Existential depression . . . | INFJ Forum

Existential depression . . .


Sep 5, 2009
What's your experience with this? How do you handle it?
1 day at a time. My life is an existential crisis, every single day. It has been for as long as I can remember.
First I had to look up what existential crises/depressions were.

An existential crisis may result from:
  • The sense of being alone and isolated in the world;
  • A new-found grasp or appreciation of one's mortality;
  • Believing that one's life has no purpose or external meaning;
  • Awareness of one's freedom and the consequences of accepting or rejecting that freedom;
  • An extremely pleasurable or hurtful experience that leaves one seeking meaning;
An existential crisis is often provoked by a significant event in the person's life — marriage, separation, major loss, the death of a loved one, a life-threatening experience, a new love partner, psycho-active drug use, <<<<AHEM!!! adult children leaving home, reaching a personally-significant age (turning 30, turning 40, etc.), etc. Usually, it provokes the sufferer's introspection about personal mortality, thus revealing the psychological repression of said awareness.

An existential crisis may resemble anomie (a personal condition resulting from a lack of norms) or a midlife crisis. Sometimes, an existential crisis stems from a person's new perception of life and existence.

When a person faces the paradox of believing his or her life important whilst thinking that human existence is meaningless and without purpose, cognitive dissonance occurs, overcoming many innate psychological and cultural defense mechanisms.

Analogously, existentialism posits that a person can and does define the meaning and purpose of their life, and therefore must choose to resolve the crisis of existence.

So, is that what you mean? The only thing that has meaning and purpose in my life is the people I love. That's it. Everything else is just bells and whistles.
the solution is to climb trees (only half kidding)



or, enlist a friend with a water gun:

It takes time and constant effort. Eventually, you'll find something that will really resonate with you. It's not a bad thing if it's scares you a little.

"Man's Search for Meaning" - Viktor Frankl
"The Wisdom of Insecurity" - Alan Watts
"Existentialism and the Meaning of List - The Teaching Company - Robert Solomon
"7 Habits of Highly Effective People" - Stephen Covey (personal mission statements)
Covey's Mission Statement Interactive Worksheet
"Maximum Achievement" - Brian Tracy (goals)
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I am like depressed, but not existentially depressed at all. It's weird. And getting quite old.
I'm kinda in this state right now. It comes down to not finding meaning or resolution to the things that bother me. We all have those things we can't resolve or totally understand. It's often about relationships to me, as far as getting bogged down. For example, yesterday, my son had a terrible towards his mom. This bothers the hell out of her. Then she turned around and spewed her reslutant bad attitude on me. I tend to be the peacemaker in my family, and for me to feel her negative emotions was very painful. I felt like I was the only one in the family to attempt to have a good attitude all the time. It made me very sad. I accepted things as they were, went to bed early, and am now feeling fine. I guess it means we are all human, and our feelings get hurt from time to time. I try to tell myself it isn't personal, but in many ways it is very personable.
Having a fun time to distract my mind when I can't handle it has helped me. Do something that takes deep concentration and is amusing :) But this is only short term working to relax my mind for a while.

Talking with good friends about it, searching for the meaning, exploring life is stuff i have done in the past to deal with it. But in the end I came to accept certain things and stopped asking why. The "Why" has caused a great deal of frustration for me.

Actually, I think, that I think it is very individual how one can handle this in an effective way!
I just burn little effigies to Sartre and Nietzsche. I also remind myself that Sartre rhymes with fart almost.

Seriously though, why do you ask?
Usually I just find distractions... not the healthiest of distractions, but they help take the edge off.
I cope with existence by accepting that I am responsible for my existence, and to some extent, the effects of my existence on others, but I also have to accept that my responsibility is necessarily limited by my finite capabilities. Within this context, I understand that I can only do so much, but the little that I can do, I must do, and do well. That's all that could possibly be expected of me.

I am free within this context, and I must either choose this freedom, or reject it. And I choose to embrace it because it's all I have. Existence is all I have and with it comes all that I could possibly ever experience.

Either you live your life believing it is precious, significant and sacred, or you will be tempted to curse your one and only existence. In one's core, one has to stand for something, to uphold one's dignity and sacredness or not. And where your heart is, there will your treasure be.

I believe that each one of us is sacred, and it is the instinctive notion of this sacredness that makes us care for ourselves and make our lives productive, enjoyable, and useful to others. But our lives are so imperfect that it's tempting to lose the sense of the sacred and give in to absurdity. So I go back to reminding myself that all I can do is all I can do. If I can embrace this limited freedom and make something of it, then I am all I need to be.

So yes, be mad, be angry, be sad, when life is difficult - because deep down inside you know you deserve better. You are precious, and you deserve better. But don't just stay there. Get out of that rut and do what you can to help yourself - even if you don't feel you're making much progress, even if all the odds seem to be against you. There are others who understand what you're going through, what you've been through. And they maybe strangers, but life will send them to you one by one to help you make it to the next stage. Stay positive in your core and be open to the kindness and generosity of others. Don't be ashamed to ask for help. In the future, you just might be extending the same kind of help to someone else. Accept their help, then pay it forward. Receive humbly; give humbly; rejoice in the good accomplished, and you will be able to accept with humility your own imperfect existence. In this way, even the imperfections we suffer become significant - for it is precisely the imperfection of existence that pushes us to reach out to others and achieve things we could have never accomplished on our own. Our imperfections give us opportunities to give and receive love more profoundly.
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I don't cope with my existence, I experience it, I believe in ultimate meaning and I feel a deep sense of personal purpose. I have endured existential depression before. I do not anymore. In some way I feel like it forged me. But since then I have built on it with a lot of self-sought personal development. Looking back, I see a lot of personal momentum behind me.
I don't mind the idea of death. We all die. Everything dies. No one knows what will happen after death.

I do have issues with meaning sometimes, though. I don't really have a way to deal with those. Yeah, life is a little pointless, and meaning is hard to assign. I usually just distract myself with social time when it puts me in a rut, though.
Other people DO exist. I never (really) question this. Of course, I could entertain the thought that nothing except me exists, and it's all my own little dream, and I'm the sick god who makes all other people and myself suffer so much. But then I'd see that this is nonsense, because I'm not doing that, it's way beyond the ability of my brain. And yes, I "believe" in things like brain and physical matter - perhaps there haven't been enough glitches in "the matrix" to convince me otherwise. :p So far it's going pretty consistent, so kudos to the author, if it's not "really real" (what is real after all? does it matter?). I like some of the art which is influenced by crazy forms of existentialism, just because it's cute, and some of the books are fun etc, but that's about as far as I could go.

Sure, I get frustrated with myself and society sometimes, but that's realistic depression, not existential one. Both need hugs, but the existential one needs even more hugs. :)
There isn't really a lack of meaning and direction - there's even too much to do in a lifetime - but there's a great lack of common sense in most of what I see around me. And that brings me sometimes on the verge of complete detachment. Fortunately that's not truly possible, even if I were to put a lot of effort. :wink: On the long run more things turn out better than those that turn out worse. We are usually being shown very romantic and idyllic pictures of past times, but the more I study them, the more I see they've been horrendous, compared to present day. So despite lots of temporary deviations, on the long run most things turn out for the better. This argument sort of helps me to not gloom too much over all the things that are outrageously sub-optimal right now.