Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When a high-functioning introvert grieves

So I have been in many conversations the past few days with my husband, with my acupuncturist, with PBFAW... about what it's like to be someone who is naturally introverted to navigate the world around them when they are dealing with grief.

The past few days have been rough on me.  Celine's estimated due date is April 20th.  I just learned I have to work that day.  Needless to say, since this weekend I have been overwhelmed, snappish, and apparently speaking in some language that I thought was clear to my husband, but isn't. He appears to be baffled as to why I am falling apart at the seams.  Now, don't get me wrong, he's not some sort of clod, he absolutely knows what I have been through, since he's been there with me for the past three years. But he honestly hasn't internalized any of our losses, including Celine, as I have.  They are his "babies" not his babies.  He is without question, sad.  But he is truly at a loss I think for why I find myself struggling.  And why I would much rather crawl into bed with a trashy romance novel on my e-reader and stroke Princess, than be out and about amongst the many friends we have.

Part of the answer is that Husband, you see, is an extrovert.  He thrives off of the energy of people.  They are quite literally, his life source.  I see his energy wane and dull when he isn't out and about with a group of friends, listening to music, talking, laughing.  I am sure from past experience that part of his healing comes from being his extroverted self.

I am by contrast an introvert, but a really high-functioning one.  Maybe I've even fooled him all these years.  I can smile and laugh my way through parties.  Hell, when I'm not recovering from D&Cs I teach lively zumba classes.  I sometimes jokingly note that I can hold a conversation with a lamp post if it's required of me.  But large-scale social interaction has always been something I found exhausting, not to mention it creates a small degree of anxiety.  I would much prefer to sit with one good friend and talk over coffee for hours.  It sucks a lot of energy out of me to put a smile on my face and face groups of people, on a good day.

Many of my readers know how when you suffer a miscarriage, you are keenly aware of the "clock" that's set by the world around you.  No matter how often you pay lip-service to the fact that "grief isn't linear," grief is "on it's own clock" and "no one can put a time limit on your grief," well, the fact of the matter is that the world does put a timer on it.  As we enter into spring and summer, the months of cook-outs and house parties and pool parties.... the months when people emerge from winter hibernation.... I am keenly aware that the clock is running out on my quiet time. Hell, another baby was lost while I was already in active mourning over the one baby who I grew most attached to. Even those closest to me have moved on....This introvert will have to function in an extroverted world.


  1. Like you, I am an introvert and my dh is also an extrovert. Gardening keeps me sane, but I really would just like to be ableto skip the cook-outs etc. Huge hugs. Will say some prayers for Celine.