ESFJ Depression (A comprehensive guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at the relationship between ESFJ personality type and depression, and other related concepts.

Depression in ESFJ personality

ESFJ may get depressed because they are very people-oriented and when they feel like they are lonely they may not be able to cope with the feeling of being that way, and the being depressed may also further their loneliness because they are so accustomed to being around people.

The ESFJ who abhors being lonely may get depressed because of it and being depressed may further reduce their social interaction, as it is a key symptom of depression, which may create a vicious loop where the two cycles of being lonely and depressed basically feed into each other.

There is no person in whom depression and anxiety can be turned off like a switch but if one has a good understanding of what triggers or maintains a depression in an individual, specifically a person’s likes and dislikes and their personality-related tendencies, they may be helped in specific ways so that they may get better.

Sometimes an ESFJ suffering from depression may also have a difficulty in forming new friendships when their social or mental environment changes. 

They may often find themselves turning to online communities so they may somehow fulfill their enormous social needs but the chances are that they will not find it very satisfying as they are more used to real-life interaction, and the non-verbal communication, gestures, and extra things are what they thrive on and pick up on in a face to face conversation. 

The ESFJ, whether they are depressed or not, tend to need friendships and relationships to motivate them through difficult or boring work, and they may even sometimes use these as a means of escape from commitments, and a loss or reduction in these may be a trigger for depression as work continues to pile up.

The ESFJ’s unmet social needs along with the work that is piling up can lead to some truly negative feelings that they don’t know how to deal with.

Eventually, their academic or work life starts suffering, which may lead to somatic symptoms like random aches and pains and sleep issues, and they may start avoiding the situation where they are not doing so well, staying in bed or not doing much at all, their work may be getting neglected which causes them shame as well, which they can’t tolerate because of their sociable nature.

Features of the ESFJ Personality and Depression

There are some features of the ESFJ personality that lend themselves to depression rather easily, which does not mean that this personality is more likely or less likely than others to suffer from mental health problems, simply that these particular issues are likely to affect the intensity and quality of the depression that ESFJ personality may experience.

Some of these features may also serve as triggers or maintaining factors because depression has very strict cognitive roots, and personality traits based on cognitive functions may therefore have a large effect on this mental health problem.

ESFJ stands for Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging, and this personality type is also known as the Consul in the MBTI system of personality types, which is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality which he describes in the book Psychological Types.

ESFJ personality type is the most amiable and social of all types, and as discussed previously, their main source of energy and joy are interactions with people, and they tend to idealize whatever or whoever they “admire” or love, often putting their loved ones on a pedestal and they may then eventually get disappointed and dejected when they realize that things are not that ideal after all.

The ESFJ also greatly enjoys and joyfully observes traditions and are liberal in giving, but while that usually keeps them ecstatic and energized, sometimes it may take a toll on them, especially when they forget to take care of themselves while they are running around taking care of everyone else.

At any social gathering, one might find the ESFJ joyfully flitting from one place to another, attending the needs of others, and trying to ensure that all are comfortable and engaged, which may start to feel like a tough thing to do when the person is battling depression on the inside, as it can severely affect the tendency to be social.

When the ESFJ starts feeling the tiredness of being social set in, their social ties, that matter so much to the ESFJs, may start breaking, and it can serve as a maintaining factor in ESFJ’s depression.

Often the ESFJ may also get very nostalgic while recounting past memories, due to the fact that traditions are so carefully observed by the ESFJ, and due to this they may be prone to get lost in the “good old days”, and start to get filled with regret for the present or mull too much over what has been lost, which may also contribute to depression.

ESFJs are also especially prone to feeling hurt by the indifference of those they admire or love, and they have a deep need to be appreciated both for themselves and particularly for the services they offer so generously to everyone around them.

When their efforts are not noticed it may be a huge blow to their sense of self-worth, and they may wonder if they are doing enough to help others, and this may sow seeds of worthlessness that may blossom into Depression in the ESFJ.

Additionally, the ESFJ is also quite conscious of social and personal appearances and take the opinions of others regarding social standards very seriously, which may make them quite sensitive to criticism of any sort, and this may hurt them gravely and drag them into a depression. 

ESFJs are also very easily wounded and when they are hurt, they do no know how to contain their emotions at all, as they are the typical “wear their hearts on their sleeves,”, which means that in addition to exuding warmth, they may also frequently boil over with neediness and sadness, which may not be well-received by the people who don’t understand the depth of this emotion.

On the surface, the ESFJ that is expressing themselves with grandeur may seem like an attention-seeker almost, but the truth is they are quick to hurt and they tend to feel things very deeply, and if they say they are so sad and start crying, you can believe them, that is an ESFJ in depression. 

The ESFJ, depressed or not, has to feel needed, loved, and appreciated and may spend much energy trying to get you or their loved ones to reassure them.

An ESFJ that does not feel any of those above things is likely to become melancholy and depressed and even suicidal, especially if they start to blame themselves for whatever might be wrong in their institution or their personal relationships.

The ESFJ also tends to feel guilty often, so this is another factor that may trigger and maintain depression in these individuals.

Brief Summary of Depression

Depression is defined by the ICD 10 as “A mental condition marked by ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, loss of energy, and difficulty dealing with normal daily life. Other symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, loss of pleasure in activities, changes in eating or sleeping habits, and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression can affect anyone and can be successfully treated. Depression affects 15-25% of cancer patients”.

According to the WHO, about 234 million people in the world currently suffer from depression, which is a large number that explains why depression is known as the common cold of mental illness.

According to WebMD, the symptoms of depression are as follows:

  • “Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Not enjoying things you used to enjoy
  • Trouble with concentration, memory, or making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Appetite changes
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Thoughts of suicide or death”

Depression can be of many types as well, but that has not been discussed here for now, but one may explore the types here.

The treatment of depression typically involves the use of antidepressants like Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), Atypical antidepressants and Tricyclic antidepressants, or psychotherapy like:

  • Interpersonal psychotherapy
  • Client-Centered therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural therapy
  • Rational Emotive Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness-based Cognitive psychotherapy

Signs of Depression in ESFJ personality

Here are some of the chief signs of depression in the ESFJ personality:

  • An ESFJ in depression may become hypersensitive to the opinions of others, and they may show neediness and clinginess, constantly desiring social validation and acceptance which they might feel is somehow lacking in their lives
  • The ESFJ may also have problems communicating their feelings with those around them, and even when they do it may not be in a healthy way.
  • The ESFJ, when they are depressed, may inappropriately overshare or continue to mull over their negative feelings in their head, and they may not even be aware of their actual desire to share these and feel understood by others.
  • The depressed ESFJ may be more nostalgic than other ESFJs and continue to wallow in unhealthy memories and they may think, in a typical depressive cognitive distortion fashion, that negative past circumstances indicate a future of negativity as well, and feel hopelessness about the future.
  • The Depressed ESFJ may be withdrawn, principled, and precise, and due to their introverted sensing function, they may also start reacting to their depression by filling their life with constant checking of details and unhealthy obsessive practices, which are aimed at providing some relief.
  • A depressed ESFJ may also be exceedingly cautious of the outer world, wary of any changes.
  • The depressive symptom of hopelessness may be very prevalent in the ESFJ, as they may often see just negative possibilities of their life, and engage in a lot of catastrophizing as a cognitive distortion
  • The typically social and energetic, happy ESFJ may become serious, critical, and cold when they are depressed, which is something seen in a lot of extroverted personalities. 
  • Even though they love being around people generally, the ESFJ in depression become isolated, which may just increase the intensity of depression.
  • The Depressed ESFJ can also start ignoring their emotions completely and start being overly logical and applying faulty internal logic to everything.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the relationship between ESFJ personality type and depression, and other related concepts. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ESFJ Depression

Are ESFJ emotional?

Yes, ESFJ can be emotional as their dominant function is extraverted feeling Fe, which does focus strongly on emotions.

The ESFJ personality is considered to be emotional because they may be sensitive to the emotions and feelings of people, and the feelings and emotions of others tend to also affect them strongly.

What makes ESFJ sad?

Feeling completely powerless to help loved ones or being rejected by them can make ESFJ feel sad.

ESFJ can also feel very sad when they are unable to be the best person possible for their loved ones.

Feeling like they have let people down can also make the ESFJ feel very sad. 

What is the saddest personality type?

The saddest personality type is considered to be INFPs, not because they are sad all the time or feel too emotional, but because they are able to find value in sadness, and may even be drawn to it on some level. 

It may also be said that they are the saddest because the INFP is an introvert, which is considered to be a trait that is susceptible to sadness more often.

Citations

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/antidepressants/art-20046273

https://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/F01-F99/F30-F39/F32-/F32.9

https://www.16personalities.com/esfj-personality

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

Leave a Comment