Existential depression is a type of depression that is caused by the realization that life has no inherent meaning. This can be a difficult concept to grapple with and can lead to feelings of despair, loneliness, and hopelessness. If you are struggling with existential depression, know that you are not alone. There are ways to deal with this condition, and you can get help if needed. In this article, we will discuss what existential depression is, its symptoms, and how to cope with it.
- 1 What Is Existential Depression?
- 2 What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
- 3 What Causes Existential Depression?
- 4 Who Is Most Affected By It?
- 5 When To Find Ways To Cope?
- 6 What Are The Ways To Deal With Existential Depression?
- 7 When To Seek Professional Treatment?
- 8 What Are The Treatment Options?
- 9 Conclusion
- 10 A Word From Mantra Care
What Is Existential Depression?
Existential depression is defined as a profound sense of hopelessness and despair. That can be caused by a major life event or a lifelong condition. It is characterized by feelings of emptiness, isolation, and meaninglessness.
Existential depression is different from clinical depression in that it is not simply a result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Rather, it is a response to the unique challenges of life. Everyone will experience existential depression at some point in their lives. People begin to question their purpose and meaning in life. They may feel like they are living in a meaningless void.
Existential depression is a normal response to the trials and tribulations of life. However, it can become debilitating if it lasts for extended periods of time. If you are struggling with existential depression, you must seek professional help.
There are several ways to deal with existential depression. Psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes are all effective treatments. You should work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for you. Existential depression is a serious condition, but it is treatable.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
It is obvious in life to feel a certain low, or “blue” feeling. This is just part of the human condition and is also referred to as existential malaise. We all feel this way at some point in our lives. For some people, however, this feeling doesn’t go away. It might even get worse over time.
Generally, existential questions revolve around four main topics:
- Death- What happens when we die?
- Freedom- Are we really in control of our lives or are we just puppets?
- The Meaningful Life- Is there a point to living or is life just a series of random events?
- Isolation- Do we ultimately go through life alone?
So what are the signs and symptoms of existential depression? Here are some common ones:
- A feeling of emptiness or pointlessness.
- Pervasive feelings of sadness, anxiety, or grief.
- Anxiety about death and dying.
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
- Feeling disconnected from others or feeling like nobody understands you.
- A deep sense of loneliness or isolation.
These symptoms are common in other forms of depression as well. It is essential to consult with a mental health professional to get an accurate diagnosis.
What Causes Existential Depression?
The causes of existential depression are varied and complex. Some of the common causes include:
It is often said that the only constant in life is – change. And while change can be exciting, it can also be difficult to cope with. Change can often lead to feelings of loss, uncertainty, and grief. These feelings can eventually lead to existential depression. It is a series of events that are causing the individual to question their existence.
Philosophical crises are often caused by a major life event. It is a time when an individual is questioning the meaning and purpose of their life. This can often lead to feelings of emptiness, despair, and loneliness. Only this cause is not existential depression. Existential depression is a more persistent form of despair that is not necessarily linked to any one event. It is a condition that arises from the recognition that life is meaningless and without purpose. This can be a difficult concept to deal with, but there are ways to manage it.
Traumatic experiences can have a lasting effect on an individual. It can cause them to question their beliefs and values. They may also feel isolated and alone. This can lead to an existential crisis. In fact, trauma, history of abuse, or conflicts are some of the main risk factors for developing existential depression.
So, these major life events can trigger a depressive episode characterized by existential themes. These may include feeling like life is meaningless, feeling helpless and alone, or questioning your identity.
If you’re going through this type of depression, it’s important to seek professional help. Existential therapy can be very helpful in dealing with these deep-seated issues.
Who Is Most Affected By It?
According to studies, existential depression shows up most commonly in “gifted” and “talented” people. These basically include:
- Fashion designers
It is thought that this is because people who are creative and have a more complex understanding of the world are more prone to developing this type of depression. This is likely because they are constantly questioning existence and searching for answers to big life questions.
They might also feel like they are not living up to their potential or that their life has no purpose. If you are someone who is creative, it’s important to find healthy outlets for your creativity. This can help prevent existential depression from taking over.
Moreover, it’s important to surround yourself with supportive people who understand your thought process. If you’re going through existential depression, know that you are not alone and there is help available.
When To Find Ways To Cope?
It is often confusing, as existential depression is somehow a mix of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms. You might not be able to concentrate or make decisions. Everything feels meaningless and you can’t see a way out. You feel like you’re stuck in quicksand
Also, it is believed that existential depression affects more people than we realize. This is because the signs and symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions like anxiety or clinical depression.
So, if you’re feeling lost, trapped, and hopeless, it’s important to reach out for help. Although, some gifted and talented people have found ways to cope with existential depression on their own. One way is by using their creativity to connect with the world in a deeper way.
Artists, musicians, writers, and other creatives often have a deep understanding of the human experience. They can use their work as a way to explore the big questions and make sense of life. Therefore, seeking help is necessary for those who don’t have this outlet.
What Are The Ways To Deal With Existential Depression?
There are numerous ways that people have found helpful in dealing with existential depression. So, here are some coping tips to help you deal with the deep and dark feelings:
Talk to someone who understands
In this case, talking to a therapist or counselor who specializes in existential depression can be very helpful. They will help you understand and work through your unique experience. Moreover, your family, friends, and your partner can also be a great support system to talk about your feelings.
Write it all down
Putting your thoughts and feelings into words can be very therapeutic. Writing can help you make sense of what you’re going through and help you work through your emotions. You can even start a blog or journal to document your experience with existential depression.
Find your purpose
A big part of existential depression is feeling like you have no purpose in life. So, it’s important to find meaning and purpose in your life. This can be done by volunteering, committing to a cause, or pursuing a passion. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that makes you feel good and has significance to you. In fact, research has shown that having a sense of purpose can lead to a longer and happier life.
Self-care should always be a priority, but it’s especially important when you’re dealing with existential depression. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks when you need them. Additionally, consider trying out relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
Read books and articles
It is very important to keep your mind active when you are feeling down. When you are feeling depressed, it is easy to dwell on negative thoughts and become trapped in a cycle of despair. Books and articles can provide valuable perspectives and help you understand your feelings better. They can also offer hope and inspire positive change.
Transform uncertainty into hope
Existential depression is characterized by a profound sense of disconnection and isolation. This can lead to feelings of meaninglessness, nihilism, and even despair. So, this option of transforming uncertainty into hope is actually quite helpful. This may involve seeking out new experiences, learning about different cultures, or simply spending time in nature.
Stay more in the present
This is often hard to do when you’re depressed. Your mind is constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. But staying in the present can help prevent you from getting lost in your thoughts and can help you appreciate the good things in your life more. One way to stay in the present is to focus on your senses and what’s around you. You can practice mindfulness meditation, which can help you learn to focus on the present moment.
When you’re feeling lost and alone, it can be difficult to see any hope for the future. However, by taking small steps and focusing on what is within your control, you can begin to feel more hopeful about your life. You may not be able to change everything that’s causing you pain, but you can change how. And, with time and effort, those small changes can lead to big ones.
When To Seek Professional Treatment?
In some cases, existential depression can be so debilitating that individuals are unable to function in their everyday lives. In fact, if you are experiencing any of the following, it is important to seek professional treatment:
- unable to enjoy activities that you used to love
- struggling to maintain healthy personal relationships
- work performance has suffered
- using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope
- experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors
These are actually warning signs that reflect something much deeper is going on beyond just the sadness and emptiness. And that is common with existential depression. So, if you find yourself struggling in any of these areas, please reach out for help.
There are many helpful resources available. You just need to recognize that you need assistance and want to make a change.
If you’re not quite sure whether you’re experiencing existential depression or if it’s something else, consider taking a diagnostic test from a mental health professional. It will give you some clarity and understanding about your condition.
What Are The Treatment Options?
If you find that you need professional treatment and your condition is gradually worsening, there are a few options for you to consider. These include:
Therapy is one of the most effective professional treatment options. It can help you understand your condition and give you tools to cope with it. Most therapists will help you to manage your depression condition firsthand. And then, move forward with the right approach to deal with existential depression which is:
- Humanistic therapy
- Existential therapy
In humanistic therapy, the focus is on the present moment and your current situation. The therapist will help you to understand yourself better and find meaning in your life. You will more likely learn about the importance of accepting your true self. And, the therapist will help you t choose the right path as per your potential.
In existential therapy, the main focus would be on those four existential topics that are mentioned above; death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness. These will be used to help you find meaning in your life and manage your depression. You will learn to accept and integrate more sense of worth into your life.
This option is, however, not for everyone. Some people do not like the idea of taking medication for their depression, while others find that it does not work for them. Moreover, medication for existential depression is not always easy to come by. As it is not yet a well-known or understood condition. If you do choose to go this route, however, make sure to consult with a professional who is familiar with the condition.
But, yes medication can be prescribed to manage your depression symptoms. for some people, it may be worth a try for you as well. Just know that and keep in mind that medication is not a complete cure for existential depression.
To conclude, existential depression is a very real and serious thing. It is believed that it stems from a cognitive dissonance between what we believe and how we live. It is characterized by feelings of meaninglessness, emptiness, and despair. And, in this era of social media and constant connection. It can be easy to fall into the trap of comparison and self-doubt.
Therefore, if you feel like you might be suffering from existential depression, it is important to reach out for help. Talk to a therapist or counselor who can help you work through these feelings. With time and effort, you can start to feel better and more like yourself again.
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.