In this brief guide, we will discuss Depression in the INTJ personality type and why INTJ is prone to depression, as well as how this personality type can cope with depression effectively.
Depression in INTJ
INTJ personality can be quite prone to depression due to their introverted and emotional tendency, and they may find it hard to deal with depression because unfortunately, they have f unfounded feelings of inadequacy.
INTJ may also be prone to depression if they have their long-term plans stymied by anything that is beyond their control which can spawn a frustration in them, which may then eventually manifest into depression.
What is an INTJ personality?
INTJ is a personality type given by the Myers Briggs personality test that gives a total of 16 personality types.
INTJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging which are the core personality traits for this group, which is also called the “Architect”.
INTJs are thoughtful people with a lot of tact who love to perfect the finer details of life, which may at times turn into nitpicking and not being happy with the bigger picture.
INTJs also love to apply creativity and rationale to everything they do, which makes them great artists and doers, but can also make them prone to depression when they don’t feel inspired and things don’t make practical sense.
The INTJ is introverted and sentimental, so it makes sense that their inner world is private, and complex, which can sometimes cut them off from people and make it harder for the emotional INTJ to deal with depression.
INTJ personality type is quite rare and in the real world, that means that these people have trouble getting others to relate to them or understand them.
INTJs make up just 2 percent of the population, and even in that small fraction, women are even rarer, and only 0.8% of the population is INTJ women.
Famous INTJ personalities
Some famous INTJ personalities are:
· Chester A. Arthur
· Woodrow Wilson
· Isaac Newton
· Stephen Hawking
· Nikola Tesla
· Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll
· Ayn Rand
· Isaac Asimov
· Jane Austen
· Sylvia Plath
This list shows how thoughtful and creative INTJ personalities can be, and it also shows the tendency of INTJ to experience Depression, as it is well known that Sylvia Plath struggled with depression almost her entire life, and eventually died of self-destruction.
What does Depression look like in INTJ?
In the INTJ personality, depression may manifest as them being even more withdrawn than they usually are, and them fussing over the smallest detail of everything that they cannot control.
They may feel like they are not living up to their capabilities, or that they are not worthy of the good things that are happening to them.
An INTJ in depression may often feel extreme sadness for long periods of time due to the inability to plan and cope with the idea of the future.
The start of the depression in INTJ is usually very gradual and may even be mistaken for everyday sadness that all normal people feel.
Depression in INTJ may be a result of a thousand little things and it may develop over the course of years until it finally starts to hinder their quality of life, and at which point it can quickly change into a full-blown existential crisis.
Depression in INTJ, when left unchecked for too long, can even lead to serious symptoms like nihilism, suicidal thoughts, depersonalization, and anxiety.
What features of INTJ make them prone to depression?
INTJ has features inf Introversion and intuitiveness, as well as thinking, which may put them at risk for depression in particular.
People who overthink and feel too much, and are not able to share this with other people effectively, like the INTJ personality, are that much more prone to depression.
Depression tends to involve a great deal of rumination and thinking about negative things, and people with INTJ personality type do that on a regular basis, so the existential crisis in this personality is always nearby.
Other features of INTJ that make them prone to depression are:
· They may be unable to look after themselves and may not be able to be dependent on others, even loved ones.
· They may have trouble maintaining or even forming good relationships.
· Any repetitive failures related to goals and plans break the INTJ personality badly.
· Any major changes or extreme life-shift
· Pervasive feelings of powerlessness and feeling like they are not in control of their lives
· Rejection or criticism also tends to affect the INTJ personality very deeply.
Stress and INTJ
Stress can affect INTJ in worse ways than it does other people, due to their sensitive tendency and sweet, emotional nature.
INTJs can handle stress, but sometimes the criticism gets to them and they are not able to cope with it, and this can mean the start of depression for the INTJ.
When the INTJ gets extremely stressed out and is not able to deal with it anymore, they might react pretty severely.
When the INTJ is too stressed, they might stop seeking to validate their perceptions with their intuitive ability and practical tendency, which leads to malformed perceptions to cement themselves.
Whatever practical information they do have might get colored by self-affirming intuitive hunches, for which they will not try to seek any further proof or evidence and just continue to trust the negative feelings that are leading them towards depression.
This is the sort of behavior you might see form an INTJ that is struggling with indecision and may not be able to discern the difference between what is possible and what is probable.
They might even end up losing their little contact with the real world as they try to figure out what to do about this negative emotional state and end up walling themselves off from the entire world.
Depressed INTJ partner
If you have a depressed INTJ partner, you need to first give them some space, but at the same time, you need to let them know that you are therefore them and their feelings are valid.
The INTJ tends to have an inner battle of sorts between their emotional state and their practicality, and this battle can make it hard for them to focus on anything, and they might feel confused.
Try to get them to open up to you without being too forceful about it, so that they can talk it out with you, and figure out a way to reconcile the two aspects of themselves.
Usually, it is good for an INTJ to be with an extroverted, intuitive personality, and if your personality type is like that, you might have an easier time helping them.
Things can be beautiful and creative in a romantic relationship with an INTJ, but their life can also be chaotic and this can cause Depression in INTJ.
INTJ may also not feel inclined to discuss how they are feeling and sometimes when you ask they might just tell you they are doing fine.
People will tell you to not nag an INTJ, but while you have to be patient, you can keep dropping hints that you are there and try to include them in happy things you do, so they have the option to come out of their shell at any time.
INTJs might also feel guilty about being in depression, and feel like they are ruining the relationship for you, and if they ever express a feeling like this, you can give them a lot of reassurance that this is not the case.
You can remind them why you are with them and all the things about them that are great, and if you tell them often enough they might get it.
If the INTJ wants to leave because they feel guilty about their depression, even that will break them, and they might insist on being friends or staying in touch, make sure you don’t give in simply out of love for them or due to their depression.
Instead, talk to them, and ask them to discuss why they feel they might be better just being friends, and if you can find an alternative because depression is not a valid reason to break up with anyone.
Appeal to their rational, analytical side that is fraught with details, and they might open up to you.
INTJ and coping with depression
Coping with depression in an INTJ needs to be centered around communication, as they cannot share things, or let people into their life if they don’t learn to talk about their feelings with other people.
It may be hard for the INTJ to open up and share their feelings with someone, as they are extremely introverted and thoughtful, but when they are experiencing depression they need to find ways to be vocal.
Other ways for the INTJ to cope with depression are the following.
Opportunities to engage in Problem-Solving
Even in depression, the INTJ might stay in character and engage in a lot of problem-solving, they might do a lot of conceptualizing, read self-help books, try to make plans, etc.
If they are encouraged to do more of these things and given opportunities to solve problems, the INTJ might feel better and they might feel more productive, which is a great way of dealing with depression
INTJ is an extremely creative personality type, and when they are depressed this creativity can save them if they hone it enough.
If you are working with an INTJ suffering from depression, or if you are an INTJ that is suffering from depression, finding creative projects with lots of details can be extremely useful.
For instance, coloring books for adults have a lot of small details in them that focus your attention, and this may be a good call for someone whose attention has suffered due to depression.
INTJ experiencing depression can also benefit from distractions.
INTJ tends to overthink and get caught up in little details, so distracting them from their ruminations can be a great start to helping them focus on bigger things.
Making long term goals
INTJ personality tends to be involved in the more short term than the long term, and while making short term goals is great, making long term goals when experiencing depression can fill the INTJ with hope, that can help bring them out of the dark side.
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INTJ Existential Depression
INTJ existential depression symptoms may often go unnoticed because when these people do ponder the mysteries of the great unknown, they may not be likely to share it with others, and they may go into a spiral regarding the banalities of existence without anyone ever knowing.
Existential depression is a term given to depression and depression like symptoms that come about as a result of the meaninglessness of one’s existence and their purpose in the world, and the roots of this type of depression are considered to be in the existential theories of psychology.
Existential depression is fairly common in the INTJ personality because they tend to be deep thinkers who are always thinking about things from philosophical perspectives and they may be deeply engaged in thinking about things from various angles before coming to any conclusions.
An INTJ going through existential depression may become less listless about the whole ordeal once they receive the help they need and if they are able to think their way out of the conundrums they are facing, otherwise they may find that they get forever lost in their own mind.
The INTJ suffering from existential depression may find it important to commit themselves to contributing something towards the overall knowledge of humanity and to consider the world around them, or maybe even the universe as a whole, and see the huge mysteries or a ridiculously complex puzzles that surround them, that they could possibly contribute towards solving.
Essentially, INTJ existential depression may get resolved only once the INTJ realises that they have much to offer and their mind is something may add to the ever-growing knowledge of humanity.
INTJ Bipolar Depression
INTJ bipolar depression may be similar to the bipolar depression in other perosnalities and they may suffer from phases of very high activity (elation or irritation) alternating with periods of extremely low mood and low energy and motivation, but the content of their thoughts in both phases may be specific to their personality.
The typical INTJ experiencing bipolar depression may find themselves beating themselves up for not being able to do the things they are capable of, especially intellectually, and feeling like they simply do not have the motivation to do those things either.
When the manic phase of INTJ bipolar depression comes around, they may feel themselves being pulled in a thousand different directions and their minds might go at a thousand miles an hour, but they may not be able to actually accomplish anything at all because they are not able to achieve the stillness that is needed for a person to truly think things through.
Look at this description someone gives about INTJ bipolar depression because they have suffered from it themselves:
“I’m an INTJ and I was recently diagnosed with bipolar II. I wouldn’t say that ‘moody’ is quite the right word for what I am… I know what you mean, but it sounds too affected and melodramatic for my subjective experience of myself. I was definitely a moody teenager, but as I’ve gotten older (I’m 22) I found that my moods started getting increasingly more unstable. I always struggled with mild depression, but the depressions started getting longer and deeper (eventually leading to intense suicidal ideation and self-harm), broken up by periods of extreme gregariousness, racing thoughts, overestimating my abilities, etc. Basically, I vacillate between thinking that the world is hopeless and there’s nothing for me in it and thinking that there’s nothing in it that I can’t accomplish. Whereas I was pretty stereotypically INTJ as a kid/teen, I don’t really look like it as much anymore; the person my family and friends knew in high school bears little resemblance to the person I’ve become in the last few years.”
INTJ Depression Stages
INTJ depression stages will usually depend on the individual conditions of the person, but usually INTJ depression may start slowly, with them overthinking certain things or perhaps catastrophizing, and slowly they may form negative schemas about self and the world, and go into a state of full-blown depression.
INTJ depression may look like it has specific stages but the truth is that depression manifests about the same way in almost everyone, because no one wakes up suddenly one day to find themselves depressed.
Additionally, if someone is experiencing depression, whether they are an INTJ or not, the stages might progress from mild to moderate to severe, if left untreated, and others around them may be surprised at how suddenly the person seems to have worsened.
INTJ depression may also be characterized by the fact that any and all stages of depression are missed by their family and friends because they are very introverted and private, and even in the beginning stages of their depressive thinking, they may not share things even though they should, and the situation might keep worsening unchecked.
INTJ Depression Help
INTJ depression needs help just like any other, and here are things you can do to help your INTJ:
- Tell them that you hear them.
- Ask them what they wish for in their life.
- Try to understand their rational thinking process.
- Validate their feelings.
- Ask them to try and explain their thoughts to you.
- Try to care for your own mental health as well.
- Set boundaries with them and maintain them.
- Engage them in stimulating and repetitive tasks they may enjoy
- Try to find intellectually challenging things for them to do.
To provide help to an INTJ experiencing depression you may need to have the utmost patience, because these individuals will likely not be very receptive to help and may find it very hard to come out of their shell or share things.
INTJ depression needs help right away, when the ruminative thinking and catastrophization starts, but even if you are not able to get through to them at that point, you can still help at a later point, and even if they don’t want to talk you can just be around them and that will help too.
INTJ Depression Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy may be most successful in INTJ depression, as it has been seen to be extremely effective in other personality types with depression as well, and even more so because it focuses on changing maladaptive patterns of thinking, which is something that an INTJ in depression will likely suffer from.
INTJ Depression will usually respond to the challenging of automatic thoughts that is a part of cognitive behavior therapy, because these individuals pride themselves on being able to think rationally and well.
The INTJ in depression may also find it useful to delve into their schemas and beliefs when they are receiving therapy, and they may find that even though talking about things does not come easily to them, this is something they can do well, if coaxed and helped a little bit.
On a separate note, an INTJ experiencing depression may be very hard to convince to go for therapy because they are likely to resist any efforts people make to getting them to open up, and they may feel the need to shut down when they are asked to be vulnerable or share their thoughts.
INTJ Depression in Women
INTJ depression in women might be characterized as an inwardly oriented experience which may be full of self-doubts and fears about one’s capabilities, and they may experience the typical INTJ tendency to overthink things and feel like they are not able to do the best they can.
One of the best examples of INTJ depression in women is the case of Sylvia Plath, the famous American poet who is widely accepted as an INTJ woman and who suffered from depression her entire life, and eventually died by self-destruction.
The thought process involved in case of INTJ depression in women is seen clearly in Plath’s writings, such as this excerpt from her most famous work, The Bell Jar:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with unusual names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Sylvia Plath wrote this novel with the heroine named Esther, who may also be considered to be an INTJ woman struggling with depression as it has been assumed by many in the literary community that it is really about Plath’s own depression.
After this INTJ woman suffering from depression makes this analogy and expresses how she feels about her inadequacy and her paralysis at all the decisions in front of her, and the thought of possibly starving to death because she just could not choose, she also talks about how she feels better after she eats, which is something else to think about.
Depression may often be characterized by the massive changes in appetite, and the fact that this INTJ woman starts going down the hill so quickly because she hasn’t eaten in ages may show perfectly well how catastrophization might work look like in an INTJ suffering from depression, in women as well as in men.
In this brief guide, we discussed Depression in the INTJ personality type and why INTJ is prone to depression, as well as how this personality type can cope with depression effectively. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): INTJ and Depression
Which personality type is most likely to have depression?
The personality type most likely to have depression is Introverted and Neurotic personality types.
Among the dysfunctional personality types, the Emotionally Unstable personality or the Borderline personality is most often affected by Depression.
Narcissistic personality has also been shown to experience depression more often than other personality types.
What are INTJs good at?
INTJs are good at things that involve minute details as well as thinking.
INTJs are also emotional and thoughtful so they are also good at empathy and helping people.
INTJs are also good at taking a critical approach, using detached, objective logic and analyzing ideas.
How do INTJ deal with stress?
INTJ deals with stress by focusing on little details of the things that are bothering them, or by overthinking or over-analyzing everything.
INTJ should deal with stress by trying to look at the bigger picture rather than getting too caught up in the details.
INTJ should also try to deal with stress by trying to be more communicative rather than keep to themselves all the time.
Are INTJs anxious?
Yes, INTJs can be anxious, due to their tendency to analyze every little thing until they are exhausted.
INTJ’s can also be anxious as they have fear of failure which can be very painful for INTJs because they might be aware that anxiety is irrational, but they cannot stop feeling it.