In this article we will discuss, what it means if you feel like life has no meaning, what is existential depression, who is at risk for it, how is it treated, the signs and symptoms of existential depression
What is existential depression?
“What is the purpose of human life?” you ponder. “What is the meaning of my life?” What is the point of it all?”
Is this what they mean when they say there’s an existential crisis? Is it existential depression, perhaps?
Existential depression is a sort of depression that occurs when a person is confronted with life’s big questions, such as existence, purpose, and death. It is usual to experience depressive episodes as a result of these ongoing existential difficulties.
Existential depression is frequently caused by a terrible incident in a person’s life, usually one related to loss, although it can also happen without a specific triggering event. Despite the fact that the symptoms of existential depression are tough to deal with, there are numerous strategies to overcome and treat them.
There are many different types of depression, and each person may experience one of them. Existential depression occurs when a person’s depression is triggered by questions about the meaning of life, life itself, or death.
What does having existential depression feel like?
Existential depression can strike while you’re dealing with topics like freedom, death, or life. You may be suffering from existential sadness if you find yourself pondering questions such as, “Is my life merely to work, create a family of my own, and die?”
Some other questions you may think about:
- Is there anyone who genuinely cares about me?
- Will I be able to find someone who actually understands and supports me?
- Is there a God, and if so, what evidence do we have that he cares?
The most important questions in life frequently have no answers. Still, it’s human nature to wonder — and to be frustrated with doubt and uncertainty.
You may begin to explore complex questions at some time in your life:
- “What causes people to suffer?”
- “What occurs after death?”
- “What is the purpose of my existence?”
- “What if I never find love?”
You might feel trepidation, if not terror, as you try to make sense of grief, distress, and injustice. Existential dread is a term used to describe these sentiments.
You may eventually come to grips with the overall impossibility of discovering the answers you seek and re-calibrate your self-concept to your newfound awareness of existence.
Existential angst, on the other hand, might leave you feeling hopeless about the world and your own destiny.
You could feel gloomy, unmotivated, and unable to stop asking the same essentially unanswerable questions if you don’t have answers, a clear sense of meaning, or influence over your eventual fate.
Signs and symptoms of existential depression
After experiencing trauma, loss, religious trauma, faith crisis, or another life-altering experience, it’s natural to doubt your own existence and purpose in the universe.
The four basic issues of existential questioning are as follows:
- Death, as well as the acceptance of its inevitability and what occurs afterward
- The sheer magnitude of choices (and consequences) accessible to you in life is known as freedom.
- Isolation, or a sense of being cut off from people, can lead to the loss of key relationships.
- Meaninglessness or wondering what your life’s purpose is.
Feeling stuck in a search for deeper meaning and unable to move on from a point of crisis can lead to a “disintegration” of the self, as defined by Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dąbrowski.
You may become fixated on past decisions or mistakes, feeling sorry for your failure to make a difference in other people’s life.
This type of exploration, as well as the discomfort that comes with it, is frequently referred to as an existential crisis.
You can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of living a life without purpose, deeper meaning, or connection if you can’t answer these questions or accept life’s uncertainties.
This period of crisis is often followed by good growth, but it can also be accompanied by feelings of despair. Existential issues are one of the eight main factors people report as a contributing factor to their depression, according to older study.
Existential depression may involve some of the following :
- A preoccupation with life’s greater meaning or the discovery of one’s sense of purpose
- The inability to address existential issues causes despair and hopelessness.
- A sense of despondency regarding society’s or the world’s future
- Thoughts of death, dying, or suicide on a regular basis
- When it comes to producing purpose or change in your life, a sense of incompetence or powerlessness
- When it comes to producing purpose or change in your life, a sense of incompetence or powerlessness
- Realising that the world is flawed
- Wishing for more from life than the banal and insignificant daily routine.
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies that you used to like, typically due to a sense that they are meaningless.
- The conviction that nothing you do will make a difference, prompting you to question whether you should bother at all
- Having trouble interacting with people who don’t appear to care about existential issues.
You may lose touch with your own beliefs and life goals as a result of existential depression, and you may notice that your sense of self begins to blur and lose definition.
This combination of shame, impotence, and detachment can make it difficult to maintain connections or do things you used to like, leading to feelings of isolation and meaninglessness.
Is existential crisis the same as existential depression?
Existential crises, according to some experts, have cognitive components, such as a loss of purpose or meaning in life.
But,not all existential crises result in depression. As a result, existential depression and existential crisis are two distinct events.
Depression is a mood disorder and a mental health issue. It is possible to diagnose and treat it.
A crisis is a psychological or moral life event that can cause increased — and sometimes unbearable — stress. It can also be worked through with the assistance of a mental health expert, but it isn’t always linked to a medical problem.
Is it possible for an existential crisis to lead to depression? Although this is conceivable, it is not usually the case.
In fact, it might be the polar opposite.
A difficult situation may prompt a person to ponder carefully on their life, including ideas about mortality or spirituality, as well as questions about identity and purpose, but the end result may lead to strength, awareness, and affirmation.
An existential crisis can result in anxiety, powerlessness, rage, and sadness if this isn’t the case.
In conclusion, if you have frequent existential thoughts that make you frustrated and agitated, you may be experiencing an existential crisis.
You may have acquired a depressive disorder if these thoughts last more than two weeks and affect how you see yourself, others, and operate in the world.
What causes existential depression?
By familiarising yourself with the broader philosophical concept of existentialism, we can better grasp existential depression
It indicates that humans are wired to seek purpose in their lives. We are responsible for the meaning we acquire from our lives since we have the opportunity to make our own decisions throughout our lives.
Although this can be a useful tool for self-reflection and achieving our goals, these kinds of thinking can also lead to depression.
Existential depression is characterised by emotions of hopelessness or a sense that life is meaningless. The inescapable concept of death, as well as the purpose of existence before death, tend to dominate thoughts.
As a kind of depression, it is likely to share many of the same causes and factors as other types of depression.
Existential depression, in particular, could be triggered by a variety of factors.
The difference between existential depression and normal depression
This sort of depression is distinguished by the content of its thoughts.
Many of the symptoms of existential depression are remarkably similar to those of clinical depression. Feelings of exhaustion, emptiness, melancholy, loneliness, hopelessness, and a general lack of interest in ordinary activities may be experienced by someone suffering from existential depression.
These symptoms usually last at least two weeks for those seeking therapy for clinical depression.
It’s worth noting, nevertheless, that existential depression has several clinical traits that aren’t shared by other types of depression. In addition to the concept of death, the pessimistic thoughts linked with existential sadness tend to focus more particularly on a loss of meaning or purpose in life. Suicidal feelings can certainly arise from these kinds of ideas, which can also occur in other types of sadness.
Who is at risk for existential depression?
Existential depression is thought to be more common in gifted or talented people, according to experts. Existential depression, on the other hand, can affect anyone who is particularly prone to depressive symptoms or who has encountered a tragic loss or existential crisis.
Because of the nature of the thoughts, existential depression is assumed to be more common in people with better intellectual abilities. Gifted people are regarded to be more inclined to existential despair since thoughts about it tend to include a lot of self-reflection and life analysis rather than more superficial observations.
Because of their ability to foresee future possibilities or drawbacks, gifted youngsters are at a higher risk than their classmates. Because of their idealistic impulses, gifted youngsters are more likely to become angry or unhappy if their expectations are not met.
These people are more likely to have thoughts connected with existential despair when they have more negative reflections on themselves or the world around them.
Without expert help, depression may not always improve.
Existential anxiety and sadness can lead to:
- contribute to emotions of loneliness and isolation
- have an impact on personal connections and day-to-day activities
- cause hopelessness or suicidal ideation
Reaching out for help if your depression lasts longer than a few weeks is a useful next step.
Most therapists can help you start to control your depressive symptoms, but existential and humanistic treatments may be especially beneficial in this case.
Both provide a secure, nonjudgmental environment in which to think about life’s big problems and figure out how to be more fulfilled.
In existential therapy, you’ll learn to embrace and incorporate the four fundamental existential subjects described above – death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness — into your sense of self. Read more about it here
You’ll learn why it’s so crucial to be yourself in humanistic treatment. Accepting and respecting your genuine self might assist you in finding a route that best suits your unique viewpoint and capabilities. Read more about it here
In This article, we discussed what existential depression is, what does having existential depression feel like, the signs and symptoms of existential depression, what causes it,the difference between existential depression and depression and how to get help.
What is an existential crisis?
Having an existential crisis entails constantly considering life and death, as well as the belief that life has no purpose and is pointless.
Hopelessness, loneliness, worthlessness, and emptiness, as well as estrangement, are all assumed.
What does existential mean?
Existential is a term that refers to something that exists or exists. The word “existentia” is derived from the Latin existre/exsistere, which means “to arise,” “to appear,” and “to exist.”
What is existential anxiety?
Existential anxiety is a fear or horror that comes with making a decision, especially the unknown.