The man with the rainbow glasses

17 Mar

It’s awful after all these years I can’t prevent a breakdown of sorts. All-in-all, it always comes back the awful sense of loneliness I feel. I think this is somewhat needy of me to want someone in my life who would understand, accept me & be around. Not very different from most humans’ needs definitely, but the depth I think about it is sometimes frightening even to me.

I can psycho-analyse myself to death but it wouldn’t cure me.

Reading many infp forums makes me feel this probably might resonate with many infps out there.

I suffer from mild depression. It comes & goes, is probably hormonal, diet or lifestyle related. I don’t eat terribly, I exercise only moderately.. this doesn’t seem to keep the breakdowns from occurring around once a month. Sometimes it feels like I’m fighting a battle to death with a frightful monster that keeps coming back no matter how I have injured it.

It affects me to the extend I don’t want to make plans to go out of the house for the weekend or makes me into a sobbing mental wreck when I lie down in bed. Recently it has only happened once a month. But I do remember times when I was moody almost every single day & could hardly bear having people coming into my room, where I huddled in isolation. Maybe one day it would push me too far that I might just stop trying. But for now, I don’t want an extended depression breakdown. It’s just too hard to pull yourself out of the hole without any help.

I can say things have improved as a result of exercise at least once every 2 weeks. Of course I could do better, the standard is 3 times a week. I could do better… but is life really going to get better? (Faulty logic here of course.)

I’m like the man in the story of the man with the rainbow glasses. I remember it too vaguely, so this is an invented, pieced together story.

Long spiel:
There was once a farmer, who was having a difficult time farming. His crops withered in the sun when the sun was too hot, & drowned when it rained too much. He was so angry that he threw his tools down and shouted to the heavens for cursing him. A small voice replied him, & when he looked around, he saw nobody. But there was a pair of glasses, colored like a rainbow, by his feet. Curious, he put it on. Strangely, right before his eyes, withered crops began to stand up & grow full. His fruit trees began to sprout fruit. Honey bees buzzed around his hives & his animals all looked sleek & content. Months passed while the farmer wore those glasses & enjoyed this new reality. One day, he said flippantly, “How nice if this would last forever”. Suddenly, a small voice answered him. Looking down, he saw a strange little man, who asked him for the glasses. Before he could reply, the little man took the glasses off his nose. Right in front of him, he saw his withered crops, the stunted fruit trees and the sun bleached bones of his animals… The farmer looked at the little man & said, “I beg you, please give me the glasses…”

BIG SIGH.

But please, if you are an infp who has battled depression successfully, I would like to hear from you.

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16 Responses to “The man with the rainbow glasses”

  1. Mark August 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    As a (just turned) 54 yo INFP male, I have always struggled with a predisposition towards low grade depression, which, when I was 40 (during divorce, bankruptcy and joblessness all at the same time), blew up into a severe depression lasting about 5 months (THAT was no fun). However, I discovered the MBTI about 4 years ago while I was in therapy AND attending university courses on psychology (at the same time), which was an awesome time of true understanding and education.

    For me, just learning that INFP’s are predisposed to depression (“drawn to sad things” is something I read somewhere) was a great eye opener and an actual comfort; I could finally know that nothing is actually wrong with me, it’s just the way I am. Simple psychology says that you can change your behavior, which is true to a large extent, but we’re really only changing the adapted behaviors we’ve learned…nothing can change the way you were hard-wired to be. In other words, an INFP cannot change themselves into an E or an S or a T or a J, but we can become more balanced in each of those areas so that we can better cope with life’s (and people’s) craziness.

    Listen, as INFP’s, we truly do have a depth of perception and understanding of ourselves and the world that others just don’t have. Why, therefore would we not be depressed? We perceive the ugliness and injustice and we want to make the world a better place. But we see how little we can actually change things, so helplessness sets in. No one can be ideally happy (especially us idealists who have such high ideals!). What we must learn is to recognize our INFP as both a gift and a curse. A curse of bitterness and isolation if we just stay in our introverted world. But if you exercise it as a gift to help others, just being who you are will help many. We don’t have to analyze and counsel, that is put offish and dangerous unless it is your profession (which is a great one for INFP’s), but to give yourself to someone, in the moment they are talking to you, without trying to change them or tell them they’re wrong, will allow them to share in your perceptive and intuitive understanding of their feelings and the events of their life that are currently hidden by their subjective emotions and one or more of their T, S & J traits.

    Give of that gift, and it will be given back to you. Make the effort to connect with others, even though it feels alien to you. INFP’s do crave deep emotional connection, but it’s our ideals that end up alienating us from others. We really are odd creatures living in the grey of a black and white world. But LET people accept you as you are. We are the ones who think they’re seeing all the stuff about ourselves we see…but they’re not…and most other types are much more forgiving of faults than we are.

    Also, don’t misjudge people’s blindness for ignorance (we are all ignorant of many things) and remember that it is harmful false pride to think we don’t need others. One other deeply connected person may well be enough for us (it is for me), but don’t expect others to feel the same way. Oh…and two more important things to remember…you won’t always be right about what you think you’re seeing…and sometimes the black and white perspective is the best one.

    You are not alone and you are loved.
    Blessings.
    Mark

  2. William Milligan February 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    On the subject of whether Depression is genetic or not, well the main consensus at the moment is that certain people might have a genetic disposition that makes them have a low tolerance to stressful situations, and so can be vulnerable to depression and anxiety, which can also develop into addictive behaviours such as drug abuse and alcoholism, as a means of a coping mechanism.
    However we can retrain our thinking and refocus our perceptions through various techniques such as CBT, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature therapy, even gardening as this has a really useful therapeutic effect. Art therapy is also a great aid for those inspired to express themselves.
    So nothing is set in stone as all things are constantly changing, yes life can be a battle sometimes, but it can also be full of joy, the yin and yang in everything, without theses polarities life couldn’t exist at all.
    If you sit quietly in the silence of contemplation, sooner or later you’ll hear the other side of your nature. Intrinsically our true nature, is delicate and beautiful like a delicate flower, however that little flower like a blade of grass can bend in the wind, not like the large tree that is so strong and assertive, that it is blown down in the gales, or so proud that its struck down by lightening.
    So be at ease with your true nature, as a thoughtful deep human being, we all have our place in the passion play of life..

    As you, notice the flower
    the flower notices you.

  3. William Milligan February 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Hello ellzrae , I’ve only just worked out my personality type, as a INFP, after suffering years of depression from the age of 11, I’m now a forty odd year old man (mental health recovery worker) in the uk. I have always perceived myself as a natural mystic, as I write poetry and paint my ideas of the world and universe, in a bid to connect with people.
    I have also felt that I naturally have my own moral compass and codes, which I live by earnestly, as this reflects upon how I perceive and live with my own true nature. I probably didn’t have the easiest of beginnings growing up in a very working class industrial town, where emotions or creative flair were not respected nor supported, nor anyone with Existentialist inclinations of thought. This doesn’t mean that I developed a depressive personality, for I always believe in the positive aspects of this universe.
    Instead, I found and still find myself rebelling against anything that goes against my personal spiritual beliefs.
    I have consequently found a refuge in the way (Buddhism) whilst being greatly inspired by the lectures of Alan Watts, who’s ideas are now finding a new audience today.
    Philosophical thinking, (Existentialism as I have also been diagnosed as being on another psychological test BBC) has always been a larger part of my life than mundane affairs.
    The isolation I have felt in the past is the frustration in communicating what I believe are deep intrinsic truths, compassion, Love, contentment, to my family and friends. As I perceive that I really feel the love I have for them, that sometimes it can be an overwhelming and profound experience for me to put practically into practise.
    The insights that Zazen meditation has cultivated in my mind, has allowed me to step aside from all thoughts and feelings, as I am not so hung up on the “Self” as I believe that this is the main illusion of life. How many self’s have I been, the ten year old boy at school, the twenty five year old Biker, or the forty year old Artist, poet. Which one was the true self, if any?
    Anyway what an interesting and insightful site you have created, its finding intelligent places like yours that makes surfing the net worthwhile.
    I’ve just started a site on WordPress myself which will have some of my philosophical ideas, mostly in the form of poetry, which is the medium I find myself best at expressing my thoughts.

  4. brightgrey August 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    I’m 20, INFP and have been struggling with exactly this for the past 4 years or so, and have only recently started properly addressing it after a minor breakdown that almost forced me to drop out of university. Mild depression that comes in fits in starts is an odd thing, crippling but also easy to downplay, or convince yourself it’s just your own poor choices. Recognising that it was a legitimate illness I wasn’t causing was a big step, and beyond that it’s just the standard stuff really, exercising and keeping busy. Actually, routine has been best for me – I used to lose whole days just sleeping, crying, then sleeping again, but even getting up early every morning for my summer job has made a massive difference. It’s not always that simple though, I know.
    Thanks a lot for writing this! I really identified.

  5. Nicola June 27, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    Thank you for writing this post, I found reading it very validating. As an INFP who very much recognises the experiences and feelings that you describe, I also understand the awful sense of futility re. feeling better.

    A really strange thing has happened though, I’m pregnant and things just feel, well, supported. I remember my friend being a bit like this when she was pregnant too. I’m waffling, but what I’m trying to describe is a sense of not caring too much anymore. I’m not numbed to the outside world, but I almost feel that I have a skin between myself and the “outside” now. I’m not quite so worried in interactions. In the past, I’d be so concerned about not being “nice” or being rude. And I would never assert my own needs. Now, I really feel that it’s not my problem how other people experience me. Their feelings are for them to deal with, not for me to pre-empt and mop up.

    I’m not recommending pregnancy as a quick fix! But this attitude feels helpful. I think I might struggle to keep it up in future when I’m not befuzzled by baby-hormones. But not taking as much responsibility for other people’s emotions seems really helpful to me. Still caring, but not being so cut up by them.

    One of the things that I definitely need to stay out of the void is meaning. Especially in the recent past, I’ve really craved some kind of traditional grounding. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I look for meaning in very etheric places which sends me soaring then plummeting. Am thinking of further exploring yoga or Buddhism? Yoga for the discipline and holistic view and Buddhism because I found the technique of “Mindfulness” really quelled some of the dangerous extremes.

    The hormonal bit really does feel awfully inevitable. I find knowing what it is does help though. Before I found out I was pregnant, I was really bad. Was waking up early in the morning not wanting to move or breathe. I just felt awful and didn’t know why. It was totally different than the PMT that I’ve gotten used to. When I found out I was pregnant and that early pregnancy hormones can make you feel like you have amped up PMT – I started to feel better because I could understand the tension and the weariness.

    And be sensual. I’m sure it is a balancer. If you start to despair, have a back up kit of sensory treats. If you don’t want to eat for comfort, you could brush your teeth with a fancy toothpaste (aniseed anyone?) or have herbal teas. Find some essential oils that you really enjoy and enhale, evaporate, sniff etc. Listen to soothing music. Go a walk and really look around. Have or give yourself a massage as sensually or as medicinally as you prefer. Go into your senses to get out of your head.

    Again, thanks for your writing and please keep it up! I just found this today and I’m wrapped!

    Nicola

    • ellzrae September 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

      Hi Nicola,

      Thanks for your kind comments.. :)

      It’s interesting regarding everything you said about pregnancy. It sounds like probably pregnancy has a regulating effect on your chemistry/hormones.

      Your advice for mindfulness and sensory treats is very sound. I love the smell of scented incense and candles, they do relax me a lot. I might just try to burn one now.. :)

  6. Anton May 23, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    I find that particularly emotional or depressed INFPs seem to be very vocal with blogs etc, but not all INFPs are depressed. I am most definitely INFP, and struggle with being that way in the corporate world we must live in, but I am a very upbeat person.

    I wonder if depression is more likely in INFP, and if I am just very lucky to dodge that bullet.

  7. Sindu May 5, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    Heyy…
    I dont know if this will be of any value at all now..but strongly felt like reaching out. I think it is very important to reinforce the thought in mind that you are not alone in this state. Every one has some deep issues to be sorted out. Most ppl in the world seriously have a huge nut loose in the head. Yet, they walk arnd like they r perfect n happy, leaving us thinking “why me?”. Well dear, because U r not them.

    I wld always like to think that there r two kinds of ppl in this wrld – those who live n those who exist. (Of curz, I wld have made it the INFPs n non-INFPs..lol..but tht seems a bit too fanatic). The ones who live sure seem few and not to forget, having a tough path figuring out life…y? because we seem to think too much! The fact tht you said you cld psycho-analyze urself to death reiterates this. Why do we have to analyze and internalize every damn experience and emotion? Why cant we just take it easy…. take any career as it comes, push ppl out n get a raise, buy stuff n enjoy, eat, sleep, fuck and die? Life wld be simple, isnt it? Of curz they get depressed too…yet depression for them is somethin tht can be forgotten watching a good movie or going window-shoppin. Yet, depression for us is the gateway to the soul.

    You r a spl woman. You are not like the rest n plz dont try to be. Finding a spl someone or getting to ex. thrice a week might keep these episodes coming less often, yet will not uproot the cause. The only way is to hear urself out. A lot of analysis sessions must have been there. Sure. shut the noise out of ur head n listen more… there will be a voice. Believe! :)

    • ellzrae June 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      Thank you Sindu. I’m quite sure if I had an INFP twin like me, we would annoy each other to death..

      “Why cant we just take it easy…. take any career as it comes, push ppl out n get a raise, buy stuff n enjoy, eat, sleep, fuck and die? Life wld be simple, isnt it? Of curz they get depressed too…yet depression for them is somethin tht can be forgotten watching a good movie or going window-shoppin.”

      Yeah, why can’t life be simple?

      I asked an INTP good friend if she was ever depressed. She has never been depressed before. She gets frustrated, angry and irritated at things, but never depressed, & yes, if she is upset, there’s nothing like a good film wouldn’t cure. :)

    • ellzrae September 24, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

      I just reread your comment again & was wondering:

      “Sure. shut the noise out of ur head n listen more… there will be a voice. Believe!”

      How do you listen to yourself? What should I be looking out for..?

  8. Corin March 29, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    I haven’t been depressed since high school. I’ve been fairly active most of my life and I attribute the endorphins for balancing out any drops norepinephrine which causes clinical depression.

    Mostly, I think I avoided depression because I never reach a point where I felt I had no control in achieving happiness. There’s a direct correlation between happiness and the amount of control you feel you have in your life. I would definitely be depressed if I felt the career I wanted, the relationships I wanted and the life I wanted to live was out of my control and completely determined by luck or some random whim of the universe.

    Luckily, I got some good guidance when I was 19 because of that I’ve never felt at the mercy of fate. Twenty-years later, I look back and realize that even though I’ve been sad or down, knowing that my personal happiness is always in my hands kept me from being depressed.

    • ellzrae April 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

      dude i love your blog. dunno what made me say that. :)

      Thanks for giving me some insight into how depression is related to personal control as well. It might be just one of the missing pieces of the puzzle. Thanks a bunch.

  9. Catherine March 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    I do feel a similar kind of depression. It’s partially hormonal, and perhaps something is lacking in my diet. I just hope it’s not genetic (terrible family history of depression).

    The rainbow glasses story is apt. INFP’s have certain high expectations that are rarely realized. Sometimes disappointment can be shrugged off, but other times it’s crippling. It helps to have people around us who are supportive, even if they don’t quite understand what’s going on.

    It’s an ongoing battle, I think, but reflecting on (hopefully recent) moments you’ve actually felt good can help. Keep up the exercise, too. Personally I find prayer helps a lot, but that’s a suggestion, not an imposition.

    • ellzrae April 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

      Hi Catherine, i dun really regard written advice as an imposition. But thanks for thinking of prayer. :)
      Support for me does come by rarely, so usually its more an issue of how to keep one’s spirits up without overly relying on someone else. Being spiritual and praying helps one to be in the right place mentally.

      • Bridget March 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

        Hi ellzrae – I just keep my focus that things will improve as my antidote to life……holding onto my dreams, hopes, aspirations and my strong faith in the rich tapestry of life I guess holds some threads together.

        I’ve recently ‘re-constructed myself’ by changing my career which has helped to keep more upbeat following a traumatic period in my life where I lost my business & home and went through a divorce. I also moved to a new geographical area, so maybe some sort of change helps…..from a fellow infp:)

        • ellzrae June 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

          Hi Bridget,

          as the song goes “Change will do you good”. Thank you for your kind empathy.

          Sorry to hear about the things going on your life. But hopefully it might mark the beginning of good changes in your life. :)

          Thank you,
          ellzrae

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