I’m a worrier by nature. For as long as I can remember I’ve been anxious about things such as fire, and plane crashes (though this one has pretty much disappeared), and a million other things. Over the years I’ve developed ways to assuage my worries, and sometimes my over-prepared nature has come in handy – I’m actually really great in a crisis because I’ve already played out all the outcomes in my head so all I do in the moment is act. So while I may check a campfire a couple of extra times to make sure it’s *really* out, my worrywart nature doesn’t usually affect my daily life. However, in the last few years I have noticed that somehow I’ve become a stress sponge. Unconsciously, I absorb the worries and stresses of others and make them my own. It’s beyond being empathetic, and it’s definitely not good for my health, but I don’t seem to realize that I’m doing it until too late.
It’s no secret that I’m an introvert by nature. I like people and once I’m comfortable with you, I’ll never shut up, but groups of people, make me seriously nervous. I get overwhelmed and then all I can think about is running away and hiding in a corner. Give me a group big enough that I can’t possibly interact with all of the individual members though, and I’m perfectly fine. I loved lecturing to large undergraduate classes, but for the first few weeks of classes, whenever I had to lead a small group seminar I wanted to hurl. Fortunately, I never did, and by all accounts I was really good at being a Teaching Assistant – at least if my feedback sheets were anything to go by. [Read more…]