Do parties make you nervous? Do you get extremely anxious when you have to speak in front of a group? Would you rather order something online than deal with interacting with one more person? If so, you might be an introvert with social anxiety.
Artist Marzi Wilson, creator of the Introvert Doodles comic series, knows these feelings all too well. She illustrates her life as a socially anxious introvert, turning her daily struggles into comics that other introverts can relate to. She hopes her illustrations will help introverts see they aren’t damaged or broken.
Introvert Doodles began after Wilson saw an article about Myers-Briggs personality types. She realized that the traits she’d perceived as “flaws”—such as frequently wanting to be alone and having only one or two close friends—were actually part of a much bigger picture. She had been so critical of herself that she failed to see how the puzzle pieces of her introverted personality worked together to create a whole, beautiful picture.
Wilson understands what introversion means, and that introversion and social anxiety are not the same thing, and that not every introvert struggles with social anxiety like she does. However, her comics are semi-autobiographical, so she often places her introvert character in situations that make her anxious. She says her illustrations are really just for her—they’re her way of dealing with her experiences.
It’s not easy being a socially anxious introvert. Some days you beat yourself up. Some days feel too hard. That’s why Wilson created this “pep talk” cartoon for herself and others:
Her advice to fellow introverts: decide what’s acceptable to you—and what isn’t. For example, it’s acceptable to Wilson to have only one or two friends, leave a party early, and spend time alone. It’s not acceptable for her to be rude to people who are trying to reach her, avoid meetings or social events because she’s feeling nervous, or miss opportunities like working with new clients because of anxiety.
Your “acceptable/unacceptable” list might look different, and that’s okay. She says, “Embrace those behaviors you feel are okay, and stop feeling guilty about them. Those negative behaviors that hold you back? Work on them. Focus less on change and more on growth. You can do this.”
Check out more of Wilson’s illustrations below. Can you relate?
Check out the latest Introvert Doodles here.