From the U.S.: I am a junior in high school, and I have a boyfriend. My grades are above average, and I laugh with a couple of friends at school. However, I am not happy, at the least only half of me is happy at a time. I feel as though I am having two different feelings. One is of an extrovert, and the other is of an introvert. I have strong feelings of a desire to be completely alone and isolated from the world, but I also have a strong desire to be outgoing and to go out an be with people from school. I have times during the day when I keep to myself and if someone talks to me I smile awkwardly hoping they would go away, but in the same day I could be laughing and joking around and making plans with the same person. It is as if my personality changes throughout the day. There is no pattern. I do try to interact with the people around me since it is a requirement in lots of school work, but I am only half in it. I do not want to be alone but even so I want to be isolated.
I am not sure how to explain what I am feeling, but it is strange. It feels as if there are two different people inside of me telling me what to say and how to act. One person wants to be and introvert, and the other wants to be an extrovert. I can never satisfy both so I always feel somewhat depressed, but only half of me. I do not know what is wrong. I would understand is it was one way or the other, but I am now confused.
My chest is always feeling tight and it hurts. I cry a lot, but I do not show people. I am not sure why but I am afraid to tell anybody. I always put on a smile so people (even my family and boyfriend) think I am happy. I am having a hard time planning for the future and deciding on important decisions. I just don’t want to do anything anymore. I want to know why I am having all of these feelings, so I can at least do a little research on it, but I don’t know what to look for….What do I do?
When I read a letter like yours, I get very concerned that our culture is making everything into an illness. Having opposing feelings at your age is very normal. There is a natural push in all of us to get out there and grow (the extrovert half). There is an equally strong pull (by the introvert side) to want to hide under the covers and not have to deal with all the great many big decisions you will have to make in the next few years: What to do after high school; Who to be with; What kind of job you want to have; How to eventually set out on your own; What kind of person you want to be. These are big, big questions.
The fact that you are stressing tells me that you are a sensitive person who is paying attention. It makes sense to me that you are stuck and feel like you don’t want to do anything. Some part of you thinks that it’s how you can prevent yourself from making a bad decision. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t work that way. No decision ends up being a kind of decision — usually a bad one.
My suggestion: Make a list of the decisions you have to make and start doing what you need to do to check them off. If college is in your future, start talking about schools with your guidance counselor and parents. (Don’t worry about declaring a major right away. Most schools expect that the first two years are a time when kids figure out what they want to do for work.) If you need to get a job out of high school, start volunteering, get an internship, or start a part time job to get some experience.
Enjoy the times that are extroverted and enjoyable. Take a rest from the world when your “introvert side” tells you you need some time to be alone and to think.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
I Am Having Opposing Feelings…
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Am Having Opposing Feelings…. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/04/18/i-am-having-opposing-feelings/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.