Too Many Balls In The Air

December 13, 2012

I SO wish I could claim to know who drew this...

I SO wish I could claim to know who drew this…

I took a mental health day off from work yesterday and did some introspection. I came to the conclusion that it may be the J in my INTJ personality that is giving me so much trouble accepting what other people are mandating (i.e. no funeral and no working remotely). Which is a little crazy considering that the J in my INTJ is kind of ‘soft.’ Sometimes I lean towards P. But every time I take the test I get INTJ.

Neither (the lack of funeral and the non-permission to work remotely) make sense logically and it offends my INTJ nature. Greatly.

Every now and again I forget what my personality type means. I consider myself a socially high-functioning INTJ (many aren’t). I am not oblivious to social cues and norms like many INTJs. I can function as an extrovert when it’s required of me. It’s exhausting, but I can do it. (Dude, I went to a Meet Up. By. MYSELF.)

And so I sometimes forget about what it means to be an INTJ. And what it means to be a stressed/depressed out INTJ.

INTJs at Home

Home is a reflection of the INTJ’s current conceptual interests. Theoretical and practical books, DVDs, tapes, and podcasts can be found everywhere. To a casual visitor the home may seem neat. But its private corners may contain half-started projects, collections of memos, and assorted potential challenges: a guitar to be mastered, a file cabinet to be organized, a household repair to be done. Dreams and visions are the INTJ’s form of relaxation. Unfortunately, ambitious plans may go unfulfilled if the INTJ is seduced by the intellectual excitement of a plan without ever actually getting it done. Such a dilemma sets them up for self-criticism, which may lead to frustration.

OK, so my house is not neat. I like to be organized but I am not that neat. Although, compared to Right Guy I'm a compulsive neat freak. But I definitely have a gazillion house projects on my To-Do list. And I constantly beat myself up about not doing them. Or not completing them.

And what happens to an INTJ when under stress? Apparently my personality OPPOSITE takes over. The intuition part of my personality goes haywire in favor of sensory input. Like TV.

INTJs Under Stress

When under a great deal of stress, the INTJ may become obsessed with mindless repetitive, Sensate activities, such as over-drinking. They may also tend to become absorbed with minutia and details that they would not normally consider important to their overall goal.

A stress response in the INTJ often manifests as an uncomfortable focus on the external environment. Because the INTJ’s inferior function is Sensing, they are unaccustomed to attending to the details in the world around them. When their focus turns to external sensory experience, this attention often feels stressful and overstimulating….
Stress can also show itself through a tendency to overindulge in sensual pleasures: eating, drinking, or watching television.

Yep. So I end up watching TV (and drinking more wine than I should) instead of accomplishing my many projects. And then, to calm the stress I make To Do lists. But I never seem to complete everything on them. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It’s a vicious cycle.

But I forgot I had all these balls in the air. I keep saying that I shouldn’t be stressed because I haven’t been doing fertility treatments and I haven’t been taking care of Pops. But I forgot about the little things I’ve been doing to try and fill those gaps.


  • I sponsored a family for Xmas. But it wasn’t enough to just sponsor a family and buy a couple of presents. I had to take it upon myself to organize a whole group of people so we could sponsor a BIGGER family. Tomorrow I will drop off all the presents for a family with six kids.
  • Volunteering to moderate the Ectopic Pregnancy board on This is not a lot of work since that board doesn’t get a lot of traffic. But I still have to check it every day to make sure I don’t miss a post.
  • My book club that requires me to read two books a month. And I have a long reading list of books that are not book club related.
  • Trying to figure out next steps and potentially gearing up for another FET.
  • My ongoing effort to somehow make some freaking friends in this town. As an INTJ I don’t need a lot of acquaintances. I need a small group of real friends. And that is a tall order. And it requires me to step out of my comfort zone.
  • My spurious efforts to turn The Saga of Wrong Guy into a book.
  • A gazillion half finished projects (e.g. homemade bulletin board from wine corks that I started ~7 freaking YEARS ago – it was originally meant to be graduation present for a friend in law school)
  • The fact that I’m signed up for THREE Coursera classes starting in January.

I guess I’m just so used to running myself ragged that I don’t know how to function in any other way.

Now that I think about it, that’s not just true recently – it’s not just because I’m no longer taking care of Pops. It’s because I have two speeds: 0mph and 120mph. I don’t ever seem to plod along at 60mph. Anyone have tips for that?

And what’s your Myers-Briggs personality type?

Take the test – or something similar to it – here.


2 Responses to “Too Many Balls In The Air”

  1. B Says:

    You have A LOT of balls in the air! While it isn’t the two huge balls you were used to, all those smaller balls add up. (For the record I’m totally having a hard time keeping a straight face right now.) Go easy on yourself. Adjusting to 60mph after living at 0 or 120mph is tough! I believe you’ll get there. As for tips, my only thought is giving yourself small, manageable goals or steps for each of those things and assigning them to be done certain days of the week. For me I actually write out all the smaller balls I need to take care of or address in m planner each day, or I use list making apps on my phone to divide the tasks up. I personally prefer pen & paper because that way I get the satisfaction of crossing things off my list. 🙂

  2. jjiraffe Says:

    I am an ITNJ too. I pursued extroverted activities and an extroverted career and never understood why I was so tired all the time. I’m great with deadlines, horrible with self-paced projects and have an unfinished mystery 8 years in the making. Blah. I love your statement about the 0 mph or 120 mph. That is so me.

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