How Introverts with Depression Survive & Navigate the World

How Introverts with Depression Survive & Navigate the World Featured Image - A man with a backpack in a forest
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For introverts with depression, mindfulness and the ability to embrace one’s unique qualities are pivotal for one’s well-being.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean we’re suffering from depression. But it also doesn’t mean depressed people are introverts. So, how do introverts with depression survive and navigate the harsh world?

Remember, introversion and depression are different things weaved so beautifully that they could often be misinterpreted as one. And if you’re living abroad without family and friends around you, this can be a nightmare.

If that makes sense, living in this “bubble” can be extra debilitating for introverted individuals like me to navigate the world, especially as an adult, compared to extroverts. Our natural way of doing things doesn’t coincide with what everybody does.

Table of Contents

How I Live My Life as an Introvert with Depression

As a person who prefers solitude to being around people, it’s easy for me to point fingers at myself. My inner dialogue screams at me, blaming my introversion as a flaw. Honestly, I spend most of my time wishing that I am born differently, hoping that I can change myself by trying to be more sociable and open to others.

This could have been helpful living abroad. But this isn’t the case for me. I refuse to consider other critical factors due to ignorance, like how I thought and felt about things and how my entire system naturally works as a person.

Struggling to adapt to my new environment, I can quickly attack myself by looking back and seeing the negative experiences I have earned rather than the good ones. It’s as if I’ve done nothing positive, reliving the childhood trauma like it happened yesterday.

To give you a better example, I want to share an excerpt from my July 28, 2018, journal entry.

“At times, suicide came across my mind, though I have made lots of attempts in the past. I don’t want to be conclusive and say I wouldn’t do it in the future. Rather than taking my own life that way, I’d live my life doing what they want me to do. My parents want my support, fine. My sister, too. I’ll do whatever they want me to do. Whatever my opinion is, it doesn’t matter. Besides, I don’t know them anyway.”

As an adult and married woman, I have struggled to find the fun and the good memories of my life and have spent most of my life thinking there’s something wrong with me.

In most cases, I have failed to understand and study myself and my behavior better by knowing the lines between me as someone born with an introverted personality and the other me who suffers from this chronic mental disease.

How Introverts with Depression Survive & Navigate the World Content Image - 'Bring Your Own Sunshine' by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

How Introverts Handle Depression: Mindfulness

Kyle Kittleson of MedCircle highlights this issue on his YouTube channel, wherein he mentions his life as an introvert with depression. It took him a while before he realized how his introverted lifestyle affected his way of living and dealing with self-acceptance.

In his video, he explains how he overcame this obstacle through therapy, talking to mental health professionals, and knowing who he was. Throughout the tumultuous recovery process, he says he needed to be as honest as possible to ensure the positive results he wanted for himself and his overall well-being.

“I am very aware of when I [need] to recharge and have some solo time as opposed to feeling depressed and isolating because of that depression. And the reason why I can tell the difference is because of the depression [itself]. If I am depressed, I feel depressed. When I am taking time for myself, I don’t feel depressed… because I feel good,” Kittleson mentions.

Similarly, with the help of my loved ones and expressive writing, I survived the hopelessness and overcame the feeling of worthlessness despite the many attempts I made to take my own life in the past.

Although it took me years to see myself outside the “bubble,” the idea of being outside of it, an accomplishment I never thought possible, didn’t slip my mind. Even though I am an introvert, I can navigate the world around me on my terms, develop self-respect, and stray from my self-loathing tendencies—an unhealthy hobby.

The point is this. If you identify as an introvert with depression, always remind yourself there’s nothing wrong with you. It is the depression that gets in the way, in your way, and kills you and your ability to see a vision, creating the possibility for you to create a meaningful and successful life ahead. Nothing else.

Depression is developed from various factors, such as genetics and the environment you’re exposed to, which can be fixed through therapy. But always remember that introversion isn’t a problem, requiring a solution. It is your way of living your life and moving forward wherever you want to go. Thus, being able to accept your introverted self makes a difference. So, don’t judge yourself for who you are.

How Introverts with Depression Survive & Navigate the World Content Image - A woman reading a book, photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash
Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Mindfulness for Introverts with Depression

If you struggle to cope and overcome your depression, Kittleson emphasizes the significant benefits of understanding the role of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and researching the topics that surround this topic. Learn about depression and its surrounding subtopics as much as you can.

Other non-medicated measures don’t require you to start big for as long as you feel great after doing it. Kittleson suggests returning to those activities you once loved or finding new ways to get more active, though it doesn’t look valuable to others.

“It’s better to do a little thing that makes you feel good about yourself, but with consistency, than doing nothing,” Kittleson says. The key here is consistency and finding the minimum in your daily activity to improve the quality of your overall well-being.

According to Joanna Thompson of Quanta Magazine, a better-nuanced understanding of depression is encouraged for medical professionals to provide a better assessment of what treatment works and whatnot.

In her article, she writes about Charles Nemeroff’s observations in his field of expertise in neuropsychiatry, expressing the same advice. “A set of diagnostic tools can determine the best therapeutic approach to an individual patient’s depression. Be it CBT, lifestyle changes, neuromodulation, avoiding genetic triggers, talk therapy, medication, or some combination thereof,” she writes.

Furthermore, being more honest with yourself during recovery is also necessary. The more open you are, the better and the more positive the results you get from any mental health intervention practice you prefer. Medicated or not.

For example, instead of relying on external things or sources to cover up depression, such as caffeine, drugs, video games, or sex, finding space for mindfulness and clarity is best. One of the simple things you could do today is to ask yourself, “Why do I feel sad, happy, anxious, or afraid right now?”

Lastly, you must be tuned with yourself by being more aware of how your inner and outer worlds look and feel. So, find activities you already know or want to learn that cultivate mindfulness practices and help you develop a strong sense of self-control.

How Introverts with Depression Survive & Navigate the World Content Image - 'Feel' by Nick Page on Unsplash
Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash

My Final Thoughts

We’re all in this together. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. It’s the best yet, simple advice to silence our angry and chaotic inner worlds. It’s a must for introverts to ensure our inner worlds match our external surroundings in whatever ways we can. Besides, the vibe or the atmosphere you feel inside and outside matters more than anything else.

Consistency increases our chances to feel better, achieve things once impossible, and see the best version of ourselves as introverts. It’s time to use our strengths to face the fears we’ve always avoided, thinking we’re too weak to overcome and defeat our harshest enemy—ourselves.

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