The Curse of Living with INFJ Anxiety
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
I’m an INFJ. Does that mean I have anxiety?
Yes, it does—and here’s why.
The curse is this: I’m always anxious. I live at a high level of anxiety constantly. It’s like a buzzing noise that’s always in the background. It’s always there, ready to flare up and take over at any moment.
It’s an everyday thing
One of my friends asked me to go out to dinner a few weeks ago. I had just met her, but she’s an INFJ too and we’d talked over coffee for more than 4 hours the first time we met. As we’re making plans for dinner through text messages I’m getting super anxious. As much as I wanted to see her again, I also hate plans. I hate having to go somewhere new and all the stress that comes with that.
I feel the anxiety rising as we discuss where to go. My mind starts to flutter with little annoyances that I know could turn into big disasters.
Where am I going to park?
I’m vegetarian. Do they have anything that I can eat on their menu?
I know I have nothing to wear to a nice place… please don’t pick too nice of a place.
Do I have any money? Will I have money on this day? When am I getting paid? How much does this place cost?
Will I need to put gas in my car first? I like to go to one specific place, so I have to plan it in advance.
Are you SURE there’s parking? Do I have to parallel park… I’m not good at that, especially at night.
Is the neighborhood ok?
I’ll only have 5 hours to do nothing on Saturday if we go out Saturday night. I’ll have to cancel my plans for Sunday so I can recover.
All of this goes through my mind in a matter of seconds. I try to keep my hands from shaking even though there’s no one around to see them.
Going through this process I struggle with wanting to be polite and let her pick the restaurant, but also wanting to have control of the situation so that I can pick. I know that if it’s up to me I can pick a place that I’m comfortable with and ease my heightened anxiety, if only just a little bit.
You’re not alone
High anxiety is a common trait among INFJs. It’s a combination of our extroverted feeling and our powerful intuition. We can see things coming and we can feel what everyone around us can feel. It’s a wicked combination!
Every time I leave my house I’m bombarded with all kinds of sensations and feelings from every angle. As much as I love being an empath and having the ability to literally feel what other people are feeling, I also loathe the experience. I want the ability to turn it off. If I could just turn it off then I could go to the grocery store and just get groceries. I wouldn’t have to feel the frustration of the people waiting in line behind me or the tiredness of the cashier or the man yelling at his kids. I could just get my groceries and go.
This is why I don’t go out
When I went to dinner with my friend my anxiety was super high. Traffic on Saturday evening is always bad in Boston, where I live. Even though I took the specific way to avoid the highway, I was still stressed. People drive like maniacs here, so you have to be super aware, not only of what you’re doing, but of anyone around you. It takes all the concentration I have.
By the time I get to the restaurant I already feel tired, just from the stress of driving for 20 minutes. I’ve been worried for a week that I won’t be able to find a place to park, even though this restaurant has 2 parking lots. They’re both full, so I opt for a spot on the street a few blocks away. It’s a bit of a walk, but it was easy to park there so I’m ok with it. No backing up required.
I was also stressed about the whole process of meeting my friend. I hate being the first one there, but I also don’t want to make her wait. Of course, I’m early. When I get to the host he asks me if I want to wait in the waiting area or if I’d like to wait at a table. It sounds like such a simple question, but my mind is running through all of the possibilities, trying to pick the best, easiest, right option. Meanwhile, the host is looking at me like I’m an idiot. So much stress over something so simple. I’m stressed by the decision and also by my inability to make the decision quickly enough to avoid his irritated look.
As I sit down at the table I can’t help but think, “This is why I don’t go out.”
My friend finally arrived and found our table easily enough. But there was more. At the table next to us there were five screaming kids. There’s TV screens in the restaurant and it’s completely packed. All of this combined with the level of noise in the restaurant was enough to make me dizzy. It was all I could do to focus on the conversation, because I could barely hear myself talk, let alone my friend.