Western culture has instilled in all of us a fallacy that in social situations, we’ve got to be all chatty and friendly or else there’s something inherently wrong with us. We all grew up believing in the dichotomy of things: that it’s normal for someone to be outspoken and full of energy and it’s “weird” if someone is quiet and shy.
With the rise of the introvert-positive movement today, it’s comforting to know that we’re slowly breaking the stigma surrounding introversion. We still have a long way to go, though, and among the issues that we must tackle is the connection between introversion and depression.
Are Introverts Prone to Depression?
How many times did you wish people who think you had depression would leave you alone? Has “Yes, I’m an introvert, but no, I’m not depressed?” been your mantra lately? If so, that’s because introverts and people with depression often show the same habits and patterns.
Also, several studies in the last 20 years highlight the connection between this personality type and mood disorder. Here are some possible reasons why introverts are prone to depression:
- Introverts Are Socially Challenged – Because you’d rather be in your room bingeing your favorite Netflix series than attend the school party, you’re often left overwhelmed and stressed when forced to deal with uncomfortable social situations, say, for example, the prom. This could take a serious toll on your mental health.
- Introverts Overthink – Social seclusion can leave many rooms for overthinking, an act that could trigger feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Without someone to talk to, these feelings could spell disaster to your mental wellbeing.
The Catch-22 of Depression
Private and independent by nature, introverts might have a hard time reaching out for help when struggling with depression. But this is what experts call as the Catch-22 of this mental illness: the things that we need to do the most are often the things that are hardest to do. Most depressed people know what to do to cope with their illness, but the illness prevents them from following through.
How an Introvert Can Cope
The good news is that all hope is not lost for you. Depression is treatable and there are many ways to start your journey to recovery. Here are some tips from Help Guide:
- Stay Connected – Talk to your friends online, schedule some in-person quality time, keep up with social activities (even if you don’t feel like it), or go out and lend your time or expertise through volunteering.
- Do What’s Good for You – Pursue your passion, develop healthy eating and sleeping habits, visit a yoga and meditation center near you, or spend some time in nature.
- Get Moving – Exercise is a great mood-booster. Develop a daily exercise routine or take a dog out for a walk—just make sure you don’t spend the whole day stuck at home.
- Challenge Negative Thinking – Remember that the world is not black and white, don’t overgeneralize, and avoid jumping to conclusions.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if your depression is negatively affecting multiple aspects of your life, like your physical health, relationships, and work.