Neurotic to the Bone, and Proud About It

When Green Day wrote the song "Basket Case", I'm pretty sure it was for me. 👀

I remember listening to this growing up and not really paying much attention to the lyrics. Partly because it was never my favorite, but also because Billy Joel wasn't always the easiest to understand. Why am I talking about this? Well, it all started with a conversation today that sparked the thought of me needing reassurance when making plans. Then I thought about it more, the insecurity I feel and the assurance I need from my friends and partners that we are absolutely going to see each other. On the surface, it's normal for me. When you make plans with someone, you talk about what you like to do, plan a tentative date, then confirm a day or two ahead. I could go on a long tangent about past traumas surrounding this situation, but I'll spare you.


I like to think I'm pretty easy going and don't require much attention--but add in the age of texting and society not being able to agree on whether lack of communication is cause for concern--I don't know. I was called out this year for cancelling on someone last minute from what I perceived as a sign they were going to flake, in other words I didn't get that last step of assurance or confirmation the day before/day of. I let them know why I did it, but they reminded me that they had never done it to me before, so I shouldn't have put them in that box. 
Regardless, I personally need that confirmation, I know I'm not the only one who complains about people being flakey or cancelling last minute. There's memes floating around about how funny it is when people agree to plans and cancel last minute. Take away is I'm aware of it and I can communicate that need to future friends and partners.

I digress.

As someone who is interested in counseling/psychology, I spend quite a bit of time researching & what better candidate than myself to run all the tests on. The next chain link in my thought process was looking at my attachment style(s) on this really handy website. It is a research driven website that collects your data but doesn't require much personally identifying information. I found it on Mark Manson's blog (author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck). You take the survey every 30 days and you can see how your attachment styles, Big Five Personality Traits, and narcissistic levels change over the course of time. 

I've taken six surveys so far and today, in the Big Five Personality trait section/table, I noticed neuroticism. I generally score higher for neuroticism (or in some tests it is called lower in emotional stability). I didn't pay much attention to it before, but I took two more tests for The Big Five Personality Traits to understand it better and I scored within the same percentile. In comes the song:

Do you have the time to listen to me whine
About nothing and everything all at once?


Holly is quite the neurotic, but also very conscientious and open to different perspectives. Alright, now what? The next way to look at your scores is to examine which numbers are furthest away from the 50th percentile. The furthest away is the personality trait that affects you the most, the second one furthest away from 50 will have the next biggest affect on your personality and so on. I scored an 82 in Neuroticism (or 16 in emotional stability depending on which test you take) and 80 in Openness.

According to yourpersonality.net,

  • Neuroticism - The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its low pole, emotional stability.
  • Openness to Experience - An appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine.

I laugh at this and agree wholeheartedly, but I realize why I'm so mentally exhausted all the time. It's like I want to explore the world and everything in it, but it's all too overwhelming for me at the same time. Let's go on an adventure, but like I don't wanna think about how you're feeling or how I'm feeling...so let's not...?

I'd like to take this trait back to the store please.


Psychology Today sheds a gives a little more perspective:

"While neuroticism has its benefits—such as intelligence, humor, more realistic if “cynical” expectations, greater self-awareness, drivenness and conscientiousness, lower risk-taking, and a strong need to provide for others—it is also associated with self-criticism, sensitivity to others and social anxiety, moodiness and anxiety, poorer general health, greater day-to-day strain, and strong negative emotional reactions. As a result, neurotic people on average tend to find romantic, personal, and family relationships more effortful and less successful than desired, have problems keeping jobs, and generally aren’t as satisfied with life."

I'm genuinely fascinated and as the title states, I'm proud...of this self discovery. I don't know how long it's going to stick, but at least I understand a little more why I may need more validation and assurance from others. Why I feel things more heavily than others. And why I went on a 20 page IG Story rant about how Starbucks charges different prices for the same drink at different locations in the same county. & How an employee tried to tell me it was taxes. 😖 😅 Totally valid to feel frustrated when you're on a budget, but also accepting the backlash of being called a Karen online. Neuroticism could also be a byproduct of being empathetic and/or a highly sensitive person. From some quick research it appears there is a difference in the two, I'm not sure I'm convinced though. Another story for another day.

I worked hard to screenshot/cut/paste the results I've gotten from these websites so you know what to expect/can figure out if it's for you! I'm still not understanding my attachment style (I'm preoccupied generally, but I do exhibit traits of fearful avoidant 🤷 ) or how any of this relates to 'childhood trauma' but when I do figure it out, I'll let you know.

Please do leave a comment, share your thoughts, feelings, personal experiences. I'd love to have a conversation and you can submit anonymously. :)


The Big Five Personality Traits based on YourPersonality.net as of 10/15/2020


Dark green bars are my results, light green is general population.



Neuroticism & Openness Over Six Surveys



Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness Over Six Surveys



Attachment Styles

Dark blue bars are mine, light blue is general public.



Attachment Styles based on Relationships as of 10/15/2020


See key in upper right hand corner, yellow square represents overall attachment style which is currently fearful avoidant. Previously it was consistently preoccupied/anxious attatchment.


Narcissism as of 10/15/2020

Red line is population, dark purple line is mine.


Subjective Well Being


This is based on my own perception, general population rates themselves as 2.96. Interestingly enough, it was above a 3 before the pandemic. My score has always been lower for this test.





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