Explaining Comfort #Mentalhealth


com·fort
ˈkəmfərt/
noun
  1. 1.
    a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
    “room for four people to travel in comfort”
  2. 2.
    the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.
    “a few words of comfort”

This is a very important word for us introverts, especially those of us prone to Depression. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the context of dealing with my own life and also Danny. And it goes a long way to explain many of the seeming contradictions in my life and history.

If you’ve known me long enough, and especially if you knew me during a couple of specific time frames you might be surprised that I so strongly identify as introvert. For example, when I was in Middle and High School I was involved in drama, and music, even played team sports. And I was in a ‘band’ for a time in college. Those do not seem like the kind of things an introvert would enjoy, they are very out there, in the public eye so to speak. That is where comfort comes in.

When you are in a play, or performing in a musical, or a musical performance, you have a script, a set of rehearsed speeches and songs. And you are following that script, you know what you have to say or sing, and when and how to say it. There is nothing impromptu about it (in most cases.) And that takes the element of chaos out of it that bothers many introverts. And that is comforting, it removes the constraints of having to speak off the cuff or engage with other people, you know what they will say back to you.

In a lot of ways the same applies to role playing games (at least the table top ones I play.) I know my character, and what he would do and say in a given situation, so I don’t have to think on my feet so much. There is a sense of comfort in assuming a role, be it in a game, or a play, or giving a speech.

Comfort is also important to us in what we do every day. If we are in the same place long enough (work, home, classroom) we can achieve that level of comfort. That is one of the reasons the Montessori model has been so beneficial for Danny, because he did not have to keep adjusting to a new teacher, new classroom every year (which does worry me some as he gets older.) But that is also why I don’t mind having our house be the central family gathering spot for many gatherings. Because it is my house, my comfort zone, and when I have that surrounding me I feel better about what I am doing.

And last, this extends to people. Here I will talk about Danny. He has his circle of friends that he is comfortable with: the girls, his cousin, one or 2 others. When you take him outside that circle he loses that cushion and gets uncomfortable. He just isn’t (and likely won’t be) real comfortable being thrust into a social situation without that cushion. And I know how that feels, that is the story of my life, and is one of the reasons I try so hard to keep up with my circle of friends.

I am sure there are other words for this, and undoubtedly long treatises devoted to the deep reasons and ideas behind it all. But for now I will leave this with this simple idea. Being out and around people is not what makes introverts uncomfortable, it is when there is a lack of structure involved for being there, the free flow of your average party, social gathering, that is what throws us off. We can do seemingly extroverted stuff, like acting, or performing, or hosting parties, provided it comes from or is in a comfortable place.

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