Understanding ISTJ Depression (A complete guide)

In this brief guide, we will explore the personalty ISTJ and depression.

ISTJ and Depression: An Introduction

The ISTJ is often characterized by being very thoughtful tendencies and incredibly logical thinking processes, and when they are depressed the ISTJ might experience more negative thoughts than other personality types because their personality is so steeped in thinking functions.

The depressed ISTJ may keep more and more to themselves and might be hard to reach because they are just so involved in their inner world and just don’t want to get out of it. 

The ISTJin depression might not be as low functioning as a lot of other people and their daily tasks may not suffer much as a result of the ISTJ depression, on the contrary, they may make their depression work by pressuring themselves far more and might diving even harder into their work. 

Due to their highly thinking oriented tendencies, the ISTJ may have the opinion that admitting emoticons or talk and thinking about them too much is weak, and they may not want to talk about their depression at all, making it that much harder on them.

Usually, the ISTJ in depression may find comfort in routine but it may also be great if they can find something physical to help them pull out of their own heads and negative, depressive thoughts. 

The ISTJ in depression may find that logical and practical ways of doing things do ease their depression, and they may also appeal to their thinking style.

Because their thinking function is extraverted, the ISTJ in depression may also be prone to externalizing the negativity they feel on the inside, and when someone tries to reach out to them or help out in some way, or even just tries to get them to communicate, they may snap and get annoyed, retreating further into their shell and becoming uncommunicative.

Symptoms of Depression

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

  • “Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
  • Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts”

Features of the ISTJ personality and Depression

ISTJ stands for Introverted, Sensing/observant, Thinking and Judging, and this MBTI personality type is also known as the logistician, as their thinking style is predominantly characterized by logical and analytical abilities.

The ISTJ thinking function is evident in their name, due to the introverted nature they are quite reserved, but at the same time they can also be quite willful possess a unique and rational perspective to life, which is laid in logic and careful assessment of their surroundings.

Careful consideration of their environment is necessary for the ISTJ and any less can feel threatening to them, and this tendency can sometimes make it hard for them to make decisions because they are so methodical and purposeful, and this indecision may be the root of depression in the ISTJ a lot of times.

ISTJ is the hallmark of principles like integrity, practical logic, and tireless dedication to duty, and since these principles make up the vital core in any institution, whether it is a family or professional organization, these individuals are often entrusted with a great deal of responsibility, which may sometimes put undue pressure on them and act as a trigger for depression in an ISTJ that feels overwhelmed from the pressure.

The ISTJ individual also finds traditions, rules, and standards appealing due to their sense of rational thinking and logical distinctions in things and people, and they actually seem somewhat like the Enneagram 6 personality called Investigator in the way they tend to approach these principles.

However, this tendency to be so enamored with tradition may make the ISTJ that much resistant to change and newness, and since that does not stop their environment from changing, they can often experience stress and depression due to change.

The ISTJ values and thrives in places with high degrees of structure, like law offices, regulatory bodies, and the military, and any place where there are chaos and mayhem may make the ISTJ feel the same way, pushing them into depression.

The ISTJ may also value accuracy and efficiency a lot, which while it is great, sometimes makes them far too stringent and pedantic, and their obsession with the order may even sometimes make them ruminative and repetitive.

The rumination and repetition they are susceptible to maybe depressive or cause depression if there is negative content in it, as that has been considered a sure sign of depression.

The ISTJ believes in careful analyses of their surroundings and may constantly be checking their facts, which may lead to great degrees of indecision, and being paralyzed with choice and action may eventually lead to depression.

The ISTJ does not use too many words, that is, they are not very good at communicating, and this perhaps is the toughest thing about them especially when they are depressed.

The ISTJ depression is fueled enormously by the fact that they just refuse to talk about their feelings and emotions even when they are suffering, and prefer instead to ride it out somehow, which obviously does not work in their favor.

Cognitive Distortions in Depression and ISTJ

Cognitive distortions are maladaptive or unhealthy ways of thinking that lead to problems like anxiety or depression, and their effect is clearer in neurotic conditions especially.

All-or-Nothing 

All or nothing thinking is characterized by absolutes, thinking in a manner like “always”, “never”, and “forever”.

Since we just discussed the features of the ISTJ, you may understand how this may manifest in the ISTJ, given their inclination to maintain order and tradition at all times and the rigidity that they may show so often.

The ISTJ may suffer from this cognitive distortion in Depression very often, and it may make them incredibly sad when things don’t fall neatly into extreme categories like they want them to.

Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization in depression may mean something along the lines of taking an isolated case or cases, and assuming that everything else will be the same.

The ISTJ in depression ma often overgeneralize and then stick to it because of how rigid they can be about their ideas and beliefs, and once they start believing that a situation is unfixable because a little problem happened, nothing or no one might be able to change their mind till they decide to do so.

Disqualifying the Positive

Someone suffering from depression may do this a lot, and that is how depression is maintained. 

Someone like an ISTJ may often focus only on the negative when they are depressed beacuse they are only picking up what their perception functions are looking for, rather than explore all possible perspectives.

They may often overlook the obvious positive because it doesn’t fit into their current negative, depressive line of thinking.

Jumping to Conclusions

The ISTJ tendency to do off of their introverted feelings which are depressed at that moment may lead them to expect the worst and they may begin preparing early for the disappointment. 

This distortion may lead them to further and maintain their depression.

Magnification and Minimization

The ISTJ may find that when in depression they may have a tendency to focus only on the order and every time there is any change in that order, they may just lose focus completely and not see the bigger picture that things are always fixable.

Magnification essentially means magnifying the little things that go wrong and minimization means not looking at things that go right or the finer details.

While the ISTJ cannot be accused of ignoring details given how analytical they are, they can tend to start thinking in extremes when their carefully arranged world changes at all, and the ISTJ depression may get worse every time that happens.

What can you do to stay away from this error and stop your negative thoughts? Remember the old saying, “He can’t see the forest for the trees?” When one mistake bogs us down, we forget 

Should Statements

This is probably the cognitive distortion most commonly seen in ISTJs with depression.

The ISTJ may be somewhat rigid and preoccupied with tradition or their own values and beliefs, and this rigidity may translate into set ideas of what is needed to make their situation, and absolutely nothing else will do, which may be expressed in “should” or “have to” statements, or just about any other type that implies a necessity that is totally unfounded.

This may be something like “I should not feel this way”, or “I have to do well”, and when someone removes all other possibilities it is that much harder for them to tolerate loss or failure, and this may make any ISTJ depressed.

Labeling and Mislabeling

This is another distortion that the ISTJ may find themselves guilty of; because they deal in absolute and think in set patterns, they may often relate bad concepts to themselves in the throes of depression, and then they start believing them because of their introverted feeling function.

This makes the ISTJs depression worse and they won’t know how to deal with it.

Personalization

The ISTJ is a very responsible and independent person, and the sense of duty they feel is nearly completely tied into their self-concept, and as a result of this, the ISTJ in depression is extremely likely to feel shame, blame, and guilt for everything that goes even slightly wrong in their lives, and their introverted feelings fucntion then mulls over the feelings of failure to make them feel more depressed.

Personalization basically refers to the tendency of an individual to feel guilty and relate everything bad to themselves, which the ISTJ may well do.

How to help a Depressed ISTJ?

Here are some things you can do to help the depressed ISTJ:

  • Try to share some of their responsibilities.
  • Help and encourage them to clean their living space or workspace. 
  • Engage them with fun and interesting things like puzzles or sudoku.
  • Don’t try to communicate when they don’t want to.
  • Give them a lot of space.
  • Make the food and try to bring to their attention all the sensory details of the situation
  • Watch something with them that has educational undertones, like a nature documentary.
  • Sit with them in silence, doing your own thing and just, hanging out.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we explored the personality ISTJ and depression. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ISTJ Depression

Which personality type is most likely to have depression?

The personality type that is most likely to have depression is that which is high on neuroticism or those which are very emotionally sensitive.

The personality type which I introverted may also be most likely to have depression.

Are Istj rare?

The ISTJ is not rare and is in fact thought to be one of the most common of the Myers-Briggs personality types, and the ISTJ makes up about 13 percent of the population.

What type of thinking is associated with depression?

Negative thinking is associated with depression, and negative speech in depression is actually just the negative thoughts that become prevalent in depression.

Depression makes people feel a lot of bad things which are all the result of negative thinking and negative beliefs.

Depression may also manifest in negative thinking before it creates a negative affect. 

It may be hard to believe for some people but negative thoughts and negative ways of thinking can cause and maintain problems such as depression.

Citations 

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression#1

https://www.verywellmind.com/depression-and-cognitive-distortions-1065378

https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2015/11/20/myers-briggs-and-mental-illness-part-4-the-guardians/

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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