Anxiety: My Freaked-Out Squirrel

Monday, February 22, 2016 6 Comments A+ a-


Hey, guys! Today I need to tell you something.

*raises right hand*

I'm an INFJ...and I'm anxious.

Yeah, it sounds like something you'd hear in a support group. But it's true. I am, by nature, a person who easily gets anxious (like this poor freaked-out squirrel). I've always thought it was just me...you know, a personal issue, or a problem that knitted itself into my psyche a few months before I was born. The more I research it, though, the more I find the words "INFJ" and "anxious" paired together.

Which leads me to wonder if it's part of our INFJ nature to be anxious.

Given our functional stack, I think this is quite possible. We have a strong Fe that makes us emotionally sensitive and an overactive Se that makes us physically sensitive. Add in the fact that we're idealistic perfectionists with high standards, and you can see how "sensitive" might easily escalate into "anxious" in our everyday lives.

There's nothing wrong with being sensitive. Yes, we wear our hearts on our sleeves and know more than we should, but that can help us empathize with others and solve problems. Unfortunately, it also makes us more vulnerable to stress.

For me, just about anything stressful can trigger anxiety. And by stressful, I mean things that either take away my sense of control or force me to behave out of character. Or worse...both. *shudders* I can avoid some of them, but not all.

Here are some things that really bring out my inner freaked-out squirrel:

  • Public speaking/performing
  • Talking on the phone
  • Social media
  • Meetings/small talk
  • Deadlines
  • Stimulating environments
  • Performing tasks I'm not good at
  • Hosting/leading small groups
  • Working out in a gym

That's not an all-inclusive list, and if I can control some of them, they aren't so bad. Social media, for example, is something I'm okay with in small doses. And I'm fine on the phone with people I'm close to (like my hubby and my dad). I do work out at home, but I can walk on a public track without getting nervous.

But when it comes to interacting with others...especially strangers...I generally experience some level of anxiety. It's inevitable. Part of this is because while I can envision how the interaction is supposed to go (Ni Ideal), I can't control how it actually turns out (Se Reality). This leads to things like me hyper-focusing on my environment or obsessing over future possibilities. Kind of puts limitations on opportunities for an engaging social life.




Overall, I wouldn't say my levels of anxiety are severely impacting my daily life, because I've structured that life around my personal comfort zone. Writing and blogging enable me to work at home. I limit my interactions and get out only when I want or need to. Stressors come and go, but I can offset those by taking some downtime. I'm hoping to keep this up for a while...now that my kids have all moved out, I could potentially get a job and contribute to our finances, but something else would have to get pushed off the plate. I'm sooo not ready to give anything up yet--ack, talk about anxiety!

So, how about you? What makes you anxious? Do you think INFJ and anxiety go hand in hand?

Let me know,
M.

Image Credit: Anxious Squirrel, Slow Painful Death


6 comments

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Christy Haupt
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February 23, 2016 at 9:04 AM delete

Maybe it depends how high your "I" score is? Mine is 52% and I have low anxiety. My enneagram is 2w1 which is most common in enfj, but I consistently test out as INFJ.I do have an issue with getting hold of an item (i.e. termites) that doesn't let go. I take ashwaganda whole herb twice a day and, wow!, what a difference. Sometimes it shuts me down too much!

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Meridian
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February 23, 2016 at 9:18 AM delete

It might. The last time I tested on Personality Junkie, my "I" scored at 90%. Funny thing is, though, other people don't usually realize I'm anxious, so I must hide it well. Messy inside, calm outside. But when things get really tough, I dig into my adrenal blend and let the ashwaganda do its thing!

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Anonymous
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February 24, 2016 at 7:49 AM delete

It seems like a lot of the anxiety of INFJ's (at least for my INFJ friends and I) comes from being preoccupied by how we are perceived. I'm not sure which letter this would come from (I or N or F or J) but I'm always in awe of people who really never seem to care what people think of them! I mean, we all care, to some degree, but INFJ's seem really aware of it, perhaps because it is so important for us to be understood. So we have to figure out how people are responding to us so that we can determine whether they 'get us.' The fact is, though, very few people, if any, will ever truly understand us, even fellow INFJs, because when it comes down to it, we can't really ever fully understand ourselves. I think that should relieve some anxiety! :-)

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Meridian
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February 24, 2016 at 8:24 AM delete

A really good point. Not knowing how people are perceiving us (or where we stand with them) is definitely anxiety-inducing. I'd love not to be so hyper aware of myself and others...it would make life a lot easier. :)

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Anonymous
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February 29, 2016 at 6:52 PM delete

I tend to have this cycle where people realize I am sensitive so they (good naturedly) tease me. Then I get stressed out and behave out of character because I am trying to figure out why they are doing it and what they are thinking of me. This makes them tease because I turned red or said something spontaneous, out of character and rude, which makes me bristle, get stressed and behave out of character again....sometimes I spend an entire class period in this cycle everyday and I feel like no one in the class really knows me because that one person is causing me to act out of character.

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Meridian
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March 1, 2016 at 10:44 AM delete

Oh, wow...I do the same thing when caught off guard in public...act out of character. It really, really bothers me. That's one reason I don't speak in public unless absolutely necessary; I'm not usually good at coming up with those witty, politically-correct-yet-razor-sharp comebacks that make people think twice about teasing me again. I've learned that this is a "boundary" issue for me. So if I can't avoid people who bring out my dark side, I plug in earbuds and literally shut them out. Much safer for everyone in the long run.

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