Are You An INFJ? Depression Could Be A Risk -- Here's Why
Updated June 26, 2020
Reviewer Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is arguably the most popular personality test in the land, used by many websites and employers alike. Many who take this test find personality type information informative, spot-on, and fun.
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. They will measure introversion/extroversion, intuition/sensation, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. The first letter of the side toward which you lean on each spectrum will give you a four-letter personality type.
This article is written for the INFJ - introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging - oriented individuals. If you are an INFJ, your friends may identify you as the "advocate" or "confidant" of the group. You are easy to talk to, very 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?
It can be a great life, but this life may not always be sunshine and rainbows. Often, the people that seem the happiest suffer the most - they just do so in silence. This may be the "curse" of INFJ depression. Despite the many advantages that such a lovable personality would confer, nothing is without its downside. In this article, we'll discuss a few reasons why INFJs are prone to the common cold of the psyche.
The Atlas Personality
If you are not familiar with him, Atlas is a mythological character who literally holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. It seems preposterous that anyone would actually be able to do that, but in a way, INFJ personalities do it pretty frequently. The weight they carry cannot be quantified physically, though - it is emotional weight they often bolster.
Previously, this personality type was referred to as the "confidant", and for good reason. If you are in a bad place in life and need a place to vent, an INFJ will always have your back. When the people they love are hurting, they 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 lead to an INFJ being prone to depression.
Most people prefer to be surrounded by positivity. Being around happy people makes us happy, too - and in turn, we make other people happy, and then more people want to be around us. The INFJ, as the "advocate", is willing to stay beside someone who is unhappy, because they just cannot stand to see someone suffering.
Many of us would agree that it feels good to help people. As social beings, many of us feel strongly about being of service to one another, and nothing is more contagious than a smile. It can be argued, however, that everything is best in moderation, and INFJs are susceptible to helping too much. This might mean always taking the short end of the stick - and living like that can be stressful.
When you are known as the shoulder to cry on, there can be a lot of pressure for you to maintain that role indefinitely. What happens, then, when you need a shoulder to cry on for once? For many INFJs, the answer is simply "you don't get one." Yet we wonder why for INFJs, depression can seem like a risk.
Being there for someone in their time of need is virtuous through and through. The problems begin, though, when INFJs allow the internal pressure to build and build continuously until they just boil over. Extending past this point of maximum capacity is what stands to thrust one into INFJ depression. As caught up as they are in trying to improve the state of someone else's mind, they may start to neglect their own and it can all become too much to handle.
Any INFJ finding themselves in the situation as described may benefit from speaking to a mental health professional. Feeling like everyone is able to talk to you and you are unable to talk to them is not a good position to be in. A lot of times, it just helps to have someone to vent to. You might not want advice, or "answers" - maybe you just want to be heard out for once.
We all need someone to talk to. It is not healthy for anyone, INFJ personality type or otherwise, to neglect their own need to express themselves, even if it means you cannot be everyone's hero. Those who truly care will understand if, after all you have been through, you need to let off some steam every once in a while, too. If you do not, you might be putting yourself at risk of INFJ depression.
Social, Yet Isolated
While being an introvert may mean parties or social gatherings are not always your cup of tea, every healthy person has others in their life that they feel connected to. For INFJs, the company they keep is often a tight-knit group of close friends characterized by deep, strong friendships. Just because an INFJ gets along with a person or persons does not, however, necessarily mean that they identify with them.
With a whopping 1% of the population consisting of INFJs, it might be hard for them to find others who truly understand them. While that situation is not quite as bad as, say, being stranded on a desert island, it might feel pretty close to that sometimes. People may like them, and they may like those people too, but at the end of the day they can feel like there is always some degree of separation between themselves and others.
Loneliness is a powerful instigator not only of INFJ depression, but of depression in general. When prisoners spend a long time in solitary confinement, they have been known to show signs of severe depression. This can be accompanied by a host of other symptoms. The importance of social interaction and a feeling of connectedness with others is an important element of mental health.
In the event that an INFJ does make this connection, though, the person they make that connection with is sure to mean the world to them. With such understanding sometimes being a rare experience for the INFJ, a relationship in which it occurs can beget memories most beautiful. INFJs should be encouraged to make the effort, no matter what it takes, to go out and find someone they feel a connection with. Of course, one is not able to force a connection like this to be made, but the least that can be done is getting out there and taking some risks every so often.
What Can I Do About My INFJ Depression?
If you are an INFJ who is suffering from depression, or if you know an INFJ who is suffering, therapy is a sound suggestion. As mentioned earlier, therapy is a way for an individual to have their voice heard and their concerns addressed by a licensed professional. In a world where 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 your depression. They might have you keep a journal (which, as an INFJ, you probably already do), take on some new hobbies, or get in touch with old friends and family. They can help you manage the stress of life, whether it stems from your friends, school, or work.
If therapy is something you are considering, BetterHelp can help you find a professional near you. It will take time and effort, but you are sure to emerge from the program in a much better state of mind. You can feel relieved and more energetic, and find yourself enjoying the little things once again.
If you're an INFJ, and you're reading this, stay strong. The world is tough for both you and also for the people who come to you for help. Although you may want to save everyone, don't ever forget that you are a person, too - and you deserve the same love you give the rest of us.
(FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should an INFJ Marry?
Generally, any two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, INFJ's natural partner is the Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving (ENTP), or the Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving (ENFP). INFJ personality type dominant function of introverted intuition is best fitted with a personality type that is dominated by Extraverted Intuition.
Which Personality Type Is the Most Depressed?
It is reported that the Introverted personality types such as INFJ, INFP are the kind of personality types vulnerable to struggling with depression. The Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving (INFP) being the type which struggle with depression the most, because they prefer living on the line of fantasy where their ideals can come true than living in the real world where their ideals is not agreeing with reality.
Are INFJ Clingy?
People with INFJ personality are found to be very loyal, and do love intensely and firmly in such a way that it will be difficult to comprehend. Most of the times they go to certain extent to make sure that their loved ones feel appreciated and honored. INFJs are often curious and ensure constant communication that most of the time is perceived to be excessive and because of this, they might seem clingy. But being introverted makes you an independent person who needs not the attention of others, but the feelings and judging part often betrays them. They often find it difficult to comprehend why they exhibit such behaviors.
What Makes INFJ Happy?
INFJ being the rarest personality type according to Myer-Briggs classification, making up only about 1-2 percent of the population have the tendency to feel like an outsider. A person with INFJ personality has a unique perception of the world which most find difficult to understand. This makes them often depressed, unhappy and lonely. Even though INFJs are overthinkers, chronic helpers, and perfectionist, often time they engage themselves in a self-time to make themselves happy. Introspection, personal reflection, meditation, visiting quiet places, and creating time to have a self-fun time are few of the personal things INFJ does to make themselves happy. INFJ also loves to engage in personal discussions, big idea topics with few others, and are often carried away by beautiful works of art. They also love to be in a structured and ordered environment and love to plan and order their activities.
Are INFJs Smart?
INFJs are often viewed as being very intelligent, but there is a need to understand their type of intelligence. INFJs are attracted to and intrigued by intelligent minds. People with INFJ personality are often connected to people that are intelligent in a unique way and seeks to connect and understand their complex minds. INFJs make use of their intuition to make future predictions. The secrets of the INFJ is that, their minds analyses information they are exposed to by comparing it to the ones they have been subjected to in the past. Their minds work through this without their self-awareness or consciousness. This informs INFJs about the sense of the future and enables them to make more logical choices. Hence, people with INFJ personality are smart because of their unconscious ability to make use of their intuitive strength to make logical choices for the future.
What are INFJs Good at?
INFJs are naturally highly receptive and dexterous at providing guidance and inspiring others to succeed. They are focused mainly on helping others and bettering the human situations. Hence, they are quite good at proffering assistance and help to those who need them. This makes them to opt for helping professions such as health care, education, and counseling. The secrets of the INFJ is that, because they are attracted to complexities and intelligence, they often enjoy the intellectual challenges of the sciences.
Which Personality Type Experiences More Anxiety and Depressed Mood?
Individuals whose personality involves deep care for another tends to be more anxious while those who have few people or nobody who understands or supports them are prone to depression at some point which might eventually lead to severe depression. The INFJs are considered to be sufferers of the two bend. They are naturally helpful in nature and are intrigued at helping others at every turn, this might make them vulnerable to anxiety while at the same time they are quite difficult to understand because of their unique way of perceiving situations. Hence, they are often vulnerable to depression at some point which may later become a severe depression due to cases of stressful events because they are short of supportive people around them.
What personality type is most likely to have anxiety?
People whose personality traits makes them more caring and deeply assistive to others tend to be more anxious than those who are less emphatic. Reportedly, if you do experience higher stress levels often more than necessary and whenever you are under stress, your empathy and ability to help others are compromised, then, these are signs you’re an INFJ.
What is Depressive Personality Disorder?
The DSM-IV defines depressive personality disorder as “a pervasive pattern of depressive cognitions and behaviors beginning by early adulthood and occurring in a variety of contexts". It occurs before, during, or after major depressive episodes. For a diagnosis of depressive personality disorder to be made, five or more of the following must be present most days for at least two years.
- Normal mood dominated by joylessness, unhappiness dejection, and gloominess
- Worry or brooding
- Being pessimistic
- Self-concept centered on worthlessness and inadequacy with low self-esteem
- Negativistic and critical towards others
- Sense of guilt
Are INFJ Dangerous?
It is quite unlikely for INFJs to exhibit dangerous characters because of their intense desire to help and their deep concern for others. But the same might not be said when they are subjected to extreme and stressful conditions. An INFJ who is struggling with depression and finds it difficult to adapt to stressful situations may exhibit some untoward and dangerous behaviors.
Why Do INFJs Have Trust Issues?
People with INFJ personality typically have trust issues because they are introverted and quite intuitive. They naturally like to analyze people before they embrace them. They are quite interested in knowing the make up of a person, to be able to know if they are worth opening up to. Their introverted self is quite protective and often difficult to let down the protective barriers and the intuitive part are quite analytic and evaluative.
Can INFJ Be Successful?
This does depend on what you perceive being successful to be. If you’re an INFJ, being successful entails achieving a high level of service and helping others around you. This centers around your understanding and ongoing accomplishments. You see yourself as successful when you have used your rarity, deep understanding, intelligence, and intuitive energy to assist and to improve others around you.
Can INFJ Be Happy?
INFJ personality type find happiness when they are content with who they have and what they have. A very matured INFJ finds happiness quite easy because of his increased level of understanding and experience. INFJ gets happiness with a fulfilled sense of purpose, when they are able to help someone and when they find someone who can understand them and with whom they can share their woes and issues.
Are INFJs Strong?
INFJs are introverted in their disposition, with a lot of things going on completely within themselves. They have a very strong sense of self, purpose, belief, and values. They have quite a strong personality, but all these they love to keep in within themselves and only let out when they find someone with whom they can share. This characteristic poses them as strong-willed.
How Do I Support an INFJ?
Due to the peculiarity of INFJs, to be able to adequately support, you need to understand them. INFJ personality type demands sincerity, orderliness, and organization. So, if you intend to support you must learn to be quiet when needed, listen to them when they are willing to share their feelings and thoughts. And you should try and support with sincerity because if they detect any insincerity, it might put them off. These are the reasons why INFJs only share their feelings with those they are deeply connected to.
Are INFJs Thinkers?
INFJs the rarest personality consists of personality traits which make them thought driven, they are quite logical in their approach and very analytical. They can be very sensitive and compassionate, especially concerned about providing assistance for others. They love so much to make the world a better place by being useful to humanity and they try to do this by deep meditation and analysis which do demand a lot of thinking.
Are INFJ Gifted?
INFJs the rarest personality type is gifted in such a way that is quite unique and different from other types. They are quite a caring, complex, and highly intuitive individuals. They can be very artistic and creative living in a world of their own with hidden meanings and possibilities. They possess uncanny insight into people and situations. They are very sensitive to conflict and try to avoid them. They are natural nurturer, patient, devoted, and protective.
Why Are INFJ So Special?
INFJs are quite unique not just because they are a rare breed but for many reasons. They are often misunderstood perhaps because they are quiet and reserved, often interested in sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings. As introverts who desire to assist people, feelers with logic, they might look confusing, even to themselves. INFJ the rarest personality type values personal integrity very highly. They often have this uncanny ability to be able to predict people and situations.
Are INFJs Good Leaders?
In position of leadership, INFJs motivate others by sharing a positive vision. They are often quiet and unassuming but most of the times win other's dedication and admiration through their hard work, strong principles, and inspiring ideas. Their best is often revealed when guiding a team to commit to a common vision, and when initiating organization goals for the benefit of the people. They are insightful and creative, and bring sense of confidence and commitment to projects they believe in.
Are INFJs Practical?
INFJs are both creative and practical. They are often interested in understanding what they are doing before they start the task and they like working with a specific goal. Due to their pragmatism, their creative part might be disrupted at one point to another, but they are often motivated by tasks of great benefit to others.
What Should an INFJ Major in?
Due to the peculiarity of INFJs personality as being sensitive, intuitive, goal-oriented, and interested in helping and understanding people. An INFJ should major in areas such as Philosophy/theology, Social Scientist: Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, and Research.
What Personality Type is the Happiest?
According to the MBTI Manual, a global sample of 15,824 individuals were asked to indicate, using a 4-point scale from “not at all happy” to “very happy”, their general level of happiness. The results of this survey show that Extravert personality types ranked among the first eight. Supportively, a case study conducted by Laarsen and Ketelar, reported that extraverts are more responsive to rewards and these makes them happier overall.
Are INFJs Introspective?
INFJs are set of people who are quite introspective, which is evident of someone who is open to self-awareness. The downside of INFJ the rarest personality type, is that they can be too hard on themselves with their self-analysis. At moments they try to analyze themselves and critique their own thoughts, they are often too critical and analytic.
What is it like being an INFJ?
Although most of the time, INFJ tend to be misunderstood and get mistaken for extroverts at times due to the fact that they love people, adapt well to social situation and quite insightful. If you’re incredibly energetic, humorous, vivacious and fun-loving especially to those who you are comfortable with, these are signs you’re an INFJ. INFJ personality type are often labeled as "the Protector", "the Empath", "the Advocate", and "the Counselor". They are quite complex but they are people with sense of purpose, morality, and personal integrity. They are incredibly passionate, extremely loyal and devoted, both scientifically and emotionally driven, highly intuitive, but have a tendency not to trust themselves.
Are INFJs Intimidating?
INFJs may look intimidating some of the times because they are analytic, inquisitive, and energetic. They might even be observed to be rather serious and brooding, always reserved to themselves. In reality, they feel deep and intense love, and are deeply concerned about others especially those who they are used to.
Why Are INFJs Single?
A female INFJ would have to work really hard to keep herself in a single lifestyle because so many suitors will be flooding in attracted to the loving and caring characteristic which makes up an ideal companion. On the other hand, a male INFJ can have it a little difficult being the male counterpart in the knot and having a personality that is mostly misunderstood. His introvert part alone will not allow him to make a move when he should, and his judging part will give little or no space to potential companions. Additionally, he is vulnerable to disappointments and heartbreaks since when he loves, he does so deeply and intensely, and for such a male INFJ with similar experience, getting back on his feet and giving out another chance becomes even more difficult and challenging.
Is INFJ Actually Rare?
There are different reports about the percentage distribution of INFJs amongst human population and as compared with other personality types according to Myer Briggs classification with most stating that INFJ remains the rarest of the personality type. This assumption is also due to the peculiarity of the personality which makes it difficult for many to fit in. But the authenticity of these reports is yet to be ascertained since there is yet to be a research to evaluate for such on a global scale.