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  1. #1
    Senior Member toast's Avatar
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    Default ENFJ - stress & stagnation (i.e. I am CONSTANTLY moving but not getting anywhere)

    It has been a while since I posted here. My life took a big hit last year & I pretty much collapsed like a tower of sand. I saw (logically) a big opportunity to kind of 'fix' those things I didn't like about my self / life in general but I have had this pervasive anxiety since that has made me almost unable to do anything but cope with the stress of going through the motions. So, I feel different (less of a wreck emotionally) but don't have any clue whether or not I'm 'better' in any way. I have also lost my natural optimism that says I am making progress towards something meaningful. I have projects around me, but I find myself seeing them as tasks on a list I need to check off.

    I have been in a kind of recovery mode but there have still been a lot of random awfully stressful events going on one after another. (Example: plumbing went out for 2 weeks & I had to stay in a hotel, juggle pets at home with jack-hammering going on & get through 14 hour days at (med) school.) I just need some ideas for relaxation because when I get stressed I definitely obsess & any idea of what I 'want' or what might 'make me feel better' just drops right out of my head.

    I think the whole thing has sunk me deep into Ti - land. I don't talk about how I am doing anymore (Sometimes I feel like it is pointless & at other times I feel like I've depleted my sources to vent).

    I just want other NFJ's to relate if they've experienced something similar, and maybe some ideas on how to relax during short breaks (I don't get much else right now).

    Edit: I just posted this & realized my avatar is still 'pancake astronaut'. I loled a bit.
    Last edited by toast; 09-27-2011 at 05:49 PM. Reason: loled
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  2. #2
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Hmm, sorry you have had a very bad time recently. I kind of relate to much of what you posted (I tend to with ENFJs!). I haven't had a life-collapsing event, but I have had a great deal of cumulative stress and some unpleasant realisations, I think.

    I don't know if I have anything terribly useful to contribute as I still feel stuck in some ways. I am working on doing some things for my health though as I don't take the best care of myself. Like, I started ordering a weekly organic fruit and veg box. Sounds unexciting, but I think doing something convenient and good for you is a good idea.

    Actually, I think paying in advance for something good for you is a fine idea. I also paid for a couple of poetry workshops which I hope will give me some more needed motivation to write some more. I feel good about myself and it's therapeutic when I do that, but sometimes you need the extra motivation like paying for the workshops, or the organic fruit/veg.

    I don't feel like talking about my feelings so much any more, as well, as I have felt a bit let down and misunderstood in that area. I am trying to find a balance between being healthily more self-protective (mainly, having clearer boundaries and taking better care of myself emotionally, not letting others take advantage of me etc) and walling myself off emotionally...I have been tempted to do the latter.

    It would be great if you had some friends around you who you could talk with meaningfully in some way. Not necessarily even at depth about what you have been going through; but people who you have things in common with, whose company you enjoy, hopefully who you can vent to a bit if necessary. I have found that having friends who are reliable, fun, low-drama, etc around me is invaluable.

    I have found that classical music (especially live classical music) and Tetris can lower my stress levels. Even if temporarily.

    I hope something here helps a little and that you feel somewhat better soon!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    Med school is horrid - just realize that life is so much better when it is over!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    I have had this pervasive anxiety...that has made me almost unable to do anything but cope with the stress of going through the motions. So, I feel different (less of a wreck emotionally) but don't have any clue whether or not I'm 'better' in any way. I have also lost my natural optimism that says I am making progress towards something meaningful. I have projects around me, but I find myself seeing them as tasks on a list I need to check off.
    This is frequently a problem for ENFJs, isn't it?

    I must admit that I struggle to understand the criteria by which ENFJs measure success. This does sound like quite a rubbish period in your life, but why has it caused you to question things? Is it that you think these things are not worth the effort? Or that they are not meeting your goals? Or that your goals have changed?

    I'd be interested to hear your response actually, since ENFJs are the most confusing of NFs in my opinon!
    That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
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    Or one could weep because another wept.

  5. #5
    That's my name biotch! JoSunshine's Avatar
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    I relate...oh how I relate. I went through a very similar feeling a while back. My life seemed to collapse around me like house of cards and I was completely an utterly devastated. I found myself in what I referred to as an analytical loop. I felt stuck, despondent, ineffective, pathetic and pretty crazy. I will have to say that clawing my way out was a process and I don't think there would have been any way around that. Here are the things that I did/figured out that helped:

    1) I came to the conclusion that I needed to work on my emotional awareness after reading an article that explained obsessive thinking is typically a symptom of lack of emotional awareness. I was always very good at expressing positive emotions, but came to the realization that I had difficulty acknowledging (let alone expressing) negative emotions or admitting weakness (or what I perceived as weakness). So instead of dealing with the emotion of a situation I would turn to analysis. Since emotions need to be dealt emotionally.

    2) I began working on my emotional awareness through mindfulness. There are a lot of books, articles, etc out there on the subject. But basically, it helped me sort out, and acknowledge all of the emotions and got me out of the analytical loop. I still meditate regularly, usually for just 10-15 minutes at a time. At first, I probably only did it for 2-5 minutes at time (and that felt like an eternity), but the more you do it the easier it gets, the more progress you make. So if you decide to try it (which I highly recommend), stick with it for a while before you make any judgements.

    3) I had to go back and find the root of what made me feel the need to hide my emotions and vulnerability so I could see what caused the issue and understand that it was indeed dysfunctional (for me a grew up with a narcissistic father and a "just do what he says and act like he wants you to because it will be easier" mother so I never learned how to express anything negative because it resulted in an ass-whooping of epic proportions. So I never learned some very basic emotional skills). It's different for every person.

    ^those things were the major breakthroughs for me

    Hope this helps.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. " - Dr. Seuss
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  6. #6
    Lungs & Lips Locked Unkindloving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    It has been a while since I posted here. My life took a big hit last year & I pretty much collapsed like a tower of sand. I saw (logically) a big opportunity to kind of 'fix' those things I didn't like about my self / life in general but I have had this pervasive anxiety since that has made me almost unable to do anything but cope with the stress of going through the motions. So, I feel different (less of a wreck emotionally) but don't have any clue whether or not I'm 'better' in any way. I have also lost my natural optimism that says I am making progress towards something meaningful. I have projects around me, but I find myself seeing them as tasks on a list I need to check off.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoSunshine View Post
    I relate...oh how I relate. I went through a very similar feeling a while back. My life seemed to collapse around me like house of cards and I was completely an utterly devastated. I found myself in what I referred to as an analytical loop. I felt stuck, despondent, ineffective, pathetic and pretty crazy. I will have to say that clawing my way out was a process and I don't think there would have been any way around that. Here are the things that I did/figured out that helped:

    1) I came to the conclusion that I needed to work on my emotional awareness after reading an article that explained obsessive thinking is typically a symptom of lack of emotional awareness. I was always very good at expressing positive emotions, but came to the realization that I had difficulty acknowledging (let alone expressing) negative emotions or admitting weakness (or what I perceived as weakness). So instead of dealing with the emotion of a situation I would turn to analysis. Since emotions need to be dealt emotionally.
    &

    The greatest time where I've had to face this anxiety and these crippling revelations was during a bit of an existentialist crisis. It was after a relationship that I'd put so much of myself into (and even made attempts to compromise beyond myself), as well as after the loss of a number of people that were my immediate group of close friends for no known reason. I've always been a pretty solid person, especially year-to-year, but I wasn't at that precise moment. I was stressed to the point of hindering myself even further, rather than being productive. I couldn't understand the reason behind doing daily tasks, or why they were so important to do now opposed to later. It just lacked meaning and sense, and I was dead to it on a deep level.
    I would keep thinking myself into a pit, and wouldn't be able to do enough action to get myself out of it.
    For me, I needed to push myself into productivity, find things that I could place meaning on (no matter how small), and gain a few different people in my life - as well as really appreciate the ones that had stayed by my side. There were a combination of things that pulled me out of it, but I'm far more positive and capable now. It is a bit of a 2 steps forward, 1 step back thing sometimes, but you end up much further ahead through it than evading it.

    Right now, I'm ecstatic with myself and the majority of ongoings in my life. I still get 'task, task, task, task' because routine is nice, but I also require it to have a more purposeful feel. I still get stressed and stagnant, but I try to keep it focused on one area and gradually work my way through that area. I breathe, I remind myself these things may not have to be perfect and it isn't the end of the world and it's best to just do them, I may have to wallow in some ben and jerry's lol, and then I push through as best I can.

    Otherwise, I'll watch a show to take a break, I'll exercise to distract and clear my mind, I'll do yoga to calm myself and feel rejuvenated, I'll do a different task until I am ready to do one that is stressing me, I see my friends for a little while, etc.
    Personally, I've at least put a rest timer on my computer (Workrave for Windows / Dejal for Mac), which tells me to take a break of my choosing. This is especially helpful if I'm doing something stressful and the timer just pops up. Think of little ways to remind yourself. Make the background of your phone something that tells you to take a breath- etc.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Neutralpov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    I get through 14 hour days at (med) school.)
    Edit: I just posted this & realized my avatar is still 'pancake astronaut'. I loled a bit.
    Ohhhh. This. I am winding down 2 years of graduate school and no one understands it except other graduate students. For realz the burnout is huge in the longer programs and depression isn't completely unheard of because of the pressures and isolation. Get a buddy to have coffee with, I did. My friend Rachel and I last fall met once a month and challenged each other to cut down what wasn't necessary in reading, and to get a B (for my program that is 85-90) so that we would force ourselves to have a life! For my research and program the problem is isolation. Research is solitary and reading and writing are too and I work full time. I have to make time for healthy behaviors (beyond the obvious like health, sleep). I make time for connection, and not seeing movies or wasted things but like walk/bike with a good friend. Kill two or three birds with one stone.
    All in all though I think no one gets grad school and the volume of effort needed in the end except the people who have survived it! I hear you!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member toast's Avatar
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    I hope to have some individual replies to some of these if I get more time, but thank you so much for all the replies & supportive advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    This is frequently a problem for ENFJs, isn't it?

    I must admit that I struggle to understand the criteria by which ENFJs measure success. This does sound like quite a rubbish period in your life, but why has it caused you to question things? Is it that you think these things are not worth the effort? Or that they are not meeting your goals? Or that your goals have changed?

    I'd be interested to hear your response actually, since ENFJs are the most confusing of NFs in my opinon!
    I have had small moments of anxiety, but this situation is different. I have been heartbroken, shocked, worn down, but never ever 'broken' before. It is not simply the overwhelming schedule. I was in a strange hell for 3 years with a person who was simply crazy (I'm done analyzing, so 'crazy' is as far as I'm going). It was utterly exhausting. No, devastating. My ability to continue dealing with it for so long is still shocking to me, but for a myriad of reasons I was stuck in place & being chipped away emotionally, mentally & physically. By nature, I feel like a goddess... I can never think of a better way to put it. I can be ruthless & indomitable, but I am nurturing to such an extreme that sometimes its like magic how far I can go to help someone. This (& the aforementioned 'crazy') was the source of my exhaustion. I had a million 'responsibilities' I should not have allowed. Among them, I became so attached to this person & felt like I had to repress myself from every angle to get along with them, but at the same time they were a sucking void demanding my best & loathing me for not giving it.

    I'd have to say that lately I have identified success (or lack thereof) with consistency or discipline. I just feel completely out of control. Not in a reckless way, but in a weak way - as if I am trying to hold myself together to move forward but then forget to do it & come to realize I have been standing still again. It is so difficult to complete the most simple task (especially if it deals with people or seems to have any sense of risk to it). It took me 3 weeks to open a new checking account, for example, when I was always aware it would take about 10 minutes to get it done. If you knew me you'd realize how not like me that kind of procrastination is. I've always procrastinated a bit, but quickly become aware of it. Then I get obsessed about the thing I'm putting off & get it done. Lately though, it is like I am stuck at 'obsessing' because it is like jumping off a bridge to 'get it done.' Then I look for comfort in forgetting about it for a while & when it comes back to me, the obsessing (guilt / shame) is so much worse.

    I must have been numb somewhere in me for the past 3 years, because I survived it. Oh, but I didn't feel numb. For a long while I lost any ability to feel anything good whatsoever. I gained that back through gentle self indulgence (pretty much the only way I knew how to take care of myself back then) & attempts at doing things I thought were logically good for me even though they didn't seem to help (like caring for my health).

    I have attempted mindfulness, but I admit it is one of the things I had trouble seeing through. I will look into it again.

    As far as what defines success to me in the long run, I would say I am most concerned with not wasting my abilities. I have always been pretty well rounded when it comes to talent or interests, I just want to create things with those. I probably have too many goals to complete in one lifetime, but I know which of them are most important for the kind of life I want to have. I just feel stuck lately because my goals were all built by someone stronger, & now that I have the freedom to pursue them again I feel overwhelmed by them, but think I'd die of shame if I let them go. They are still what I want, it is just like a burden to embrace them.

    As for the event that caused my ENFJ - 'ptsd', it was just such a combination of the kind of trouble I am most sensitive to, with no peace or release, for such a long time. I don't think the same situation would have been so damaging to someone else. It was a sort of tailor-made nightmare. I have always been so optimistic, and that was worn down too. I still wouldn't say I'm pessimistic, but lately it is a chore to foresee a good outcome. Imagine being naturally tuned to look into the future & then being in a state where you just can't do it without feeling overwhelmed. It is like being 'me' is all wrong. This is where the 'questioning everything' comes in.

  9. #9
    That's my name biotch! JoSunshine's Avatar
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    Oh Toast, I feel your pain and I am so sorry for your situation. I really do relate - the domino effect that lead to the saddest, most difficult time in my life (with "symptoms" that sound similar to yours) started with finally ending a relationship with a "crazy" person. I wish you the best and maybe try the mindfulness again. I also read an amazing book called the Narcissistic Family that was really helpful, because it helped me see where my need to please came from and I was able to figure out how the "crazy" man got crazy to boot. This helped me begin healing on a deep level.

    It is a process. It will take time. You will get through it. Good luck!
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. " - Dr. Seuss
    I can't spell...get over it

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  10. #10
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    "No peace and no release" makes me certifiable. Hang in there, Toast.
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