Many of us think of introverts as being quiet, reserved and thoughtful people who keep themselves to themselves and prefer not to attend social events, and we may be right, but there is often more to an introvert than simply being the opposite of an extrovert.
The world-renowned psychologist, Carl Jung, first described introverts and extroverts back in the 1960’s and wrote that they could be distinguished from one another by how they regain energy. In his preliminary findings, he wrote that introverts prefer being in an environment that is not particularly stimulating and that they need ample time to recharge and recover from stimulants. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain fuel from being around others.
That said and many years on, we now know that these personality traits are not always easily defined, and that some introverts can have elements of extroversion in their personalities, and vice versa. While it’s true that both types of personality can experience problems with their mental health, it’s widely accepted and proven that introverts are more susceptible to depression than many other personality types.
Why could this be?
Many with introverted personalities prefer to spend time immersed in their own worlds, listening to their own inner thoughts and engaging with their own monologues that often take over their mind space. They also choose to speak out less often, and when they do, they choose their words very carefully. Thinking too much and speaking too little are common criticisms of introverts. Due to their restricted lack of communication with others, they may harbor a wide range of emotions that over time, become trapped and can torment them, sometimes having a hugely debilitating effect on their everyday lives.
Overthinking and a lack of social activity can combine to make the average introvert more prone to symptoms of depression than others, and when their thinking processes take over it can cause them to focus on their perceived faults or frailties, which can lead to a downturn in self-esteem. Alongside this, they may begin experiencing feelings of guilt and even general despair, which when left untreated, can evoke a cycle of hopelessness that can make them feel depressed and alone.
So, if you’re an introvert, what can you do to cope with depression?
Firstly, if you’re an introvert and suffering from depression, it’s important to remember that you can get over it, and you can tackle the reasons behind the illness safely, provided you seek help from a mental health professional.
In recognizing your own personality characteristics as an introvert, don’t push yourself to face your depression in any particular way. Instead, be honest with yourself and allow yourself to find your own ways of dealing with depression. And, please seek help from a professional therapist if you don’t find your symptoms easing, or if you’re worried that you’re beginning to feel worse.
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