A harrowing realization to make as an introvert is the need for other people. If you’re an introvert, like me, you generally prefer spending time alone or with very few people. Socializing tends to stress you out/sap your energy, and you have to spend time alone to recharge.

I love having my alone time. I like to spend time by myself, doing things that I like to do. However I’ve realized recently that too much alone time can be not very healthy. If you isolate yourself from people to much, you end up spending all your time inside your own head. That’s not always the safest place to spend your time. If you are literally always alone, you will go crazy. Humans need other humans.

I was thinking back to this time last year, when things were really shitty for me. I wanted to be alone all the time, because I was horribly sad, but I knew time alone would be hazardous. So I forced myself to spend time with friends. I saw my best friends frequently, and I tried to hang out with acquaintance-friends more often too. I basically tried to surround myself with people all of the time.

And it really helped. Letting myself fall back on a support network like that was one of the best things I could’ve done at that time. They pulled me from the loneliness and made me feel at home. I truly don’t know how I would have come out on the other side of that if I hadn’t been surrounded by caring people.

More recently, I discovered that spending all of your time alone means that you keep all of your feelings to yourself as well. Keeping all of your emotions bottled up and never sharing them with anyone IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU. That’s in all-caps because I mean it. I bottle up absolutely everything, and every so often I explode from all the pressure and it’s pretty ugly. So I would not recommend bottling.

The last time I exploded, I actually sat down and talked with my parents about it afterward, and told them everything I had been feeling and struggling with. And they listened! And completely understood! AND they made me feel better! Because that’s what people who love and care about you do when your’re struggling: they listen, they empathize, and they comfort.

It’s important to keep loved ones around, because you need them. It’s also important to spend time with them, and talk to them – even if you’re feeling introverted. Friends, family, and just generally other people will make you feel better because humans need other humans to survive. Also, spending time with and talking to your loved ones makes them feel loved, too. You are helping them solve their loneliness just as much as they are solving yours.

I have had a constant, vague sense of loneliness since I was 14, and I never really knew why. I understood I was shy and that’s why I didn’t have many friends, but I never realized that I actively isolate myself from other people. Now that I know this about myself, hopefully I won’t keep doing it and I can start to work on needing people more (needing anything from other people is another topic entirely, which I also have lots of thoughts on).