Is depression caused by the death of the ego?

In this article, it will be discussed if depression is caused by the death of the ego. It will explain what is ego, what is the death of it, and what can happen when this happens. Aside from that, the article will show what depression is, and what are ways to cope with it.

What is Ego?

The Ego is a sense of self a person develops since the start of their life. It is how they identify themselves, and with what they identify, it can be about gender, their beliefs, and morals.

Sigmund Freud described the Ego as what lies beneath the conscious and unconscious part of the person, it is what gives the person a sense of reality and a person’s identity.

What is the death of the ego?  

The death of the Ego is a complex event that happens when the person suddenly realizes that they don’t identify with the things that constitute their identities, and your sense of self might feel like a fabrication. It is the loss of boundaries between the objective world and the subjective world.

For some people, this might be a moment of enlightenment, and the person can feel more connected and in peace, but for other people, it can be a dark situation, even more so if the person fears going through this.

In those cases, the death of the ego can lead to a sense of detachment or dissociation, and this can lead to an intense sense of anxiety, depression, and fear. 

What can cause the death of the ego?

Ego death can be caused in different ways for different people, but some triggers can cause it, such as the use of psychedelics, certain types of meditation, as well as some out-of-body activities. 

The death of the ego, meaning that you won’t be subjected to it, can bring you to a place of light and love. 

Some stages are common to most ego death experiences. They are:

  • The spiritual awakening

It is the moment of awakening when you wake up without the ego overpowering you.

  • The night of the soul

At that moment the person navigates through their new understanding of self, they start to question everything and realize things are not the same as they thought it was

  • Exploration and curiosity

You start to experiment more and fill the voids left from your previous self with things that are inlined with your beliefs now. 

  • Soul growth and enlightenment

As you get more used to the new you are now, you discover more who you are in this higher vibrational state. In which you made yourself free of many of your old patterns and are a more purified person.

What are ways to achieve the death of ego?

The first thing one needs to ask themselves is why they want to achieve the death of the ego because this is an intense experience that one shouldn’t enter lightly.

With that clear, there is the possibility to look for workshops and some retreats that are made with this goal, and that will help you achieve the ego death through spiritual practices that might involve breathing work.

It might be possible to reach it through the use of psychedelics because its use affects ego-dissolution. People that have experienced ego death through the use of psychedelics refer that they felt in one with the universe.

It can also come through the study of spiritual texts and putting what you learn into practice, this will not shatter your ego from one moment to the next, but it will be a process of evolution.

Does the death of the ego cause depression?

The death of the ego may cause depression. If a person experiences it roughly, it might cause them to go through an experience of detachment and dissociation that can lead to depression.

Detachment implies that a person disconnects or disengages from feelings, thoughts, or people. It can be a defense mechanism but is it the person tends to turn themselves off, and lose the sense of what is important to them, their purpose and identity. 

It is like through the death of their ego, they were left with a void in which it is impossible to create other things. Leaving them feeling empty, and through all that, a person can develop depression.

If the person experiencing the death of the ego goes through a dissociation process, this means they will lose a sense of what is real and what is not, aside from losing the sense of time, their identity, sense of self, and their history.

That condition can happen to people with depression, in which they feel such intense suffering that they separate from reality, but it is also possible for it to happen the other way around. 

In both cases, it will be necessary for a person to go through treatment as a way to try and reintegrate their ego and sense of self. In cases, especially of dissociation, it will be necessary medication treatment to try and connect the person back with reality.

Because of all this, it is extremely important to start the process of ego death aware of the paths it might lead and do it most safely, if possible in a gradual way.

Frequently Asked Question(FAQ): Can the death of ego cause depression?

What are ego thoughts?

Ego thoughts are all the thoughts that are connected to “I”. They are all thoughts that are made in the direction of I like/I dislike, I am/I am not.  

Once you know that, it can be a good idea to think about how much of your life is dominated by those thoughts and start to focus on how to get out of this spinning well and focus on putting your ego in check, and with time start creating a version of you more aligned with the universe.

What is False self?

The false self is a concept created by Donald Winnicott, it refers to a false sense of self a person creates, from a very young age, as a defense mechanism from experimenting, once again traumas, shocks, and stress in relationships close to them.

It is a way to try and keep the love from the parents, to show yourself as someone that deserves to be loved. And you don’t give up this false self as you grow up, people take it to their other relationships, in their workplace, school, and social relationships.

For someone to accept themselves fully, it is important to give up their false self and show who they are to the world and be their true self. This will be a person that shows all of their sides, the insecurities, fragilities, and fears. Instead of just showing sides of yourself that are simple and lovable.

How do I know if there is something wrong with my eagle?

There are some signs you might be too involved in the “I” dimension. One of them is that you don’t ask questions. When you ask people questions, it shows that you don’t know everything and that you are willing to learn. You move from that place of knowledge to a place of learning.

To a person with a big ego, it might be hard to hear negative feedback because that can extremely hurt their sense of self, and because of that, they tend to only surround themselves with people that say “yes” to them.

These people also indicate an intense need for control, they assume that their ideas and how they see the world is the best view, because of that, they constantly express how people should think or act. In consequence of that, it is extremely rare for them to ask for help since that might be taken as a sign of weakness.

And that is an unimaginable thing to them. They always need to be the best, special and win all situations. Because they work like that, it might be that through time they lose touch with people because they are beneath you, and you become unrelatable, so people might also distance themselves from you.

Do narcissists have a true and false self?

No, narcissists usually only have a false self. Through their birth and development went through abuse that taught them the need to hide their true self and only show their false self.

And this is the one that they will show to everyone. They are so insecure, that they imitate and emulate people’s actions, and will reinvent themselves depending on who they are dealing with to get their narcissistic supply.

Their false self is everything they want it to be. It is grandiose, godlike, omnipotent. Through it, they can gain all the attention they want and be recognized for how great they are.

There is no true self, no possibility of having a domain they reserve for people they love. They are always open to being on a stage for people that want to admire and applaud them.

What is the difference between a person who has a big ego and a person that is a narcissist?

They can both have similar qualities, the question here is on the intensity of the feelings. They are both self-confident, but a person with a big ego will have this confidence related to some aspects of their life, while the narcissist will have it as the primal definition of their being.

A person with a big ego is capable of having empathy, while a narcissist doesn’t feel it and has very little regard for what other people might feel, they just use them as a way to validate themselves.

The self-esteem in them is different. Although people with big egos can have high self-esteem, narcissists are incredibly insecure people, they might not show it, but that is why they need people around them to validate how great they are.

People with big egos tend to not value other people, they think they are the best at what they are doing. On the other hand, narcissists, especially in the beginning phase of a relationship, tend to idealize the person they are with, this is not a lie, they are feeling that but it is not related to the person, it is related to how good this person makes the narcissist feel.


In this article, it was shown what the Ego is, and how the death of the Ego can make a person depressed. Along with that, the article explained more about depression, the symptoms of it that can appear with the death of the Ego, and how to cope with depression.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.


Nour MM, Evans L, Nutt D and Carhart-Harris RL (2016) Ego-Dissolution and Psychedelics: Validation of the Ego-Dissolution Inventory (EDI). Front. Hum. Neurosci. 10:269. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00269