvey, and I’ve got social anxiety.

Consider the following: You’ve spent a year of your life learning a skill, then several more honing it as a hobby. You get licensed, you’re good at what you do, and… nothing. Your brain vapor locks at the thought of actually executing your craft. Thousands of hours sunk in, and your hand drops the paintbrush, or your feet go numb when you strap on the tap shoes.

That’s where I was on Tuesday, all dressed up and no place to go. I’m a massage therapist, and I can’t bring myself to see clients.

The whole massage thing was completely out of left field in the first place. I was a weird kid in high school, with too much Dungeons and Dragons and too little self-awareness. I thought that hugs were only about the arms, and that wishing hard enough could make my crush come around and see the real me. I had hair down to my mid-back and a sweet collection of Hawaiian shirts. ... continue reading.