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INTJ Depression: Rational Mind Versus Irrational Thoughts

By on May 29, 2016

You feel empty inside…

Apathy and melancholy have become routine…

You indulge in nostalgia about the “good old days”…

Activities which were pleasurable in the past are uninteresting…

There are bags under your eyes from lack of sleep or rest…
You probably know all these symptoms, my dear INTJs, and they are probably something of a mystery to you. How is it that you can control other feelings and emotions, but not this? INTJ depression is somehow stronger; bigger; and it’s buried deep inside where your rational, conscious mind cannot reach it and fix it.

What are the main causes of INTJ depression?

INTJs see things from multiple perspectives simultaneously. That means that they see every negative event, comment, or scenario multiple times. INTJs simply see more bad things than other people, and that does nothing to promote peace of mind.

INTJs (especially turbulent INTJs) are perfectionists, and (as you may have noticed) the world is far from being a perfect place. Imperfections annoy INTJs, so they often try to improve themselves and their surroundings, pouring themselves into this until their efforts overwhelm their capabilities.

INTJs accurately perceive their own weaknesses and they can get obsessed with eliminating them. Dwelling on imperfections leads to dissatisfaction with life or existence in general. 

INTJs are also frequently misunderstood. Society, it seems, can‘t understand brilliant INTJ ideas, no matter how logical and rational they might seem to the INTJ. That makes it hard for an INTJ trying to improve a field where society dictates moral and behavioral standards. These standards sometimes don’t have as logical a basis as the innovative, productive ideas which INTJs love. For that reason, INTJs frequently feel like they are alone in a fight against the world.

The INTJ ability to accurately predict and plan for the future comes at a price. INTJs usually live inside their heads, where they can manipulate scenarios, project ideas, and create contingency plans to deal with this “future.” However, it can be difficult for an INTJ to terminate the planning process in time to enjoy the present moment.

Finally, INTJs often feel guilt or dissatisfaction with a lack of progress toward their long-term goals. More often than not, this is because planning for the future has become more important or interesting than actually doing the things they’re planning for. In most cases, the INTJ will identify this difficulty with syncing plans to reality and take refuge inside their own mind rather than deal with the world outside, where the plans were meant to take place.

INTJ depression quote 2

How does depressed INTJ act?

Prolonged unhappiness or emotional apathy can lead to INTJs questioning their purpose in life. When an INTJ is depressed, daily tasks and even self-improvement become tedious and uninteresting. INTJs won’t take action where they can’t foresee a beneficial outcome, which ultimately results in a lack of action and stagnation. 

Activities which were once pleasurable to the depressed INTJ will become dull and colorless. The INTJ may try devoting more time to specific activities, such as surfing the internet, researching, watching movies, or drinking alcohol in an effort to regain the interest and pleasure they once provided. Such behavior will usually result in the depressed INTJ criticizing himself for wasting time on unproductive pursuits, only worsening the situation.

The primary INTJ coping mechanism for just about everything is to recoup and process by spending time alone, but in some cases, this isn’t an option. Necessary activities, such as purchasing foodstuffs or going to work (so as to earn money to buy foodstuffs), are unavoidable. When suffering from depression, INTJs sometimes appear unfriendly and cynical in the extreme. Critical comments may become increasingly common, directed at everything and everyone in the INTJ’s path. Unbridled sarcasm and pessimism may start damaging relationships with their loved ones, family members, and co-workers.

INTJ depression quote 3

Do INTJs seek any help when depressed?

INTJs are unlikely to seek outside help and would rather deal with their depression themselves. It might be near to impossible to convince them to call on any kind professional help. Why is this?

First, depression looks like a problem which needs to be solved. INTJs pride themselves on superior problem-solving skills. Finding the solution to a problem, particularly a difficult one, is an achievement, and the INTJ won’t want to share the experience (or the credit) with anyone else. In addition, most INTJs neither trust nor respect those in authority (such as “professionals”) as much as they will trust their own research. As a general rule, an INTJ will not respect or trust another’s intelligence unless they are well acquainted with that person’s achievements.

Second, INTJs think that every problem has a solution and they can find it without help. Seeking help might look like the problem was too difficult, or that the INTJ wasn’t intelligent enough to find the solution on his own.

Third, INTJs also believe that they can understand their own personality better than others. It‘s in INTJ nature to deeply analyze their inner world. The INTJ Mastermind can do that with ease and almost objectively. It‘s insane how completely an INTJ can analyze himself, but going deeper and deeper inside his own mind and thoughts raises more and harder questions.

INTJ depression quote 1

Practical tips to fighting INTJ depression

  1. Do self-analysis. As an INTJ, you have the power to be your own psychologist, because you are able to look at yourself from different perspectives and analyze your own thoughts. Try to analyze the things that make you unhappy and how you might fix them. But don’t panic if you can’t beat depression with logic alone. Depression is rooted in your unconscious mind and it’s not easy to affect it with your conscious thoughts.
  2. Practice positive thinking. I’m not saying to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, but there are areas where you can make improvements. For example, as an INTJ, you often analyze your failures and unsuccessful life episodes. Analyzing past events and learning from mistakes is great, but you probably often cross the line into focusing on the associated guilt and regret. You should address the details of that failure only insofar as they will help you improve, and while feelings of guilt cannot be entirely avoided, resolving not to focus on them will help improve the overall situation. Always remember that there are no ideal people in the world, and you are not an exception.
  3. Focus on your strengths. Many INTJs focus on improving their weaknesses, but that won’t give you significant results. When your goals are based on improving weaknesses, you’re aiming for “average,” and that’s not encouraging. Also, improving your weaknesses is the Goal That Never Ends. As an INTJ, you have rare skills, so focus on what to do with them. 
  4. Set goals and take action. Every INTJ constantly makes plans, and that will never end. With that in mind, it’s important to consciously take real action toward your goals. INTJs get obsessed with improving things and when you put your plans into motion, depression takes a back seat.
  5. Reduce alcohol usage. In some cases, INTJs increase alcohol consumption to temporarily run away from their problems. It’s totally fine to socially drink from time to time and relax your brain. However, abusing alcohol is likely to lead to deeper depression.
  6. Get enough sleep. INTJs are often night crawlers; sleepy by day, fully awake at night. The world is created for “larks” which can adapt themselves to a daytime routine. I know how hard it is to fix your sleep schedule, but an unbalanced sleep regime may cause damage to the nervous system.
  7. Exercise. Of course, exercising your brain is the main INTJ priority, but you also need to train your body. Regular exercise reduces overall stress and helps improve your quality of sleep. Also, exercising directs attention to the immediate physical routine, distracting from negative internal reflections.
  8. Reduce caffeine intake. Too much caffeine may cause heightened anxiety and lead to feelings of powerlessness.
  9. Try online courses. Online courses will provide guidance for you and will not require any social interaction. We recommend CBT for Depression because it teaches you how to deal with depression and focuses on how to be your own therapist.
    CBT for Depression, Anxiety, Phobias and Panic Attacks

    CBT for Depression, Anxiety, Phobias and Panic Attacks
  10. Try additional resources. 
  11. Seek professional help. Always remember, that you don’t need to fight alone. If your depression feels out of control, resources provided by a professional in your area may hold the solution you’re looking for.

Grammar and punctuation errors eviscerated by Elle Taylor

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  • Ian Thompson

    If this doesn’t hit dead on… mostly I just have such big goals and plans, I’ve thought about them so much they seem so obtainable.. yet so far… this gets me down big time. I’ve learned through help of my motorcycle to just take in life, between my bike and photography I seem to be living life more than I ever have… it’s all about the little things…

  • I’m an INTJ who lives with bipolar disorder….talk about tough. Sometimes, I can’t tell what the hell is wrong with me. Am I depressed? Anxious? Attention deficit? Lack of ability to focus? Overstimulated? What? Any other BP INTJs out there???

    • Jack Laidlaw

      Yes well I have bipolar NOS, (NOS=Not full on Bipolar but get a lot of symptoms), I also have Generalised anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive disorder and of course I am an INTJ.

  • YeahRight

    This is beyond accurate. I couldn’t have expressed it better myself. Now, to get those around me to comprehend it.

  • ♚ Sonozaki Noriko ♚

    I am procrastinating right now. *Virtual tears*

  • maurox89

    What if my problem is inability to connect with others? Being crap at social interactions is one of our banners after all, and me for example, I am not only an introvert in a world dominated by extroverts, but also a conservative in a world dominated by liberals. Using a certain word or two can instantly make you a nutjob, no matter how well constructed your argument is and even trying to question certain ideas is causing you to be ostracised even further by virtually everyone in your environment. So you shut up more and more, only to end up terribly out of shape when it comes to verbal arguments, which raises your anxiety even further.

    Then you start to question the meaning of pretty much anything in life, and you just keep thinking that if everyone really wants to commit mass suicide, you should just let them, because apparently trying to be reasonable and understand the other side’s argument for five damn minutes to find some compromise is too much of an effort for them.

    • Why do you want to connect with people who don’t understand you and not even going to try? My advice here would be to shift your focus from trying to connect with people to finding people with similar interests and ideas. You just can’t pick up some random and guy and make him understand your ideas. Believe me, I tried and failed.

      I also understand that you want to be yourself and don’t want to wear any social masks. However, that might cause too much trouble. Remember that you’re INTJ – you didn’t develop social skills naturally, however, you can study it and learn it (believe me, I even google such things as how to smile, how to compliment people, what to say when your friend’s dog die and so on until I made enough social patterns and upgraded myself). I did also read many articles on how to make smalltalk, how to dress, learned some body language and so on. And It feels pretty normal – it’s not like I’m wearing social masks and not being myself. It’s just if you learn how to act around different people, you become much more effective in what you do.

      Also, just simply consider not to challenge people on their ideas. INTJs love discussions, but many others just put themselves into defense mode and their emotions get out of control. Choose right people and choose right time. Once again, you need to search for people who could be your discussion partners and then you’ll automatically connect with them.

      • maurox89

        I don’t know, I guess my tendency to doubt myself has spiralled out of control, and when everyone around you is treating you like an idiot, no matter how well constructed your theory is, you’re going to want some kind of confirmation… The problem starts when you can’t get any, because everyone is too busy jerking off to their feel-good, forget-bad-stuff line of thought. This goes to the point where if not for my parents I would be seriously considering offing myself, because honestly – if you are not doing anything meaningful and you’re not having any joy in life, then what’s the point of anything?

        Eeh, sorry for rambling. It seems lately I keep doing this, hoping it will make me feel better, but instead it just ends up turning more and more people off.

        Thanks for the advice though.

  • casey sav

    Oh, How this describe my current situation, read this post is like reading my head :D, some friend already suggest to seek some help but nah, I think I can deal it with myself, thank you. Still struggling though

  • Rob Roszman

    I learn and further develop from all sources, Those things which are seemingly pointless and adverse provide lessons and opportunities which would otherwise remain unknown or dormant. Difficulty, however painful can and will draw out talents and abilities previously unknown. Embrace the darkness experienced, but do not be consumed by it; and it can reveal more light. Everything has a purpose and a place. See beyond self.

  • ESQUIRE

    Thanks for the tips i hope i get ride of it fast as possible, depression really interrupt me of doing things that i would like to.

  • Chu ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

    Been depressed for the past year, I will use your advice. Thank you.

  • Melanie Menard

    Everything in this article is deadly spot on (Sleep lifelong issue in my case). I’m old enough that I managed to learn coping strategies well enough to be somewhat productive, and in my early 30s I was finally feeling like I was going forward, but Brexit made it all worse again because I now feel that however disciplined and goal-focused I may be, I am up against social, political, economical forces so much more powerful than my little attempts that everything is pointless. “Depression is the inability to construct a future” rings chillingly true.

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