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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a bit of an intense thing to write about in a forum but I am currently suffering a difficult period of depression which I am finding hard to shift. I've had three previous episodes of depression in the last ten years (I'm 29) and with various types of talking therapy I managed to overcome them all, so I know I can, but the contrary/ironic thing about depression is once you're in it you can't see any way out.

I partly joined this site to help me understand myself better. I think my personality type of being an INFJ with enneagram type 4w5 suggests I'm doubly likely to be a depressive type, having read up about both type characteristics. I would say I'm currently operating at unhealthy level 7:

Level 7: When dreams fail, become self-inhibiting and angry at self, depressed and alienated from self and others, blocked and emotionally paralyzed. Ashamed of self, fatigued and unable to function.

This is because I tried out a career and failed at it (teaching - it made me ill with stress, probably because I test as 95% introvert and found it simply exhausting) and since then I've tried to find a new path and identity, but haven't. I feel like time is running out for me to choose a career and job and I see others around me progressing in their lives while I am stagnant. I also feel worried how people at my age are often getting married and having children, which I would like to do too in my thirties, but haven't met a man yet who my gut feeling and heart feel at peace with (which links to type 4s being romantic types searching for soul mates).

I'd be interested to hear from other type 4s about how they manage any depressive episodes. How do type 4s stay healthy? What kinds of behaviours and thoughts are toxic to us and should we avoid? What behaviours and thoughts help us to operate in the healthy levels?

Thanks,
RoadLessTravelled.
 

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I also suffer from depression: dysthymia and bouts of major depression. The last episode took me 4 years to overcome. Though it's early days for me feeling alive again and having energy.
I see you already know how to manage it in that you know therapy helps and as such I'm not going to delve into that. I suppose I think of mine as symptoms that serve as an indication that I still am not manifesting myself in my life the way I wish I would be able to.
I had a similiar experience trigger my depression and now that it's passing again I find my perspective in life has shifted again closer to "sustainable" health. I found myself thinking I am so glad to have this life though it seemed the opposite a few years ago and happy for this personality of mine with all it's unyielding characteristics. I just wish my emotions weren't so damn intense! But it seems I am just a creature of extremes.
So your situation is you studied to become a teacher but found you did not like the madness that is tons of kids in one small space. If teaching is what you aspire to what about small group, special needs teaching??? Or one on one tutoring? Your education is in no way wasted!!! You have acquired special skills which can be translated into a different field if need be! Writing about education for example, or working for a publisher... HR in business... Maybe you could identify what it was particularly you found overwhelming and find a niche in teaching that eliminates those stressful aspects the best, or if you really didn't want to teach in the first place having a breakdown can be the one thing that just saved you from a lifetime of dissatisfaction! Same with starting a family. It's just an external marker of success. What is your internal marker specifically??? To find just any ok partner or to find a partner that fulfills a criteria. Would you be happier with which if you are 100% honest with yourself. It's dissecting this and finding a certainty where you feel ok about making a choice, whatever it is. You did not fail! It was just an unexpected bump that can yield a much brighter future for you in the long run!
As for depression: the best thing anyone ever said was a doctor at the ER say it's just like any chronic thing, be it diabetes or whatever. It can be managed and having depression will not prevent you from having a great life! Many who suffer from it periodically still manage to have satisfying lives and can look back at old age thinking they are happy they had theirs. :)
Take care and just live through it! The rabbit hole does not go on forever.
 

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I have had my share of these spells. I found this site during some rough times too and it helped alot. I wish i could give you a single answer that will help you snap out of it but I do not think that is how these things go. I will suggest that you try to avoid over-thinking and over-analyzing your life to the point of frustration. Sometimes you can only find the answers by moving on with your life. Inspiration favors those that go towards it and you will not find it in a state of emotional helplessness.

I am sorry to hear about your career. I hope that you find something that fits your temperament better.

Behaviors and thoughts that help me stay at a healthy stage:
- Write your thoughts and feelings down. It helps me figure out what is actually causing me to feel bad.
- Support from friends/family. Tell others in your life you are in a bit of an emotional storm and ask for what you need. In my case it is distractions by focusing on them, positivity and understanding.
-Balance. To be more specific, ensuring I have enough time for myself, enough time with those I care about, and remaining productive even though I do not feel like it. If I feel a part of my life is not being strengthened then I will focus on it.
- Passion. This simply means being able to do one thing(it can be a hobby, interest, activity, etc) as often as I like to fuel my self-esteem or need to express myself.
- Finding a source of inspiration to motivate me through setbacks or stress. this can be anything from quotes, books, movies, new music, online blogs, Pinterest, church, etc.
-Being open to hearing the opinions or advice those that are close to me offer. Do no limit yourself to only your way of thinking Others can often help spark new ideas or help you understand yourself better. This can stop you from becoming unhealthy.

If I am at an unhealthy stage already:
- Let your feelings out. Exercise, sing, yell in a pillow, cry, write, talk about it, etc. Don't let yourself become an emotional bomb. It will not be pretty and might cause you even more problems if it interferes with your relationships with others. Whatever you need to do that is not self-destructive. One of the worst mistakes I have ever done in my life is ignore my emotions to the point they controlled me.
-Try to get to the source of your emotional issue. Sometimes I end up thinking the real problem is what someone did to me, how someone acts, that something happened, or one of my irrational conclusions about a situation only to figure out many unhappy months later that it was actually something else like guilt, shame, insecurity or a feeling of resentment. I suggest that you put your mind to work trying to decipher this little nugget of truth you might have buried somewhere. When you find it you will see that you can now start to find a way to deal with it.
- When I am in a state of depression I have a difficult time trying to decide on my next move. In my case it is usually because I am afraid of failing or not having enough information yet. If you have reached this state of feeling paralyzed you need to take a break from thinking. One thing that helps me ALOT is doing something physical or that requires being fully present. It usually is something I do not like, like a long bike ride or going on a rollercoaster, but I feel it clears my head. This is where having a close friend can help because they can motivate you to go drink with them, or go to that party, or join them for a swim. The actual activity does not matter for me; what matters is not thinking about it anymore for a few hours.
- Focus on what new possibilities are now open to you instead of what you lost. For example, in your case of leaving the teaching profession, you can focus on what kinds of things you want out of your next job. If teaching was not the best fit for you that just means that you were meant to do something else! Moving on you should hope for a career that is more satisfying for you. As for the anxiety of not knowing what you will do or if you will succeed it is a matter of facing it straight on and knowing that no matter what you will be fine. Doing it despite the fear when you are ready will only make you a stronger individual.


I don't know if you can get anything from this post but if you do not I understand. I wish you a good night.
 

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Hi,
I am an ENFJ 4w5 who experienced a deep depression as a teen and just when I thought that I would never experience that again...I had tasted those dark feelings over and over in the past few months. However, I found some things tend to help me from falling into the serious depression I had as a teen. For instance, here are some youtube vids that have helped me recently, to put me in a healthier frame of mind:


(see youtube for part 2)


Then also trying to be more like a 7. I read a quite unique view that 4's should probably move to a healthy 7 (in a clock-wise fashion to arrive at a healthy 1), which means for me, searching for joys, to do things that make me happy, to express gratefulness, to get outside of my mind from time to time (especially when "ruminating") and to be more in the present.

And because I am a 4, I try to remind myself that there is a meaning for everything and that to figure this out means to not just reflect over and over again...being stuck in my head, but to involve myself in positive action, to experience the good in the world. I read that through Dr. Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning" which is featured in my last video link. His work helps me whenever I am encountering tough life experiences.

I truly wish you the best of luck. Depression is very tough. I think little steps, to do little things that can have the potential to make you feel happy, to make you feel healthy are important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you @Vanishing Point, @Toristar and @IluvHSJ, everything that you've written has genuinely helped. Thanks for the honest, thoughtful and empathetic responses. You all make very valid points and I'm going to try working on a few of them starting today. I feel tired and apathetic but I will start small and hopefully these feelings will dissipate soon. I'm watching those youtube videos now, so far so good :)
Road.
 
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Thank you @Vanishing Point, @Toristar and @IluvHSJ, everything that you've written has genuinely helped. Thanks for the honest, thoughtful and empathetic responses. You all make very valid points and I'm going to try working on a few of them starting today. I feel tired and apathetic but I will start small and hopefully these feelings will dissipate soon. I'm watching those youtube videos now, so far so good :)
Road.

Hey there,
How are things going? Hope you are well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey there,
How are things going? Hope you are well.
Hi, thanks for your message. I'm ok thanks. My depression doesn't seem to be lifting this time, I feel like I need to deal with the reasons behind it this time rather than have therapy just to treat the symptoms. I've been referred to a focused depression team by my GP, and have started attending a support group. Reading a book on Mindfulness and trying to avoid stuff that's unhealthy for me and seek out positive experiences. Feel mostly flat every day but at least I'm not crying all the time.

Thanks for asking, it cheered me to receive a notification of your message.
Road x
 

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Hi, thanks for your message. I'm ok thanks. My depression doesn't seem to be lifting this time, I feel like I need to deal with the reasons behind it this time rather than have therapy just to treat the symptoms. I've been referred to a focused depression team by my GP, and have started attending a support group. Reading a book on Mindfulness and trying to avoid stuff that's unhealthy for me and seek out positive experiences. Feel mostly flat every day but at least I'm not crying all the time.

Thanks for asking, it cheered me to receive a notification of your message.
Road x
:) Thank you for the update. I wish you the best of luck and support on your path to wellness again.
 

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Hello, just wanted to thank the OP for this thread...which sounds as if I could've written it. It's so creepy because I'm a 4w5, INFJ, 29 (turned 3 days after you posted)....and am struggling with the same things. I also just took the enneagram quiz a few days ago b/c of a 'chance' encounter, and around the same time, I found a jonathan wachtel video on a 4w5 (that I thought was pretty lame, actually). But now his videos are here and this time I actually feel moved. And yesterday, I was just thinking about the exact ideas he speaks of. Weird... Plus, maybe I'm wrong but the first video looks as if it was filmed in Florida, where I'm from :) So, I felt a sort of calming familiarity. Anyhow, maybe in a weird kinda way I was meant to read this post. Yesterday I felt great but today I didn't expect this horrible suffocating depression I feel right now, and my mind went to a dark dark place. Anyway, please update on how you're feeling. I'll post anything relevant here and thank you again for reaching out. P.s. I keep a copy of "The Road Less Travelled" book in my car. Another synchronicity that makes me feel I was meant to read your post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello, just wanted to thank the OP for this thread...which sounds as if I could've written it. It's so creepy because I'm a 4w5, INFJ, 29 (turned 3 days after you posted)....and am struggling with the same things. I also just took the enneagram quiz a few days ago b/c of a 'chance' encounter, and around the same time, I found a jonathan wachtel video on a 4w5 (that I thought was pretty lame, actually). But now his videos are here and this time I actually feel moved. And yesterday, I was just thinking about the exact ideas he speaks of. Weird... Plus, maybe I'm wrong but the first video looks as if it was filmed in Florida, where I'm from :) So, I felt a sort of calming familiarity. Anyhow, maybe in a weird kinda way I was meant to read this post. Yesterday I felt great but today I didn't expect this horrible suffocating depression I feel right now, and my mind went to a dark dark place. Anyway, please update on how you're feeling. I'll post anything relevant here and thank you again for reaching out. P.s. I keep a copy of "The Road Less Travelled" book in my car. Another synchronicity that makes me feel I was meant to read your post.
Hi @TeaIsBetter25 thanks for writing this, I read it late last night (I'm in the UK so diff time zone to you if you're in Florida!) and I wanted to reply properly today. I'm sorry to hear you are familiar with the suffocating feeling of depression, but it's also good to talk to someone who is in a similar situation as I find a lot of people (including most of my old friends and some of my distant family members) don 't want to know about my depression at all, they have not once asked how I am since I told them I suffered from it about 8 years ago now.

I am still battling this latest episode of depression, which seemed to begin around December last year and got really bad around February after I split up with this guy I was dating. It was like my mind just caved in and I became so distraught and black-mooded I kept thinking I'd eventually commit suicide and had to rely on the Samaritans to get through it, which was awful as I felt so alone and unsupported (Samaritans were ok but not great if I'm honest, one woman there virtually hung up on me when I rang them).

Since then I have sought support from my GP and been referred for more CBT from my local mental health community centre. I am glad to be getting support. I also attend this support group for women with depression which helps a little too, knowing I'm not alone and giving me some structure to one of my weekdays.

What I find the hardest is dealing with my own disbelief and despair at how I feel so stuck in my life, both as a result of and made worse by my mental health (I also suffer from OCD, which gets worse when I get depressed). I desperately want to become independent again, earn enough money from my own little business and get myself into a healthier mental state, but seems very difficult. It is also extremely hard interacting with other people who judge you on your job/salary/house/partner etc when I (have none of those external things 'sorted out' due to the above. I hate having to field questions about this. I've done a lot of reading and self growth as a result of my depression which has been one very positive thing, but I also feel myself increasingly alienated from the majority of people who only care about these external factors in life, including my own family.

Anyway I feel like I'm rambling so I'll stop there for now. Feel free to keep in touch through the thread or the message system so we can maybe share experiences and tips on what helps us to get better?

RoadLessTravelled
 
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