INFJ Depression (A Complete guide)

INFJ Depression (A Complete guide)

In this blog post, we will understand INFJ depression by analyzing the personality type with respect to depression. We will look into the reasons for their susceptibility to depression, the healing process, and some tips on managing their depression. Finally, we will see how they are commonly perceived and what their reality is.

INFJ is a personality type found in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment. INFJ stands for: 

  • (I)ntroversion, 
  • I(n)tuition, 
  • (F)eeling, and 
  • (J)udging. 

INFJs are commonly misconstrued to be moody, detached, passive-aggressive, and even “depressed.” Because of such misconceptions, INFJs themselves identify as being depressed. 

Let us understand more about INFJ depression.

INFJ Depression

People with an INFJ personality type are not the only ones who could get depressed. However, they have a higher probability of suffering from depression. There are many reasons why an INFJ could be dealing with depression. Some of these reasons are:

Emotional Exhaustion

INFJs tend to internalize other people’s problems, making them immersed in a pool of emotions that, to begin with, are not even theirs. This overwhelming feeling can often lead to their burning out in social gatherings and highly stimulating surroundings. 

For INFJs, it is not often about others’ thoughts of them. Instead, it is that they are highly empathetic – they feel what others feel. Such excessive empathy can lead to emotional exhaustion, which can be disabling. Moreover, they are likely to choose careers related to working with others’ emotional difficulties (e.g., psychologist) and can experience occupational burnout. 

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Unrealistic Standards for Oneself and Others

INFJs typically are excessively perfectionistic. Such unrealistic expectations from oneself can lead to feelings of worthlessness and burnout when they fail to meet them. They tend to be extremely hard on themselves on account of failure to meet their standards. Similar expectations from others can lead to social difficulties.

For example, if they undertake a project, they visualize the perfect outcome and beat themselves up upon failure to perform the way they had imagined themselves, too. Moreover, they try to make every aspect of their lives “perfect,” including their social, professional, and personal lives. Often, juggling these lives with the aim of perfecting them takes a toll on one’s mental health. 

The introverted intuition, coupled with judging, which is characteristic of INFJ, make them set unrealistic goals. Hence, they end up continually feeling powerless or like failures and have difficulty coping. This problem consequently results in depression or anxiety. 

Rumination

INFJs are the epitome of overthinkers. They pride themselves on being able to be reflective, albeit it typically borders on excessive rumination. Such overthinking is dangerous for their mental health as a minor negative thought could lead them to spiral. 

Aversion to Conflicts

INFJ individuals desire harmony and are dedicated to achieving it to the point of mental exhaustion. Although it seems altruistic, there is a touch of selfishness as they need their surroundings to be calm and peaceful. This external atmosphere usually contributes to how they feel inside. To feel inner peace, they need outer peace.

Therefore, INFJs go out of their way to avoid conflict. Conflict tends to make them feel a sense of anxiety, vulnerability, and hopelessness. Sometimes, it could even affect them physically.

Healing Process

The first step to deal with INFJ depression is to seek professional help. The healing process begins with being open about one’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. 

One of the critical components of treatment for INFJ depression is time. Being compassionate humans, INFJs often forget to channel this compassion toward themselves. People with INFJ depression need to remember that they can take enough and more time to open up to their mental health professionals. 

Secondly, honesty plays an integral role in the healing process. Right from the beginning, you must be truthful about your struggles. One way to ensure honesty is to note down or record yourself talking about everything that you want to address in therapy. This method helps one avoid forgetting or wrongly remembering important information. 

There are some tips to manage INFJ depression, such as:

  • Challenging Expectations
  • Creating their Path
  • Downplaying Insights
  • Managing Ruminations

Challenging Expectations

When INFJs themselves or others do not follow their expectations and standards, INFJs feel as though they have failed themselves or feel powerless as they cannot take charge of others. 

To alter this, they must come to terms with the misalignment between expectations and outcomes. Another way to manage this is to challenge their expectations and bring them down so they and others can comfortably achieve them. Doing so would help them develop healthy relationships with themselves and others.

Creating their Path

They often change themselves to gain approval from others. This habit causes them to follow a conventionally successful career, which may not be ideal for them, causing depression related to job stress. Therefore, they need to learn to trust themselves and play to their strengths. 

They can allow themselves to follow their desires to fill their lives with meaning and purpose. Trying to align their interests with a career choice that would help them lead a comfortable, purposeful life is a suggestion.

Downplaying Insights

INFJs end up relying on their insights excessively. This dependency could result in feelings of hopelessness, and eventually, depression. Although they are typically right with their intuitions, it is not always the case as their insights are based on partial information. 

To handle this, they need to learn to truth other people’s ideas as well. They must try and make use of their limited extroverted sensing to gain more information. 

Managing Ruminations

As we have already seen, they tend to be ruminators, which negatively affected their mood. Like downplaying insights, INFJs need to rely on their inferior extroverted feeling abilities to achieve harmony between their minds and lives. 

Moreover, they can help people around them or look for new perspectives instead of wallowing in self-pity or isolating themselves from the world. Another way to refuel themselves would be to express their pain through creative outlets (e.g., art, music).  

What Is Perceived vs. Reality

Often, INFJ individuals are perceived as being moody, socially withdrawn, and “clinically depressed.” Although some individuals with an INFJ personality may be depressed, this is not always true. Let us try to understand what really is behind these perceptions.

  • Perception: INFJs are unaware of how to respond when other people recount their painful experiences

Reality: INFJs experience immense empathy and often feel what other people do. Therefore, they find it essential to comprehend what one is telling them before they utter something. Their silence is indicative of their authenticity.

  • Perception: When INFJs are experiencing pain, they do not trust other people who express concern. 

Reality: INFJs often require space as a result of their heightened emotions. This withdrawal is not a depressive symptom but a way for them to refuel and process their feelings. Therefore, it is essential that one does not stop expressing their concern for them. 

  • Perception: INFJs are always alone. When in public, they seem to be putting up an act while interacting. It is evident that they prefer being socially withdrawn or isolated.

Reality: INFJs typically are a part of a small social network. They refuel themselves by being by themselves. Social interaction is necessary for worldly functioning, and so, many have learned to be extroverted to adapt. The acquisition of such authentic social skills is often considered a victory by them.  

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Conclusion

In this blog post, we understood INFJ depression in detail by analyzing the personality type with respect to depression. First, we listed several reasons for their susceptibility to depression. Further, we gained insight into the healing process and understood some suggestions on managing their depression. Finally, we understood how they are commonly perceived and what their reality is.

Individuals with an INFJ personality type often seek out perfectionism in themselves and others. They feel morally obligated in many ways that they often aspire to be people’s redeemers while being unable to cope with issues themselves. 

If you know any INFJs that may be exhibiting depressive symptoms, talk to them, express your concern, and, if possible, make them reach out to a mental health practitioner.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): INFJ Depression

Are INFJs susceptible to anxiety?

Yes, they can experience intense anxiety if they are mandated to have high levels of interaction with people on a given day, which violates their need for personal space. Large crowds, communication, and high noise levels can cause anxiety in INFJs. Too much interaction can make them neglect their needs while dealing with others’ needs.

Their higher susceptibility to anxiety may be a result of heightened empathy, as one study investigating the association between these two variables suggests.  

Is there a personality type most prone to depression?

Yes, there are two personality types most prone to depression. Those people who score high on neuroticism (i.e., extreme sensitivity to emotions) and introversion (i.e., being inhibited) are most likely to get depressed. Moreover, introversion is associated with spontaneous remembrance of negative experiences. 

What are the identified weaknesses of INFJ individuals?

INFJ individuals have several weaknesses, including:

  • Difficulty exiting a toxic relationship;
  • Mismanagement of money;
  • Lacking practical skills for daily necessities;
  • Setting unrealistic expectations for others and themselves; and
  • Having an excessive aversion to conflict and criticism.

Which personality type has the highest likelihood of developing anxiety?

Type A personality type (described as extroverted, rigid, extremely organized, impulsive, ambitious) have a higher likelihood of having their “fight or flight” responses triggered by their surroundings. This susceptibility makes them more prone to developing anxiety, among other physical complications, including hypertension and coronary heart disease.

How to reenergize an INFJ?

The ideal way for an INFJ to reenergize themselves is by expressing their creativity. They can make original work or be inspired by others’ works. It is highly recommended that they sincerely consider writing that new novel, taking a trip to a museum or art gallery, or going to a concert!

Is depression considered a personality state?

No, depression is not a personality state. However, there are common personality traits found among people with depression, such as: 

  • Neuroticism
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion 

Further, personality traits seem to play a role in the onset and course of depressive disorders.

Individuals of which MBTI personality type are most commonly found?

People with an ISFJ (13.8%) personality type are the most commonly found ones. On a close second is ESFJ (12.3%), followed by ISTJ, ISFP, and ESTJ. Moreover, INFJs are the rarest to find.

What are the characteristics of an ESFJ personality type?

ESFJ is a personality type determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a test for the evaluation of personality. ESFJs are known to be outgoing, organized, loyal, and soft-hearted. They refuel themselves through social interactions and are commonly known for their outgoing and sociable nature. 

References

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Ananya Ramesh is a mental health professional with a master's degree in clinical psychology. She has unconditional passion and sincerity toward working with psychologically distressed populations, specifically young adults and middle-aged people. Apart from this, she takes an abundant interest in producing and refining content related to mental health, psychology, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Outside of work, she enjoys reading and sketches portraits.