ISTP Depression (A comprehensive guide)

In this blog-post, we will talk about ISTP personality and depression. By the end of this guide, we will have an in-depth understanding of the ISTP personality, and depression symptoms in them, how to overcome depression if you belong to this personality type. 

What is ISTP Depression?

An ISTP with depression would be often found sitting by themselves in their comfortable spot just mulling over their thoughts to figure out what is happening to them and what can be done to make their life better. That is because ISTPs enjoy their company way too much. But such exclusion also means their depression may go unnoticed by others around them because they are a tough nut to crack.  

An ISTP with depression would like some good support but keep a one-hand distance. You know there are people who would have extreme ways of showcasing their love and affection; they are either smothering the people they love or being completely ignorant of their loved one’s suffering. As a friend of an ISTP, you would be appreciated for a balanced display of affection. 

As a way of coping with their depression, ISTPs may ignore their feelings and emotions by using distractions which, in the long run, can worsen their depression. 

A major clue to identify depression in an ISTP person is that they would start becoming bitter or sad and may behave differently without any typical reason for their sudden change in behavior. 

When approached with an offer of help, they may attempt to push you away or choose not to engage in personally intense conversations. They find it difficult to display their emotions until it becomes overwhelming for them. Please know that this is the time they actually require help and support even if they refrain from it. Observe them closely and offer any kind of help at any instance. We never know when they may accept it.  

What is ISTP personality?

ISTP is one of the sixteen personality types that is assigned to a person after having taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test. The personality type is assigned after the test taker answers questions to this self-report questionnaire. 

ISTP expands to the full form Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving which are the dominant traits of the person. Based on these dominant traits it becomes evident that people with ISTP personalities love to spend time in their inner world, love action, freedom to live life at their own terms and pace, they like to intellectualize situations and conversations they have, they love hands-on experiences and their independence. 

They are so result-oriented that they would always be in a hurry to figure things out. The confusion created in their heads makes it difficult to reach the underlying cause for their current emotions. This delays problem-solving and can aggravate their condition. 

They seek new experiences that are thrilling and probably even risky. This might end up in them choosing to do activities like racing, mountain biking, diving, etc. They may even choose to build a career in jobs that are considered risky, for example, firefighting.   

They are generally perceived to be quiet people but they are quite easy to gel with once you get to know them. They are the thinking and perceiving kind which actually makes them good at maintaining an objective head and coping with crises. 

They can have quite an out-right nature and way of speaking that can be misunderstood by some people as them being rude. They are also not well versed with how to receive the emotional states of others which can lead to insensitive behaviors or usage of words.  

They prefer to make judgments based upon objective criteria rather than personal beliefs or values.

Symptoms of depression in ISTP personality

The symptoms of depression differ from person to person depending on their individual experiences, personalities, and coping techniques employed in times of crisis. 

Many of the characteristics typical of a person with an ISTP personality have been discussed in detail in the previous sections of this blog. Over and above those symptoms, it can be beneficial to know the general or most commonly occurring symptoms in a person with depression. 

The ICD 10, which is published by WHO, explains depression in the following manner, “In typical depressive episodes of all three varieties described below (mild) moderate, and severe, the individual usually suffers from depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy leading to increased fatiguability and diminished activity. Marked tiredness after the only slight effort is common. Other common symptoms are:

  • “reduced concentration and attention;
  • reduced self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • ideas of guilt and unworthiness (even in a mild type of episode);
  • bleak and pessimistic views of the future;
  • ideas or acts of self-harm or suicide;
  • disturbed sleep;
  • diminished appetite.”

Apart from these symptoms, this leading classification of mental health syndromes and disorders also specifies the typical somatic or physical symptoms of depression, which is a case where the other symptoms are not that prominent, like in masked depression or agitated depression, may be very important, as they may be the only symptoms that something is wrong at all.

The somatic symptoms of depression are described as the following in the ICD 10:

“loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable; lack of emotional reactivity to normally pleasurable surroundings and events; waking in the morning 2 hours or more before the usual time; depression worse in the morning; objective evidence of definite psycho-motor retardation or agitation (remarked on or reported by other people); marked loss of appetite; weight loss (often defined as 5% or more of body weight in the past month); marked loss of libido. Usually, this somatic syndrome is not regarded as present unless about four of these symptoms are definitely present.”

What can be done if you are an ISTP and struggling with depression 

Know that it is okay to not be able to figure everything out on your own. 

It might be difficult to do so especially for a person with an ISTP personality who often gets scared of feeling vulnerable and prefers to solve their inner mysteries on their own. People with this personality may think it is a good idea to isolate themselves from the outside world when they are feeling low or are confused with their chaotic thoughts and emotions. Know that it is okay and absolutely normal to not have all the answers about your life and your own self right away. Trust the process and keep exploring what life has to offer you. It is good to think but not be obsessed with your thoughts. Try not to pressurize yourself with the need of immediate answers.

In a socially amiable person, depression might not be evidently seen. Therefore, the onus of sharing and expression comes solely onto the person because people can’t pick clues from their behavior and help them out. This is an important part of recovery. Sharing and expression unload a lot of burdens. 

Listen to your inner voice yet don’t be obsessed with productivity

ISTPs are misunderstood as being lazy many times. But the truth is that they have their own way of working through things that might be different from others. They also prefer to do things at their own pace which should be accepted by others because honoring each person’s needs and space leads to the best results in life for the individuals as well people close to them.  

Having said that, learn to take joy in leisure time. Spend time doing things your mind and body would like to do for relaxation. Being in a state of constant productivity could lead to exhaustion. The need to be productive all the time also puts a lot of performance pressure on the person with an ISTP personality. Devoting time for self-care should be part of the daily routine and should be done guilt-free.

Reading books especially self-help books might be helpful if your depression is mild-moderate. It might not be ideal for people with intense depressive symptoms.

Leisure time activities and self-care activities could be the same or different. For example, one might like to write during their leisure time which can also be a self-care activity because of its reflective and healing benefits. On the other hand, someone’s leisure time activity will be playing a sport which can be healing for some people but a little time of inner quietude apart from playing a sport will be beneficial.   

Own your emotions

Thinking is an overpowering aspect of the ISTP which can result in the person being logical all the time while undermining their emotions. Instead of neglecting their own feelings, the ISTP needs to learn to accept them and take notice of what they are really going through. 

While working on acceptance of emotions is important, applying logic can be used in their favor. The way in which the ISTP can benefit from their factual and logical minds is by doing research into a better understanding of depression and why they are experiencing it. Taking the time to learn more about it, can help the ISTP accept it much more openly. Instead of trying to bury these feelings, they can work towards understanding them and accepting that pushing them aside is not going to actually help solve the problem.    

Consult a psychiatrist 

A psychiatrist can prescribe medication, for example, antidepressants based on the severity of the condition of the person. Antidepressants are an important part of recovery and going to a professional should not be delayed. 

Seek mental health therapy 

Consulting a counselor/ psychotherapist is essential in mental health issues. This, most often, goes hand in hand with medication based on the severity of depression. 

A counselor can bring in newer ways of perception, help the person to emote better while engaging in healthy boundary-making. The counselor can also help the person eradicate irrational thoughts and beliefs that inhibit the person’s well-being. The counselor and the client, together, also work on and construct healthier coping mechanisms against stressors for the client. 

Improve lifestyle choices and work towards good health

Health is a concept with many interlinkages and it is also all-encompassing. One can’t expect to have good mental health if their physical health is deteriorating and vice-versa. Exercising, healthy eating habits, good sound sleep, and practicing mindfulness, along with any medication/therapy if need be, can help attain victory over any condition, including depression. 

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this blog-post, we talked about ISTP personality and depression. Taking it from the top of this guide, we began by understanding what does depression look like for an ISTP, we had an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of a person with ISTP personality, and commonly occurring depression symptoms in people. We also now know how to overcome depression if you or a loved one belongs to this personality type. 

Frequently Asked Questions: ISTP Depression 

Why are ISTPs so mean?

ISTPs come across as mean because of their dominant Sensing and Thinking traits. They prefer to use logic and over emotions and feelings. This can make their ability to receive others’ emotional states less than optimum. Though this cannot be generalized for all ISTPs. Every individual is unique and is capable of better reception and reciprocation once you get to know them better. 

Are ISTPs rare?

There are more ISTP males in the world than females. Around 5% of the general population belongs to this personality type and 9% of males and 2% of females are ISTPs.  


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