Here is something that’s been on my mind lately. For most of my life I’ve had anxiety on a daily basis. It started for me as a child around the time when you start school, which makes sense since it’s when life starts to put pressure on you being and behaving in a certain way, obligations and expectations. My anxiety has come in many different forms during my life. Much of it is relating to stress that I don’t meet my expectations or that of others and over stimulation from being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I get depressed, anxious, insomnia, fatigue and even develop a bit of social phobia when it is at it’s worst. The social phobia part is from me being unable to control my own feelings, to pretending I’m fine to others when I’m not. I always had trouble faking it and especially when you are expected to act a certain way among other people. That pressure is increased even more by living in this society that favors extroverts and where introverts are seen as something bad and wrong. God knows that it’s hard to act and fit in as a introverted feeler, some days it’s hard enough to look relaxed being on the subway at rush hour. This has caused me a lot of suffering in my life and been a constant battle. Before I knew why I felt this way, being a HSP and an INFJ, I used to question if I might have some kind of mental illness. Since the rest of the world didn’t seem to comprehend the world remotely close to what I did. At the worst times as a teenager, I was battling a benzodiazepine addiction from my trials to find something to repair myself with. This was at a time of my life when I considered myself broken and did not embrace my personality like I really should have and to see it’s positive sides.
Since then I learned how to live my life in a better way to minimize my anxiety and center myself. One interesting thing that evolved since an early age is my appreciation for music. I listen to music everyday and often for long periods of time. In a way I feel like music channel my feelings and makes me feel more at peace inside. It keeps my feelings and anxiety at bay a lot of the time and makes me feel content even when I should be stressed. I currently live in a big metropolitan area and commute to work everyday. The morning rush in the subway is one of the worst environments possible for me as an HSP INFJ. Tons of people, no private space, unbearable noise and moving crowds. Without headphones and music I’m not sure I would be able to work in the city like I do. I think part why this works so well is the perceiving function of introverted intuition that is always collecting data for the subconscious. Music channels my feelings and subconscious and calms me down. Hence why the opposite of noise that you can not control gives me anxiety. The irony with INFJs is that we are so aware of the motives and feelings of people around us, and can channel and direct their feelings, but we cannot control or understand our own.
In order to work properly and feel well on a daily basis I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to get enough sleep. Without sleep I’m not even half the person I normally am and my intuition will drain me instantly with analyzing everything even though my mind is to tired to keep up. When I was younger I noticed this effected in how I could not keep up with partying like my friends without suffering mentally, when not getting proper rest. They could go on every night the whole weekend, but I could not function good socially after just one night without proper sleep while you are intoxicated. To feel at my best I usually need to get around 8 hours of sleep. 7 is doable but don’t really notice an improvement in mood and 6 is absolute minimum. There is a big difference in waking up by myself and by the alarm also. Waking up from the alarm makes me feel tired for at least 2 hours after getting up, while waking up by myself makes me feel fresh within half an hour. I read somewhere about this effect when it comes to introverts versus extroverts. Extroverts need less time in the morning to get up and feel fresh then what introverts do.
I have also been reading some interesting articles about the different halves of the brain, right and left and what they are each used for. Here are some nice links to dig into:
INFJ Left-brainers? Is there such a thing?
Right brained, left brained test
Right brained, left brained image test (Pretty cool. If I concentrate enough on this image I can switch the spinning direction. Usually she spins clockwise for me, right brained.)
Here is a great book about being right brained:
Here is a great book about being right brained:
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
Left side of the brain is used for logic, language, words etc and the right side of the brain is used for intuition, abstract thinking and feeling. INFJ is one of the few personalities that are well balanced and actually use both sides of the brain while some personality types primarily use one. From what I can read on the above forum posts about INFJ left brainers, it seems we are mostly balanced. I took the test and my results divert a bit from the rest with 40% left and 60% right brained, I had the highest right brained score I could see when comparing myself to the other INFJs on the forum. This is interesting to me considering I have an artistic profession and a heavy user of my intuition and abstract thinking. Maybe this is a state that have developed over time since I depend on right brained thinking daily in my life. This must also indicate even more why I am such a feeler and have issues in life when it comes to anxiety and depression. I get the feeling that I have a bit more issues from being to right brained then the average INFJs has, but still I prefer operating this way since it has given me some unusual talents. Einstein said that the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and I could not agree any more. The problem is of course that we live in a society that favors the rational mind.