I am in an exhausted daze today.
Not the lack-of-sleep kind, either. I am simply drained.
It’s been so long since this happened that I was digging for what I used to explain it in the past.
There is a sine wave theory that I used to subscribe to, that any amount of high-energy or “upper” experience would then be followed by a crash of equal extremity. Once I recognized the pattern I learned to expect it. And while I never liked the crash I at least wasn’t caught by surprise.
Having this way of thinking firmly embedded led to some surprises as I got older.
For example, I never crashed after my fun times with Jay. I never consciously came off the high of “the honeymoon phase” after we were married. And while I get the “I want to get back to my book” and “I want to work on my project” urges, I’ve never had the I need my space moments I’ve read about.
Since being married I’d had so few “dropping” moments that I was near congratulating myself about how “level” I’d become. Part of me wondered if I should be disappointed I was missing out on some wild “highs” but I was quite happy/content, and figured any more was worth missing if I continued to skip the lows.
Now, from my older-and-wiser perspective (and the little I’ve learned about introverts), with the experience of the last 24-hours fresh in my mind, I think I got it wrong with the sine-curve model.
The perceived high was real– generally supplied from a great deal of mental stimulation and rapid-fire conversation with a group of people. The following crash, corresponding with what I’m feeling today, was not a whiplash or punishment for having fun, it is simply my inwardly-wired system trying to rebuild after a higher-than usual drain.
My interactions tend to be with one individual or thinking “in well-worn grooves of thought.” Rapid-fire conversation with a number of people, or very long conversations over many topics are exciting to me. They sort of prove my brain to myself, and I enjoy that; but it’s distressingly similar to over-working your body in Ultimate Frisbee.
You don’t just quit because you’re tired or sore– you get the adrenaline (or mental) rush to get through it competently, even well, but you’re gonna feel it the next day. And I am.
~ ~ ~
I used to think I was very different from Joule– her high-energy, outgoing, never-quit-ness. But I was wrong.
Change the tennis ball to an interesting conversation, and I’ll chase it till your arm gets tired without slowing my outrun. As with Joule it’s the “bringing it home” that will show my weariness. I’ll attack the idea, catch it up in a neat little package, then forget the point or how to bring it home.
So you’ve been warned.
Just now I feel like Joule after one of those outings: flopped out; eyes squinched shut, hoping everybody will choose to step over her rather than make her move out of the way.
And even so, you pull out that tennis ball and the light goes on in her eyes…
I’ve been warned…
This morning was going to be a phone calling day. I think that will have to wait till tomorrow.
Just to clarify: the comments about Jay and our relationship are not to imply he doesn’t stretch my brain or initiate diverse conversation. He is an introvert like me and, in the words of Jane Eyre, “To talk to each other is but a more animated and audible thinking.”
I am still adapting to the reality that some of my children need more from me than this, but God’s grace is sufficient and I am trusting him to make up what I lack, to give them what they need.
The analogy of the exhaustion after a long, hard, energizing workout is a good one for introverts. Amazingly, extroverts don’t seem to experience it. Extending the analogy, my husband could run a marathon, swig some water, and go run another one.
Because he is SO far that direction on the extroversion scale, I do have moments of “okay, I need to be ALONE alone.” But generally, I can hang out with him for very long periods of time without the crash that other people leave me with.
I crash after being around people for a long time.
I do this to, as I was reminded yesterday. I got home from taking a visitor to the airport and just wilted. I’m not sure I did anything of note yesterday afternoon except direct my son in making dinner.
I can totally relate! It’s exhausting for me to be out and about, and in contact with many different people. Some days when I get home from a day like this, I just want to veg. (It was not fun when I was working full time out of the house, I mean before kids.)