I have only recently learned how much of an introvert I am and how I need to embrace it.
I have always valued my alone time, and I was always drained in groups (a couple of birthday parties where I just collapsed and went to bed early come to mind here), but I never knew what it meant. I never knew why I was like that.
I thought that it was just being shy, and that suffering from years of bullying made me withdrawn from the world. I thought that I was lazy and anti-social.
Many years later I learned what it means to be an introvert, I felt all of the puzzle pieces of my life fall into place.
I have my coping strategies now. I plan in alone time before and after events. I calculate in that I may be out of sorts and tired afterwards and need at least one day of recoup time in my bed under my pile of blankets.
That’s ok. That is the self-care I needed all my life, and I am so happy I can give it to myself.