Are you a depressed INTJ? Have you ever suffered from depression? Any personality type can suffer from the pains of depression.: introverts and extroverts alike. INFJs, INTPs, and many other personality types have suffered from depression. However, INTJs may be more prone to depression than other types. In a study by Otis and Louks, INTJs were more likely to suffer from major depression (29).
In this article and video, I’m going to discuss why INTJs may be more prone to depression; I’ll tell you my own experience with it; and then I’ll give you some ways that you may be able to overcome it.
INTJs and Depression
Some of signs and symptoms of depression include a feeling of hopelessness or despair, losing interest in things you once loved, extreme sadness, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, thoughts of harming yourself, sleep problems, irritability, changes in appetite, and more.
If you feel any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from this condition. However, you certainly aren’t alone. Some of the greatest individuals in history suffered from bouts of depression, including some famous INTJs. Isaac Newton, the “father” of science, suffered from depression. Nikola Tesla and C.S. Lewis also suffered from depression.
Why INTJs or Introverts are Prone to Depression
There are many reasons why an INTJ or other introverted types may become depressed. Here are six traits that may make an INTJ more prone to depression.
- INTJs are often perfectionists. We may have high expectations for our careers, families, appearance, or whatever. When we feel that we’re not meeting those expectations, we become depressed.
- INTJs are extremely independent. We don’t need a lot of social interaction, and too much will drain our energy. But if we cut ourselves off too much and begin to isolate for long periods, we can become depressed.
- INTJs may struggle with other self-destructive behaviors, which can amplify things (low self-esteem, doubts, regret, nihilism, isolation, misanthropy)
- INTJs may overanalyze past events or future problems. We may take one hurtful experience, and we can analyze it, replay it, create imaginary debates and scenarios of how we wish we had responded, and so forth. We also mull over things in the future. We may recognize a pattern of something and jump to conclusions.
- INTJ may suffer loss. This can lead to feelings of depression for anyone. C.S. Lewis was devastated when his wife Joy died from cancer.
- INTJs may even become depressed for unknown reasons. In other words, everything may be “fine” in an INTJs life. Yet, he or she can still feel depressed.
My Experience with Depression
In my early 20’s, I faced the deepest and darkest depression I’ve ever felt. It must have lasted months. Several events led to this depression:
- Health Problems: I developed a rare hives condition, and doctors couldn’t help me. I felt excruciating prickly/stinging sensation every time I did anything. It was horrible, and it completely changed my life.
- Career Trouble: I had no direction in my career. I was majoring in accounting, but I soon started to hate it. I felt as if I had no talent or skills. My hives also put a serious damper in my career prospects.
- Money Problems: I was flat broke. I was eeking by month after month, but I felt as if I had no hope of ever improving my financial situation. I had no promising career prospects, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I came from a poor family.
- Bad Relationships: The only good relationship I had was with my wife. That’s it.
- Religion: I had rejected God and religion during this period, and nihilism hit me like a ton of bricks.
I just wanted to lay in bed all day in darkness. That’s actually one of the benefits of depression: You never have to make your bed—you’re always in it! I didn’t want to go anywhere. I isolated myself as much as possible. I was irritable, bitter, and hopeless.
I wasn’t suicidal in the sense of actively seeking to end my life, but I can tell you that I had absolutely no will to live. I regretted the day I was born, and I loathed my very existence. I would think to myself, “Why am I even here? Why should I even go on? There is no point to life. My very existence is as meaningless as some random ant I’ve stepped on.”
I never sought medical help, and I’ve never taken medication. However, I was depressed to the max, and it was a horrible feeling. Thankfully, I did overcome it. I would go through short spurts of it here and there through the years, but things progressively got much better.
I don’t suffer with depression today. I may have a down day here and there, maybe even a couple of days if something crazy happens. But I no longer suffer from the grips of that terrible darkness.
Tips to Overcome Depression
While depression can be very painful, you can overcome it in time. Here are some tips that may help you minimize or beat your depression.
- Exhaustion and Sleep Deprivation-Many times I’ll feel this sense of sadness or hopelessness, which usually comes after a long stretch of work and chaos. I don’t feel exhausted, but after I take a few days off, I feel great again. Many times, you may simply be exhausted or sleep deprived!
- Nutrition and Exercise-If you have some vitamin or hormone deficiencies, it could cause (or worsen) depression. It’s always good to audit your diet to see if you’re getting enough nutrition. Some supplements, such as Vitamin D, Magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, and others can actually improve your mood or minimize your symptoms. (Always talk to a doctor before taking supplements or vitamins).
- Isolation and Self-Destructive Behaviors-If you’ve been isolating yourself too much or suffering from other self-destructive behaviors, you may need to make some lifestyle changes. It’s easy to get caught up in a pattern of self-loathing, bitterness, isolation, etc. However, you need to pull yourself out. By having some social contact—as draining and as irritating as it may be—you’ll improve your mental health and remain more stable.
- Focus on Positives and Minimize Negatives– Watch inspirational and uplifting movies. Listen to feel-good music. Spend time with friends and loved ones who treat you with respect and make you laugh. Avoid negative things like the news, tearjerker movies, sad songs, etc.
- Keep Going. Winston Churchill wasn’t an INTJ, but he said that if you’re going through hades, keep going. Sometimes, you have to keep going. Even though life seems pointless and hopeless, keep going through the motions. Something unexpected may happen very soon, and it may snap you out of that depression. A new career, a new relationship, etc. Sometimes, depression can go away on its own.
- Focus on Some Goal. Keeping your mind preoccupied with some goal can also reduce depression. INTJs have the ability to focus on projects. Use your skills and natural talents to accomplish something.
- Spirituality/Philosophy. I’ve talked about this before, but in the MBTI Manual, it said that INTJs ranked highest in coping with stress by using the resource of “spirituality/philosophy.” It can certainly prove helpful to see meaning in life and suffering. For example, I’m a Christian. I didn’t become a Christian to help me cope with depression or other problems. I became a Christian because I believe it’s the truth. However, it has helped me to have a much happier mindset.
- Antidepressants/Counseling. If you find that you just can’t shake depression, you can always consider medication or counseling. I’ve never taken antidepressants, and I have read some concerning studies in the past. For example, some have been linked to an increase in suicidal tendencies, and I do know of a person who was on them when they committed suicide. However, some people have suggested that they help, so this is always an option if you can’t shake depression. However, I would caution you to do your homework before taking any medication.
- Never Take Your Own Life or Harm Yourself. Finally, you should never take your own life or seek to harm yourself through things like cutting. I know first-hand that life can seem so utterly pointless and bleak. However, there is always hope, even if you can’t see or feel it. I believe that you have talents and purpose in this life. A lot of INTJs have suffered with depression, yet they went on to do great things. Don’t let depression win. Keep fighting it. Things will get better. If you ever feel that you want to harm yourself, get help as soon as possible: suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
In conclusion, depression is a common health problem that many INTJs face. Our personality type may be more prone to suffering from it. However, there is hope. Many INTJs have went on to achieve great things and find peace and happiness again.
Otis, G. D., & Louks, J. L. (1997). Rebelliousness and psychological distress in a sample of introverted veterans. (Post-traumatic stress disorder). Journal of Psychological Type, 40, page 29.