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We’ve all heard the term “mid-life crisis” before: the idea that when you approach middle adulthood and realize that time is limited while working to establish meaning for it. However, some of the underlying ideals of a mid-life crisis can be present at any age. That you may find yourself pondering the finite quality of time and what anything means. This is known as existentialism. While it’s common to wonder about these things from time to time, for some it can be an overwhelming experience. To better understand this unique issue, existential depression, in this article, we’ll be looking at eight signs you’re depressed about life.
What Is Existential Depression?
Existential depression is a form of depression where the underlying cause relates to some aspect of life. Most commonly these aspects are: death (as a concept), freedom, meaninglessness, and isolation. While other forms of depression tend to be related to other factors such as family issues, death (physical death), or genetics. Existential depression relates life’s bigger questions. Like other forms of depression, this can be developed overtime (Depression Alliance 2019).
1. You Ponder About Life Itself
Do you often find yourself wondering about the complexities of life? Asking yourself what the purpose of anything is and why things are the way they are? These are complex and difficult questions to answer that vary in interpretation with no definitive answer. Existentialism brings this focus to the forefront. You feel that these overwhelming questions take over your life and they’re hard to break away from. While you may be able to appreciate the beauty in subtlety, you often wander back into questioning why anything is the way it is (Higuera 2018).
2. You Feel Incredible Loneliness
Sometimes when you’re caught up in debunking the meaning of the world, it can be hard to connect with others. When struggling with existentialism, it can be difficult to see others around you. You might struggle to find the purpose in hanging out with others. On the other hand, you might struggle with finding people who can relate to your problems. When distant from others, it’s easy to feel incredibly alone. Fortunately there are people who care and will listen, and often just takes reaching out and finding those people (Higuera 2019).
3. You Feel Life Is Meaningless
One huge problem that comes with existentialism is the feeling that life has no meaning. You may ask yourself what the point is when it comes to getting a college degree, getting married, or starting a new project. It can be easy to get caught up in the grand scheme of things and think about the distant future. When you have the mindset that everything will be eventually erased, it can be hard to move forward. While certainly unsettling to think about, it’s important to establish what life means to you and build a purpose from there (Higuera 2019).
4. You Lose Interest In Activities
Being overwhelmed with life’s big questions can lead you to feel exhausted from it all. Suddenly your favorite activities become less fun and the thought of starting a new one becomes more tiring than actually doing it. If you especially believe that things are futile, it can be increasingly difficult to work up the motivation to start. When caught up in the bigger picture, it can be hard to find the wonder that life once had (Depression Alliance 2019).
5. You Feel Misunderstood
Being isolated from others is incredibly difficult. It’s even more difficult when it feels impossible to connect with anyone else. When dealing with existentialism, it’s hard to find people that can relate to your issues. You may find that you think differently from the rest of your peers; your philosophy and views about life differ from the general crowd. This can be incredibly frustrating to deal with as no one seems to understand how you feel (Depression Alliance 2019).
6. Your Thoughts Keep You Up at Night
Sleeping can be difficult with existentialism. In these quiet moments, it can be simple for some deep questions to creep in. The idea of falling asleep can feel impossible when so many big questions are on your mind. Why am I here? What’s the point in anything? What can I accomplish? Thinking about what has meaning and what doesn’t can keep the best of us up late at night (Lo 2019).
7. You Struggle With Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings
Life itself can become overwhelming at times. Couple this with ideas that nothing matters can make suicide look ideal. This is very tragic and alarming. Any thoughts or actions related to suicide should be treated as a medical emergency. If in a particularly bad spot, it’s important to know that there are trained counselors 24/7 that are willing to listen.
8. You Feel Dissatisfied With Yourself
Commonly in people going through an existential crisis, especially in a mid-life or quarter-life crisis, they can feel dissatisfied with themselves. You may feel that you aren’t living up to your expectations or making the most of your situation. While this is incredibly disheartening, it is important to know that changes can be made immediately to work towards a better spot (Higuera 2019).
Wondering what the overarching picture of life is can be overwhelming and isolating. While it may feel difficult at the moment, it is important to know that there are people out there willing to listen. If you’re struggling with existential depression, or any type of depression, it is important to seek the proper resources. Getting in touch with the right person can be a great first step to getting your life back on track. While it’s impossible to find the answers to life’s big questions, finding ways to make your life meaningful to yourself can be a great start. What are your thoughts on existentialism? Any experiences you’re comfortable with sharing? Any other signs that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
- Depression Alliance Staff. (2019, November 1). Existential Depression: 9 Signs You’re Gifted. Depression Alliance. www.depressionalliance.org/existential-depression/
- Higuera, V. (2018, November 27). What Is an Existential Crisis, and How Do I Break Through It? Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/existential-crisis#what-is-it
- Lo, I. (2019, January 27). Are You Having an Existential Depression? PsychologyToday. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-emotional-intensity/201901/are-you-having-existential-depression