ISFP Depression (What you need to know)

In this brief guide, we will look at the personality type of ISFP and depression.

Depression in ISFP personality

The feeling function in an ISFP personality is focused inward, and therefore they have very strong ideas and beliefs, as well as very strong values, which may make them somewhat rigid in their coping with depression.

ISFPs can often experience a great deal of conflict in their lives due to their strong values and this conflict may sometimes lead to them feeling depressed and anxious.

The ISFP considers their values very deeply, and any attack on these values, whether it is external or internal, may make them very unhappy especially if they feel like they are being challenged. 

The ISFP may often feel like they are being threatened in some way if someone continues to push their beliefs, and they may sink into a depression at the repeated assault on their inner world this way.

The ISFP may find it hard to overcome dealing with depression also because they may find that they have started to associate with the negative feelings and thoughts it causes, and they may not feel like going against them because they are recognized as a part of their inner world.

This may cause a lot of resistance as they may feel this way even in therapy, which can get in the way of their recovery from depression, because the ISFJ, even the depressed ISFJ, may have an excessive belief in the fact that their values are what is right, and everything else is wrong.

It is vitally important that ISFP take time for themselves and do not deal with negative people. As they need to absorb positivity from their surroundings to help with the feelings of depression.

ISFP personality features and Depression

ISFP stands for introverted, sensing (observant), feeling, and prospecting or perceiving, and they are also known as adventurers in the MBTI system of personality types.

The ISFPs may often be lauded for their artistic tendencies and their innate ability to find beauty in their surroundings, no matter what, which can be a wonderful trait when they are in a depression because this trait may be used by their therapist or their loved ones to tether them to their positive identity again.

The ISFP also keeps an open mind and a tendency to approach life and new experiences with enthusiasm, but not when it comes to their values and beliefs, because those may be somewhat set in stone, and this contradiction may give rise to depressive feelings and conflict in self-concept.

The ISFP’s introverted feeling function combined with their extroverted sensing function leads to a great deal of grounded warmth and the ISFP also possesses the ability to stay in the moment, but when the ISFP is depressed, this ability may get hampered by the feelings of helplessness and worry about the future.

The ISFP likes to find exciting potentials and these individuals may often be true artists, but not just the kind of artistry that is merely in the creative arts like music or painting, though may times one may find these people in these disciplines, which may provide avenues to explore in the treatment of the ISFP depression, in the form of art therapy or music therapy.

The artistic side of the ISFP may also be found in their love and eye for aesthetics, design, and even their choices and actions that often tend to push all limits of social convention, but again, this may get severely hampered if they are depressed, so much so that they may start to even neglect the basic cleanliness and order of their living or working space. 

The adventurer  ISFP personality tends to often defy convention with beauty and grace, and this may lead them into troubled waters on occasion, which can give rise to depressive feelings that are a result of conflict, and the feeling they have often of being boxed in by society may further maintain and contribute to the ISFP depression.

The ISFP may be very happy and content looking at and making sense of connections around them, and when they are kept from doing this for any reason, they may start feeling frustrated and depressed.

Also, on the other hand, if the ISFP is depressed, they may start to withdraw from their surroundings by a lot, and this may just further their depressive state because they are not getting what they so desperately need o maintain a healthy mental state.

The ISFP is also rather high on exploratory behavior due to their sensation function, and this can also lead to risk taking behavior when the ISFP is depressed, and they may have masked depression rather than the commonly found clinical kind that people recognize more readily.

The unhealthy version of ISFP that may be suffering from mental health issues may also look like someone with Bipolar Mood Disorder, with episodes of high energy and sensation seeking and times of low mood with extremely negative thoughts and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and this disorder may be more prevalent in ISFP personality than a recurrent depressive disorder.

Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bipolar affective disorder consists of cycles where the person is extremely manic for some days and then may experience severe depression for months or days.

Bipolar affective disorder is said to have more intense depression than any other kind, likely due to the fluctuation of mood states that can make the depression that much worse when it follows mania and elated mood.

According to ICD 10, Bipolar disorder may be described as the following:

“This disorder is characterized by repeated (i.e. at least two) episodes in which the patient’s mood and activity levels are significantly disturbed, this disturbance consisting on some occasions of an elevation of mood and increased energy and activity (mania or hypomania), and on others of a lowering of mood and decreased energy and activity (depression).”

“Characteristically, recovery is usually complete between episodes, and the incidence in the two sexes is more nearly equal than in other mood disorders. As patients who suffer only from repeated episodes of mania are comparatively rare and resemble (in their family history, premorbid personality, age of onset, and long-term prognosis) those who also have at least occasional episodes of depression, such patients are classified as bipolar.”

The mania that may be seen in bipolar disorder is defined in the same classification system as having the following symptoms:

  • “persistent mild elevation of mood (for least several days on end), 
  • increased energy and activity, 
  • marked feelings of well-being
  • physical and mental efficiency. 
  • Increased sociability, 
  • talkativeness, 
  • overfamiliarity, 
  • increased sexual energy
  • decreased need for sleep 
  • Irritability 
  • Conceit
  • boorish behavior may take the place of the more usual euphoric sociability.”

This manic phase may be offset by depression or a brief depressive state or episode, which has symptoms like:

  • “depressed mood 
  • loss of interest and enjoyment
  • reduced energy leading to increased fatiguability and
  • diminished activity
  • Marked tiredness after only slight effort
  • reduced concentration and attention;
  • educed self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • ideas of guilt and unworthiness (even in a mild type of episode);
  • bleak and pessimistic views of the future;
  • ideas or acts of self-harm or suicide;
  • disturbed sleep;
  • diminished appetite.”

Due to the contradictory nature of the ISFP personality, and their tendency to be somewhat extroverted and sensation seeking and yet introverted and quiet, and lost in their values and beliefs, may often add to problems like bipolar affective disorder.

It is important to remember that this does not mean that all ISFPs are at risk for this mental health issue because there are many other factors that add to it, but if the personality characteristics resemble that of the ISFP personality, it may sometimes be like fuel in the fire.

Depression Theories and ISFP Personality

There re many theories about depression, namely for why it happens and what affects it, and we try to see if some of the ISFP traits we know about might make sense in the context of these theories of depression.

Bear in mind that the comparisons and analyses given here are not the product of extensive results, but are more hypotheses that one might want to consider when studying about the MBTI personality types and depression.

Aaron Beck was a cognitive theorist who studied the effect of thoughts rather than emotions in depression, and he found that people suffering from depression tend to have what he called Negative Automatic Thoughts, which are thoughts that tend to pop up in our minds without us recognizing them as thoughts, and we might relate them to the emotion they elicit, rather than as a thought.

So for instance, the thought may be that “I can’t do this”, but the emotion it makes you feel is that you are useless, and when one does not focus on the thought, they can not challenge it, and the emotion becomes a prevalent state.

In the ISFP, the main cognitive function is Introverted feeling, which means that these individuals tend to hold set beliefs and values, and they assess and analyze at leisure in their own complex inner world, but at the same time, they may not focus nearly enough on the thoughts that belie their negative emotions.

This means that when they have thought similar to the one mentioned above, they may not challenge it as much as other people might, and this may lead to bigger problems for them than it would for other people.

Where some other personality type, like the ENTP, for example, may brush it off or sit and analyze it and try to figure out why they feel so useless, the ISFP might take it to mean a statement of fact because it comes from their inner world, which may then lead to an ISFP in depression.

Errors in Logic are also something Beck talks about in his theory of personality, and he says that faulty information processing is often the cause of depression and negative thoughts.

The problem that ISFP might face, considered in the context of this point, is that because their thought process is so predominantly internal or introverted and so feeling-oriented, they are likely to believe it more than contrary evidence on the outside because they “feel” it to be true.

Additionally, an ISFP may also experience impairments in perception, memory, and problem solving because their dominant cognitive function of introverted thinking has become so negative and tainted with depressive thoughts.

The third function in the ISFP function stack is introverted intuition, which means that the ISFP depends extremely on the information they have organized in their minds and the connections they intuitively make between things, and this process is what ultimately aids their introverted feeling in making decisions.

Beck talks about schemas, which are essentially the same things, that is, connections and concepts that the person has in their mind that formulate belief systems and eventually guide the thought process.

When the ISFP is so dependent on schemas for their everyday processing, them being maladaptive in any way can cause them to be more negative than other personalities, perhaps.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the personality type of ISFP and depression. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): ISFP Depression

Which personality type is most likely to have depression?

The personality type which is most likely to have depression is one that is high in neuroticism or just very emotionally sensitive.

The introverted personality type is also most likely to have depression.

Are Isfp emotional?

Yes, ISFP can be quite emotional because their dominant function is Introverted Feeling Fi.

The Introverted feeling makes ISFP quite emotional but they also tend to be very private about their emotions.

What makes Isfp sad?

Seeing people hurting or seeing them in physical or emotional pain can make the ISFPs feel sad.

An ISFP may also feel sad when they are being challenged on their beliefs or when they are around people who are too negative.

Citations

https://www.simplypsychology.org/depression.html

International Classification of Mental and Behavioral disorders.

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.

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