illness, Personal

Personality or Circumstance? (The one where I take the same test twice)

I was reading through the blogs on my dash the other day, as you do, and Sarah over at A Life Less Physical had a very interesting post about changes due to chronic illness (click on the linky to go read it). Her post was about taking a test that determined the best work situation for her and how her preference had changed from pre-illness.

This got me thinking about other tests. Now, I love taking all these different tests that you get online. Personality, Hogwarts house…. I’ll take them all (just so you know, I always end up in Slytherin). But I always have a little difficulty in answering some of the questions, or rather how I should be answering the questions.

Illness has changed so much but has it changed my personality or is it just the circumstances that are different?

personality or circumstance

Pre-illness I was rather spontaneous. I would get on a train or a bus and see where I ended up. I have always been a socially anxious little plum but when it came to making decisions for myself I was spontaneous. Now? Well, I need at least a week to prepare to leave the house and go to my favourite restaurant where I’ve been before with my parents. So when it comes to answering a question like Are you spontaneous? …. Am I? Do I say yes? Even though I am incapable of being so anymore? Do I answer the question with pre-illness me in mind? Was that my personality and are these just my circumstances or do my circumstances change my personality?

Which brings me onto another point. Anyone with a chronic illness knows that comparing yourself to pre-illness you, let alone comparing yourself to a healthy other, is a bad road to be on. After all, comparison really is the thief of joy. So, is answering questions about my personality by thinking of myself as pre-illness actually harmful to me? I’m pretty good at living in my new normal but is holding onto who we were before bad for us? Should we just be accepting that this is my personality now and let it go?

And how does this relate to mental health tests like depression and for other conditions such as autism? When filling out questionnaires for these things do we fill it out with pre-illness us in mind or how we are now? Is it a balancing act where we have to decide which parts are now our personality and which parts will always be our underlying personality regardless of our circumstances?

I’m happy never leaving the house, pottering around alone with my crafts and my books but if I was well I would be out doing everything. So what is personality and what’s circumstances?

I decided to take a test based on the Myers Briggs personality test twice, one for pre-illness 15 year old me and one for me now to see how much, if at all, my ‘personality’ has changed.

Here’s how I got on:

Pre-illness // Now

Pre-illness Result: ISFP – The Adventurer (Introvert – Observant – Feeling – Prospecting)

Now Result: INTJ – The Architect (Introvert – Intuitive – Thinking – Judging)

The only thing that stayed the same was that I’m introverted! I wasn’t quite expecting it to change that much! (I did actually go back and redo a more extensive test twice and got the same results the second time around.) But reading through the explanation of both I can definitely see how I fit/ed both results. I guess it makes sense that I plan things out more now that I have less energy to go around. Does that mean that everything apart from the basic Introvert/Extrovert part of anyone’s personality is subject to change due to any change in circumstances? Or is something like a chronic illness just so all-consuming that it’s only something like that that would show such a drastic change?



So what do you think? How close is personality linked to circumstances? Should we be taking into account how we’ve changed when we take these kinds of tests or do we answer them according to our circumstances? Should we be ignoring our circumstances completely and be answering how we would like to be in the perfect circumstances? Do you think personality tests like this are a load of hooey?

And most importantly do you love taking tests as much as me? I would love for you to take the tests and let me know how you got on (The one I took is here), and it doesn’t only have to be if you have a chronic illness, maybe there was some other big change in your life that might have changed you?

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15 thoughts on “Personality or Circumstance? (The one where I take the same test twice)”

  1. I’ve done a lot of stuff with these over the years. No expert, but here’s my take on the differences. I’m guessing that you were fairly middle of the road between, S and N, T and F, and P and J to start with. If you are closer to the middle there will be more room to lean one way or the other according to circumstances. Example, my scores for E and I were pretty even, maybe 2 points higher for E. However, my job required me to be very E and I live in a house of I’s , so at home I am extremely I, and without a job requiring me to be E, I have reverted to more of an I personality. Same with the J and P, I flip back and forth between the two according to the circumstance. So, I’m guessing that you are just moving toward the traits that work best in your circumstances. They are all a continuum, so you’ve moved in the direction that you have to, in order to have the best life for your current situation. Though I wish your health allowed you more spontaneity, you are an amazing young woman right now, so remember that! šŸ˜„

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    1. That’s true. I probably should have looked at the scores for each trait. Maybe I’ll go back and do that. It’s all very interesting. And Aww thank you!

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  2. This is a very interesting post! I’ve never thought about this before.

    I suppose my change would be pre anxiety and depression and now – which pre anxiety I was a Hufflepuff, and recently I embarrassingly got sorted into Gryffindor. Dunno how that works. I’m still Hufflepuff haha.
    I did that test and it said I was a Mediator personality – which was pretty accurate other than the multiple languages part. SO not me unfortunately. But it leaves me curious to know what I would have been before.
    And I’m the same as you, impulsive and spontaneous but sometimes my anxiety stops that. So even though my anxiety is part of me, is being spontaneous the ‘real me’?

    Very cool post, really enjoyed it x

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    1. Oh no! Gryffindor! What? No. You can definitely stay a hufflepuff! I wish I knew multiple languages too!
      Its all very interesting. Does the want to be spontaneous make us? I mean if given the perfect situation for us then we would take the opportunity right? So…

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  3. Oh I’m going to go and take this!
    I know ‘who I am’ has changed dramatically since my brain injury. I used to overthink everything and never actually do anything. Now I take the approach of you only live once, and just dive in! I used to enjoy doing my paid profession, now I look for every opportunity to get out of it. I’ve even worked out a plan for how little I need to contribute to the family income. I’m just lucky I have a loving and supportive husband who on the whole, has now accepted the new me.

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    1. I’d love to hear if it’s different or the same for you. That sounds like a good approach to life and I’m glad you have such a supportive husband šŸ™‚


  4. Life constantly changes each and everyone of us. We go from being the 5 year old to the 10 year old, the teenager to the adult. Then from carefree to maybe caring as we have children, or our parents get older. At 40 your outlook on life quite differently to that of a 20 year old, or even of a 60 year old. We grow and we change, either because of responsibilities, age, health or circumstances. The one thing that is constant and will always stays the same is the fact that we are all changing all of the time.

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  5. What an interesting conversation you have sparked, Jess.Although I think age changes your outlook, as I guess does circumstance, I still feel inside like the younger me. xx

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  6. Hmmmm Just tried the test. and am sure that the younger me would not rank 61 % assertive.Although I think the other results reflect my personality which has remained constant, I think? sooo interesting.Might have to do it again.

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  7. I do love a test too, I’m a Ravenclaw and for the 16 personalities I got Commander (ENTJ-T). I think that circumstances could definitely change this though, I have just been lucky so far that nothing drastic has really happened to me but I do find it very interesting. I would love to hear more about this šŸ™‚

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  8. Interestingly enough, I struggle with the pre/post illness answers on all the quizzes I’ve taken too.šŸ˜Š Illness just wipes your old life out leaving behind a different person. Well that’s been my experience. Don’t get me wrong I’m still in here but my wants, wishes and dreams are being re formulated to match my new capabilities. And the quizzes do leave me in a bit of a what-if identity crisis. But then I always think what-if you weren’t capable of taking this online quiz at all and I’m calmed and on my way. I think doing it both ways is clever and self soothing. It answers the questions of who am I and who would I have been.

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