In this blog we will discuss why INFP college depression occurs and how an INFP can cope with depression.
Infp college depression: Why it happens
Here are some possible reasons as to why INFPs tend to be prone to depression in college:
- Repetitive tasks
- Trouble setting boundaries
- Lack of appreciation
- Tight schedules
- Unable to handle Criticism
INFP is one of the most common sixteen personality types identified by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, as part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) assessment.
INFP stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Perceiving, which are four core personality traits of people who have this type of personality.
People with this type of personality are idealitist and often very imaginative while also being guided by their own core values and beliefs. For them the real world is only a passing concern while their imagination offers them endless possibilities.
They are optimistic about their own future and that of the world and tend to be occupied with striving for that better and meaningful future.
According to the letters of their personality type, INFPs are energised by spending time alone and their intuitiveness makes them prefer focusing on ideas and concepts rather than facts.
They also make decisions based on their values and their feelings/beliefs and often prefer living a spontaneous, flexible lifestyle rather than being structured and planned.
The INFP personality type is also called the “Healer” because of their compassion for other people that is driven by sympathetic idealism of others and the world.
INFPs are often artistic and creative and often find themselves using these talents and abilities as a form of self expression.
They are also sensitive, caring, and strive for personal growth while remaining driven to find their own path in life; they are also known for encouraging the same in others while remaining non judgemental.
Interestingly, in spite of their concern for others, INFPs are highly individualistic and often stick by their own beliefs and wish to lead their own lives separated from the ideals and values of other people.
INFPs are often observed to have a high risk of depression usually when they are in transition periods of their lives. Some of the possible reasons why include:
For them innovation and imagination is highly important because of their idealistic nature so working in stifling environments that are traditional and stuffy can become a huge challenge for them especially if they are micromanaged by a strict administration in the institution.
For an INFP if their college environment is not engaging and they find that their routine is repetitive with no avenue for new experiences and new learning, it is possible that they might soon become unhappy and dissatisfied with their college life.
Difficulty Setting boundaries
INFPs might also struggle setting boundaries with their classmates because of their extremely feeling nature and inability to say no to other people.
They might also become emotionally invested in others and because of their idealistic nature; they might become disappointed and disillusioned when things don’t work out the way they had hoped.
Due to this their ability to manage social relationships can become a challenge for them during their college years; and these unhealthy relationships can cause stress which can lead to depression.
Lack of appreciation
For an INFP being appreciated for their work is an important highlight of what they do however this might not be the case in the case of college environments.
If their teachers, professors, and peers does not recognise them for their work- which is often unlikely in college as compared to highschool where they might gain more attention from their teachers, they might burn out easier and struggle to find motivation.
College students tend to run on a tight schedule with a heavy workload, INFPs might struggle to keep up with the work, the socialising, and the burn out because isolation and solitude tend to be important for INFPs.
If the INFP does not get enough time to recharge alone or get a good amount of breaks they might struggle to keep up the motivation and enthusiasm at school with their students and their tasks.
Unable to handle Criticism
For an INFP, criticism is often taken personally no matter how constructive it is. If the INFP is unable to learn how to not internalise these criticism and rather take feedback to improve themselves, it is possible that their sense of self might go into a negative spiral which could potentially cause stress and psychological issues.
If the INFP gets or receives feedback and criticism from the administration and their peers that is not positive, they will struggle to make good use of these criticisms and feedback because they will often take it as personal wounds because they struggle with objectivity.
Depression in college school: How to cope.
Here are some of the things that you can do to take care of your mental health in college due to depression:
Seek out professional help
If you have been depressed for more than two weeks and it is impacting your other relationships and your professional life, we advise you to seek out professional help immediately.
You can consider seeking out support from on campus mental health professions as well as get referrals for a professional who is off campus.
Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person.
Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.
Inform your professors or mentor
It is important that you let your professors or mentors know that you are struggling with your course work due to depression so that you and your professors could make accommodations related to deadlines.
It is also important that you are able to set expectations as to what you will be able to keep up with and what you will not be able to do due to your condition so that you and your professors can consider alternate ways to maintain your grades if there is wiggle room.
Inform your roomates
It is also important to inform your roommate about your condition as well as share your emergency contact with them or vice versa.
Being able to be transparent with people that you see regularly can ease the struggle of having to maintain your relationships with them when you have depression.
Set boundaries and expectations with them such as chores, what can be done in the time of emergencies etc. so that there is a sense of support within your own living space.
Connect with loved ones
Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. This means that you have to make an effort to connect with your trusted friends and family even when you do not want to.
Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get you distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them.
Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships.
Focus On Recovery
In order for you to have the best experience possible, it is important to take the time you need to focus on yourself and your mental health.
So if you get yourself in therapy, make sure that you take the suggestions of your therapist to try out the strategies they mentioned or do the homework they have given.
If you are on medication, make sure that you are honest with yourself as you take the doses instead of missing them or avoiding them.
Be diligent with your sessions as well and be mindful of any resistance you might be feeling and take courage to discuss it with your therapist.
Let this time be focused on your health and mental health, throw yourself into the recovery process instead of getting sidetracked with school stress.
Join a support group
One thing is for certain, you are not alone in your struggle with depression as a graduate school student.
So, another thing you can do for yourself is to join a support group of grad students struggling with depression so that you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other.
It is possible that people with depression can also struggle with a sense of worthlessness, a feeling that you have nothing of value to offer.
By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey.
Consider withdrawing from college
If the severity of your symptoms related to depression makes you unable to deal with the demands of your academics or that college itself is aggravating your symptoms, you should consider taking a leave.
It is advisable for you to seek out a professional to assess your psychological situation and collaborate with the student counsellor or dean of students for a possible leave of absence for you to cope and recover.
In this blog we have discussed why INFP college depression occurs and how an INFP can cope with depression.
FAQ related to INFP college depression
Are INFPs good at school?
Being an INFP, school has always been a challenge because of their introvertedness and their way of making sense of the world. They might have a harder time being understood by others and often experience social isolation which can be a challenge for most students.
Which careers should INFPs avoid?
Some of the careers to avoid if you are an INFP:
- Law Enforcement.
- Sales and Finance.
- Legal Careers.
- Military Careers.
How do I study as an INFP?
The best INFP can study is by taking time to be alone when they study and by allowing themselves to immerse themselves in their subject matter without distractions.
Do tech careers suit INFPs?
Careers related to technology and IT do suit INFPs since they do enjoy what technology offers them, which is the ease of living and the knowledge technology makes so readily available.
For INFPs technology related careers that allow them to work alone or without much interactions with other people can be well suited as well as work environments that do not micromanage them.
40 Struggles All INFP Personalities Experience. Owlcation. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/30-Struggles-All-INFP-
The INFP Personality Type. Truity. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://www.truity.com/personality-type/INFP
Scott Stafford. INFP Depression & Struggles: How the INFP Handles Depressed Feelings. Personality Growth. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://personalitygrowth.com/infp-depression-struggles-how-the-infp-handles-depressed-feelings/