I was supposed to post this for the last day of the Eight and Fitz week, but I had some things to do (more about that later, probably). Here’s a scene from The Taking of Planet Five, where Eight tried to survive in deep space for a couple of minutes (after the TARDIS he was aboard disintegrated) in a thin cloud of ice particles.
Deep space, in a freezing cloud of water, dying by inches and by microseconds, is possibly the only place where you can literally crack a smile.
I intended to take a break from funky for awhile but realized it’s counter-productive. I’ve been going through a depressive slump for awhile now and when that happens, I withdraw from the world. I intensify my focus, which for a Ne is the WRONG thing to do. Shutting out external stimulation isn’t good.
Doing research on a character’s type last night, I ran across a couple of statements that resonated with me – one was about Doctor Who, and how he needs people because “bad things happen when he’s alone.” He becomes a different person (”You need someone with you, to stop you”) and gets into depressive slumps (remember the TARDIS on the cloud?). I can see where that is true in my life. I become my own worst enemy (and everyone else’s) whenever I don’t have friends, or a social calendar, or challenges, or things to DO, because I can’t dwell inside myself like an introvert can. I can’t entertain myself. I need constant, increasing external stimulation.
Do you remember that episode of Doctor Who, where the mysterious black cubes show up (”The Power of Three”)? The Doctor sets out to spend time with Amy and Rory at home. He’s all excited about it. This’ll be fun, right?! Real life is fun! Within hours, he’s bored. Once he’s cleaned the entire house, amused himself with bouncing soccer (”football”) balls off his knees a thousand times, and tried various other anti-boredom tactics, he’s literally going insane. He leaves. He can’t stand the boredom of mundane life.
That is how it is with Ne-dom. We romanticize and idealize boring
elements of life in order to make them more passable – but the thrill
wears off very quickly. And if we can’t share this life with
other people, these ideas, these experiences, even this television show
that’s blowing our mind, we get restless. We want more and know
more exists, but it’s like – without people, without occupation,
without constant newness, we become… something else. We fall back into
our memories, which aren’t positive so much as negative. It’s not the
awesome fun times we’ve had that come to mind, but our losses… our
humiliations… our missed chances… we withdraw, our Ne receives
nothing to feed it, we get dark and depressed and pessimistic. Or at least I do.
I’ve been in denial about this. I constantly assume my apathy or unwillingness to engage or single-mindedness is introversion – it’s not, it’s twenty years of an extrovert not using her Ne to the fullest of its ability, a Ne who is in prolonged mind-numbing depression out of solitude and/or loneliness, which in turn makes her refuse to be social and convinced the world cannot entertain her. A Ne who is utterly, painfully incapable of entertaining herself, who gets BORED watching TV for more than two hours, but can’t think of anything interesting enough to do, to bother getting up off the couch, alone, marinating in her hated solitude.
Why am I sharing this? No idea. Maybe it can help someone else?
The other thing. I ran across a statement of someone sneering at the idea a popular celebrity often typed as ENFP is actually an ENFP because their Ne is so zany – they said (and I agree) “mature, effortless Ne is not popping out zany connections everywhere – it’s an instant, highly skilled process, a natural order making true connections, not superficial ones for other people’s amusement.” And it’s true – real Ne’s are not defined by weirdness or randomness intended to entertain (that’s a Fe/Ne trait) but off-center, intuitive, sometimes insightful ways of perceiving reality. Their insights can be sharp and penetrating. They trust their instincts.
And (I’m sorry for further propagating this myth, it comes from seeing types in abstract terms rather than being able to instantly use sensory-based comparisons – it’s almost like, in typing characters, I start over every single time) but Ne’s can reach singular conclusions or perceptions and stick with them. They’re open to a margin of error and a good argument will sway Ne, but when left alone to discern a motivation, a reason for behavior, a true intention in someone else, often Ne-dom will pick the most likely cause, emotion, or motivation first – and stick with that, until it’s filtered out or proven untrue; a lot of the time, Ne is correct the first time. We can be DISTRACTED from it with external white noise, but our instincts are good. We’re intuitive.
Other people have told me that, to them, I’m this incomprehensible force, blowing through things with reckless abandon – a supernova, but inside my head isn’t like that. It’s rather quiet to me. I live in a world of subtle vibrations – like a spider seated at the center of a web. Ideas with less potential are dewdrops on the silvery strands that tremble and soon fade. I toss them aside. But I’m a very hungry spider. I need challenges to overcome. Things to do. Conversations to hold. Outside impact to focus. I process things fast, but am not an endless well of instant ideas. I have to care first. Insights “just come” to me about people. I often predict outcomes accurately. I don’t tend to think of many negative outcomes, just the most rational one (Ne/Te) and plan for that, while keeping other possibilities on the back burner.
This same person pointed to Veronica Mars as a more realistic ENFP than most – a girl who isn’t your stereotypical ideas-generating idealist, but who floats through life, reacting to external reality, trusting her intuitive instincts, adapting and changing with each ebb and flow of life. Yet, she has something in common with the Doctor – leave her alone too long, and things go badly.
Someday I’ll learn not to withdraw, but to engage. And I’ll be the better for it.
For others, struggling to either accept or determine your type: don’t look for “obvious” – look for “effortless.” What needs fed? What doesn’t? What, frankly, sucks in you? What makes you depressed and why?
Can you entertain yourself? Could you do so, locked in an empty room?