H Janeway asked: “How does an INTJ know what she needs? I am a bit disconnected from my emotions because of depression, depression medication and being an INTJ. How do I know what I need so that I can make a plan/schedule and hopefully get better?”
I hope the best for you in your journey.
I don’t have depression, but as someone with PTSD, I can speak to your experience of struggling to figure out what you need to do to heal.
Before I was fully aware that I had PTSD, I was very confused, and very, very concerned with how I was supposed to figure out this “trap” that had caught me. At the time, many factors combined to make it so that I was not in a position to seek help. As a result, I had to figure things out on my own.
Here is what I have learned the hard way:
Not everyone with a given disorder needs the same things:
My Uncle served in combat. I did not, but we both have PTSD. Neither of us has the same triggers, and neither of us handle trauma the same way. The point is, what you need in order to live with your depression is not going to be the same as all other people with depression.
You have to listen to yourself. When your mind begins to scream, or when your mind goes dead with no emotion, you have to listen to yourself. Those are the times when you have to pamper yourself a little. Force yourself to enjoy something that you used to love, even if you don’t often feel like doing any more.
I usually don’t feel like going to Swing Dance practice, but I never regret going—and least of all on my worst PTSD days.
You do need a friend:
This is one place where everybody DOES need the same things.
Isolating yourself is a natural reaction to depression and anxiety disorders, but it is also a very harmful reaction —especially for us INTJs, who are often already quite isolated. It’s crucial to healing that you build some sort of a support system. No, you don’t have to tell them everything, but you do need a friend.
If possible, you need a friend who understands what you’re going through. The thing you have to be careful with there is avoiding friends who have no plan to heal from similar experiences that you want to heal from. In other words, avoid people who will hold you back and keep you coping unhealthily.
Find someone (and this is hard to do) that wants to recover same as you, and work together to help each other recover.
If you keep at it, you will learn how to cope:
And I mean, really keep at it, especially when you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.
It is possible to re-learn how to feel after being completely disconnected from your emotions. Over time, you will start to recognize (slowly) what things trigger you back into that state, and because these things will be specific to you, I can’t tell you what they will be.
You can’t put a time limit on the human spirit:
Another thing that I learned, and yes, this is frustrating, but you can’t schedule recovery. You can plan out all the steps you need to take, but those steps are going to have to be flexible. You’re going to have to look at every single one of them as a baby step, and it may take you years to start feeling as though you’re getting somewhere. But you will.
4 thoughts on “The INTJ’s Depression Battle Plan”
Thank you for this post. I’m an INTJ who has struggled with severe depression for about a year now, and I needed a reminder that healing takes time and can’t be planned. I’ve connected really well with my ENFP friend this past year, so I’m glad I’ve taken that step. She’s my favorite person and I never regret spending time with her on bad days.
I know you didn’t ask to hear my life story, and I know you’re busy and constantly in pain, but I’ve been reading your blog for the past year, and it has really helped me through the darkest part of my life thus far. I’m only sixteen, and I know the worst isn’t behind me, but that doesn’t make my depression or schizophrenia easier. I had to drop out of school for a year, and that’s been devastating. I went from straight A student to high school dropout so quickly, and it shattered my future plans.
I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you for helping me cope with my mental illness. Your blog means a lot to me, and your writing has gotten me through some of my worst days. Thank you Arvid.
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@H Janeway I am also an INTJ with depression, and from my encounters with other people with depression and my own experience, I have learned that each person needs to deal with it differently, but what seems to stay consistent is that what you want to do to fix your problems is usually not the best way to fix them. Just take a clinical approach and figure out what actually does help, not just what seems to help, and it will start to improve. It is a long process, though, so you need to be ready to persevere. Hang in there.
Another reason why having a friend who wants to heal with you would help is that with depression, there might be days when you have this ‘epiphany’ that the best solution is something you would not consider otherwise. When that moment hits, the one thing that might help is the word you gave to your friend. That promise that you would help them too.
Also, if you have people around you or in your past who have developed unhealthy ways of coping, be aware of the fact that it is unhealthy. Sometimes they can be people you love dearly and by no means should you pull back from them or look at them from a bad light but if you’re not doing too well yourself, you can’t be there for others. If you think self care is selfish, again having that friend helps.
I am not an INTJ but I hope it helps. I wish you both the best in your healing.
Here here. Excellent advice. From another INTJ who has struggled with depression/anxiety. Only thing I’d add: take care of yourself like a caring mom cares for her baby. Make sure you are fed, have good sleep hygiene, and get some outdoor time every day.
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