One of the interesting things about wordpress is that it shows me what ‘search words’ people use to get to my blog. Off course, those words need to be on the blog in the first place. Quite often I get people who searched: ‘INFP suicide’.
I hope that in the future those people will end on this page and read it.
I want so say that even if I have never tried to commit suicide and never actually thought about it in the real way, there were many times in my past when I wished that I didn’t exist anymore. Now I don’t think about suicide anymore, but there are still days when I would be happy if the world wound’t exist, when I wished there was a button that I could push to shut down the planet like I shut down my computer.
I have been very depressed at times and felt like I don’t have the energy to get myself up. I didn’t like the situation that I was in and I didn’t consider that I have enough energy to get out of it.
Probably for most INFPs suicidal thoughts have something to do with other people’s expectations, with lack of money, with the feeling of being out of place in this world, with the lack of energy for a job.
I just want to give two pieces of advice to these people.
First piece of advice: There is sunshine after the rain. As many many happy people can tell you: they had (very) bad times in the past. The only certain fact about luck is that it will change. Hang in there and it will happen.
Second piece of advice: You have nothing to lose anymore. You can only go upwards. Let’s say you dream of being an actor. If someone came to me and told me he/she wants to be an actor I would consider what that someone has to lose. If that someone is an accomplished lawyer, I might tell him that it is good for him to do what he wants with his life, but I will not insist that he quits his job to become an actor. But to you, someone who is thinking about committing suicide, I can tell the truth: The best thing about life is that you get to choose your own goals. You only live once. But as someone said: once can be enough. You can make what you want out of your life.
Consider that life is a trip. The joy is the trip itself, not only reaching the destination. If you love the mountain, you will love to climb it, even if you might never get to the top. Same advice to you: chose a ‘destination’ for your life and try to reach it. Even if you don’t, it still feels good to know that you have lived it your way.
Last thought: try some self help literature. Dale Carnagie or Napoleon Hill. Or try Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self reliance. Or Carl Rogers – On becoming a person! I guarantee that you won’t consider suicide anymore.
[It is a long time since I last wrote on this blog. This means that I was either too busy or simply happy. It is in the dark times that I write the most – not only on the blog, but also in my personal diary.]
I want to share the method that I consider the most useful in improving an INFP’s state of mind. It probably applies to all MBTI types and mostly to all introvert types.
Those that have a good knowledge of psychotherapy will probably tell me that what I present here is basically cognitive therapy. However, I want to present how this works for me as an INFP and as something that anyone can apply alone without any knowledge of psychotherapy.
When I was in college I learned about the Ego Defense Mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is ‘rationalization’. A description of this mechanism sounds like this: supplying a logical or rational reason as opposed to the real reason. And here is an example (taken from a website): stating that you were fired because you didn’t kiss up the the boss, when the real reason was your poor performance.
As a defense mechanism, rationalization is kind of unconsciously lying to oneself. However, I think that knowing about this defense mechanism is good because it makes as realize that our state of mind is a direct consequence of what we think.
I will give you some examples of situations when I had to consciously rationalize things in order to lift my mood up.
But before that I just want to say that sometimes outside life seems to me like a trap. It can make us want things that we don’t actually want.
A few years ago I bought a car. Before buying it I have analyzed more options. I have made a written comparison of all the models that I thought about buying and finally made up my mind. From time to time it happens that I get buyer’s remorse. I think that maybe I should have bought another model. What I have found that works in this situations is for me to go home and review the written comparison that had made when I bought the car. Reminds me exactly of all the reasons for which I didn’t buy the other models and why I bought the one that I have. No more buying remorse for me.
I am almost 30 years old but I don’t feel settled yet on a career path. In the past I have quit one college before graduating another one, I have worked in more than one work field but every time I found myself changing jobs and fields. Sometimes, when I meet some of my friends that are doing good in their careers I feel kind of bad about myself. But if I take the time to think about my personal history and all the decisions that I took and the reasons that I had, I actually feel kind of good of myself because I understand that I have come such a long way in getting closer to what I really want my life to be like. [As someone commented on a previous post, most people that seem a lot better off, that seem to have an easy way finding what they want and having an 8 to 5 job, usually encounter a crisis later in life.]
Sometime I feel low without realizing what the reason is. Many times, after doing a bit of introspection – usually in writing -, I realize that it has to do with a future event that stresses me or with a lack of money in the near future. Most of the times I manage to find a way to rationalize things so that the next moment I can feel good about myself, sometimes even great. As a note: recently had such stress about a future event. When doing my introspection I realized that I didn’t actually need to take part in it. I simply canceled my participation. I know that for many people such situations are obvious and they have no such problems, but I find myself sometimes in this kind of situations – and I think that this goes for other INFPs too. It is like I am acting disconnected from my inner self or as if outer life is full of traps for the INFPs.
Important final note: sometimes we might even ‘lie’ to ourselves. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if the explanation that I attach to something is right or wrong as long as it helps me keep my life on the right track!
INFPs have a vivid imagination. This is why we can come up with much more ideas than we could actually translate to reality. Living among people who are more practical and reality orianted compared to me, it makes it seem as if I am all talk and no action. Yes, INFPs are dreamers. And we often dream impossible dreams.
Back to my topic. Getting things done. First of all: INFPs get things done in their own rythm. I believe this one to be, at least at times, slower than the rythm of most other people. You see, INFPs have energy spells and lethargy spells. We need time to deal with worry and doubt. We need time to be alone and reconnect with our reason within. This is also because more often than not INFPs are following a dream that they feel that others cannot relate to.
Getting things done is, at least for me, a complicated process. And often not a linear one. I might loose my hope and interest at some point but if the purpose of the action lies in my soul, than my soul will take me slowly in the direction of that purpose. I might appear to be giving up, but in fact it can only be a moment of lost hope.
INFPs can get things done. The process may be a bit slower than for other types of persons that are more practical and that don’t have self-doubts. BUT there is a key issue: the purpose of our actions must be congruent with who we are.
An INFP who was a clear purpose for his actions, a purpose that lies within his heart, – a purpose that makes him proud and happy to be who he/she is, a purpose that he/she feels can be achieved – is one happy INFP.
This is a big part of being a happy INFP. The rest was put into a nice sentence by Victor Hugo. I don’t know the quote, but he said something like: happiness means to know that you are loved for who you are, or better said, despite who you are.
Something inside of me cannot deal with schedules.
Let me put it this way: for me a miserable life is one in which you cannot decide on the go what to do, one in which you have to do things by the schedule. Basically a life in which you have very little freedom over your choices.
A great life for me would be one in which you do as you wish. You wake up when you feel like it, you go out when you feel like it, you work when you feel like it.
How the hell can I live a normal life??? I always end up in the same situation. I cannot keep a steady job.
In psychiatry they consider that a problem needs treatment if it interferes with one’s ability to live a normal life. But I don’t feel crazy, not at all. I have asked myself if there is something wrong with me and if maybe I need treatment, but that thought is doing me only harm.
I keep on trying to find a way to integrate myself in this world. Being productive while being “as I am” is the most difficult part. If I will manage to do this, there will be no problems.
I find the morning the most difficult part of the day. I find it difficult to get out of the bed.
Once I get out of the bed and I get going things become a bit easier. But the moments before getting out of the bed are very difficult. It is like in those moments I ask myself: what am I getting up for? who am I getting up for?
I understand that my problem is a psychological one. Like most people, I really have what to wake up for. But on the other side, I have suffered quite a lot in the past and somehow I have these idea that it is much more likely that I will suffer in the future than that I will be happy.
I had a kind of (normal) love-hate relationship with my family. I am trying to get over it and love them but in a way all that I am doing is to shut down my real emotions. The truth is they deserve to be loved – I am a grown up now and I see how hard it is to raise a child and what efforts they made to raise me, my brother and my sister.
I feel that maybe the way that I am trying to shut down my bad feelings towards my parents, as well as feelings of being sad and lonely and missing being with a partner that I would love, make me less emotionally involved in life.
When we shut down emotions, we become distant from everything. We lack passion, we lack love, and as a result we might feel that no one and no cause are worth the effort of getting out of bed in the morning.
God, how I need to feel loved and feel in love.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not thinking about suicide. I would not do such a thing, it feels like to much effort. But if I would die, I would feel happy. If I had a button that I could push and it would take me out of this life without making others suffer (like if it would erase all memories and all record about me), then I would do it. I would push the button.
I don’t feel like this all the time. But I feel like this almost every morning.
Sometimes it makes me mad. I ask my self: how the f**k did I become such a dysfunctional human being?
I used to believe that what caused these feelings was the fact that I took my life in the wrong direction. Now I am taking it in what I feel is a good direction, but still the problems are there.
Now I feel that it is rather a problem with how I see the world, how I see myself – how I see life in general.
I feel like such a kid. It is like I am trying to live now the childhood that I did not have when I was young. In a way it kind of makes sense. I remember that I used to say a lot to my self: “I will do now as my parents say, but just wait until I grow up.”
Now all I want is to procrastinate, to do nothing. And I change my mind a lot regarding my goals and projects.
Everyday I feel like I need a vacation. And nothing in the world seems to be worth the effort.
And man… I have an easy life. Really, I have been blessed. I am healthy, my family is quite whealthy. I am a smart guy, not bad looking. I have good friends.
I don’t have a real job. Maybe here is the real problem. On one side I feel that I cannot have any real job because it would be to much effort. On the other side, not having a job affects my feelings of self-worth.
What should I do?
To make it worst, if I were to get a normal job now it would mean to change my goals once again, and I am tired of doing this.
I wish it could all stop. I wish there was that button that I could push.
Back in school, before going to college, I was among the brightest ones. I never really had to study hard but had great marks. I studied in one of the best classes in the best high-school in town and was in the top 3 in my class. My town has 150k population, so it’s not so small.
I dare to say that in mathematics and software programming I was among the best 5 or 10 students (of the same age as me) in my town.
To top that, I was in my high-school’s soccer team.
As I was not very interested in girls back then, that was it for me: I was smart, had great marks, and was great at football. You can imagine: my feelings of self-worth were fantastic.
Fast forward to 8 years later – nowadays. I went to college to become an engineer, but after 3 years I quit and started studying psychology. Now I have a degree in psychology. I also know now that my profile is INFP.
I’m still smart, I have a great personality (I believe this because I get along with most people and in my good days I am really fun), I still play soccer and am good at it, and to top it off (compared to my high-school days): my skills with women have much improved and my family is now doing great financially.
But, and here comes the problem, my feelings of self-worth have much diminished. Why? Because I have this believe that the amount of money that one makes is a measure of how ‘useful’ he is to society – and after high-school this is the real measure of a man’s worth. How good I am at football doesn’t matter, how big my IQ is doesn’t matter, what I read, what I watch on TV, how kind I am to others – these all feel secondary to me.
I don’t consider that one is worth as much as his bank account, but rather that one is worth as much as he makes from his job. (So if I could own a restaurant for example I would still not feel great as it would be the restaurant that is producing the money and not me.)
And I make (almost) no money :(. Really, the jobs that I feel in my heart that I want to have pay almost no money or are impossible to have in my town.
At a first glance my situation is not bad: my family has enough money to support me in whatever job I might choose and I have studied what I intended to study (psychology). But still I have this frustrating problem with my self-worth. Maybe it would not seem so big of a problem, have I not been so “great” in high-school.
I feel frustrated.
I wonder if all other people, or all other types of people have this need to “feel grater than others”, because this is what I feel that is my need.
And it feels like a Catch 22, because on the other side I hate most jobs that pay well. (To tell you the truth, in my moments of frustration, I would even accept a job that pays well even if I would hate it.)
I’ll let you know if I manage to find a job that pays well and suits and INFP well too.
I have been really stressed the last few days. If you come to think about it, it is normal: I’m 26, but I live with my parents, I don’t have a job and I don’t have a girlfriend. And more: the future doesn’t seem bright.
I mean, I know I don’t actually have a bad situation, I used to live on my own and living with my parents is just temporary – even more, living with parents has many advantages: my mom is a great cook, I don’t have to worry about paying the bills, etc.
As for girlfriends, I used to live in another town until 2 months ago so it is probably normal not to find someone in such a short time, especially as I don’t go out very much.
About a job, what can I say: I don’t have one, but on the other side I know I would be unhappy with most jobs that exist in this world. However, this is a problem that I really need to solve.
So here we go: possible stress solutions for INFP.
Chemical: my friend tells me most depressions are chemical based. This means we feel “something is wrong” when our brain lacks certain chemicals. So step one is to make sure you have a good diet and/or take the needed supplements.
Chemical 2: I suggest you do some sport. No matter how bad your life is, it will feel at least a bit better if you find/have a sport that you like and that you are good at. Even when I am not depressed I feel worse in the weeks when I don’t play soccer compared to those when I do, especially if my team wins.
Life outlook: Dr Paul says a man needs a mission in life. (I’m not sure if this is helpful for my female readers.) We INFPs really need to find a mission outside of ourselves. If we find a job in which we have to deal with the problems of others it does 2 things: first it gives us an occupation, keeping us busy and even making us proud of what we do, and second it takes the focus away from our own problems/doubts – that I believe are built-in for INFPs. Attention is a magnifier: when we look to much into our problems, our doubts, our failures we lose sight of the positives in ourselves.
We need a mission set outside of ourselves. For me it could me helping young people chose the right career (I did not get this kind of help from anyone), helping young talented kids not to waste their talent (I did get this help, but apparently not strong enough), helping people to have better relationships by understanding that people are different and teaching them how to deal with these differences. Or maybe I’ll have them all as a mission.
Social 1: We need to have a few close friends and talk from time to time with them about our mission, about our dreams, about our problems. I believe even a good psychotherapist could be the right person for this – of course we need to have a kind of a long term relationship with him/her.
This one has affected me strongly in the last few days. Having moved back to my hometown only 2 month ago I do not have any real close friends. I have many friends here and a few old friends that care a lot for me and that I care a lot for, but we have not been in touch for a while and this might have given me even a stronger feeling of loneliness.
Social 2: And I believe this could be a very important: do not compare yourself to others. I went out with a girl last night and we talked about what point we are at in our lives. Recently I have been comparing myself to much to other people. I used to see how everyone has a job – or more: a career – and I don’t. But talking with this girl reminded me that I took the best decisions FOR ME.
If I compare myself to others I might feel I did everything wrong in this live, but when I compare my life with what it might have been I understand why I took the decisions that took me to this point and I know that, even if from other people’s point of view I might have been much better, my life is quite good compared to what it was. And I don’t feel that bad anymore.
In other words: we must remember that we have other needs and other standards than most people do. For INFPs self discovery is important, as well as exploring life; and after that comes love. Social status, money and a career are not that important and actually have to be sacrificed in a certain degree.
I know that a few months ago when I felt that I had a mission and was in a great relationship I felt like the richest man in the world. I envied no one. I truly believed that my life was great.
Then I had some misunderstandings with my boss and because I could not deal with conflict I quit my job. I have always seen my long term future in my hometown, so I decided it was a good moment to move back even if this meant I have to leave a great girl behind. (I know I might regret this.)
But something happened when I came here. I have lost my mission and my great relationship. I started feeling wrong, useless, not worthy to be loved and after that I started comparing myself to others and always putting myself down.
I don’t know what happened last night when I went out with this girl but somehow it all started coming back. She even told me last night that she believes that nothing could happen between the two of us. Even in telling me this she made me feel a lot less lonely. She brought me back to life.
Hopefully my story is usefull to other INFPs too.
The most beautiful image that comes to my mind is the image of a young boy and a young girl that don’t have anything in mind except the magic that is happening between them. They are young, they have the future ahead and are careless, they have not had their “reality shocks” yet.
Similar images are those of children playing or asking questions about stuff. They believe that the world has something magic in it. I don’t believe this anymore. For the same reason I love pets, they have the same kind of innocence as children do.
But then comes the reality shock. Our relation with society is an economical one. We all have a social status to build and maintain. We all want to be placed as high as possible. To have a clear social order people have created rules and procedures that one has to follow.
I have a diploma in psychology. At the moment I am finding out what it takes in my country to become a psychotherapist. Of course it is something that one cannot do by him/herself. I need to be part of an organization, I need to meet some criteria. It seems so much work – although it is not. It is just that deep in my soul I hate the fact that I have to comply to all these social designed rules. In fact I am not sure I will manage to do it.
I imagine that many characters in the movie The Beach must have been INFPs.
I struggle to find reasons to invest energy in this life. I really do. I deeply need love and someone who understands me and thinks I’m ok as I am. No one I know seems to have as many problems as I do with the way this world/society is built. And everywhere I go I feel judged for how I am.
I have changed career fields in the past (even if I am only 26). I have started projects and never finished them. Most people I know don’t like this, they don’t do this kind of things in their lives. How can I explain them: I’m just trying to get the best out of life. And what if in the end I will feel that I did not get the best exactly because I was trying too hard and changing my options too often?
I find no other reason to live than to love someone and to be loved. But even that is not as easy as it seams, because my parents love me for being their son but not for being who I am. And I have found so very few people who I really love and appreciate in my life, and many times I wonder if my professional lack of success will not alienate them in the long run.
How I wish the world could judge us by our souls and not by our social status and/or public achievements. At least this is how I feel it is.
I look at the world and it seems so impersonal. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.
It seems like the older I get the more I understand who I am and how the world is. To me this means a lot.
I used to get depressed for certain aspects of my personality. Now I just see that this is how I am, and I have no problem with that. Of course, I must learn to learn how to integrate myself in this world, but that is an easier task – at least on a psychological level, because it was awful to hate myself.
It’s even hard to explain. I don’t know what the future might bring, and I know that it might not be something great because I realize that I am not well adapted for this world. But somehow, at a deep level, I love who I am. I love who I am, I like myself more than I like most other people. I might not like this world, but I like who I am.
Of course this happens mostly at night, when I have no work to do :D.
I wonder if I am depressed or not.
I don’t care about anything. I lack motivation. I feel that everything is worthless. But I don’t feel depressed. The only thing that scares me is “what if my state will not change?, i have been like this to often recently.”
I feel that my only change is to live through someone else. Really. I need someone who is motivated. I need to love someone. The good part is that I am about to fall in love with this girls that I have been seeing the last few weeks. Who knows?