INTJ vs Mental Illness

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I’ve said before on this blog that I suffer from clinical depression. I have suffered a major depressive episode this year, and it got to a point where I just couldn’t do anything anymore. I dropped out of school for the year and am only now becoming well enough that I can pick it up again.

I’m not trying to speak for all people who have depression, or all INTJs with depression. Depression is a unique experience for everyone. Every depressed person has a different combination of symptoms and severity. This is just my personal experience.

The first symptom of depression that appeared in my life was isolation. I liked to be alone for the majority of the time when my mind was acting healthy, so I didn’t think much of it. Only now do I realize that I would go weeks without having a conversation with anyone but the people I lived with, and even those were brief.

I couldn’t sleep. Sometimes I would spend entire nights just staring at the ceiling. Other nights I slept for about an hour before my alarm went off. I remember waking up to someone shaking me, yelling to turn off the alarm I’d slept through.

I stopped doing things next. I would shut myself away in my room and just sit there. I would try to do things, at least at first. I would stare at books, try to study, start cleaning my living space, but I couldn’t finish anything. It was frustrating and I began to hate myself for what I thought was laziness.

There were a few things that made me feel like I was doing something. I started spending a lot of time on youtube, mostly watching videos from the vlogbrothers. I found some blogs I liked and started binge reading those. I was able to do some simple things that most able minded people wouldn’t consider activities, but they were the most I could do.

I neglected my physical needs. I didn’t shower, I stopped eating and drinking anything, I lost all awareness of my physical body. My ISFJ acquaintance tried to force me to eat every time I saw him. I simply ignored him or told him I was fine. I hardly felt anything physical, but emotionally I was a mess.

I was filled with a self hatred so strong that I wanted to kill myself. I hated myself and I thought I didn’t deserve to have a life if I couldn’t at least take advantage of it. What was the point of life if I couldn’t do anything in the present and didn’t see a future?

After several months this self loathing was occasionally replaced by numbness. I simply didn’t feel anything. I distanced myself from any emotion that came up. I had long forgotten what happy felt like.

People tell me I was good at hiding it. I acted like I was simply choosing not to care about anything, when in reality I had no choice in the matter. The only differences the people at school noticed was I was quieter and more sardonic when I did speak. I didn’t care anymore if I was cruel to people I used to love. I just wanted them to leave me so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about leaving them.

It got to a point where the people I love started feeling angry at me instead of feeling hurt. I felt they should’ve just leave me to suffer alone, because all I wanted was to be alone. When I was alone I could imagine I didn’t exist without actually giving up my existence.

I was mostly engulfed in misery when I felt anything at all, but there were other emotions to. Angst, apathy, and anger were the big three. I’d be angry at anyone who tried to talk to me, and I picked more fights about inconsequential things. I yelled at anyone who tried to confront me on my unhealthy behavior.

On several occasions I had loud fights with my mother. At one point I blamed her for everything my depression caused. I was acting this way towards everything because she had done a lousy job raising me. I still regret every tear she shed during that fight.

My mother was also the one who asked me if I was depressed. I remember it clearly. I was trying to walk past her without talking to her, but she stopped me and confronted me about the fact that I’d been lying to her about my grades. I couldn’t explain myself, I just sat there in silence. She told me she suspected that something was going on, something I wasn’t telling her. When she proposed that it could be depression something clicked into place.

I broke down in tears. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t.

She hugged me, and I just kept crying. She must’ve said something about getting help, but I don’t remember exactly. I kept crying after she left to try find me a psychiatrist. I fell to the floor and cried until no tears would come.

I got worse before I got better. I started experiencing psychotic symptoms, but not enough of them to be diagnosed with any particular disorder. I was put on several medications, and they helped, but not all at once. My mother encouraged me to try alternative forms of medicine, such as essential oils, and those helped too.

I started talking to a few friends again, mostly my ENFP friend. She has really helped me to recover. I don’t remember all the steps I took to get to the place I am now, but I know I’m in a much better place.

To anyone experiencing mental illness, I encourage you to seek out help. I know it’s hard to talk to someone and you can never be sure how they’ll react, but find someone you trust and tell them you’ve been struggling. Not everyone will believe you, but that doesn’t make your pain any less real. Get medical help. Go to therapy, start taking antidepressants. Don’t try to self medicate, and please don’t hurt yourself.

A year ago my life fell apart. I couldn’t see a future, but now I’m living in one. I still have bad days, but my life is no longer consumed by my depression. It gets better. Seek help. Get treatment. Get your life back together.

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