I was reading a research paper on introversion and depression the other day, it’s basically an analysis of the connections between introversion and decreased mental well-being. I found it interesting ( maybe I found it so because I’m interested in the studies of psychological behaviors heh), and so I thought I should write about it here.
I will try to approach this topic in a simplified manner though because, hey! Nobody likes long complicated essays and research papers, except for me- I guess.
Are Introverts Depressed?
I always see questions like this on social media, and what really baffles me is that most times, these questions are asked by self-proclaimed introverts.
Apparently, society did a great job of guilting some of us for being who we are to the point of believing something’s wrong with us, and our mental well-being is not intact.
Introversion is a personality trait. One we are born with and though it essentially affects our perceptions and behaviors during our lifetime, it is just part of our character and personality. Something to be- supposedly perceived as normal.
Asking if introverts are depressed is the same as asking if people are born depressed, so the obvious answer is, No– introverts are not depressed.
People( some introverts included) relate introversion to depression mostly because introverts, due to their unique inborn tendencies prefer solitary activities. Our preferences would make sense if we consider that humans are prone to follow activities they find enjoyable and would recharge their energy batteries.
Introverts are energy preservers, we draw energy from within, using feelings and ideas, and impressions, so being in overstimulating environments for longer than necessary will only make us overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and overall drained. That’s why we generally prefer solitary activities, no-one will want to stay in a place that sucks the life out of his energy! That’s the reason why, and not because we are depressed.
It is true what others think about us enjoying our alone time, being quiet, introspective, and often don’t engage in small (meaningless) talks, but there is much more to introversion than what others limit it for.
Are Introverts More Likely To Be Depressed?
So introverts are not born depressed, but unfortunately, a lot of research claims that there is a connection between introversion and depression, meaning that introverts are more likely to experience depression than extroverts.
There are a lot of factors that lead to this sort of “ introverted depression”, one of them is that we have a feeling-type personality, we’re sensitive, introspective, and naturally more reserved. These traits- in the case of many introverts, may lead to developing depressive symptoms.
But most importantly, introverts are led to depression because we lack social support.
Extroverts tend to be more vocal about their feelings and emotions, so it would be natural for them to seek social support when something’s wrong, whereas introverts will most likely choose to keep the topic of their mental well being in the dark resulting in more emotional negligence; why though? Because we grow up thinking being different is not a good thing to mention around others.
We’re being raised in communities that favor extroversion and guilt introverts for being the way they are, it’s only natural a lot of us would grow up with low self-esteem and develop anxiety over time and even get depressed.
We grow up thinking that being introverted is the reason we have little to no social life, we suppress our nature because introversion is seen as negativity in one’s personality and so we should fit in according to social standards by being more extroverted.
But dear friends, suppressing our inborn tendencies will only result in self loath and misery, we are not wired to be fake, it will eventually backfire if we don’t embrace our introversion and get comfortable with ourselves.
Being different is normal you know, so unless you’re doing something that affects you- or others around you negatively, there is nothing wrong with you.
Help for Depressed Introverts
If you’re an introvert and you identify depressive symptoms in yourself, I would suggest you seek professional help immediately.
I experienced mild depression during my college years, I just couldn’t get myself to be excited or motivated to do anything. I suffered from a continuous feeling of low self-esteem and spent most of my days just- living.
I never attempted suicide or had any tendency to physically harm myself though, so I can only imagine how that could be for someone who is introverted.
Due to my lack of knowledge and denial, it had taken me over 5 years to recover. That could have taken way less time if I was to admit I needed help.
A professional therapist will help you normalize your tendencies and preferences as an introvert, you should expect him to guide you to self-acceptance, and to appreciate your truthful personality.
You will need someone to listen to your emotional struggles, be it a therapist or even better- a close friend/relative. This will allow you to get negative thoughts and feelings out.
You also need to be actively involved in your mental healing process- read some self-help books to get to know yourself better and start doing things you enjoyed before to get your mind away from negative thoughts. It may not be easy to “enjoy” these activities at first, but believe me, starting is the hardest part in your healing journey, you should expect to start feeling better if you just keep ongoing.
Lastly, I want you to know that depression is not your fault, as it is not entirely society’s fault. It happens to millions of people every year, a lot of them we’re in your shoes one day, but they eventually recovered and came back better than ever. Depression is curable, you just act now and start your healing journey.