Showing my more extroverted side

Tlifter1088

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Hi. This is my first post. Sorry it’s so long. Thank you ahead of time. I have grand mal seizures, but fortunately they are very controlled. I only have a seizure once every 2 years and I have found that I can do any type of exercise I want, but cardio is a trigger so I avoid it. I have heard many people with epilepsy also have learning disabilities. For me it’s visual spatial. Don’t ask me to do geometry or put anything from Ikea together. I’m also a very slow reader and writer, but I attribute that to medicine not learning disabilities. I have an amazing wife and hopefully kids are coming soon. The one big challenge I have has been becoming more extroverted. I have accepted that I am an introvert and there are plenty in the world, but I feel that my epilepsy and/or medicine almost paralyzes me from being social with others. I find excuses not to public speak and having an extroverted wife helps, but also gives me an out because she can speak for me. I also oftentimes prefer being home. I feel like there is a more social person in me that wants to come out, but can’t. I want to know if anyone else has felt this and what you have done.
 

Nakamova

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Hi Tlifter1088, welcome to CWE!

I'm a natural introvert and a homebody too, but I've gotten way more comfortable over the years at being social and talking in larger groups. I don't think I will ever be a teacher or public speaker, but I don’t have any stress about ordinary socializing. I think a first step for you might be determining if it's really the epilepsy or if there are other factors that may be preventing your social side from emerging. A therapist could help with this, but here are some things to think about: Is socializing easier with fewer people? Is it easier with relatives and/or people you know well? Are some group activities harder than others (e.g., just hanging out vs. doing an activity). Are virtual conversations (Zoom, texting, emailing) easier than in-person ones? What exactly do you feel in social situations (self-consciousness, anxiety, numbness, depression)? Are you worried about misinterpreting other people’s social cues, or are you worried that they will misinterpret yours?

Depending on what might be going on, next steps could include "practicing" with a few people you can trust, perhaps without your wife present so you can get comfortable on your own. Don't be shy (pun intended) about telling others about your discomfort -- everyone experiences some degree of social anxiety, and close friends will be able to empathize and help. Even just the act of verbalizing (or writing about) an anxiety in public can help defuse the associated stress.

Social situations that don't require a lot of extroversion can be good ways to gradually extend your comfort zone: Exercise classes, meditation groups, silent retreats, hikes, volunteer events. These can be less stressful because they take the focus off of your self.

Don't put pressure on yourself to change all at once, or to achieve some sort of "ideal" extroversion. The perfect can be the enemy of the good. Some people are just genetically "shy". Plus, in the era of COVID-19, not socializing has its benefits too. :)

Cheers!
Nakamova
 

Tlifter1088

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Hi Tlifter1088, welcome to CWE!

I'm a natural introvert and a homebody too, but I've gotten way more comfortable over the years at being social and talking in larger groups. I don't think I will ever be a teacher or public speaker, but I don’t have any stress about ordinary socializing. I think a first step for you might be determining if it's really the epilepsy or if there are other factors that may be preventing your social side from emerging. A therapist could help with this, but here are some things to think about: Is socializing easier with fewer people? Is it easier with relatives and/or people you know well? Are some group activities harder than others (e.g., just hanging out vs. doing an activity). Are virtual conversations (Zoom, texting, emailing) easier than in-person ones? What exactly do you feel in social situations (self-consciousness, anxiety, numbness, depression)? Are you worried about misinterpreting other people’s social cues, or are you worried that they will misinterpret yours?

Depending on what might be going on, next steps could include "practicing" with a few people you can trust, perhaps without your wife present so you can get comfortable on your own. Don't be shy (pun intended) about telling others about your discomfort -- everyone experiences some degree of social anxiety, and close friends will be able to empathize and help. Even just the act of verbalizing (or writing about) an anxiety in public can help defuse the associated stress.

Social situations that don't require a lot of extroversion can be good ways to gradually extend your comfort zone: Exercise classes, meditation groups, silent retreats, hikes, volunteer events. These can be less stressful because they take the focus off of your self.

Don't put pressure on yourself to change all at once, or to achieve some sort of "ideal" extroversion. The perfect can be the enemy of the good. Some people are just genetically "shy". Plus, in the era of COVID-19, not socializing has its benefits too. :)

Cheers!
Nakamova
Thank you for your response. I actually have my MA in secondary education. I was a middle and high school teacher for a year, but learned I hated it. Talking to people who are much younger than me is much easier than with my peers. I have one friend who I’ve known since 11th grade who I guess I can call my best friend second to my wife, but it’s weird calling someone a best friend at 31 years old. He’s pretty much my only friend. I have lots of fun hanging out with one or 2 people at a time, but not a group. There is too much energy, too much excitement. I feel like I could be comfortable in a group and talking in front of peers, but something is stopping me.
 

Porkette

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Hi Tlifter1088,

Welcome to CWE! Nakamova gave you some great info. Just like you I work in public school with jr. high students I've
been at the job for almost 35 yrs. and I love it. I found that being home by myself gave me to much time to think about
negative things especially when I was in my teens. I've had epilepsy for 48 yrs. and since working in public school I've
tried to open up and tell others about epilepsy because many people don't know much about it.

Math was my worst subject and still is today but give me English and History and I'm very happy. I also like to write
poetry.

One thing you need to think about is if you stay by yourself without anybody around who will care for you when you
get older. I'm not trying to be rude and forgive me if I upset you but try and look down the road into the future
when you are of retirement age if not older and ask yourself if you will be prepared if others are not around.

I wish you the best of luck and May God Bless You,

Sue
 

Nakamova

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I have lots of fun hanging out with one or 2 people at a time, but not a group. There is too much energy, too much excitement. I feel like I could be comfortable in a group and talking in front of peers, but something is stopping me.
This is the part where a therapist could help figure out what the "something" is. A neuropsychotherapist might be a good bet -- someone who is familiar with epilepsy and seizure medications and how they can affect the brain.

Two questions:

1. Were you ever comfortable in larger groups, or is it something you've felt all your life?

2. Why did you end up hating teaching high schoolers?
 

Tlifter1088

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This is the part where a therapist could help figure out what the "something" is. A neuropsychotherapist might be a good bet -- someone who is familiar with epilepsy and seizure medications and how they can affect the brain.

Two questions:

1. Were you ever comfortable in larger groups, or is it something you've felt all your life?

2. Why did you end up hating teaching high schoolers?
1. All my life
2. Because many whine and spend more time and effort not doing an assignment than just doing it. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but they need immediate gratification, which is extremely annoying when you are trying your best to teach them. They don’t see the bigger picture, which then...refer to my first point. Then when you tell their parents that they aren’t doing well and/or causing problems in class then the parents get angry at you because they see their kid as a perfect angel who can’t do anything wrong, which doesn’t make your boss happy.
 

Porkette

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Hi Tlifter1088,

I couldn't agree with you more when it comes to teaching students have become so lazy since the computer and cell phones
have come out before that students put a lot more effort into their school work.
You should do what my Dad made his students do and that is run a mile on the track after school if they don't do their
work or if they don't stay focused in class. One thing I do that keeps students focused is I will draw a circle on the board
even if one student is wasting time in class and I time the students if they are talking when I'm trying to teach and if it
takes them 15 seconds to be quiet I put the number 15 in the circle and at the end of the class period the entire class
has to stay after and sit in dead silence for 15 seconds. Take my word I learned this a few yrs. ago from a co worker
and the students are quiet and focused the entire class. The trick is you never go past 45 seconds of keeping students
after class but don't tell them that part. Wishing you the best of luck and May God Bless You!

Sue
 

Nakamova

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Maybe it’s a generational thing, but they need immediate gratification, which is extremely annoying when you are trying your best to teach them.
My sister is retired now, but taught college students for over 25 years. She definitely noticed some changes over that time: Students became less comfortable looking her in the eye, were flakier about communication and attendance (especially when she scheduled one-on-one office meetings for their benefit), and wanted to know what the "right answer" was (she taught English and poetry!), rather than learn how to think critically for themselves. They were needier overall. Not all of her students of course, but there did seem to be a generational shift.
 

Army Vet

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I had a college class with a professor (also my guidance counselor AND my thesis paper professor) and he had an interesting rule with cell phones.
If your phone goes off during class, you will buy cookies for the entire class! I always have mine on silent anyway, but I double checked. I can’t remember, I think one person had it happen. Otherwise towards the end of the semester, HIS phone went off! 😂😂😂 I think he had someone do it (ie call him on purpose, knowing it was going to; kind of a “goodbye/good job” present; also a “standards apply to everyone” kinda thing). As soon as it went off, he ran to me (I was closest to him at the moment). Okay, what do you want me to bring?? In an instant/sarcastic way (while I was still in shock and everyone was laughing). I told him chocolate chip cookies 🍪 Sure enough he brought them the next class we had lol.
 
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