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Discussion Starter #1
I came across this thread in the INFP forum, and thought it would be a good idea to come up with something similar for the INTJs, especially since it can be so easy for us to simply keep pushing forward without paying any attention to how well we're coping.

Except I really don't know enough about other INTJs, so ... a little help please? :tongue:
 

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I think INTJs are good at just going on and on without a break (very strong people), but it results in them having health problems :(
 

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I usually don't think about until someone else mentions it. I give them some kind of "I'm managing. Don't worry about me" type of answer. Then later, when I get a chance, I evaluate where I'm at, what I'm doing and think "But there's so much more I could be doing!! How can I not be coping when I'm no where near full capacity!"

Then I'll want to fall off the planet for a few days so that I can get more stuff done with no one bothering me.
 

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I also saw that post in the INFP subforum and thought it was very interesting.

I'll second the health problems. I internalise my stress without realizing that I'm doing it.

Earlier this year, I developed an eating disorder as a way of coping with the fact that I got involved with a married man. I didn't know when I met him, but we were together for 6 months while he and his wife were separated and living in different cities. I found out about her shortly after they reconciled and ended things with him immediately. Even though I told him that we had no future, he came clean to her about being in love with me and there was an absolutely insane month where the three of us tried to sort things out. On my part, I didn't feel like I had the right to deny her anything and so I jumped through each and every hoop she set in front of me. I think that the eating disorder was a way for me to feel in control over just one part of my life because everything around me was so insane and chaotic. I needed to have something that was just for me. When I finally came to terms with what had happened, I became very impulsive and came very close to dropping out of school. I actually spoke to an advisor about it and started getting things in order. I wanted to empty my bank account and spend a year abroad volunteering with a relief organisation. I felt absolutely stifled by my own vulnerability and I felt like it was the only way that I could make up for what I did. I knew that I wasn't acting like myself, but I felt like I didn't know how to be myself anymore. To be completely honest, if I had been able to rationalise suicide, I probably would have killed myself. It sounds very melodramatic, but I was morally disgusted with myself and it really made me come to terms with a lot of the harsher aspects of who I am.

For me, that was a 10.
 

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I recently lost my grandfather and it completely did me in. I can't speak for such specific levels as the INFP forum did. I believe it starts with self-doubt. Which in turn leads to desperation (INTJs don't do self-doubt gracefully). I think an INTJ at his/her lowest is experiencing a degree of loss of identity. We are such intrinsic people, the chaos can be a bit much to manage. Knittigan said it very well with impulsiveness and an anxiety about being vulnerable, and I thank her for sharing.
 

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I ignore my health during big projects. I'll work 75-hour weeks and pump caffeine in increasing quantities to stay awake. I'll also eat exclusively fast-food for lunch/dinner to save time. By the time the project is over, I'm usually drinking a 6-shot latte or mocha in the morning (450mg caffeine).

Inevitably, when the project is over, I crash for 14 hours of sleep and have major caffeine withdrawal for 3-4 days...as I don't drink caffeine (even soda) normally. The project comes first...health comes second.

During maintenance periods between projects, I try to get 8 hours of sleep and eat more healthfully: salads, fruit, lean meat, etc.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Then later, when I get a chance, I evaluate where I'm at, what I'm doing and think "But there's so much more I could be doing!! How can I not be coping when I'm no where near full capacity!"
I think this might be why we tend not to notice - instead of looking at how well we're actually coping, we try to infer it based on how much load there is. The problem with this is that if we're not coping, then the resultant stress makes it even harder to cope, with the end result that we're not even capable of a fraction of our normal capacity.

I felt absolutely stifled by my own vulnerability and I felt like it was the only way that I could make up for what I did. I knew that I wasn't acting like myself, but I felt like I didn't know how to be myself anymore.
Thank-you for sharing that.

I recently lost my grandfather and it completely did me in. I can't speak for such specific levels as the INFP forum did. I believe it starts with self-doubt. Which in turn leads to desperation (INTJs don't do self-doubt gracefully). I think an INTJ at his/her lowest is experiencing a degree of loss of identity. We are such intrinsic people, the chaos can be a bit much to manage. Knittigan said it very well with impulsiveness and an anxiety about being vulnerable, and I thank her for sharing.
I think loss of identity explains it perfectly. We seem to anchor ourselves to that, so when we lose it we're completely adrift.
Could you explain what you mean by desperation?

So far it looks like the key stages are: vulnerability/weakness/inability to perform/failure -> self-doubt -> loss of identity. The main warning sign is an inability to perform at 100%.


Also, do any other INTJs tend to get really touchy-feely (e.g. wanting to hug a close friend) when they're tired/stressed/depressed? Or is that just me?
 

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I think loss of identity explains it perfectly. We seem to anchor ourselves to that, so when we lose it we're completely adrift.
Could you explain what you mean by desperation?
I mean desperation as, once we've realized we are at that point , we over-compensate our INTJ-ness (pushing others away etc.) or we completely do away with it (impulsiveness etc. which makes us feel worse). I suppose I should have listed "desperation" after "loss of identity." We are desperate to regain our composure so to speak.

As far as being touchy-feely, in my case, I definitely opened up (to a select few. I am who I am lol). I'm not sure INTJs are the healthiest about grieving. I wasn't huggy, but I certainly accepted them.
 

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I think this might be why we tend not to notice - instead of looking at how well we're actually coping, we try to infer it based on how much load there is. The problem with this is that if we're not coping, then the resultant stress makes it even harder to cope, with the end result that we're not even capable of a fraction of our normal capacity.


Thank-you for sharing that.



I think loss of identity explains it perfectly. We seem to anchor ourselves to that, so when we lose it we're completely adrift.
Could you explain what you mean by desperation?

So far it looks like the key stages are: vulnerability/weakness/inability to perform/failure -> self-doubt -> loss of identity. The main warning sign is an inability to perform at 100%.


Also, do any other INTJs tend to get really touchy-feely (e.g. wanting to hug a close friend) when they're tired/stressed/depressed? Or is that just me?
I have the opposite of touchy-feely, and tend to isolate myself even more, actually making an effort to push people away, even those I typically enjoy the company of.

I agree with the stages, although first may be the warnings signs of entering into the first phase if we would only take the time to notice such things (which I almost never do until it's too late, at which point I'm scrambling to figure out where I went wrong). Perhaps just a generally less optimistic (dare I use that word) outlook on things and our ability to handle it all. For me, I think that could be a warning sign that things are starting to spiral downwards.
 

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I mean desperation as, once we've realized we are at that point , we over-compensate our INTJ-ness (pushing others away etc.) or we completely do away with it (impulsiveness etc. which makes us feel worse). I suppose I should have listed "desperation" after "loss of identity." We are desperate to regain our composure so to speak.
Yes. This is what I wanted to say. Personally, I found that I cranked up the INTJ coldness with the people who were closer to me, hoping that they'd just chalk it up to what I was normally like and not ask me what was wrong while I unleashed my impulsive insanity on the rest of the world. I vehemently hate parties and I partied like an absolute rockstar for probably a month and a half (while I was in school, mind you). It's like there's no middle ground. It's either one extreme or the other, sometimes both.

It is very much about self-doubt. It goes from "what is happening?" to "how could I let this happen?" I'm not sure if anyone else experiences this or if it's caught up in my particular experience, but I felt like it was my fault. I knew that it wasn't on a purely objective level, but I couldn't convince myself that it was true. It might be tied up with self-doubt, depending on the situation, because I don't think that it's a very big leap from "how could I let this happen?" to "if I had done things differently, I could have prevented this and it wouldn't be happening."

I have a 60,000-word portion of my journal that is equal parts cathartic and crazy and reading through it, I thought that the following sections were pretty relevant:

I’m just emotional. I’m really emotional and I’m emotional all the time and the littlest things set me off. I haven’t been eating. The throwing up has slowed down now but it’s still happening at least once every day. Even when I’m not thinking about all of this. I can’t focus. I don’t want to acknowledge the fact that I’m ripped apart at the seams, but deep down I know that it’s true. [...] I truly never thought that I would be in this position. I had given it thought on a hypothetical level, but I thought that I knew exactly what I would do. I would do the right thing. And then I did find myself in this insane situation and what I didn’t consider, what I never, ever considered in all of the hundred thousand different times I’d played this situation through in my mind was just how hard it was going to be and how much I was going to feel it. [...] I am wracked with guilt because for the first time in my life, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. And that makes me hate him, but even more than it makes me hate him, it makes me hate myself because I’m not this person. This isn’t me. This is not who I am. And that wouldn't even be that big of a deal except for the fact that I have done the unthinkable and I can't remember who I really am or used to be. I haven’t got a clue about what I want or what I think or how I feel. I just don’t know. And I hate not knowing because I’m not the kind of person that doesn’t know things. [...] Somehow he got past everything that I had. And there was a lot there so I’m not really sure how he did it. But he did. He had all of me, including the part of me that I keep for myself, and he destroyed it. I don’t know how to explain how deeply significant that kind of loss is. I didn’t give it or hardly even show it to anyone. There are people that I have known for years that don’t know some of the things that he knew about me. And that place, I don’t even recognise it anymore. It used to be like looking in a mirror and now I look at it and it’s like I’ve gone through the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland because I’m lost and none of it makes any sense to me anymore. Worst of all, I don’t know how to get back. [...] I’m used to being completely self-contained and all of a sudden there is this huge fucking hole in the middle of my chest... and I don’t know what to do with it. I’m going through the motions but it is so unbelievably hard to do that when everything that I have is falling through and out of me onto the floor. And people are walking all over it but there’s nothing that I can do about that because there’s just so much of it and I don’t know how to pick it all up again. And no matter how hard I try to staunch the flow of it, I can’t. My hands aren’t big enough and every time that I start to think that I’ve got it covered, the pressure behind it builds again and then it starts to leak out between my fingers and through the gaps of my hands and then it’s pouring out of me just like it was before. And it’s so unbelievably exhausting to try to keep it all in that I just stand there watching everything fall out of me onto the ground and it gets trampled because quite frankly, I don’t have it in me to try to stop it another time, not when I know that there isn't anything else I can do.
So like @rdnetto mentioned, the following themes are pretty prominent as well as a few I elaborated on:

  • Feelings of vulnerability/weakness/inability to perform/failure/loss of control
  • An insistence that everything is fine while trying to ignore the problem
  • Neglect of physical and emotional health
  • Self-doubt
  • Loss of identity followed by a desperate attempt to regain it (possibly even an obsession) through any of the following: withdrawing even further, impulsiveness, promiscuity and perhaps a desire for intense emotional closeness, periods of extreme extroversion.
Also, do any other INTJs tend to get really touchy-feely (e.g. wanting to hug a close friend) when they're tired/stressed/depressed? Or is that just me?
Yes. Touchy-feely both physically and emotionally, depending on who the person is. As I mentioned above, I'm more likely to stonewall the people I care about and seek closeness elsewhere (in the past this has been through promiscuous and impulsive romantic behaviour).
 

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I have a 60,000-word portion of my journal that is equal parts cathartic and crazy and reading through it, I thought that the following sections were pretty relevant:
How uncanny that you mention throwing up. I went through a bout of serious depression in high school, and I could not keep food down. This went on for a week and a half. The most bizarre thing. I think it stemmed from guilt though, which you also mention.

I think if a list is being drafted, definitely further investigate the psycho-somatic problems. I read once that INxJs were highly susceptible to ignoring bodily symptoms.
 

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I ignore my health during big projects. I'll work 75-hour weeks and pump caffeine in increasing quantities to stay awake. I'll also eat exclusively fast-food for lunch/dinner to save time. By the time the project is over, I'm usually drinking a 6-shot latte or mocha in the morning (450mg caffeine).

Inevitably, when the project is over, I crash for 14 hours of sleep and have major caffeine withdrawal for 3-4 days...as I don't drink caffeine (even soda) normally. The project comes first...health comes second.

During maintenance periods between projects, I try to get 8 hours of sleep and eat more healthfully: salads, fruit, lean meat, etc.
Same with me. The problem is that not always I can plan those periods. Once I read that INTJ loves challenges and is most likely to get the task impossible to solve. Then it's a huge hit for self-esteem, so we're trying harder and harder until the combination of physical exhaustion and stress makes us whiney, impulsive and hyper-sensitive to critics. So, when I'm totally tired and trying to solve the unsolvable, I can start weeping for no reason, gossiping, blaming, drama, etc. Really bitchy, irrational behaviour. I don't think though that this is an unhealthy INTJ, this doesn't look like INTJ at all, a hurt ENFP, maybe. Good description of INTJ under stress taken from Team Techonology UK site:



Recognising Stress



As stress increases, 'learned behaviour' tends to give way to the natural style, so the INTJ will behave more according to type when under greater stress. For example, in a crisis, the INTJ might:
  • retire to a private place and think through a problem until the INTJ has formulated a complete plan for solving it
  • try to maintain a high degree of quality in the solution
  • criticise others' ideas, particularly if they involve compromising quality
  • make errors of fact, or pursue ideas that are unrealistic
Under extreme stress, fatigue or illness, the INTJ's shadow may appear - a negative form of ESFP. Example characteristics are:
  • doing things to excess - e.g.: eating, drinking or exercising
  • acting very impulsively, perhaps starting off more projects than the INTJ could hope to accomplish
  • expressing emotions in an intensive and uncontrolled way
  • being very sensitive to criticism
  • asking for lots of information that is irrelevant
 

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Under extreme stress, fatigue or illness, the INTJ's shadow may appear - a negative form of ESFP. Example characteristics are:
  • doing things to excess - e.g.: eating, drinking or exercising
  • acting very impulsively, perhaps starting off more projects than the INTJ could hope to accomplish
  • expressing emotions in an intensive and uncontrolled way
  • being very sensitive to criticism
  • asking for lots of information that is irrelevant
I've gotten into the ^ mode at the tail-end of some of my biggest projects...usually when my boss makes some idiotic criticism and I want to scream in her face.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes. Touchy-feely both physically and emotionally, depending on who the person is. As I mentioned above, I'm more likely to stonewall the people I care about and seek closeness elsewhere (in the past this has been through promiscuous and impulsive romantic behaviour).
Interesting. What normally happens to me is I'll isolate myself, undergo cartharsis until I'm emotionally exhausted, then seek that closeness from a close friend, etc. That is, I'll stonewall the person until I'm no longer an emotional wreck, then seek their affection.

I think if a list is being drafted, definitely further investigate the psycho-somatic problems. I read once that INxJs were highly susceptible to ignoring bodily symptoms.
  • doing things to excess - e.g.: eating, drinking or exercising
  • acting very impulsively, perhaps starting off more projects than the INTJ could hope to accomplish
    [*]expressing emotions in an intensive and uncontrolled way
  • being very sensitive to criticism
  • asking for lots of information that is irrelevant
This seems to apply as well. I've found that when stressed I don't have much appetite, but tend to overeat as a result of this. Despite the lack of appetite, I do tend to indulge in comfort food, which is probably related to the above point on excess.

'Expressing emotions in an intense and uncontrolled way' could be linked to the whole touchy-feely thing, though it would manifest differently depending on the person.

Has anyone else noticed any other psychosomatic symptoms?
 

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Has anyone else noticed any other psychosomatic symptoms?
Mmm well, I've had my hair fall out in clumps and irregular menstrual cycles. TMI, I know, but true nonetheless. I also have Hashimoto's Disease so I may not be a good one to base off of.
 

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I've gone through bouts of severe isolation, while attempting to rationalize my way to an "epiphany" that will allow me to be myself once again. There have also been a few extreme periods when I have turned into the Shadow INTJ, going out every night and drinking to excess, and putting on a very extroverted front to distract myself, while feeling a sort of numbness inside. Unfortunately, I think my internalization of extreme stress has led to a variety of health problems for me, including severe migraines, and flare ups of ulcerative colitis.

Now that I'm getting close to 30, I'm finally learning to do what's best for myself. I no longer feel obligated to volunteer for an extra assignment at work when I'm already nearing burnout. And the fact that I had to LEARN to listen to my body's messages this way seems like an all too apparent reminder of exactly how weird I am...

Luckily, this forum is a good reminder that there's a perfectly reasonable & (quasi) rational explanation for my weirdness!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
TMI, I know, but true nonetheless. I also have Hashimoto's Disease so I may not be a good one to base off of.
This is the INTJ forum - there is no such thing as too much information. Also, you have my sympathies - autoimmune diseases are never pleasant.
 

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I think INTJs probably take it to the extreme. Either completely ignore their health or really work at it.

Last time I got a complete health screen done (with blood work up and everything), I scored a 4.9/5.0 and that was BEFORE I started working out (I'm also eating a little more healthily than before).
 
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