Slow Is Not Stupid
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this to be true for yourself, but sometimes introverts can be a bit slow to react to things. It’s not all the time, but sometimes we just need to process for a longer perid of time than other people need to. We either need to think it over more, or our brains need more time for things to click.
For me it’s especially frustrating when it’s something important, such as making a decision that is emotionally charged or when it’s a topic I’m good at. My mind just blanks! It makes you feel horrible and also kind of stupid at the same time. Other people think we’re stupid too because we just don’t react fast enough. There isn’t a lot we can do about it, except for the things we can do to work around it with other people. People you’re close to may notice the signs and be more accepting that you need more time to react because your brain just gets overloaded and needs more time to process. They start to realize that you’re panicking or your emotions are just overwhelming.
I even have times where I forget specific words for a day or a whole week. I feel so frustrated, like, “What’s wrong with my head?” I can’t spell the word, say it, or describe it very well. I don’t know why that happens. There are also certain people I can’t talk to very well either. Because of this, I’ve had times where people think I’m really stupid. The processing just takes over and I can’t speed it up. There are times where I am quick, and others where I’m slow at processing. When that happens, I have a slight meltdown in the back of my head for a couple of seconds and lose the conversation. I think it’s a combination of being introverted and experiencing anxiety at the same time.
In the end, sometimes you just need to take a breath or a break. You need to tell people to give you a second to process. Most people are okay with you taking time to think as long as you tell them that. They usually want to be in that conversation with you for a reason, and will stick around while you process. Even if it’s an argument, you can find ways to cope. One of these methods is repeating what the other person said to give you time to think, let them know you’re listening, and to help you remember what they said. You can even write things down so you can resolve the argument after you’ve had time to read through and think about it.
It is okay to get overwhelmed. Some things will get better over time, while other things won’t. I know I’ve gotten better with some things, but others have stayed the same. I’ve accepted it and found ways to work around it. There are other ways to communicate without feeling like you’re stupid for processing things slowly.
It can even be a good thing because it’s good to be thoughtful and work through things thoroughly. The people who love you will be understanding if you explain it to them, but it can suck out in the real world where people don’t always care. That’s where the coping mechanisms come into practice: repeating things others have said to process, taking notes, and having a “life manager” to lean on sometimes. Do what works for you and don’t feel bad about processing things slowly. You are not stupid. It’s not life or death to take time to process in conversations. I would rather be thoughtful than quick witted because being witty doesn’t work for every situation, but being thoughtful can get you anywhere.