In this brief guide, we will look at the relationship between ENFJ personality and Depression.
ENFJ Depression: How ENFJ handles Depression
The ENFJ may deal with their depression in their own ways, and some ENFJs may find refuge in traditionally artistic outlets that make them feel worthwhile, while others may go down the route of more destructive things like drugs or risky behaviors of some sort.
The fact is that Depression is much more complex than just analyzing your personality, and usually an analysis of personality, like figuring out if the depression is present in an ENFJ, may only help so much, maybe in the treatment phase or some other way, and unless specific things are known about the personality, understanding the link between that and depression may not do much at all.
ENFJ may struggle with feelings of depression because of many things, like their perfectionistic nature and their inability to be forgiving towards themselves or even just cutting themselves slack, and realizing that everyone makes mistakes.
The ENFJ may have trouble with the fact that they have made a mistake, and when this happens they may feel like they are worthless, which is a core characteristic of depression, and this may lead to a full-blown depressive episode.
In addition to having a problem with their perfectionism, the ENFJ may also struggle to ask for help, but not because of the way in which an INFP or generally an introvert might have problems, they may struggle because of their idealistic tendencies and a desire to be the dependable person, rather than depend on someone themselves.
ENFJs have an innate need to be strong for others, and they may strive to be the person that others can lean on and not want to lean on somebody else, even when they are experiencing depression.
The ENFJ might just go on trying to endure their depression, and instead of trying to find the help they so need, they may try to just find their own ways of overcoming it, or just ignoring that it exists at all.
What is Depression?
Depression may be defined as a state of low mood, physiological changes in the body, and other associated characteristics that significantly affect the mental and physical condition of the individual and may bring about a major change in the way they function in their daily life.
According to the MayoClinic, depression is described as such:
“A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.”
“Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests these factors may cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.
The mainstay of treatment is usually medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. Increasingly, research suggests these treatments may normalize brain changes associated with depression.”
According to the NIMH, the symptoms of depression are usually:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
In addition to the types described by the WHO, NIMH also talks explicitly about Seasonal Affective disorder, Pre-menstrual syndrome, and psychotic cases of depression, but we are not discussing those here as they might not be as relevant to the topic of ENFJ and depression.
ENFJ personality features
The ENFJ personality stands for Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging, and they are also known as the protagonist in the MBTI system of personality.
These individuals are known for their strong and idealistic personas (think Ned Stark from Game of Thrones), and they have the tendency to help out all the time and they are generally very outgoing.
Based on the ENFJ Function Stack, below are some core traits of the ENFJ personality type.
The ENFJ may be quite adventurers and seekers of new experiences, which can be anything from arts and food to travel and learning; and the ENFJ may constantly try to find these things that excite them and quench their thirst for knowledge.
ENFJ may depend rather heavily on instinct or gut feeling especially when faced with challenges, and they may often depend only on their own opinion.
The ENFJ is also not very detail-oriented, and to them, the big picture matters more in the grand scheme of things, so they may not be preoccupied with little problems, but they may suddenly have a full-blown existential crisis one day because they may let the problems build up.
The reason the ENFJ may be prone to depression also lies in their personality in the form that their emotional responses are likely to be intense and heartfelt.
In addition, the ENFJ is also empathetic, they may understand other people well, and sometimes this may weigh on them heavily when other people are not happy and they are not able to help in some way.
ENFJs are also quite creative and may have bursts of sudden inspiration.
The ENFJ may also charge into new things at full speed and not consider practical aspects of a situation, which may sometimes lead to big failures, and they may feel wronged in these cases.
While they may mellow out over years the ENFJ may be somewhat reckless and emotionally charged in the younger years.
Lastly, and probably very importantly, the ENFJ may feel very negative instantly the minute they are around negative people or in negative circumstances, and often getting away from such circumstances can make them feel better.
ENFJ Function Stack and Depression
The ENFJ function stack is the collection of functions which are most relevant in their personality and it goes something like this:
- Extroverted Feeling
- Introverted Intuition
- Extroverted Sensation
- Introverted Thinking
This stack mentions that the dominant function is the extroverted function and the inferior or weakest function is introverted thinking.
The weakest function does not mean that this function is not powerful or doesn’t do anything, it means that this function is likely very much in the background or subconscious, and may not be revealed in the assessment or the person may not be aware of it, but it is very much there.
Introverted thinking means that the ENFJ may be prone to thinking a lot but at the same time, they may focus more on the feeling that is elicited from the thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves, which may lead to them not being able to distinguish between the content and feeling of a negative automatic thought that happens in depression.
This is the chief problem with the ENFJ judgment process and one that pertains most to depression in ENFJ personality, that since Feeling is at the front and doing all the major heavy lifting, the thought process takes a backseat and is not in the spotlight.
The introverted thought process may do a lot of damage in depression, as the negative automatic thoughts that characterize depression for so many patients are the reason for a major part of the low mood, and when they are not recognized easily, they may pose bigger threats than the other symptoms of depression.
The ENFJ personality may suffer from the introverted thinking part in depression because it causes the emotional response, but they can’t recognize it because it is so far below their awareness, and they may have had a thought that “I am worthless”, and all they feel is sadness from it, but they don’t realize that they can consciously stop this thought as well.
Toxic traits of ENFJ
Here are some toxic traits of the ENFJ that may cause depression or worsen a pre-existing depression-like condition in the ENFJ:
- Because they are so in tune with other people’s emotions, the ENFJ may also expect, without any reason, that people will just understand the depression they are going through, and may get upset if they don’t.
- The ENFJ may also keep forgetting the fact that others don’t function the way they do and can’t read minds or know what the depression in the ENFJ is like.
- The ENFJ in depression may also display uncharacteristic and toxic clinginess and they may even try to force people to ask them about the depression but then have trouble actually sharing because of their tendency to be strong for themselves and others.
- ENFJ may also have trouble opening up about the depression at all because they want to be strong and support others around them all the time.
- ENFJ may also try to isolate and withdraw when they are in depression.
- ENFJ may also turn to risky things like drugs or gambling to get over the low mood that happens in depression.
- They may blame others for their pain, or on the contrary, think they are worthless and feel like they don’t deserve any happiness
- The ENFJ may catastrophize everything when they are depressed due to their idealistic tendencies.
The 3 Signs of a Depressed ENFJ
Though all the signs and symptoms of depression in any person apply the same way to the ENFJ, by 3 signs of depression we mean the 3 typical things one might expect to see in any ENFJ individual owing to their particular character traits.
Before we look at the 3 signs, it is important to remember that the ENFJ:
- Has an extremely people-oriented and feeling based decision-making system
- Has a subconscious thought process they don’t really control or are aware of;
- Tend to seek newness and sensation when sad or uncomfortable or even in normal times.
These traits are stated because they are related to the 3 main signs of depression in the ENFJ, which are:
- The ENFJ may find it very hard to be alone when they are depressed, and they may get very clingy and needy, and be afraid to lose their loved ones, while at the same time feeling like they don’t deserve anyone and trying to hold things together so they can be dependable to everyone as they used to be.
- They may be thinking all sorts of negative thoughts and the feelings they cause may be evident, but the person may not be able to stop thinking because they are not totally in control of their thought process, so they just feel negative all the time.
- They may resort to harmful, impulsive, and risky behaviors like gambling, promiscuity, and drug use to feel better about the negativity on the inside.
In this brief guide, we looked at the relationship between ENFJ personality and Depression. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ENFJ and Depression
What makes Enfj sad?
The inability to be there for loved ones may make ENFJ sad, out of anything else, and the shattering of their ideal approach to the world may also make the ENFJ sad.
Very few things make ENFJ sad but when they do feel that way they may find it very hard to open up to others due to their need to be strong.
Which personality type is more prone to depression?
The Personality Types that Are Most Susceptible to Depression are the personality types that are high on neuroticism or in other words, are too emotionally sensitive.
Other personality types that are more prone to depression are also introverts.
Are Enfj emotional?
Yes, ENFJs are emotional because they are very attuned to the emotions of others,.
The ENFJ may not get as emotional for themselves as they might when they see a loved one getting emotional.