If you’ve ever taken the Enneagram Test, you’ve received a number 1-9. Each number is recognized by different characteristics. For example, twos are usually giving, selfless, helpful. Eights are natural-born leaders who aren’t afraid to take charge. Fives are studious, logical, sometimes obsessive.
And then there are the Fours. Fours are the hopeless romantics, the feelers, the individualists. They are known for being deeply sensitive beings with an aptitude for vulnerability and compassion. They thrive on channeling their emotions to create art and find meaning in just about anything. They see the value in understanding and being understood.
Why are Fours So Down All the Time?
Because of the thorough relationship between an Enneagram Four and their emotions, it is oftentimes difficult to stay and thrive in the present reality. They find comfort in understanding their feelings, whether good or bad, and they use them to find significance in the world. Even the darkest places in their minds can bring comfort.
This is why a four may find themselves moving in with their suffering as a way of ensuring that they always feel connected to their deep well of emotions. Where fours are known for thriving in love and creativity, they are also known for easily falling into depression.
As an Enneagram Four, and someone who has experienced waves of depression and melancholia for most of my life, learning about this personality test has helped me better understand a few of the remaining puzzle pieces to my innate personality. That being said, the Enneagram is just a personality test.
When dealing with depression, the test should never replace solutions such as therapy or medication when needed. Nor should it be used as a means for justifying unhealthy habits without a desire for growth. It is simply a tool for recognizing we’re not alone while also acknowledging patterns of thinking that may be causing us harm.
There are several traits of Enneagram Fours that sometimes make it even harder to cope with depression. Being aware of these allowed me find healthier strategies for living with depression and moving forward when it hits.
Enneagram Fours & Significance
One of the most powerful and basic desires of an Enneagram Four is the longing to find significance in everything. And I mean everything. This is most likely why fours are almost always creative and compassionate people. Searching for significance helps us find beauty in the most painful circumstances and kindness among the most unkind people.
This desire can often leave fours feeling hopeless, lonely, or depressed, because significance simply can’t be found in everything. I’ve spent much of my life trying to attach meaning to other people’s actions, tragedy, and life-changing events. When significance can’t be found, it can lead me to feelings of despair and depression.
Enneagram Fours & Jealousy
Jealousy and comparison are traits I know well. I’ve compared my appearance, my timeline, my intelligence, my abilities, my relationships, my financial situation.
Although jealousy and comparison are traits that affect all human beings, Enneagram Fours have thought patterns and internal motivations that make jealousy a more foundational struggle. This is due to a combination of two common qualities shared by fours on the enneagram: having the innate desire to create a unique identity among billions of people in the world, and a core fear that something is missing from their lives.
This combination is a common factor in damaging contentment among Enneagram Fours. I’ve often caught myself worrying about being the most creative, the most intelligent, or the most emotionally sophisticated person in the room. This motivation causes me to feel jealousy toward people who might threaten that success. Mixing this with my constant fear that everyone around me has something that is missing from my life is a perfect equation for triggering depression.
Enneagram Fours & Feelings
To a four like me, feelings are everything. They motivate me, they help me make decisions, they feed my creativity. Most of the time, my feelings are my lifeline. And while this connection to my feelings and emotions is a beautiful trait that allows me to access empathy and compassion on a level that some other Enneagram numbers can’t, it can also ail the filter through which I experience life.
So many of my triggers for depression are based on how I feel about something, rather than the reality of my current situation. Because I most often find myself fully immersed in my feelings, I have a difficult time getting out of my head and embracing an objective viewpoint. Even though my feelings are valid and may bring helpful insight into a situation, they are not always reliable depictions of my reality.
It’s been helpful to dive deeper into the Enneagram to learn these qualities about myself and how they may lead to more difficulty with depression. I’ve been able to grow by moving towards the objective, goal-oriented qualities of the Enneagram One, and I’ve found that things such as meditating, creating consistent exercise plans, and accomplishing small but meaningful goals are beneficial in helping me cope with my depression as an Enneagram Four.