In this brief guide, we will discuss the INTJ personality and depression.
Depression in the INTJ personality
Depression in the INTJ personality may be hard to pick up on owing to the highly private nature of the typical INTJ individual, and it may be hard to get through to these people as well because they are unlikely to come out and admit their feelings; in fact, the INTJ may not even want to admit their negative feelings to themselves, let alone others.
It has also been observed that depression can often be a real struggle for INTJs, and this personality type can be quite prone to this condition, and a reason for this might be that they are quite logic-oriented individuals, and the kind of thoughts that occur frequently in depression can leave them feeling exhausted and confused fairly often.
It is a hallmark of depression that it causes negative and irrational thoughts that are just full of negative emotions, and this can make the INTJ personality type feel very frustrated in their logical, rational thinking mind.
The thoughts that occur in depression makes the INTJ feel overwhelmed by their feelings of sadness, especially when they are not able to understand them well enough, and they might go out searching in vain for the things that won’t help, and usually, the things they turn to are not things that are healthy for someone already suffering from a mental health illness.
Impulsive behavior in a situation like that is common, and the INTJ in depression may often resort to drinking or reckless behavior because they falsely believe that these external things will lead to a happier state of mind.
However, even after pursuing these possible solutions, the INTJ will quickly feel guilty for indulging in what they consider pointless things, and this guilt will just amplify the negative thoughts that are already present in their mind.
People with introverted thinking function can often suffer from difficulties in identifying what the problem is and they may also struggle to remove the thought from the emotion more so than others, and this problem is most pronounced in the INTJ individual because introverted thinking is one of their main functions.
Features of INTJ Personality
INTJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging which are the core personality traits that are modeled for the cognitive functions given by Carl Jung, and this particular personality type is also known as the “Architect” in the MBTI system.
To start with, the INTJs are thoughtful people, and they love to work logically and analytically, and they may be seen employing a great deal of tact in nearly everything they do.
The INTJ also likes to focus on the finer details of life, which may at times turn into nitpicking and not being happy with the bigger picture, and this may actually also look a little bit like obsessive-compulsive personality disorder in the more unhealthy type of INTJ personalities.
INTJs are just as creative as they are rational and they may be quite imaginative in everything they do, and they may, as a result of this rare combination, make great artists, writers, and doers, but can also make them prone to depression when they don’t feel inspired and things don’t make practical sense, and they find themselves frustrated with the feeling of not being able to make a decision or accomplish something
The INTJ is, as the name suggests, of course, introverted as well as sentimental, although thy may not be too open about it, and they are intensely private, making it so that very few people are privy to their precious thoughts and feelings, which can go against them a lot when the INTJ is depressed.
INTJ personality type is also quite rare and a typical INTJ may also often feel somewhat alone because it may seem to them like everybody is having trouble relating to them or understanding them.
Women with INTJ characteristics are even rarer, sadly, which may make them highly misunderstood and they may often, as a result, struggle with feelings of depression and loneliness.
Stress and INTJ
Stress has been shown to put people at risk for depression and INTJ has been seen as reacting differently to stress compared to other people, so it makes sense to look at the effects stress may have on the INTJ and how it may affect them and bring about depression in them.
Stress can affect INTJ adversely first and foremost due to their privately sensitive tendency and sweet, emotional nature, that they prefer to not share with anyone so that whatever stressful thing they are going through might just stay in and not get shared as it should.
Criticism is hard for the INTJ personality and it may often get to them, resulting in the INTJ person feeling like they can’t cope and are therefore at fault in some way, leading to lower self-esteem and self-worth.
An extremely stressed out INTJ may find that they are just not able to deal with the stress anymore, they might react pretty severely in the form of depression or an existential crisis.
When the INTJ is too stressed, they may also give in to it, and not even try to validate their perceptions with their intuitive ability and practical tendency, anymore, and just crawl inwards into themselves, isolating themselves more and leading to a higher risk for depression.
An INTJ in stress may often be seen struggling with indecision and they may not be able to discern the difference between what is possible and what is probable, which may lead to a lot of confusion in their order loving, organized mind, and it may throw their entire network of ideas that they value so much in disarray.
A Case Study of Depression in INTJ Personality
It was mentioned earlier that INTJ women are very rare, and a great example of this is the brilliant INTJ poet and author Sylvia Plath, who wrote amazing literature and poetry, but sadly also suffered from depression almost all her life.
A case study of Sylvia Plath is included here due to the fact that she has long been considered a person with INTJ characteristics, and since her struggle with depression has been well-known for the longest time, it gives us a good idea of what INTJ depression may look like.
To anyone who has read her best and most famous work, The Bell Jar, may be familiar with this part, where she explains her inability to choose and how hopeless and helpless it makes her feel:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Sylvia Plath wrote this novel with the heroine named Esther, but it has been assumed many in the literary community that it is really about her and her own struggle.
After she makes this analogy and expresses how she feels about her inadequacy and her paralysis at all the decisions in front of her, and the thought of possibly starving to death because she just could not choose, she also talks about how she feels better after she eats, which is something else to think about.
Many people might not know but Depression is characterized by the massive changes in appetite, and while most people assume that it just looks like the person not eating enough or not wanting to eat, or maybe even pushing the plate away woefully and in a cinematic manner, the truth is that sometimes a person living with depression may just simply forget to eat.
Depression causes a storm of thoughts that haunt you day and night so much so that you may often forget to eat, sleep, drink or do any of the things you are meant to do, which is what might be seen here, in this analogy.
She gets hungry, and that hunger triggers a downright existential crisis because her schemas and thought processes are so complicated that a mere drop in blood sugar level drags her down to a level where she thinks herself to be absolutely useless and untalented.
This bit of writing, both the fig tree metaphor and the realization that she has forgotten to eat and not realized that her negativity is coming from an external source, maybe a great example of what depression in an INTJ may look like.
This highly analytical woman with her introverted thinking has completely disregarded possible external reasons for her sadness and frustration and feelings of inadequacy, and she has spiraled before she can catch herself, which may be exactly how every INTJ in depression may feel at some point or another.
Another excerpt from one of Sylvia Plath’s work reads:
“a woman who has the great and terrible gift of being reborn. The only trouble is, she has to die first. She is the phoenix, the libertarian spirit, what you will. She is also,” Plath adds, “just a good, plain, very resourceful woman.”
She speaks here of someone called Lady Lazarus, but in the way she describes her, it seems that some of her INTJ characteristics find ground, namely, her insistence that she has received the “terrible” gift of being reborn, and she talks about how she has to “die first” before she can be reborn.
In the context of INTJ and depression, this work by Plath may even be interpreted as the typical INTJ tendency to want to shrink away and mull over their thoughts, no matter how bad they may feel, and try to figure out what is wrong with careful analysis rather than anything else.
She also describes the character as a good and plain woman, which implies her own view of herself, good and plain, with nothing extraordinary about her, refusing to acknowledge the fact that she is like a phoenix who is reborn and who comes back to life after death, the juxtaposition of these two concepts speaks of low self-worth and an inability to get out of their introverted cycle of thinking.
In this brief guide, we discussed the INTJ personality and depression. Please reach out to us with questions and comments if you have any.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): INTJ Depression
Can INTJs be emotional?
INTJs can be very emotional and sensitive, just not in front of a lot of people, they keep their precious emotions for the people close to them.
INTJ may not seem like an emotional personality but they can be very emotional despite their logical and analytical nature.
Why Intj are dangerous?
INTJ may be considered dangerous because they are capable of intense thinking without much emotion attached and they can think in pure logical perspectives without any interference from anything else.
A dangerous quality about the INTJ may also be that they are quite private and it is hard to know what they are thinking, while they may know exactly what the others are thinking.
Are INTJs the rarest?
INTJs are some of the rarest personality types, and they make up only about 2 percent of the population, and INTJ women are even rarer, at just 1 percent of the population approximately.