Becoming A Mature INFP?—Psychotic Episode, Social Anxiety, God

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I promise I haven’ left my blog again, like last time. Instead, it’s more like something left me. The letter “t” on the keyboard of my laptop, to be precise, which decided to break yesterday, on the very afternoon I came back from work and conjured up some good blog ideas. Since the letter “t” in the world of writing is as crucial as water is to life, this put me in a very tricky situation—the urge to write, but no means to do so—until I realised, smacking myself on the forehead at my own stupidity, that until my keyboard gets fixed (hopefully it is covered by warranty, as I simply cannot afford to buy another $200 laptop), I can just write using my phone instead, even though I don’t like it and I feel it makes my writing quality poor. Which is what I am doing right now.

First up, some life updates, in case you are interested in this little INFP’s life. Well, to be frank, I’m not really little anymore. I started this blog five years ago, when I was just finishing highschool, my love for writing was just starting to blossom, and social anxiety crippled me to the core of my being. I am now in my twenties, and in the space of these five years, much has happened, much has changed. Some of it has been good. Some of it has been bad. And some of them are strange changes, peculiar and colourless as air, that have left me quiet and thoughtful.

Even though I “published” my first book on my blog exactly 9 days ago, something I started working on after I became a Christian (another change), my love for writing, while still effervescent, has been relegated to a hobby instead of a career goal. I love writing, but fiction writing, while I do enjoy reading it immensely, is not my field of talent (and arguably, I don’t have any talents, but I’m trying not to play into my low self-esteem these days). I wrote a book, that people liked, but I did not completely enjoy writing it, nor did I feel the need to repeat the process anytime soon. It’s strange. I have changed.

Yes. I have changed. No longer am I completely the shy, floundering INFP girl who desired only to subsist on stardust and dreams, and believed, with all her heart, that being able to write for a living was the single and only path to happiness and well-being in this world. Part of it has been the realisation of the limitations of my writing talents. And part of me, surprising as it is to say, even to myself, is that I have grown out of fiction writing, and matured into an adult who much prefers writing “self-help”; or non-fiction works.

I am also not shy anymore. Well, not completely shy—in fact, I have been working for the past week or so at a pharmacy, believe it or not, a job which entails greeting customers, speaking to people and stocking shelves from morning to afternoon while I wait for my other courses to start. I had to do it. I forced myself to do it. No, I am not an INFP who sold her soul for money, or who now worships capitalism in all its environmentally-damaging glory, but someone who grew up and realised she would have to find a way to feed herself in this world, keep the fridge stocked and a roof over her head, or risk not only homelessness, but her sanity and buoyancy.

And what I discovered was this: no matter how exhausted I am at the end of the workday, after so much time spent engaged in social interaction, and how I wish I could return to the days of daydream and wishes of my teenage years, some part of me—and likely a very INFP part of me that is starting to mature—actually feels a sense of satisfaction from finally being able to function in the real world. But, let’s backtrack for a moment. Just a year or two ago, I wanted to live in a car and write books, or even risk homelessness so I wouldn’t have to join the pointless drudgery of the capitalist workforce, and stuttered and could barely speak in front of strangers, so, what changed?

Two things. One: I experienced a psychotic episode, that was highly traumatic and bizarre. Two: I started to believe in God. And those two things, by the way, are not related in the slightest–people who believe in God, I assure you, seeing as there are millions of them around the world, are perfectly sane (well, most of them are, at least).

A psychotic episode? Why, whatever happened? I went a little crazy, that’s what, perhaps because of a chemical imbalance in my brain, as my psychiatrist put it. I didn’t speak of this when I first returned to my blog because I still wasn’t sure how I was going to talk about it. Basically, what happened was—and why it happened is still a complete mystery to me—I started to believe, over the course of several days, that I was an Angel, on a mission on behalf of planet Earth, along with fifty or so other individuals on the planet, to save the environment. No, I’m not speaking in metaphorical terms. For the duration of a week, this was my reality—I believed in it as much as I believed in the power of words—and I actually thought I heard the voice of planet Earth speaking to me inside my mind, telling me what to do to save the world.

Yes. I wouldn’t mind if you stopped reading my posts, or unsubscribed from me after this, because it does actually sound crazy, and this episode was severe enough to land me in hospital for a couple of days, and start taking medication for delusions. I’m off the medication now. I am, I assure you, completely sane. What happened during those weeks felt entirely like a dream. And apparently, it’s not that uncommon among young adults, particularly those who have suffered from depression or anxiety.

But after that happened, I grew up. I don’t know why, but much of my agoraphobia and social anxiety faded away after that. Unfortunately, other things faded away too, not completely, but enough to be noticeable: my passion for fiction writing, a little of my blind idealism. It was as if, in a burst of colour like rainbow, my imagination spent itself in one go after the episode, leaving me feeling horribly empty, yet also strangely lighter.

After that, I discovered God, felt His presence in the world around me, in nature—in the curious, peaceful feeling I get whenever I pray—became a Christian, rolled up my sleeves and sallied forth into the world with a feeling that there was someone out there watching over us all, even the most delicate and anxious. Five years from now, instead of an author, I want to be working as a nurse, preferably in a mental health hospital, dispensing medications and helping people overcome themselves and their own minds with my words and my heart.

Am I still an INFP? Yes. Everyday, out in the real world, I have to put on a mask, and I’ve become remarkably competent at it. INFPs do have quite a bit of acting skills up their sleeves, often honed out of necessity, and while I am not perfect at pretending to be tough-skinned like everyone else, I am passable. I need to be, in order to survive in this world. Do I want to starve, or become homeless? No. For an INFP to mature in this world, they do, unfortunately, have to change a little, or at the very least adapt. Even quiet artistic jobs like being an author or an artist have a remarkable amount of social activities tagged onto it.

I will never stop writing, and never stop daydreaming. However, I have discovered other things I like. Caring not just for animals, but people, most of whom are very nice. I like stacking shelves. I like using the cash register. I like all the different pills and medicines out there, and the diseases or conditions they correspond to. I like hospitals—they have a curiously calming effect on me. And so far, I like the idea of being a nurse. Out in the real world, given time, I know I will be able to stand on my own two feet.

But behind closed doors, when the mask falls away, I am just the same as I ever was. I still liking drinking fruit juices and eating Haribo fizzy cola gummy sweets. I still like books, very much, and films, especially romantic ones. I am still a loner, still transfixed by the beauty of the world, the universe, still someone who picks up a pen or logs onto her laptop (or in this case phone) and spills out her thoughts in a stream of flowing words. And at my core, after all the growing up I’ve done, all the steps I’m starting to take to ensure I won’t starve or be homeless, and will spend my days doing some good in the world, I am deeply disappointed with life, and deeply afraid that this is all it has to offer—a job, hobbies, a house, cars, holidays, cats, books.

Because after everything I’ve been through, I still want more, and one of the reasons I became a Christian is because God represents that “more” that I am lacking in the real, boring mundane world, and which I believe I will never be able to attain. Few people understand me when I say this, or try to comfort me, but I am at a point in my life where I honestly do not believe I will ever experience that “whirlwind” romance I’ve always dreamed about. In fact, I cannot, no matter how hard I try, even imagine a man being interested in me, which is one my deepest, darkest fears and wounds. I cannot imagine having a family, children, a husband, and even if I did, what then? Everything becomes ordinary and normal-feeling eventually; even the most beautiful song can become annoying after listening to it on repeat for months on end. I find no happiness in material goods, and to me, holidays are just explorations of other parts of the world, with the same sky, the same rocks, houses, society, paths, animals, grass, trees and concrete, that eventually become nothing more than photographs and faded memories.

The truth is, what I want is not just hard to attain—it is impossible. What I truly want, as an INFP, is for fantasy to become reality. I want for there to be floating islands, celestial spirits, rocks that hum and murmur with secret forces, skies that suddenly turn purple, to grow wings, to be pressed between the pages of a book as a character in a whirlwind romance or a fantasy quest for all eternity. While I have grown up, and adapted, and even grown to like some parts of the real world, and have always lived many parts of the natural world—aren’t blood and flowers fascinating?—but some part of me, as an INFP, deep down, will always stay the same, like a tiny iridescent pearl tucked inside a shell, quietly wistful, quietly disappointed, burning with a slow, strange and awful sadness.

Tomorrow, I will put on a smile, laugh and talk, and stack shelves. I will inspect the different medicines, ointments and creams, and find their uses to be fascinating. I will eat some of my favourite foods, which I can now afford to buy occasionally, watch films, read books, write and listen to music. I will be fine. I will feel satisfied. Competent. Maybe even happy. But at night, when the lights are turned off, and I’m lying by myself in bed in the darkness, thinking and wondering, as always, the only way for me to cope with reality is to daydream or fall asleep. And I’m starting to think that is the way it will always be, until the day I am no longer in this world, because I wish for true magic and the impossible, for fairies and stardust, and always will.

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23 thoughts on “Becoming A Mature INFP?—Psychotic Episode, Social Anxiety, God

  1. This post really lifted my spirits, with it being very relatable and relevant to my own life right now, as well as seeing your growth and maturity. I am deeply happy for you, happy that you now have connection to God, because He’s what helped me through my long period of depression and social anxiety. I’ve also really admired that you’ve been willing to share your story all this time with all your readers, something which I’ve always been too shy to do. Thank you for all your postings, and best wishes for everything you do. Fears are a natural part of life and everything will work out as it should, hold on to that Dreamer core, the rest of the world needs its light.

    Don’t worry, writing on your phone has not diminished your writing in the least, it’s on par with everything else you’ve written, all of which is wonderful.

    Grace and peace. c:

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful words. I hope everything in life goes well for you, and even when it doesn’t, I hope you get through it anyway. If you were ever to write a blog, or anything, I would be very happy to read it, so please, if you feel the urge to share your thoughts have courage, know that God is on your side, and take the first step. Much love. ❤

  2. Glad to hear that you’ve found a new way to cope with life!
    I can relate about trying to balance between fantasy and reality (a fellow INFP here).
    I’m starting to accept that maybe my idealism about this world won’t be fulfilled. One human can’t do anything much, after all. But let’s not stop striving to be the best of ourselves, so in the end of the day, regardless of the result, we still can be happy saying, “I’ve tried my best.”

    • Exactly—that’s all we can do, at the end of the day, though as an idealist I can’t help but always try and put in more effort than is required, just out of a pure desire todo something, have some impact. As for our idealism, well, at least we still have movies and books to satisfy our hunger for fantasy. Well, they’re more like crackers and cheese given to a starving person, but it’s better than nothing.

  3. I recently just started to read some of your blog posts and came across this one. As your INTP neighbor, I definitely feel you in most of the things you spoke about here. I am happy that I found someone who has similar world views to me.

    I cannot tell you what to believe in because I don’t believe in anything. But this doesn’t necessarily make me an atheist—for atheism too, is a belief. Maybe for you, it is not just God that you need. Perhaps what you really need is faith. Not just your faith for God, but faith in humanity, nature, society—and most importantly, to have faith in yourself.

    Just remember, this authentic “real” self that you see underneath your mask is something many people have lost. The greatest tragedy of our time is after wearing the mask for so long, we become the mask—we forget who we really are. Thus, who is anyone to say that “the real world” is “real” when the person claiming this doesn’t even know they are wearing the mask and are not real at all? Can it not be the other way around? Do people not wear masks everyday just to “get by” in our decadent capitalist society? Regardless, what remains essential is to have faith in yourself—to believe in yourself and never forget who you are. This is the most precious thing of all.

    Stay strong and don’t give up,
    Bobby

    P.S. Ah! A faithless internet stranger who believes in nothing is telling you to have faith in yourself.

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful and inspiring words, and I truly think you’re right. It’s the strangest feeling, as if some people don’t have a deeper, quieter self that wonders about being human or have lost touch with it completely, or never had it to begin with. Idon’t think you’re faithless, not at all. You believe in other things, like wisdom and truth, and kindness. You do embody them, at least. Thank you, and take care. ❤

  4. You remind me so much of myself. Since I was around 16, I have had a never-ending desire deep in my soul to just drift away into a world of my own. A fantasy world filled with much beauty. Sometimes when I see movie or painting in a beautiful, odd other world, I wish I could just go inside it. Although I suffered from a pretty moderate to severe depression in my teenage years, I now, at 21, suffer more from severe existential anxiety although I’m learning to heal. However it’s not easy with many panic attacks and feelings that I am going to drift right into space with nothing grounding me to planet Earth. Reading philosophy, writing, and drawing has helped me very much. Since we are so similar, reading about your psychotic episode has scared me a bit since going crazy is my worst fear. I just feel so different from everyone else and I still have so much life ahead of me that I wonder how long I can hold on for. However, I still have faith that everything will be okay. I still see the beauty in this world and I remind myself I still have many things I have yet to experience. One thing I noticed is that focusing on my desire to delve into a world of my own causes depression in me. I have learned to not focus on it so much even though it is so much of who I am. It’s like a poignant yearning. Still, I try not to feed into too many of those thoughts and instead focus on the real world, although it can be difficult. I just find I am happier and more optimistic by doing so. I truly believe we are special and are born to do something amazing. I hope things take a positive turn for you!

    • Thank you, and I hope life brings you happiness as well. 🙂 I know exactly what you mean, the more I spend time daydreaming or immersed in my own thoughts, the less capable and happy I tend to feel. My best advice for you if you ever get down in the dumps is to go out and talk to friends, as just that little bit of socialisation can cheer you up immensely. For the longest time, I shut myself in my room, with my own fantasy worlds, without making any friends, and now just having one or two friends who I met by going out and involving myself in the community more has made a world of difference in my mood and well-being. I hope you will never go through a psychotic episode—make sure not to isolate yourself too much (I spent ages by myself at home lost in daydreams when the episode was triggered) and get out of the house and have fun. Take care. ❤

    • Sorry, I accidentally pressed the ‘Enter’ button before finishing my message. Thanks for the advice on social anxiety, I really am grateful as I am getting sick of it but afraid that it will never ever disappear in my life.

      I wonder if you are somehow jarred into reality by the psychotic experience… Suddenly switching the perspective of the world slightly and finding new paths to replace the old paths that may have not worked out. I don’t know ehehe, random thoughts that enter my brain. I think you probably know more than me. :p BUT I FIND THAT IT’S AWESOME THAT YOU HAVE FOUND A NEW PATH THAT CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY. A NURSE AT THE MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTION. I am actually considering to do something with mental illnesses, too. Perhaps one of the experiences that has impacted your decision is your own experience of social anxiety and agoraphobia? Is this (maybe) it? :p

      Are you much happier nowadays? Do you like the feeling of being mature?

      • Yes, that’s exactly it. I’ve just had so much experience personally with mental health that I naturally feel the urge to gravitate towards it in my career path—mental illness has just been such a huge part of my life for the last fifteen years that I have grown attached to the subject, and interested in it. I am more satisfied nowadays (I’m certain I’ll only be happy if something magical happens in the real world), which is something I never had before, because for so long I was a prisoner of my own mind, scattered and scared and sad and anxious while out and about in society, like a kid trying to navigate the corporate world or something. I now feel so much more at peace, and relaxed in my everyday life; it really feels like a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I hope you throw off the chains of your anxiety, and insecurities, and become who you truly are around others, because just through your text I can sort of sense you are an interesting and humorous person. 🙂

      • Ah, I see. Haha, I bet it feels much more relaxing now than when you first came into the world of jobs after high school? It definitely is relaxing after the disappearance of social anxiety and agoraphobia though… I think. So you’re basically feeling more content now. :p When do you plan to get the job as a nurse? Or any other counseling job?

        I don’t know if I’m interesting or humorous though… I pretend that I have this very happy and talkative exterior with other people when actually I’m always nervous. I analyze their facial expressions when talking to them to see any changes in their interest level…. Yepp I hope I could throw off my chains, too. :p

      • I do the same thing! Sometimes, I think it’s just residues of my social anxiety, lingering a little from bygone days. As for when I’ll get a job as a nurse, for me, it’ll take a good couple of years to attain the university degree, and then some time will be spent in work experience and searching for a job, so not for a long while. The path to a full-time job is a slow and steady one, unfortunately. In the meantime, I’ll probably float around in customer service positions just to have enough money for basic needs and whatnot.

  5. Hey. It’s good to know that you’ve found a way to cope with the world. Growing up is strange, isn’t it? Now I’m scared… I don’t want to loose my “dreamy sparkles” (let’s call it this…), which I feel like I have have barely explored…

    I was very surprised to hear you say that you became Christian, as your old posts made me find so much wonder in a godless world a few years ago… I myself have found peace in this place. But I’m happy that you’re happy. With or without God, we are still people and our nature is the same.

    You sound so relieved… The only way to fight social anxiety is really to jump into the lions. Your experience gives me hope that one day I will be able to grow out of it.

    As to creative writing, sometimes we just need to stay away from our passion for a bit, so that we can come back to them with a renewed strength.

    And now I just want to remind you that I think you have a gift with words. Seriously, if only you knew how your words have made an impact in my life over these four years… Thank you for making my world brighter ❤

    • No, thank you for making MY life brighter over the years with your lovely, kind and considerate comments, and you have no idea how happy it makes me feel to have helped you in some way in your life, no matter how small. ❤ And yes, you are exactly right—overcoming social anxiety is a bit like jumping into the deep end of the pool and realising you can float just fine on your own.

  6. I am so glad to see you are a back. I would check back often but it felt like you were done with the blog. I even got a little worried but I’m really glad you’re back. I take great pleasure in reading your posts.

    You really put things in perspective for me when you said “what I truly want is for fantasy to become a reality” I’ve been questioning the meaning of life recently and I just can’t seem to come up with anything. Everyone says spending time with family or living life to the fullest but that stuff never really made me feel alive. Even if I were to pursue something that was “magical” it would in the end feel mundane and ordinary because what I want is a fantasy. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t any meaning in life and in order to find value in it you have to assign it yourself.

    Not a really well though out idea. I will have to get back to you on that one. lol can’t wait to read more of your writing.

    • So sorry for the late reply! I got caught up with personal things. I agree with you—it is impossible for fantasy to ever take the place of reality, but I do believe, after a period of thinking (and which I will write about), that the real world is very beautiful as well. Take care, you cannot imagine how glad it makes me to know my words have helped you in some way. ❤

  7. Thanks for this post, I love your honesty.
    I feel the same yearning for something more than anything the world could ever provide. Personally, I think there is an emptiness where God should be.
    I just want to encourage you. As a Christian, you can know for sure that in every disappointment and whisper of sadness, there is so much hope. The more aware we are of the emptiness of our current existence, the more amazed we will feel when God fills it. The closer you get to God, the more alive, truly alive, you will be.
    Also, with your writing, do you think you have gone off it because you’re scared you won’t be successful? I’ve felt the same way since graduating from art school. I realised recently that my passion hasn’t actually faded, it’s fear that’s holding me back from doing what I love.
    Realising that our dreams aren’t necessarily going to come true is indeed part of growing up. Suddenly we’re thrown into adulthood and we have to support ourselves somehow. And for some reason, no one is chucking money at me for my art. But still… I don’t want to let my dreams be stolen away. God gives us these talents and passions, they are sacred. I may never make a living from doing what I love, but that doesn’t mean I’ve failed (at least, not in God’s eyes).
    But it is really difficult to stay motivated when society is so success-driven. It’s hard not to be taken in. If I’m not doing it for money or acclaim, what am I aiming for? There are times when I’ve felt creativity has brought me closer to God… Have you experienced this?
    All the best in your journey.

    • Yes. Yes, in a million ways, to everything you wrote. Lately, I have been feeling much more happier and content because I have let God fill the emptiness and void within me, and I do believe my writing and creativity is a gift from God, and therefore sacred. As for the fear of failure—yes, the doubt is still there, but I just leave it in God’s hands, and feel soothed. God bless you.

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