Saturday 14 July 2018

Recognising behaviours caused by my personality, not depression

When in a state of depression, I was confused about why I felt how I did. Until I discovered that I had been neglecting certain aspects of my personality, causing me to feel depressed.
- Ethan

Starting University was, as it is for everyone, a significant shock to the system for me, as well as a far greater learning curve than I had ever expected it to be so early on. With no-one to keep an eye on you and little accountability for not attending lectures, it quickly becomes very easy to hide yourself away in your room, with only your thoughts for company.

After what I thought to be a great start to University, seemed to end very abruptly as hiding away in my room became my daily experience of University. Behaviours and mindsets that would come and go throughout Sixth Form quickly returned in what felt like a far less temporary state of being.

When this state continued, feeling as though it would never leave, and hope rapidly faded away, I concluded that I must have depression. Looking back on it now, I don't retract that I was indeed in a state of depression, though I now disagree that I was at all clinically depressed. This is easy to see now. However, at the time, I struggled to find justification for this. Admittedly, I did have reason to be upset following what had happened in my first term, but why I battled to get out of bed each morning and instead continued to sleep throughout the day repeatedly over an extended period of time was a mystery. I felt guilty for the feelings I had; selfish and ungrateful. And ashamed of the way I was; lazy and wasting my potential.

Throughout the time I kept to myself, I had an abundance of time to look within, reflecting on my life and where it was headed. With a negative cloud tainting my thoughts, it was difficult to draw any conclusions for myself. It was then I remembered the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Personality Test that my flatmates and I had messed around with towards the start of University. Having taken the test twice at this time, I never looked too much into it, as the results I had received didn't seem to reflect my personality at all; although it had seemed far more accurate for my flatmates.

In the dark months of winter in the early hours of the morning, I decided to give the test another try. This time I really thought about my answers, being as true to myself as I could, and not answering the questions based on the person I wanted and pretended to be as I had done so before.

My personality type came through as INFJ, the rarest personality type, making up less than 1% of the world’s population. The deeply comprehensive breakdown of my personality revealed why I struggled to open up to and connect with others, why I was sensitive to criticism and overly analytical of myself, and why I have a tendency to suppress emotions, lashing-out unexpectedly. Through neglecting certain aspects of my personality that I had put down to being caused by depression, it became clear that I had instead caused myself to become depressed.

Discovering my personality type did not, of course, instantly solve my depressive state, but being aware of certain behaviours of my personality meant I could better cope with and prevent them. The more positive aspects of my personality were also made clear to me, meaning I could better find a path to help me feel more fulfilled throughout my life. I strongly recommend anyone struggling with their identity to take the MBTI Test in order to aid them in their journey towards living more truly to yourself.

Hey, I'm Ethan! Having not found the past few years a breeze, as few people do, and struggling along the journey to know myself and where I'd like for my life to take me, I thought I'd share my experiences and the lessons I've learnt from for others going through similar struggles, in hope that you also get a better idea of how you want to experience life. 
I'm currently studying Philosophy and Politics at UEA

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