Are You An INFJ? Depression Could Be A Risk -- Here's Why

By Mary Elizabeth Dean|Updated June 16, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Rashonda Douthit , LCSW

Is It True That INFJ Personalities Have A Greater Risk For Depression?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is arguably the most popular personality test in the land, used by websites and employers alike. Many who take this test find personality type information informative, spot-on, and fun. This article is written for the introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging-oriented individuals: INFJ. If you are an INFJ, your friends may identify you as the “advocate” or “confidant” of the group. An INFJ is easy to talk to, trustworthy, and more than willing to stick your neck out for the people you hold dear. These are qualities that make you extremely likable and can lead to an abundance of substantive, lifelong relationships. Sounds like a great life, right?

MBTI Personality Inventory

For those unfamiliar with this test, the MBTI Personality Inventory is a set of questions designed to assess your personality in four key areas. When you complete each of the questions, you will be placed on four spectra, which measure introversion/extraversion (I/E), intuition/sensation (N/S), thinking/feeling (T/F), and judging/perceiving (J/P). The letter closest to your placement on each spectrum produces your four-letter personality type.

Being an INFJ comes with its advantages, but also its drawbacks. Lovable INFJs experience the same pain, struggles, and sadness that others do—they often just do so in private. This may contribute to depression. In this article, we’ll discuss a few reasons why these personalities are prone to experiencing depression.

The Atlas Personality

Are you an INFJ personality type? Continue reading the article for more information on why you may be at risk for depression.

Atlas is a character from Greek mythology who literally holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. In an emotional sense, these personalities frequently carry the weight of their worlds: their loved ones’ needs and burdens alongside their own.

This personality type is known as “the confidant” for good reason. When the people they love are hurting, these personalities will hurt right alongside them, and they will not stop until the problem is successfully resolved. When this pain is very strong and comes from several different sources, it is easy to see why this can contribute to these personalities being prone to depression.

Most people prefer to be surrounded by positivity—happiness in others that contributes to happiness in themselves. However, the “advocate” is willing to stay beside someone who is unhappy because they just cannot stand to see someone suffering. Most people would agree that it feels good to help others, but these personalities are susceptible to helping too much, taking on burdens that aren’t theirs to carry. Living with—and trying to solve—others’ problems can indeed be stressful and lead to depression.

Quiet Pain

When you are known as the “confidant,”you can feel a lot of pressure to maintain that role indefinitely. But what about when you need a shoulder to cry on? For many with this type, the answer is simply, “you don’t get one.”

In caring for their social circle, these personalities can focus so thoroughly on the needs of others that they may neglect their own needs, including emotional needs. They may experience feelings of frustration, loss, or anger without confiding in anyone. The internal pressure of this “quiet pain” can build, and if left unchecked, it might push a well-meaning person into depression.

Anyone feeling this kind of pressure may benefit from speaking to a mental health professional. These personalities deserve and need support in times of struggle just as much as anyone else. If you find yourself hesitating to “burden” your loved ones with your own thoughts or challenges, you might find comfort and relief in talking with a mental health professional, someone who will give you the space to express yourself. You are worthy of a safe space to vent just as much as any loved one who confides their worries to you!

Social, Yet Isolated

Is It True That INFJ Personalities Have A Greater Risk For Depression?

Being an introvert may mean parties and social gatherings are not your preferred activities. These personalities often maintain a tight-knit group of friends characterized by deep, strong relationships. As empathetic, sensitive friends, these personalities can build close friendships with many other personality types.

These personalities are the rarest classification of the MBTI—estimated at one to two percent of the population—which means that they might experience feelings of distance or separation from others who do not perceive relationships in the same way. Even in a crowd, they might feel lonely. Social interaction and feelings of connectedness with others are important contributors to overall mental health, and these personalities may find it more challenging to work through these interactions to build relationships.

Treating Depression With INFJ

If you are dealing with depression, or if you know someone who is struggling, therapy is a great place to start. Therapy is a way for an individual to have their voice heard and their concerns addressed by a licensed mental health professional. If you sometimes feel like you have to carry everyone’s burden, it might be nice to know that there is someone who will carry yours.

In addition to this support, licensed mental health professionals are able to use a number of effective treatment methods to help address depression. For example, a therapist might ask you to keep a journal (which these personalities often find comforting), try new hobbies, or get in touch with old friends and family. They can help you manage the stress of life, whether it stems from loved ones, school, or work.

These personalities are rare, and that is something to be appreciated, not feared. If you are an INFJ, then you are in good company; a recent feature article from TODAY highlighted the experiences of one of its own journalists, Joan Raymond, an INFJ. As Raymond notes, though, “Just remember: You are more than a four-letter combo of personality.” It can be difficult to extricate yourself from classifications that may seem to restrict what you are capable of or what sort of life you will lead. More than any personality test, online therapy can provide steady support as you navigate the challenges of your life.

If you are considering therapy, BetterHelp can help you find a professional near you. With the guidance of a mental health professional, you may soon feel relieved and more energetic.Tell your therapist that you consider yourself an INFJ; they can guide you through addressing depression in ways that fit your personality. By taking the time to unburden yourself and tend to your own needs, you can continue to care for your loved ones with a renewed spirit. You may want to save and help everyone around you, but remember that you are a person, too—and you deserve the same love and care that you freely give to others. These BetterHelp users have found renewal through online therapy, too:

Anna is a very compassionate and patient person who is excellent at providing insight into where the core issues are and providing the tools to correct them. She makes you feel safe and supported. I really enjoy my experience working with her. Very highly recommend!

Having worked with several other counsellors before, I’ve now been working with Sairah for over a year and would really recommend her. She is very easy to talk to, and is patient and compassionate as well as being able to gently challenge me where I have blind spots or need encouraging to stick with it in what I’m working on in our sessions. It has been great to have the flexibility of live messenging chat, phone call, or video call depending on how I’m feeling and the pace I want to take things. Sairah has helped me find ways to cope and build on my strengths through difficult and challenging times, and has encouraged and guided my work on personal growth.

Depression And INFJ

(FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions 

Is an INFJ Prone to Anxiety and Depression?

Individuals whose personality involves deep care for another tend to be more anxious, while those who feel isolated or unable to confide in others are prone to depression. These personalities, who tend to thrive in service to others and avoid “bothering” anyone with their own troubles, are naturally more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety or depression. Being proactively aware of these tendencies and seeking mental health support through a service like online therapy can help.

What is Depressive Personality Disorder?

Previously, the DSM-IV of the American Psychological Association (APA) defined depressive personality disorder as “a pervasive pattern of depressive cognitions and behaviors beginning by early adulthood and occurring in a variety of contexts." The DSM-V, the APA’s most recent update, defines mood and depression diagnoses a little differently, including “with anxious distress” as a potential qualifier for patients who experience at least two of the following symptoms during a depressive episode:

  • Feeling keyed up or tense
  • Feeling unusually restless
  • Difficulty concentrating due to worry
  • Fear that something awful may happen
  • Feeling loss of control of himself or herself

What Makes an INFJ Happy?

An INFJ has a unique perception of the world, which can create feelings of being an outsider. That social distance can contribute to feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, and depression. However, these personalities can find pleasure and comfort in many positive outlets: personal reflection, meditation, visiting quiet or thoughtful places, engaging in solo or small-group hobbies, and more. These personalities also typically enjoy one-on-one time with friends, discussing big ideas, and engaging with the arts. Structured activities and ordered environments help these personalities to thrive.

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