INFJ & Depression

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INFJ is the personality type that I am! It stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. I’ve taken several different personality tests, answering them honestly for the person I AM and not who I WISH I was, and have always fallen into this type.

I am not a part of this FB group, but maybe I should be! They get it.

Only one percent of the population has this personality type which makes INFJ people feel like outsiders much of the time. It’s a complex category, seemingly filled with contradictions. For example, our intuitive side makes people sense that we would understand their problems. They can sense we will listen and bring us their conflicts, but, our introverted and feeling sides make us hate conflict. Thus, we are often filled with the feeling of being misunderstood. Like I said, complicated.

An INFJ’s complex personality often creates complicated emotions and situations.

Being this sensitive and unique, it’s no wonder that it’s easy for an INFJ person to succumb to depression at times. I know that it’s hard for me to find human connections- people that will understand me deeply enough to be welcomed into my “inner world” of thoughts; getting to know the REAL me. You can ask a lot of my family and friends and they will claim to know me completely: but, if you ask a few deeper questions, they only know the surface me, the one I’m willing to share with everyone.

INFJ problems.

This shallow sharing with others is masked as deep conversation. The other person feels like you are sharing a lot, but if they pick apart your words, they come to realize you actually shared very little and redirected the conversation back to them. This can feel isolating to an INFJ. Ideally, an INFJ would have a couple of deep friendships where they feel free to unleash their inner weird, their darkest humour or thoughts, and their imaginative side. As a fierce introvert, it’s hard to find those people, and make those connections slowlllllyyyyy, over time.

hey introvert! gets me

Other reasons an INFJ (or any fiercely introverted personality type) may feel depressed can vary, but here are three reasons I find common among these types:

1.Constant over-sharing:

Not by us, obviously, but by others TO us. Other people love to bring us their problems and feelings, which INFJ types are a sponge for. Constantly craving harmony, we strive to create it in our world, other people’s worlds, or if we overhear a stranger share a problem. We will do this to the point of burnout or physical sickness. Often, it is about conflict in their lives. Since an INFJ cannot stand conflict, it is very stressful for us and can plunge us into depression.

I was once told a cashier’s problems while checking out at the grocery store after asking the innocent, “And how are you?” Her answer bothered me for days and I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to fix it, knowing she probably wouldn’t remember telling me in the first place: probably felt better after dumping her feelings on me.

Most likely, she felt better because she could feel me sucking in all her stress and sadness- I’m an emotional sponge. Her feelings came to me like a physical toxic smoke that, once taken on, sat in my stomach like a rock.

This physicality of feeling others’ feelings can be emotionally and physically exhausting, often leading to mental illness such as depression or physical symptoms such as feeling nauseated or chronic fatigue.

2. We set our standards too high.

When my daughter obsesses over every detail of her work, worrying that it’s good enough, I know that comes from my personality. She and I are so alike in that way, and have both been that way since birth- it’s in our nature to constantly strive to be better.

Executed properly, it can be a very useful tool. Sitting and overthinking, however, can lead to depression, perfectionism and OCD-mimicking tendencies. Which leads to burnout, depression or worse.

Our standards are set too high for ourselves, and, although we know perfect doesn’t exist, we can’t help reaching for it.

3. We overthink.

I can obsess over my part of a conversation for DAYS, for example. If I am out with friends and I don’t feel I answered them properly, I have that same conversation over and over in my head. I replay it, answering differently every time until I mentally have it right, wishing I could turn back time and have the physical interaction again!

I will worry about not being witty enough, funny enough, understanding enough in the moment. I’ll lose sleep over it. Sometimes, days later, I will see the person again and apologise that I didn’t say X,Y, Z and the person doesn’t even REMEMBER the conversation.

A funny version of this was done on Seinfeld when George regretted not saying his funny answer to a joke or quip ( I can’t remember). He ended up seeing the person again and tried so hard to direct the conversation so that he could say his amended answer, coming off as funny and witty, with hilarious consequences. Ah, George, we relate.

In real life, however, this tendency to overthink every interaction leaves an INFJ mentally exhausted. I know that it makes my head hurt!

As I said, these three reasons can vary or be interpreted differently amongst introverts, but I feel as if most can relate. All of these three things don’t always lead to depression, but often enough they do. A common reason for that is being so introverted and different (only one percent are INFJ, after all!), that it is hard for us to reach out and share these concerns.

But reach out if you’re an INFJ, I’d love to hear from you.




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