Monday, June 4, 2007


I think I’ve discovered a new syndrome, and I’d like to claim it before the medical texts get a hold of it: bi-social syndrome.

Please note that it is most emphatically not a disorder, but rather simply a condition, a state of being, a state of swinging wildly (okay, sometimes not so wildly) from the state of embracing social activity to running far, far away from it.

And I have it in spades.

Of course, it took me a decade to figure this out, let alone name it, but now that I have, I wanted to share it with you.

In bi-social syndrome, one can go along perfectly fine, interacting socially with the world on many levels until one day, WHAM! one slams into a brick wall and one can no longer form a single social thought, let alone deed. Selective memory asserts itself and any and all social commitments are easily forgotten, and excuses multiply as to why we can’t put any new ones on our calendar. Sometimes, it is so marked that even emailing is too much of a social effort.

I have recently bumped into such a wall, which is why Mary has so graciously been posting alone for the last week or so.

For introverts, hitting this wall is a clear sign that it’s time to go inward. In fact, we are often unable to do anything else, but face inward. Many times it is a sign that our batteries need recharging, that we missed the blinking light on our internal indicator that warned we were getting perilously close to extending too much of our Self in our interactions with people.

But not always. Sometimes it can be brought about by stress rather than an excess of social interaction. Remember, the key indicator to whether or not one is an introvert is how one recharges and collects their energy. Much like the turtle, I turn inward when feeling battered or vulnerable, or even just exhausted or overwhelmed. Truthfully? It feels like I have this little spiritual shell that I draw inside of when I’ve hit my anti-social cycle, or hermit phrase—as I prefer to call it.

And it doesn’t have to be horrible, upsetting types of stress, either; it can just mean being handed one more thing to think about, cope with, or accomplish, that tilts us out of balance. So it’s not about not wanting to fulfill that role or meet our other social obligations, which often bring us much joy, but more like a law of physics—the source must replenish before it can be drawn upon again.

So for any of you out there who happen to bump into this invisible wall, be aware. It’s merely bi-social syndrome and nothing to be overly concerned about. A short time filling your well and honoring your need to recharge is all that’s required.

And if you’re lucky like I am, friends and family will not only understand, but help out and pitch in when it strikes.

Thanks, Mary!!


Mary Hershey said...

Dear Robin,

Thank you for this important alert! Here's to your recharging-- may you be filled anew.

We'll have to compile a list at some point of Introvert Survival Skills and this would definitely be number one. Know when it's just time to fold, and to crawl back in for a spell.

L-o-v-e this picture-- oh, man, I've been there!


Linda D. (sbk) said...

Thank goodness if finally has a name!