INTP and Depression

I’ve been rather depressed lately. Whether or not I’m clinically depressed, I don’t know. Unless someone has been abused or has obvious genetic-caused psychosis, I don’t really believe in mental disorders.

That said, I’m yet again on a downward spiral. I’m bored at work, yet feel stuck because there’s no where to go. I’m only bored because I have no power or control over anything. And because people don’t like me, don’t trust me, and don’t want to hear me.

Ultimately, this all ties to money. This is the first year I’m making a good salary in my life. In one year I’ve managed to make over $60k. That’s incredible. What would be more incredible would be being able to maintain that. And it’s just not likely.

Some of you commented on my last post about career that you’d rather have a career you don’t feel personally attached to, so you could just focus on enjoying your life outside of work. I guess I just can’t live that way. I can’t detach myself from anything I do. Either I care too much or I don’t care at all.

I took the Myers Briggs test again. I used to be an INFP but the older I get the more INTP I become. I was 70% “T” when I took the test today. Everything about INTP’s speaks to me, as do the careers mentioned for the type… architect, scientist, engineer. Yet that isn’t what I was, academically, trained to do. I don’t see how I can go from where I am to where I might be happy.

Sure it’s possible. But it will cost A LOT. And is it worth it? Will that really make me happy? I’d only know after going into massive debt on my quest. And that may make me even more depressed than I am now.

I’m going to see a career counselor this month. On my 26th birthday. As a gift to myself. Maybe she will help me find a direction. Clarity. I spoke with another career counselor for a free consultation on the phone and she basically told me… a few decades ago women didn’t have any choice. So you are doing fine. You just have a lot of choices now. Don’t worry so much.

I can’t help but worry. I see dollars and cents in my future. Savings that could be. Not that my desired careers wouldn’t be lucrative, but getting there just seems impossible.

That said, I’m not sure how much longer I can stay where I am, doing what I do, feeling so helpless. The salary may be great, but I can’t hide it when I’m miserable. I’m so so so lucky to have a job right now with the unemployment rate at double digits, but I still feel so… empty. I don’t think I’m gaining any skills at this job that are transferrable, I’m at a dead end. Any other job with the same title requires me to be more extroverted than I am, and I’ll never be an extrovert. I just don’t know what to do.

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10 thoughts on “INTP and Depression”

  1. Double Amen to that! I am about to graduate from law school and I am not even sure I want to be a lawyer anymore. And its terrible to be in an environment where people are petrified of not finding a job. Hope your career consultation will give you more insight on where you want to go from here. And an early happy b-day to you! 🙂

  2. I commend you for exploring opportunities outside of your current career. You only live once. I have to constantly tell myself that. Lately, I've been trying to work up the courage to live a life that truly reflects that belief. I definitely don't think it's a good idea to go into debt to get an education. Hopefully your career counselor will be able to introduce you to ways you can determine whether your new career will be a good long-term fit before you spend another penny on formal education.

  3. I do think that people who are introverts can fake being extroverts for a period of time. It's tiring, but it it does get easier with time.

  4. I'm generally introverted but I did learn to fake extroversion professionally for about 5 years. Of course, a few months off the treadmill and I've almost completely lost the knack.

  5. Oops, submitted too soon. My point is that if there's something you can find to love about this job for a while, and practice your extroversion, perhaps you can create a road to someplace else, wherever that might be, where you would be happier.

  6. I'm no psychologist — just a depressive — but it sounds to me like you've confused depression with malaise. In some ways, the latter is worse. Depression is overwhelming and terrifying. Suddenly, you can't cope anymore. But it's slowly being learned about and (even more slowly) becoming accepted and understood by non-depressives. Malaise… People just tell you to be grateful that you have things going well. That you have nothing to feel so unhappy about.I think the career counselor idea is excellent. She will probably also have ideas on how to make the education more affordable. For example, if you do go back to school, start the community college level. The classes vary in quality, just like at a regular university, but you can get any prerequisites out of the way more affordably. And community colleges tend to have more classes that can work around a 9-5 job.Sometimes just stopping and thinking about what you want to do can be enough to help shake off malaise. And, yeah, debt is scary. But you know what else is scary? The prospect of sticking with a job to which you feel no ties, for the next 4 decades. All so you can feel secure now; so you can avoid debt — debt that you can probably easily pay off in under 5 years, once you have your new training. One of my favorite actors, John Mahoney from Frasier, became an actor in his late 30s/early 40s. Just realized one day that he wanted to act. It worked out for him surprisingly well. But there are tons of other guys that age who maybe just do community theater. Point is, they are finding a way to do what they enjoy.My mom decided after her divorce (she was 48) that she was finally going to go back to school and get her degree. She didn't need it. She still is a writer for a living. But it bothered her that she had never done it. She finishes her undergrad thesis in just about a month. All I'm saying is that 26 is a little young to worry about the prospects of starting over. It's a scary time — you're trying to create more balance and normalcy and figure out the whole "being an adult" thing — but it's still plenty young to be figuring out what it is you want to do.

  7. @abigal — I actually have been diagnosed with major depression by a psychiatrist. I'm actually depressed, although I'm sure mailase is a part of it. I actually think I'm bipolar, but trying to get rediagnosed soon.

  8. I definitely think picking a career that matches your natural inclinations is important. However, sometimes you may be surprised about what makes you happy. I'm basically introverted and had the perfect job for an introvert – one that required little face-to-face human contact. I hated it. I switched jobs and love my current field even though it probably fits extroverts better.

  9. I cant comment to the depression… but I can say this: At 26 I moved around the world and went $40000 in debt (my first debt EVER!!) for graduate school. I could have gotten caught up in dollars and cents in my future but I chose to do something that I was interested in. And I don't second guess or regret it for a single second. Oh and those dollars and cents 6 years later… well I make over three times my previous salary (and I am not in Law, Medicine or Business), I have over half the student loans paid off, I have $20,000 in retirement, I have $30,000 (10/10/10- Emergency Fund/Down Payment/General) in savings, I live a good quality of life balance (travel, entertainment and occassional treats) with a responsible financial outlook and a job I like with people I want to work with (its not perfect, but it is good). Every time I have followed my heart or my desire or my interest it has paid off… (note I am smart in planning and delaying immediate gratification to do what my heart wants- but I do it!) Every time I have followed dollars and cents I have ended up off track and it costs me more in the long run of my life.

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