Do extroverts have depression too?

I had an exhausting day today.  Just now I’m sitting and taking some time to myself for the first time all day.  That’s about 16 hours of non-stop interaction with someone or something.  And this didn’t happen because I did a poor job of prioritizing my Me Time today (I don’t think), but because of a few unexpected things that disrupted my routine.

By the time I was finishing the last bedtime tuck-ins for the kids, I was practically twitching with the need to be ALONE.  Beautifully ALONE.

So here I am.  An introvert with an ice cream sandwich – and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve been learning more about my introversion, thanks in particular to elliedodge and 61musings.  Perhaps more importantly, I’ve been learning to appreciate my introversion – and to stop trying to fit with our cultural tendency to value only extroverts.

Isolation, and the need to be alone, are such a part of my depression.  But they’re part of my introversion too.  It leads me to wonder… Are there true extroverts who suffer from depression as well?  I’m sure there must be, because of course there are no absolutes like “All depressed people are introverts.”  But… does it tend to be the case that those who suffer from clinical depression or even anxiety are introverts rather than extroverts?  I’m curious.

Thoughts?

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12 thoughts on “Do extroverts have depression too?

  1. Interesting. I am actually a bit of both. I definitely need alone time, but I get more depressed if I’m alone too much. I was actually just thinking at work today that I’m light and outgoing these days, always laughing. I’m definitely not a true extrovert, but I lose what extroversion I have when I am depressed, due to numbness and shame, I think.

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    • Thanks for reading and sharing your experience. I’m definitely an introvert but I wonder if giving in to that too readily causes me to get more depressed…if that makes any sense. Maybe it’s not unlike how you feel like your extroversion gets lost when you’re depressed. And, regardless of how they manifest themselves, numbness and shame are awful.

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  2. I don’t think it’s the case. Introversion is a personality style – we get energy from being alone, and tend to need a lot of ‘regrouping’ time after being with people. Extroverts don’t need that, and get their energy from being with people. Introverts still need people though.

    I can see an introvert getting depressed if their personality style doesn’t get acceptance. But other than that, I think anyone can be depressed.

    The tendency to isolate during depression strikes both introverts and extroverts. It’s not an introvert thing. IMO.

    16 hours non stop interaction? Anyone would need a bit of peace at that point. Hope you got some.

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    • Thanks for reading! You make a good point that at the end of the day, introversion/extroversion is a personality style. And depression is certainly not a personality style! 🙂 Do you think that introverts and extroverts have different coping styles or mechanisms for dealing with depression? Or just that everyone does it their own way, regardless of where they get their replenishing energy from?

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  3. I have just stumbled upon your blog and this post. I rarely ever comment on blogs, especially on my work account (I’m a professional organizer), but your honesty is beautiful. I am in fact an extrovert and I struggle with depression. I think you might be on to something with differing coping mechanisms for different personalities. I love being around people and having people in my home…like all the time, so I try to be intentional in reaching out when I feel myself “circling the drain.” Growing my self-care awareness has helped the most, for I can carve out space for what I need and feel confident in asking for that from others.

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    • Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad that you commented. 🙂 I’m curious about your organizing business and will have to check it out!

      I hope you don’t mind a question or two…What do you do as far as your interaction with people when you feel like your depression is creeping in? Do you seek them out even more, or start to withdraw?

      I like your phrase “circling the drain”. It’s interesting how everyone has their own expressions for that sensation of depression descending.

      As for self-care, I’m rather late to the game in learning how important it is. Frankly, it’s really a new concept to me in the past year or so. I didn’t have any self-care skills in my toolbox before. But you’re right – it allows you to find the room for what you need, and ask for that help.

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  4. For a good 20+ years, I was convinced I was an introvert. I suffered from bouts of social anxiety, depression, panic attacks, painful shyness, feeling extremely uncomfortable in my own skin, and feeling very drained at the mere thought of social encounters. I saw professionals for years to get help.

    I actually skipped out on a professional event this evening because I was simply not feeling up to going through the motions of smiling and being nice and acting like I wanted to be there. The pressure of knowing I *should* be there and networking only made it worse. Where am I? At home. And I am an extrovert. I moved to a new city for work and have no support network or friends up here. I’ve been suicidal off and on for 5 months. Even work has been miserable, because everyone there is an introvert and they simply don’t socialize much, and believe me, I’ve tried. I leave feeling more drained than when I arrive in the morning. I honestly didn’t accept my extroversion until after I moved here and it all clicked that I am a people person and need to interact. Being alone for too long makes me more depressed, but I love having quiet time and space to myself to just breathe, and I have lots of hobbies, so I better not see any comments about me not knowing how to be by myself, because that’s just crap.

    That being said, I was also diagnosed a year ago as bipolar type 2, the kind that is a type of depression. I never suffer from mania….instead I swing the other way… into severe depressions at the drop of a hat, even on heavy medication. I was definitely an extrovert, after hearing what I was like as a child, which goes against my own memories. I was even extroverted as a teen. The depressions started to interfere, however, and when extroverts get depressed, it sometimes manifests itself in a way that looks like introversion.

    I have been up and down several times today, and this afternoon was honestly so bad that I called a friend several states away just to keep me distracted. And did I mention that I’ve always wanted to be a mommy, and that’s now essentially off the table because of this? I had to leave the park yesterday because I started crying and was about to lose it and start bawling in public. Yep, depression-fodder.

    If I hadn’t told you all of this, and you’d simply met me, this is what you’d think: (and what other people tell me they think after meeting me, so believe it).
    I am incredibly sweet, approachable, always looking out for everyone and making sure everybody is having a great time and is happy. I go out of my way to make people feel noticed and included and part of the group. I’m one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
    Very laid back, laughing, loves wordplay and sarcasm and being silly. I come across as expressive and a bit intense/energetic, too.
    Basically, I would make a great cruise director.
    I am not a loud and boisterous stereotypical extrovert who doesn’t think before speaking or acting, though that’s honestly sometimes the case. My mom can be, and that even gets on my nerves.
    I’m an ESFJ, and we are very observant and tend to read other people well and alter ourselves to match the people we’re with. If you’re an introvert, I’ll scale back my bounciness. (So imagine how I am at work — a deflated beach ball.)

    The scariest part for me is that with the type 2 bipolar (there is a big difference between type 1 and type 2) tossed in there, we often have the energy to do something about suicidal thoughts when we’re deep in a depression. Which is damn depressing.

    As far as self-care, you should be proactive and make a go-to list of things you can do when you feel yourself starting to spiral down. Make it full of things to yank your energy in the other direction; don’t wallow. Make an effort to take care of yourself, and don’t let the personal hygiene slip, because that only makes you feel worse. And try to set limits on how long you indulge in your isolation.

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    • Thank you for reading and sharing so much about your experiences. I think you make a very good point that extroverts, when depressed, can look a lot like introverts. But when it comes to the things that help you fight the depression, you need different energy and approaches than an introvert would.

      I’m sorry that you’re feeling so isolated after your move. I hope that you’re able to make some connections soon so that you don’t feel so alone. It’s a terrible feeling, I know.

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  5. Pingback: Death of a fellow preschool mom | One Depressed Mama

  6. hi, i might be late to the party but i just stumbled on this article and thought i’d share my pov.

    i’d consider myself quite the extrovert. i enjoy going out, meeting new people, i’m easygoing and good at making friends and generally you’d probably say i’m a very happy and content person.

    but sadly there’s this whole other side of me that no one really gets to see. the one where i’m not that happy. i get these phases where i isolate myself from everyone and everything and just get really sad. where i can’t even motivate myself to do the simplest tasks. and it doesn’t even end there.
    it’s not only that i feel that way but also i’m completely unable to talk about my problems with anyone, not even my ”closest” friends. (bummer isn’t it? since extroverts usually draw their energy from interacting with other people..)
    i did some research on why that seems to be such a big struggle for me and what i found out is that i probably have some kind of social anxiety?
    now this probably sounds like a bad joke. an extrovert, with social anxiety.
    when i think about people with social anxiety, i imagine people being too afraid to talk to people etc, but certainly not me, who was always the one out of the group that had to ask the stranger for directions…

    when you look at an extrovert, you only see the obvious facts. ”oh, look at her, it’s her first day at school and she already found people she can hang out with.”
    but keep in mind, that’s often not all there is. my friends see me when we go out, they read what i write in our group chats, they laugh at my jokes and think ‘she’s a really funny person’.
    but they don’t see me when it’s 4am and i get really bad. they don’t question if i cancel last minute because i surprisingly have to ”work” the next morning. and i don’t blame them. how would they know?

    this might sound really silly. and i feel really silly, too. but that’s the story of an extrovert with depression.

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  7. I don’t know if anyone will ever see this due to it being so far passed the release date but as an extrovert that has been depressed, I can say it does happen. It is not the same way as introverts though. At my worst, the hardest struggle is getting out of bed in the morning. I feel exhausted all day and getting through class (college) and work is tough. Another problem is the only thing that really makes me feel better is being around a lot of people in a relaxed talkative environment to bring me energy and any bit of happiness. That does not include the hustle and bustle of people during a stressful day. A lot of times, I end up going home and going to be early (because of the lethargy and exhaustion of the depression) and that just makes me feel even worse. A weekend out at a busy bar or party is all that gets me through the week. You say in the article you just want “me” time. Well I hate me time. The second I’m alone (while depressed), all the happiness and energy I had from the people I was with fades away and I become tired and sad again. Extroverted people get depressed too, just in a different way.

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  8. Hi there – I am a true extrovert, and suffer from depression. It’s like this: Imagine, as an introvert, a scenario where you’re surrounded by people who won’t stop talking, and you don’t really like their company. You’d probably be fine with it for a little bit, but say it happened for an entire day – you’d feel miserable, drained, in need of escape. For me, being around other people – even if it’s just having people in the same room – is the thing that quietens the nasty depression in my head that won’t stop talking, and telling me nasty things about myself – to the point that just a whole day entirely alone will leave me weepy and very low. The irony is that by the time I’ve had a whole day alone I’ve so thoroughly convinced myself that I am unlikeable that I can’t face seeing anyone.

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