Recent studies have proven that introverts have a high probability of having depression symptoms.
Though both introverts and extroverts can suffer from mental illness, introverts are more susceptible to depression than extroverts or ambiverts.
“I am rarely bored alone; I am often bored in groups and crowds.”
Laurie A Helgoe
We all know, introverts are very quiet and reserved. They seem to be quite awkward in maintaining social relations. Although they are often mistaken for being shy; they actually might not be. They just can’t open up as easily as an extrovert or an ambivert. They do not get along with everybody and love to spend time alone. They tend to avoid crowds and are definitely not party persons. In fact, they are reputed to be “party killers”. Introverts are way too selective when it comes to making friends or building social contacts. Quite often, they are labeled with words like “rude”, “weird”, “dull” and “boring”. Naturally, they feel judged all the time and prefer not to come out of their comfort zones.
What makes introverts more susceptible to depression symptoms
“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
Hawking couldn’t have been more right about this. Introverts have very loud and chaotic minds. They are always immersed in their own world. Inner thoughts and monologues always engulf their minds. They think too much and speak too little. They do not share their thoughts and feelings with their immediate family members, classmates or colleagues except for a few persons whom they truly connect with. This is why they harbor trapped emotions and tormenting thoughts.
Overthinking and social seclusion make introverts more prone to depression symptoms. These thinking processes are often focused on their frailties and as a result, they tend to develop a low self-esteem. This instigates them to critique themselves, which gives way to many complexes. These complexes, in turn, trigger the feelings of guilt, worthlessness, melancholy and despair. As a result, they are caught up in a vicious cycle of angst, hopelessness and dejection.
Some studies and research suggest a strong link between introversion and depression.
DS Janowski (2001) stated that the underlying personality is a significant determinant of depression and suicidal syndrome. Introversion is found to have the ability to trigger the outcomes of depression. Introversion, along with distinct personality variables, can influence depression symptoms. Several other studies have also associated introversion with depression by using a wide variety of techniques like self-reporting and psychological autopsy.
There is no denying that introverts are often perfectionists and self-critical. Despite doing their best, they are never satisfied with themselves. This causes such an extreme mental and physical exhaustion that they tend to underestimate themselves and their achievements. Being aware of their imperfections, they are constantly trying to achieve perfection, and repeated failures disappoint them. As introverts worry a lot about what others think of them, they urge to be flawless, which serves as a source of anxiety and stress. And this again puts them at a bigger risk of developing depression.
Introverts’ struggle with social life
When placed in an unfamiliar situation, introverts tend to feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Some introverts have an aversion to social engagement whereas most of them are overwhelmed by it. Too much socializing with others leave them emotionally drained. They start getting anxious and behave awkwardly. Even after leaving the place, their mind replays those awkward moments, again and again, leading to a feeling of irritation. The recurrence of the feeling of irritation and restlessness gradually develops into a deep-seated anxiety, which sometimes causes panic attacks and eventually yields depression symptoms.
Since introverts can’t handle certain social situations, they are often considered to be “unsocial nerds”. But they are not unsocial. They just can’t fit into a rabble or a crowd. They prefer one-on-one conversations as opposed to being in a group. But who talks privately at a party or any other social event! The ones who aren’t that good at making group conversations are usually left out, and most of them are introverts. Being socially alienated, introverted people keep to themselves. Consequently, they feel over-burdened with concealed emotions, suppressed feelings and intrusive thoughts, and over a period of time, they can fall into depression.
Why introverts become depressed
Depression symptoms can affect anyone at any time, but these generally affect one in times of professional setbacks and personal life ordeals. Social anxiety and an inferiority complex can jeopardize one’s personal and professional life. Undoubtedly, introverts are the most common victims of it. Troublesome relationships, work-life imbalance and dissatisfaction with oneself are some of the major problems that introverts face and which make them frustrated. Besides, introverts are pretty sensitive people. They get upset even if a small thing doesn’t happen the way they planned it to. They like to be informed about everything beforehand and will definitely freak out if they go about something unexpected. If they are put in a series of such challenges, they become overly stressed and end up being depressed.
Daydreaming is another factor which contributes to the development of depression amongst introverts. They are natural dreamers and have extremely crazy imaginations. They set high goals in life but aren’t always able to reach them, as half the time they are engrossed in deep thoughts and their inner world. Apart from this, introverts are also hypersensitive and keen observers. They take criticisms too personally and engage in frequent introspections. Their lofty expectations in life are seldom met, and this leads to utter disillusionment, which also triggers depression symptoms.
Yet, introverts have an advantage when dealing with depression symptoms
However, introverts have an advantage of discovering they are suffering from depression by deciphering the depression symptoms which most extroverts fail to recognize. In an article published by Psychology Today, it is said that scientists claim that “while introverts have no special advantage in intelligence, they do seem to process more information than others in any given situation.” Thus, introverts are more likely to get hold of the problem quickly, seek help and get cured if offered proper care and treatment. But a lot of introverts find it very tough to fight depression because they feel like they will never get rid of it because of their reserved personality. What they fail to understand is, it’s okay not to be okay. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert and having a mental health condition. Every illness has a cure and so does depression.
What a depressed introvert can do
So, if you are an introvert who is suffering from depression, don’t feel like you cannot ever get over it. If you don’t like to answer the question “Why are you depressed?”, then don’t. If you do not want to talk about your problems with others, then don’t. If you are better off being alone, then be alone. You have to find your own way of dealing with it. Seeking professional help is always recommended. A therapist is the most suitable person to assist you in coping with depression symptoms.
Also, working on yourself is a must. Accepting your flaws and imperfections, letting go of your insecurities and complexes, forgiving yourself for all the mistakes you’ve done in past and not setting very high expectations in life are the key factors that will help you overcome depression. No matter how tough it gets, never give up on yourself. Have faith and you’ll be all sorted again.
“Your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it, you will find all your paths.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Senjutee is a student and writing is her passion. She studies English literature and loves reading. Change for good is what she aims for through her writing. Being an introvert, she considers writing as a perfect medium for expressing her thoughts. Though she writes more about social causes, she is equally interested in penning down inspirational and informative stuff. In her leisure time, she dances and listens to some good music.