In his brief guide, we will discuss the personality type INFJ and Depression.
INFJ and Depression
INFJ is one of the most depression-prone personalities in the MBTI system of personality, and due to their introverted feeling function, they may feel things far too deeply and they may be very sensitive to many things going on around them, all of which they internalize.
There is some evidence to suggest that many INFJs suffer from depression or depression-like symptoms in their lifetime, specifically around the time they reach adulthood, presumably because their cognitive functions are quite mature by then and depression becomes a likelihood as their dominant function and introverted feelings take form.
The extroverted feeling function may make this individual extremely conscious about the problems of others, and they may struggle with putting the miseries of others out of their minds, and they may constantly worry about the loss of a person in another country or a riot somewhere else, and they may feel these things intensely like they were their own problems rather than them just being empathetic.
It has also been found that many INFJs may be depressed or even suffering from other problems like anxiety and so one because they are more likely to be Highly Sensitive Persons as well, which is a recent concept that has come up and refers to people who have more acute senses and tend to have more intense emotional responses in general.
Highly sensitive personality is actually common across the two feeling-oriented introverted types in MBTI, the INFJs and INFPs, but they may also be found in others, and this trait may make them very prone to depression as well.
Features of INFJ personality
According to the MBTI, which is based on the Jungian theory of personality and cognitive functions, the INFJ personality is also known as the Advocate, as they often display the tendency to be altruistic and wise, and may often help others out due to these traits.
Goethe said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”, which is a sentiment that may be echoed by the INFJs pretty often, due to their extraverted feeling function that makes them acutely aware of the emotions and thoughts of those around them, but may leave them feeling highly sensitive and emotional without any defense against it.
INFJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging, and according to these traits the primary two functions in this person are introverted intuition, which explains their instinctive reactions and gut feeling based ideas, and the extraverted feeling, which explains their connection to the emotions and feelings of others.
The INFJ may be seen to have a quiet manner and they may come across as very thoughtful and humanistic.
They also have principles and values they like to adhere to and they are the ones in the room always looking to help out and guide people.
An individual like this personality type will have the great capacity to think and feel with depth, and while that may provide them with a great number of opportunities, they may also pose challenges.
The INFJ will also be very Idealistic and have great integrity, and they may often resemble the enneagram personality type 1w9, and their idealism will not be the kind of staunch, moralistic kind of ideal that Enneagram 1 would be.
Reasons Why INFJ gets Depressed
The INFJ may get depressed, first and foremost, due to their heightened sensitivity to pretty much anything that happens in their external environment, because they are just so in touch with everything around them, and they just can’t turn it off.
There may also be other reasons why the INFJ gets depressed, so we will explore them below.
Emotionally Exhausting Extroverted Feelings
Due to the extroverted feeling function briefly mentioned above, the INFJ is constantly busy soaking up other people’s feelings without realizing it, and this can take a toll.
They may sometimes feel like they are floating or drowning a tsunami of emotions that don’t even belong to them, which can be exhausting because there isn’t any way to turn off, as it’s a part of their personality.
Imagine a therapist that empathizes with literally every single thing their patients say to them, all day, every day, they will eventually have to quit their job and leave to never return to the society, because it can get absolutely mind-numbing taking on so many people’s problems, but this is what the INFJ tends to do, without even trying.
People with extroverted feeling functions are almost like sponges for emotions and vibes, they may pick up on the negative from a bad situation as soon as they walk in and not be able to let go no matter what they do, which may also make them very sensitive and eventually, depressed.
Someone said this, about the INFJ tendency to retain so many emotional responses, “It’s like you’re a bank — most people are withdrawing and withdrawing without depositing anything back.”
Even though their introverted thinking function is third in the INFJ function stack, they can still have tendencies of perfectionism and they may often struggle with it.
Sometimes, it’s advantageous, obviously, like if they are working on a work project or academic paper their neatness and perfectionistic tendencies come in handy, and their meticulous eye can turn small successes into even greater triumphs.
Of course, it also backfires on them constantly, as any high achiever will tell you, perfectionism can be quite the inner villain.
The INFJ experiencing depression may find that they always have far too high standards for themselves and it can obviously only led to disappointment if and when they don’t meet those standards.
They may often try to take on too much at the same time, and then get flustered when they can’t manage it and think that it is because they are not good enough, when in reality, no one could do the kind of stuff they want to do.
In addition, they may also take on other people as projects, which can be even worse.
Lastly, their intuition function may make it so that they may be too hard towards themselves because they may not be able to see the rational side of things and make pointless connections in their head based on the limited and selective information they may have picked up about what a functional adult is supposed to do.
INFJs tirelessly avoid conflict, sometimes to the point of mental exhaustion, which may trigger depressive feelings in the INFJ.
They may want to avoid conflict because they are aware that they will feel their own emotions and the other person’s as well, or just because they crave stability and peace, but either way, this avoidance can make them feel very tired.
Again, this makes these individuals sound like the enneagram 1w9 type personality, which may also show traits of conflict avoidance due to their type 9 characteristics.
Craving Meaning and Purpose.
The typical INFJ is hopelessly idealistic and always seems to crave meaning and purpose in life, which, as it does for the INTJ personality, may lead them to something that resembles an existential crisis, which may then turn to depression rather quickly.
When they fail in their mission and turns out they are not able to fulfill this meaning and purpose they are searching for, the INFJ gets depressed and may float around rather lost and unsure of their purpose in life.
As with the INTJ personality, overthinking is a massive problem with the INFJ personality and maybe a big factor in why these people feel depressed.
INFJs may often show the tendency to ruminate and reflect, and this may almost never turn out well when they have negative emotions in the background to make the content of this overthinking dark and saddening in any way.
The ruminative nature of INFJs may reach near-obsessive levels sometimes, which is a hallmark of depression, and ICD 10 in fact clarifies that obsessive-compulsive disorder needs to always be differentiated from depression, due to how much overthinking features in both.
This overanalysis of their external environment may make the INFJ feel tired and exhausted even when they don’t do anything, and they may eventually start feeling the strain in the form of depression.
How to help a depressed INFJ?
Here are some things you can do to help a depressed INFJ:
- Distract them if it seems like they are ruminating, their tendency to overanalyze things and overthink can lead them down some truly dark roads.
- They are very reflective of other people’s emotions, so try to be happy around them and get them involved in things that are fun.
- Hang out with them and try not to force them to come out of their shell or do anything.
- If it seems like they are overworked, help them out, and try to get them to reduce their workload.
- Try to convince them to seek therapy, even if it is online.
- The INFJs may not necessarily like to talk about their feelings and emotions but try to coax it out of them in a way that does not feel too forceful or aggressive.
- Help them out with daily chores they may be neglecting due to their spiral.
- If you are an INFJ who is depressed, you may try to focus on your own self-care, as it may have a huge impact on your mood.
- If you feel that you are ruminating, try to find active ways of shutting that cycle down.
- Try to keep a thought diary, which may allow you to keep track of the thoughts that cause negative emotions that you are not able to recognize when they happen on their own, and once you identify them you can try to actively stop them.
- Try to take time for yourself, get out of situations that are emotionally charged and you feel will bring you down as well.
- Try to get out of social circles that are negative.
- Don’t try to be an extrovert or hang out with too many people just because you are a good listener and people want to tell you about their issues, it is justified for you to take time off and be by yourself to focus on your mental health.
In his brief guide, we discussed the personality type INFJ and Depression. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): INFJ Depression)
Are INFJs prone to anxiety?
Yes, INFJs can be prone to anxiety a lot of times because they can be sensitive individuals, and sensory overloading things like crowds, noise, frequent interruptions can make them feel rather anxious.
How do I make my Infj happy?
You can make your INFJ happy by doing some of the following things:
Find them a creative and colorful outlet
Give them space
Let them choose their meaningful relationships.
Let them help others
Appreciate their passions.
Allow them to reflect and encourage them to engage in self-care.
What are Infj weaknesses?
Here are some INFJ weaknesses:
They may often overlook details for the big picture
They can be too private
They avoid conflict like the plague
They are too sensitive.