Growing up, I was labeled as shy. I didn't really make friends easily or talk much. I kept to myself, and was more likely to be found in my room reading than playing kickball in the cul-de-sac. My parents, in their attempts to help, told me I should be more active, friendlier, and come out of my shell.
I couldn't seem to bring myself to do it.
Then, when I was in high school and college, it became apparent that on top of the shyness was anxiety, which made it difficult to deal with the shyness. And, in continued efforts to try and help, I was not only told that getting over my shyness would help me make friends, but that it would help me get over my anxiety, too.
Some time after college I discovered the term "introvert." It seemed to describe me pretty accurately. I could handle one-on-one interactions rather well, but after a while, any interaction drained me, and I found myself craving time alone.
But the revelation didn't make the shyness or anxiety go away. It was simply another layer. Another element of myself that I've had to deal with.
It gets hard to have this trifecta. The shyness keeps me from making friends easily, and the introversion keeps me from too many interactions with the friends I do have. And, of course, the anxiety keeps me from asking for help or interaction when I actually need it because of course it does.
In some ways, I think it's advantageous. Because of my shyness and introversion, being alone is helpful to the anxiety. But it also means that when I want (or need) to interact with people, it seems to drain me more quickly than it might other people. I need more breaks than other introverts.
I think I'm managing pretty well. Now that I have a better understanding of who I am and what I need, I can handle it a little better than I used to be able to. I have an amazing wifey that helps when I need help (and gives me space when I need space). I have family and friends who understand, and who love me anyway.
So I'll keep taking breaks when I need them, let online interactions be enough every once in a while, and embrace the trifecta.