You know the feeling. The one where nobody "gets" you?
And the scarier, darker feeling...the one that makes you think things you shouldn't. The feeling where you start wondering if this whole thing is pointless...
Maybe you tried talking to someone. A friend, or a therapist, tries to relate by offering up a similar story, or diagnosing you with a "condition."
But they don't get it–not really. They can't, because they're not you.
You tell yourself to keep moving; you don't deserve a pity party. You do all the right things, or try to, anyway. Healthy eating, clean living, a full life. You're tired, but you're dealing with it.
You don't have any other choice. And you know you should feel lucky, not alone.
Still, something's missing. You feel like you're watching your life, not living it.
Why do you feel so alone, even if it's just some of the time?
And aren't you terrified your kid might feel like that, one day, too?
Is It Depression?
Most would say yes. (I used to say yes.)
Depression scares the hell out of me. As a mother, and recovering depressive, keeping in touch with my feelings is critical to my mental health. But, there’s another reason I’m so “touchy” and self-critical, and take criticism too personally.
I’m an INFP.
INFP is my Myers-Briggs personality type. My brain is built to feel touchy, critical, and apprehensive about what others think. Approximately 4% of the population shares a similar personality, according to research conducted by the Myers-Briggs Foundation.
There’s 16 personality types. You can read all about why the test was developed here.
Take a look at this table, and you’ll start to understand why people feel “out of place” and “like nobody gets them.”
Most people don't "get" us...because they can't.
Dammit. Would have been nice to know when I was 11 years old.
Normal things kids did (gathering together, playing, poking fun at each other) made me want to run away. Along with being an overachiever and teacher’s pet, I was prone to mystery illnesses, tears, and completely incapable of handling failure.
I was a mess, even though I looked “together” on the outside.
Had I known that the feelings were not feelings, but personality tendencies and instincts, could I have avoided years of severe depression, suicide attempts, and anxiety? My gut says yes. (I trust her, since she’s usually right. Turns out, intuition is a strong part of my personality profile.)
Before you get your panties in a wad: Depression is real, and takes many different forms. No one is trying to say depression doesn't exist. Okay, carry on...
It’s all about tendency awareness.
If you’re wired to act a certain way, don't you have a right to know?
Does the potential to avert a suicide attempt, or depressive episodes, born out of feelings of isolation, make a 2-minute test worthwhile?
Yes. Especially a free test, like this one offered by Quistic.
It's not just about adults. We need to find the kids who look like they have it together, but don’t. We need to find them too early, not too late. Personality typing can be started with children as young as 3 years old.
It's not about labels. I don't want to see kids put in a box, shielded, or manipulated, simply because of their personality type. What I do want is to teach our kids that instincts are not feelings. How feeling alone is normal, and a stronger feeling for some people than other people.
We need to teach our kids the difference between what they really feel, and what they're wired to feel. That's where personality typing comes in.
Start while your kids are young. Start by learning about your personality type. (Take the free Quistic Test here.)
How many kids (and adults) have we diagnosed with depression, when the diagnosis that would actually help is a 4-letter combination?
Had I known my personality type took criticism so personally that my brain physically forces my body to shut down, maybe I would have been able to recognize that hiding in my bed was my personality type reaction, and not the “real” me.
No one ever said that. Instead, I was told to "get it together" or "get help." I didn't need help. I needed to know they it wasn't me acting this way — it was my body reacting to my environment.
As an adult, my personality type has certainly put things in perspective. I've learned the importance of staying optimistic, and learned to recognize danger-zones.
Penelope Trunk offers a parenting to your child’s personality type course, available here.
Depression still exists, which is all the more reason to find out your child’s personality type. Certain personality types are far more prone to depression, anxiety, and fear of failure.
Don’t you want to know if your child’s one of them?
If your brain is wired to act a certain way, don't you have a right to know?