Are you or your loved one talented or gifted in a special way? If so, do you often find yourself out of place with regards to your current circumstances? You know, it could be a traumatic event that reminded you how little control you have over the universe. Or, your perception of life may prompt you to question your very existence on earth. If this resonates with you, you could be going through existential depression.
What is Existential Depression?
Existential depression refers to the spontaneous realization of absurdities, inconsistencies, or inappropriate behavior in others, hence, provoking unanswered questions regarding our purpose in life. These are instances when we lack meaning to what is happening around us. As a result, we also lack soul connections with those around us. It is these questions lacking proper answers that can get you depressed.
Who Does it Happen To?
Now, most talented or gifted persons are intelligent, super sensitive, and unusually perceptive. They are quick to spot any out-of-norm behaviors or inconsistencies, hence prone to existential depression. For example, an oversensitive person may fall victim to peer criticism. And, anyone with a strong sense of humor may struggle to contain themselves when they encounter jokes intended to attack others. Still, existential depression can happen to anyone at any time.
Anyone undergoing existential depression struggles to find meaning in life. In turn, the person experiences sadness that negatively affects their psychological well-being. Whether you are gifted, talented, or not, you should be on the lookout for any of the following 10 signs of existential depression.
The Symptoms of Existential Depression and Coping Skills
#1: Intense Thoughtfulness
Like any other form of depression, existential depression begins with intense thoughts about the meaning of life. Like, do you often get lost in your world trying to find meaning in different aspects of life?
Self-Help Tip: Unwanted intrusive thoughts can be overwhelming when you feel worthless. Fight these obsessive thoughts by maintaining a journal. Go through the journal to find any logical pattern. Chances are, these thoughts make no real sense, and writing them down will help you have a better perspective of what is happening to you.
When you have intense and conflicting thoughts, they may keep you awake at night. It is an interpersonal conflict playing out in your mind, hence the sleepless nights. It can be a vicious cycle because insomnia compounds the conflicting thoughts even further.
Self-Help Tip: Talk to someone. Focus on events, not personalities to resolve the conflict.
#3: Very Few People Understand You
Think about it. Have you ever shared what you feel or see with your colleagues or friends and they just don’t seem to get it? It can be frustrating blending in when your peers don’t share your perspective on a lot of things.
In turn, you may internalize this loneliness, thinking, your buddies do not like you. Worse still, you may create your comfort zone, away from the crowds, and shut yourself out from the rest of society.
Self-Help Tip: If most people do not share your vision or feelings, stop making assumptions. Instead, listen more. Here, you want to understand the other person’s point of view to communicate your ideas more effectively.
#4: You Are a Victim of Your Own High Expectations
Often, we hold high expectations of ourselves and others. However, some people use these expectations for self-harm. For example, think of a working mother who wants to be a super mom. This parent neglects a self-love routine vital for spiritual growth.
Self-Help Tip: Practice self-care routines that express your loving-kindness to yourself and those around you.
#5: You Are Obsessed With Justice and Fairness
We value social justice. But, what if you take it upon yourself to ensure that everyone gets fair and just treatment? It can be frustrating when the injustices are beyond your control.
Self-Help Tip: Redirect your obsession for fairness and justice into a meaningful career. You can be that passionate employee or business person that upholds an ethical workplace culture.
#6: The Have and Have-Nots Gaps Bother You
If you find the gap between the rich and poor, what is and what should be extremely bothersome; it is a clear sign of existential depression. See, a deficiency in your personal life or inequalities in society trigger a yearning to correct the situation. But, if the triggers are beyond your control, it can dampen your mood, leading to stress and anxiety.
Self-Help Tip: Shift your focus from consumerism. That is, find ways to fill in the gaps in your life or society without relying on monetary solutions. For example, you may volunteer once a week to feeding the poor or visiting the sick in the hospital.
#7: Your Love and Curiosity is Overwhelming
Often, we get curious and obsessed over the ones we love. However, it can be devastating when this person does not reciprocate our feelings. Others invest their passions without doing any due diligence to gauge the market preparedness. When the business venture fails, they blame themselves.
Self-Help Tip: Enroll in therapy sessions to manage your obsessive feelings. A professional therapist will investigate the root cause and help you manage feelings to form healthier relationships.
#8: Hypocrisy Gets To You
How do you react to someone who is behaving hypocritically? Do you often speak the truth, putting them off regardless of how others will take it? Only constructive criticism is acceptable.
Self-Help Tip: Turn the moments of hypocrisy into a learning opportunity. For, often when we criticize others blatantly, we also attain some level of hypocrisy.
#9: You Abhor Arbitrariness
Most talented or gifted persons can’t stand boring routines, arbitrary instructions, or unfounded explanations. They want to make sense in everything they do. Hence, when they find themselves forced to take up arbitrary duties, they slip into an existential depression.
Self-Help Tip: Identify an aspect in your life where you can have a direct positive impact. For example, offer help to an elderly home, or work with minority groups to help them have better access to vital services.
#10: You Crave For Autonomy and Freedom
Finally, anyone with an independent or strong-willed mind prefers working in autonomy and freedom. However, you may experience existential depression when you have to confine your creativity due to your current circumstances. For example, a creative graphic designer working under a rigid boss who has no appreciation for their work. This designer undergoes existential depression as they have to accept and execute instructions even though they do not believe in them.
Self-Help Tip: Pursue hobbies and careers that give you the freedom to work independently.
Do you suspect that you are going through existential depression? Use positive affirmations to remind yourself why life has great meaning. Also, maintain a gratitude journal that helps you counter any obsessive negative feelings. Still, seek professional help because overwhelming existential depression is hard to overcome on your own.