Lately there have been a lot of searches on this blog about depression, so let’s talk about it, shall we?
The definition of depression is “sadness greater and more prolonged than warranted by any objective reason.”
In lay terms, that means feeling sad for a long time but not understanding why, since there is no reason to be depressed (we haven’t lost our job, our pet didn’t die, and we’re not contemplating how much the world sucks). With genuine depression, I believe there are always legitimate reasons either physical or emotional — although they may be subtle and internalized to such an extent that we’re either ignorant of them or unwilling to face them. These kinds of depression can be cured through therapy. Then, there’s depression brought on by imbalanced serotonin levels, which can be treated with medicine.
However, I also think “depression” is often used to explain moods that put us in a state of “emptiness” or “a lack of ambition.” Quiet and contemplative moods don’t always mean “sadness,” which means some things we call depression aren’t necessarily genuine depression. Every type no doubt has this problem, but here are some things we may mistake for “depression”:
- Intellectual boredom: with people, hobbies, and things that they’ve exhausted for interesting information with a resulting a lack of interest in those things. Losing interest in things is one of the “symptoms” of depression, but here it simply means you’re bored with that topic, since you’ve analyzed it to death. Solution: a new and exciting “interest” is needed.
- Reluctance to do anything: once an INTP fails to see the purpose of something (a hobby, interest, or pursuit), they have a hard time sticking to it. Why? Because it fails to produce the desired results. They may try blogging to create stimulating conversation and if no one answers them, it isn’t depression that makes them reluctant to blog again, it’s the lack of feedback that renders blogging undesirable. Solution: give it up and find something to do that supports a “long term goal.”
- Nothingness: this isn’t sadness, it’s not feeling anything, which may mean the brain is subconsciously working on an over-reaching problem while consciously they’re not interested in much of anything. This can also be a symptom of depression… or of internal preoccupation. Solution: find a different and maybe mindless activity to focus on in the meantime.
- Creative Frustration: a lack of ambition following hitting a creative “block.” This “total shutdown” of creativity means the INTP has run across a problem and hasn’t solved it yet, so the brain shuts off its creativity while analyzing for creative solutions. This can produce a lack of a desire to continue working on the project, and an element of frustrated “uselessness” that can masquerade as sadness but is in reality irritation. Solution: focus on another project for awhile and let the first one sit until Intuition problem-solves it.
- Emotional Exhaustion: INTPs think. All the time. They rationalize and analyze and constantly ask “why?” and take in obscene amounts of information that can sometimes “short them out,” like a computer overload. It’s not permanent, so there’s no need to panic. Solution: take some time off.
Symptoms of depression such as crying can also mean hormones out of whack, extensive stress, and deep-seated internal frustration… it’s not always sadness, so occasional forays into tears don’t mean you’re depressed.
Can an INTP get depressed? Yes. Everyone can, no matter their type. But sometimes, we mistake other, natural aspects of our personalities for depression, when in reality all we need to do is turn our focus in another direction and rediscover our passion for learning.