Life, for INFPs, is an unending mystery, the world a place forever falling short of our fantasy and ideals, and our society filled with unimaginative and selfish people: it’s no wonder we are a personality type that commonly suffers from mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. And, since I am in the throes of depression at this present moment in time, I think this is the perfect post for me to write. So, here are things an INFP can do when extremely depressed, to help them get out of their depression.
1. Stay around animals.
INFPs have a natural kinship with animals, particularly quiet ones like cats, and it makes sense to spend time around them when we are feeling down. Something about stroking their fragile, gentle bodies makes us feel calm, and protective: it makes us, in short, feel better about ourselves, and about the world in general.
2. Remember, if homelessness is what you are afraid of—and I certainly am—perhaps it would be good to step back and gain some perspective.
Maybe you’re not going to be homeless any time soon. If you are young, there are youth services out there for those aged 16-25, specially designed to help young men and women get off the streets. What’s more, if you live in a developed country, even if you become homeless, it is unlikely you’ll be left to starve: more likely, there would be services out there to help you, and you can always try leaning on relatives and friends for help, if needed.
3. Take a shower.
INFPs, more than any other type, are connected with nature. It is a fact. There is something about nature that soothes me beyond belief: it is because we understand, on an intrinsic level, that we are connected to all that exists (I mean, the living world, not plastic and suchlike), and that is something that is very comforting and soothing. So, take a warm shower—INFPs do not like cold showers; we might as well be tortured—and embrace the feeling of being with nature, deluged in a magical liquid created by God, for you to drink, and bathe in, full of healing and other wonderful properties.
4. Spend time around other people.
When you are depressed, the worst thing you can do is spend time alone, by yourself, in your room—especially if you spend it in bed, unproductive, and unhappy. Your bedroom turns into a small, enclosed space filled with the fug of misery, and nothing good happens. Instead, try meeting up with friends, or leaving your room to spend time with family members. Make sure you go out and see your psychologist. Do things that involve being around and talking to other people; trust me, it’ll take your mind off things.
5. Listen to nostalgic music.
There’s nothing like nostalgia to cheer an INFP up. We live and breathe nostalgia. I wouldn’t recommend watching nostalgic movies—I tried that, and got bored and depressed halfway through because they were no longer sparkling and wonderful the way they were when I was a kid—but music, especially songs, since they are short and sweet, can tap into that part of your brain that evokes nostalgia, and make you feel like life is worth living, just for a little bit longer.
6. Make sure you keep indulging in your hobbies.
Whether it is writing blog posts, or books, or short stories, or drawing or painting, or even dancing, whatever it is, keep doing it. Even if you’re depressed enough to want to collapse right on your face, as I was this morning, keep writing, keep doing things. This will boost your mood like nothing else, as staying productive, no matter how little, even when you feel like doing absolutely nothing and just turning into a vegetable, is one of the best ways to life the veil of depression, just a little.
7. Turn to God, or the universe.
In times like this, it’s time to go to drastic measures. There are moments at night, deep in the middle of the night, where I wake up and find myself so completely consumed with misery I feel as though my entire body has turned into a black shadow. But it doesn’t matter if you feel yourself connected to something greater than yourself, someone who can look after you, watch over you, and take care of you. Reach out to the greater force or higher being you believe in, in these times of crisis, and they just might help you pull through.
8. Start a blog.
If you are an INFP with an ounce of writing talent—in other words, if you have the ability to string words into coherent sentences—then I recommend you start a blog, and use it to help other people by talking about your feelings. Starting a blog was one of the best things I ever did for my mental health. Not only do I receive wonderful comments from people, who tell me my posts helped them, or give me advice, there’s the cathartic feeling of having expressed yourself, through words, to other people, who understand, and who care, just like you do. So, start a blog, if you can—you’ll thank me for it.
9. Maybe there are other chances in life.
Okay, so, if you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll know that one of the reasons I am so miserably depressed is because I haven’t been published yet. But in life, maybe it’s good to remember there are other chances. Maybe I’ll find another idea and write an even better book. Maybe the person who turned you down will turn out to be a horrible person, and you were better off without them. Maybe your job searching, leading to all those closed doors, will eventually lead you to the perfect door, that’s just right for you. Maybe if this publisher doesn’t accept my book, another one will. Maybe. Just remember, there’s always a “maybe”.
10. You don’t know what the future is like.
This is a bit of advice I am still struggling to come to terms with and put in practice, but the thing is, you don’t know what the future is like. Think about it. A year ago, did you think you’d be where you are now? No. What about two years ago, three years, or even five or ten? Exactly. The future is ever-changing, ever-shifting, and you never know where it will take you. Eventually, you will have to come to terms with the fact that you cannot predict the future, and for someone with depression, that is actually a GOOD thing, because it means you don’t actually know whether the future will be negative or positive. Instead of seeing the future looming ahead of you like this fathomless black tunnel, see it as something which is full of both shadows and light. And maybe, just maybe, the light will win out, in your future.
11. Eat something tasty.
This is only a temporary solution, but sometimes, you will be in the blackest of black moods, and the only way you can get yourself out of it is if you do something drastic, like stuff your face with a bar of chocolate, or cook some nice, tasty fish, fry it up, and eat it all by yourself. Do not feel any self-disgust for completing such a task, even though you will be tempted to as you are gorging by yourself, if only for a couple of seconds: instead, view it as part of your own self-care program, where you give yourself a tasty treat, just for existing and getting through the day.
12. Always try to do things, even if you don’t like them.
Yesterday, I lay on my bed for four hours straight, doing absolutely nothing. It was the worst move I could ever make, because when I got up from that bed, dishevelled and half-asleep, I felt more pessimistic and depressed about my future than I could possibly be. So, instead, do small tasks that help you move towards your goals in life. For me, I want to get a job, so, instead of lying in bed depressed, I’ve been applying for some jobs requiring no experience online when I have the strength and energy to do so. It hasn’t been easy—there are so many jobs out there I am not qualified for—but there are a couple here and there, which I do apply for. Maybe—actually, most likely—I will not get a call back from any of them, but still, I was spending my time doing something. I have also been trying to figure out my career path, by taking career tests and reading up on a “A day in my life” posts from people in certain jobs, like childcare workers, just to get a feel of whether I can go into a certain industry or not.
13. Leave the house.
Do not stay in the house all day, depressed and with nothing to do. Why? Because that is how suicides happen. A combination of extreme boredom and depression leads to a nasty and toxic kind of mental state. Instead, go outside. Do not go for walks by yourself, or do any solitary activities. Go to the library, or a park, where you will be absolutely surrounded by people. For me, I go to a job agency three times a week, four if I am able to, in order to get out of bed and out of the house, and be around other people. Sure, I may not always enjoy their company, and all I do when I get there is search for jobs, but it is far more distracting and therefore useful than spending the day alone in the house.
14. Be kind to yourself.
I have been depressed for a total of two months. Ever since I hit “Send” and sent out my books to publishers, and haven’t received a single reply, and then realised both the books were crap and would never be published, not in a million years, I have sunk into one of the worst depressions of my entire life. And up until a few days ago, where I watched a Youtube video on self-care or something, I was treating myself terribly. I was berating myself, punishing myself, hating myself, and overall treating myself like a petulant child that wasn’t living up to a parent’s expectations. It’s the wrong thing to do. In fact, it’s a counterproductive thing to do, because doing these things only makes the depression worse. Instead, take a deep breath, relax, and treat yourself like a precious child. Now, this doesn’t mean going out there and buying yourself a $60 pair of shoes: instead, it means you sit still, listen to yourself, think of yourself using kind words, think of your future in positive terms, and treat yourself in a nice and good manner, letting yourself relax when necessary, taking a break when needed, treating yourself to something if it is within reason, like a $2 packet of crisps.
15. Know that there are people out there who care about you and understand what you are going through.
If you are going through depression right now, I understand and I care about you. I know how hard it is. I know suicide seems like the easy, even logical way out. Do not do it. It will be such a shame to lose a wonderful person such as yourself, and your family members and friends will be pierced to the core and scarred for as long as they breathe. Trust me. When you are depressed, and the rest of the world keeps moving on, people go to work, have babies, get married, and live wonderful, happy little lives of success and joy, it can feel like no-one cares, and you are all alone. But you are not. You have me, who spent a good half an hour writing up this post so I could help others in the same situation I am in. You have your family members and friends. You have other people in your suburb, your city, your country and in the world who care. Through the internet, especially forums, you can reach out to strangers, who will in turn give you advice and care for you. Remember: you are never alone.