Living with Existential Depression

       Existential depression is one of those things that you can't just ignore your whole life. Once thoughts like "Why do I exist?", "What is my purpose in life?", "What happens after death?" or "Where are humans going?" start running through your head, they can continue to manifest themselves throughout your life with varying degrees of intensity. It's important to acknowledge that existential dread is not something that can be treated once and then expected to just go away. Concerns of this nature will need to be addressed again and again as they come up, and how you do so can greatly affect your life.

        I've provided some tips that I've found helpful for dealing with existential dread. Some of these tips may pertain to existential depression only; others are applicable to other types of depression or general malaise. Most of them come from my own experiences, but some are from various articles (which I will cite as needed) or from other people. Please leave comments with additional methods that you've found to be useful!

Read This Indispensable Article
        For more information, read this really long but incredibly awesome article about existential depression in gifted people. The section entitled "Learning to Manage Existential Issues and Depression" is the part that I'm mainly referring to in this blog post. "Coping Styles and Strategies" is also extremely helpful. The article might be long, but the words are invaluable.

Don't Run Away
        Often when existential questions arise, they can be very intense and painful. If you ignore them, these concerns will return with more and more intensity until they drown you. So it's very important to address these concerns when they come up, and to puzzle through them. Clearly outline how to address your concerns, and act on your ponderings: talk with somebody, write them down, paint them, sing them out, philosophize. If your worries persist, you must address what's lingering. Do you have moral discrepancies between your ideal self and your actions, or has the ultimate futility of life caught up with you?
        But as you dive deep into your murky questions, it's important to not go stir-fry crazy (read: mentally stuck or suicidal) at the same time!

Beware of Drowning
        Anybody who's been through a severe existential episode can tell you that it can feel akin to drowning or falling apart, so make sure to track yourself. If you feel that you're starting to lose control or these questions are starting to become overwhelming, remember there is no need to walk this road alone (even if the road feels inherently isolating.) There have been plenty of people throughout history who have grappled with existential depression, many from a young age (like myself). A simple, mildly depressing Google confirms this fact.
        Tell people you love/hang out with a lot that you're having an episode, so that they can help you and warn you if they think that you're starting to go crazy. Severe depression of any sort impairs judgement and logical reasoning. If you need a helping hand, ask for one--or even better, ask other people in advance to get you help when they feel you need it. After a certain point, you may feel as though you don't need help and then suicide the next day. It's not terribly uncommon.

Can we talk about how cool it is that these people carefully painted the ocean to leave the continents alone, I mean seriously, that's really cool. Also, someone from the Western Hemisphere probably took this picture, since it faces, well, the Western Hemisphere.
Anticipate Episodes
        This one mainly comes from experience. Yes, existential dread can arise completely spontaneously: one Wednesday afternoon that was a little too sunny, a beautiful dead leaf, that book you read that made you cry. For some people, existentialism just pops up without really any warning - which is why it's important to recognize the signs of depression and manage them.
        However, for many people there are triggers that can set off a new episode. Journaling (or a long-term mental stability monitor) can help you find a correlation between what your actions or experiences and a bout of existential depression.

Some triggers that I have:
  • Changes of season. Yes, every change of season, four times a year, every single year.
  • Watching the news. This is tricky, because as much as I want to learn about today's world, I have to balance it with the sense of hopelessness that always goes with watching the news or reading about current events.
  • Various celestial bodies. This one is practically a given. There's something about the universe that just seems to go with existential dread. Which totally explains why I have a massive poster of a nebula on my wall, and glow-in-the-dark plastic sticker stars on my ceiling.
  • Places of worship/spiritual areas in general (churches, pretty brooks, graveyards, etc). I once had a pretty severe episode walking in my backyard's woods during wintertime, it might've been last year or something.
  • Character deaths in books/movies/musicals/whatever. Makes it interesting to read Harry Potter!
 Also, strangely enough, I tend to experience an unusually strong episode about once every 2 years: one in first grade, third grade, fifth grade, seventh, and now ninth grade. I don't know if another intense bout will happen in the eleventh grade, but if so, it'll be right on schedule.

*UPDATE: There was a bout, but it was sort of small and partly alleviated by my pathetic attempts at grassroots activism. Lesson: manage your triggers.

Does anybody have other specific triggers they would like to add?

Appreciate How Intelligent You Undoubtedly Are
        I know that sometimes you may hate how smart you are (at least I hate how smart I am.) Peers don't always understand you, and communication can be a challenge when words mangle thoughts. A bout of existential depression can make you want to curse your intelligence even more, since life can seem so unfair as everyone around you appears to be enjoying their lives without this degree of introspection and reflection that you possess.

BRAIINSSS
        But to contemplate such existential ideas requires a certain level of abstract thinking, one that most people don't possess to the same degree that you do. I for example started thinking deeply about existentialism ever since I first could think, which was definitely under the age of ten. My friend once told me that thinking about stuff like that at such a young age shows a higher level of intelligence that's unusual for most people, which I suppose is true. Celebrate how powerful your brain is! Most people don't even ponder such deep questions like you do! You should be proud of yourself.
        Such a smart, perceptive, and curious brain is one of the most powerful assets that you can ever have. Love your existential experiences for what they are: the opportunity to go on all sorts of philosophical trips that most people never go on.

Develop Your Belief System
        A nice good bout of existential depression makes you feel like your moral and spiritual world is shattered. Everything you thought you knew about your universe comes into question: who you are, what your place in the world is, the purpose of life, the existence of a higher power, the amount of caring in the world... An important part of dealing with existential dread involves building your own sense of meaning and purpose in this life. Such a rebuilding process can take a great deal of bravery and courage, to take what you previously believed in and rebuild it to make it better. It involves facing all your wrongs and inconsistencies and believing that you can change them into something positive.
        For me, this meant building my spiritual net and developing my own theories about how the spiritual, "higher" world works. When I was younger, I read and learned voraciously about many of the world's religions and belief systems: Christianity, Buddhism, the Sioux religion, atheism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, the religion of ancient Egypt, what the Mayans thought, existentialism, Inuit religion, and much more. Last summer I read God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, which gave me another perspective on how people have made sense of the world around them. Steal what you like from different systems of belief and incorporate them into what you can manage.
        For myself, I have to build my own "religion" per se for it to be believable to me. I can't merely adopt someone else's belief system as my own, without intensely scrutinizing it for every single flaw and imperfection. If people want, I'll post my spiritual beliefs later.
        Finally, know that your belief system/spirituality can evolve over time, as you do. Don't be afraid to let your previous notions about existence come under fire. They've probably already been questioned before anyway, if you've gone far enough into an existential period of depression.

Find Like Minds
        One of the main characteristics of depression is the pervading sense of being alone and helpless. By finding others who have struggled with the same issues as you have, you are decreasing this sense of struggling in a world all your own. There are a couple different ways to do this:
  • Internet forums. Seriously. Go on a forum of some sort, and tell everyone about your issues. Personality Cafe in particular has a lot of really awesome people who can help you/offer advice, similar stories and encouragement. There's something about the Internet that makes spilling your guts feel a lot safer than telling somebody in person. The demographic on the Internet doesn't hurt either: with that much variety, there's bound to be somebody like you.
  • Ask random people whom you think are smart and/or might have been through something similar. A simple opener like "Have you ever thought about the state of the world/our place in the world/the existence of an afterlife?" actually goes farther than you think it would. Just choose people carefully. 
  • Close friends are good people to talk to, because they'll still love you even if you get overly emotional.
        Once you find someone who has experienced something similar to you, something magical happens. You bond on a different level than with anyone else that you've ever known. It's amazing.
Know the Good Side
        There is something very empowering about pondering the nature of existence. By having your world fall apart on such a level, opportunity arises for you to rebuild your worldviews, opinions, and ultimately the framework of your entire existence. That is an opportunity that not many people find. Cherish the fact that your existential depression allows you to restructure yourself in a way that can be positive, energizing and deeply fulfilling. Once you learn how to manage the depressive part, there is a tremendous window of opportunity for what Dabrowski calls "positive disintegration".

        I will publish a separate post entirely about how awesome existential issues can really be. I feel like the positives of this lifelong journey need to be recognized.

Comments

  1. I really liked your post and should print out the article to read. It's too long for me to read online. Wonder if I can download it to my Kindle somehow. I am looking forward to reading more about how you manage to turn all this into avenues for positive growth because that truly is one of your biggest strengths -- to always make yourself a better person.

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  2. This advice is absolutely great, but i was wondering how you handle not fitting in with other people. I guess thats been the hardest thing to cope with. Its just so hard to relate to people. Do you have any advice?

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    1. Kaylee,

      I don't think my previous comment made it through the system, so sorry if this seems like a repeat:

      Are you in high/middle/elementary school? If so, you and I are in the same it's-so-hard-to-relate-to-these-people-cuz-they-all-seem-so-shallow-and-annoying boat. All people seem to talk about is who's dating who and how annoying their teachers are and what they're doing over the weekend and blah blah blah. Nobody wants to talk about things that "really matter" or pressing world issues.

      There are places to find other people who suffer from existential depression and think cool thoughts, I swear. You can sniff them out in extra-curricular activities, group projects, interesting class discussions, and on the Internet (especially Tumblr and any specialized forums/blogs like this one.) It does take work to find people like... us, I will say. I've heard that college tends to have a higher proportion of these folks than grade school does, so I can also tell you the ever-irritating "wait until college" solution.

      Also, teachers who like you and are willing to discuss cool things with you are awesome. If you click with a teacher, see if you can set up a time to talk with them about intellectual stuff, maybe once a week. I know that I often have an easier time relating to adults than with people my age, which kind of sucks when I want peer relations too.

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    2. By the flavor of your reply it seems that you're lonely. I relate to this deeply, as I was terribly lonely during late elementary/middle school and it stunk and felt like I was withering away. Therefore I recommend you make a honest effort to meet people like yourself, no matter how difficult it is. Don't wallow or take pride in in your own sadness, or you may find yourself unable to get out. Finding like minds, and working to make myself happier, was one of the most difficult (and ongoing) things I have ever done, but it was also the most valuable. Can you start special-interest clubs at your school? I started an environmental club and a creative writing club.

      While I journeyed to find like minds, writing always helped me. So did talking to my parents, which, as unsavory as it was, did help because my parents had gone through a similar experience and genuinely wanted to help.

      This blog--that is, trying to help others in a similar position--was also my coping mechanism. But overall, a lonely existence isn't sustainable. I think you know this.

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    3. And Kaylee, let me know how your journey goes or if you need more specific advice. I want to help in whatever ways I can.

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  3. I must say I really enjoyed your post. I never saw this problem as a positive thing and your post made me re-think and re-evaluate it. I totally understand you talking about the re-occurring episodes, somehow for me it always happens around November. To me it comes more like a fear rather than depression, I hate the fact that I am not in control or I cannot find an immediate solution or an answer. This is the hardest part to get through for me, I never have the " I don't understand it" moment, so when it comes to this dilemma my idealistic world falls apart. I like to know more about your spiritual beliefs. I had this existential depression since I was very young, however I always had a firm belief system of my own. But lately I began to question that system and therefore I faced a very intense episode . It was refreshing to think, I can re-create a positive system now. After-all it seems that I am not insane or at least I am not alone in my insanity.

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    1. Hi MeandA,
      I'm glad I could offer new perspective on our shared phenomenon! Most of the literature about existential depression focuses on the negatives and possible coping mechanisms, completely ignoring the power and potential of worldviews falling to pieces.
      I'm not sure I totally understand what your dilemma is (I know it can be hard to put thoughts into words sometimes.) Are you afraid to lose control of your life, afraid your actual life doesn't conform to an ideal life, afraid of spiritual instability?

      None of us are insane, but it sometimes feels that way because people tend to not talk about their experiences with each other.

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  4. I have been struggling with this since I was about 8 (I'm 15 now) and over the past year it's started getting more and more out of control to the point where I think I'm going insane and I would rather just end it but this puts a nice spin on it so thank you

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    1. You're very welcome. We seem to have similar relations with existential depression--I would say it felt the worst when I was 11 and 15. The mid-teen years are stressful anyway, and ED doesn't help. I can't say I know what you're going through, but I can say I've been in a very, very similar situation. Reading existentialist works was simultaneously reassuring and depressing, so I'd read maybe one and take a week off to gauge your response to it. A good one to start is Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism," (https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm), from "If one considers an article of manufacture as, for example, a book or a paper-knife" to "This absoluteness of the act of choice does not alter the relativity of each epoch." I'm not a Marxist, but that site had the most readable version of the essay.

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    2. Also, I've had a similar experience of ED driving me so insane I was tempted to "just end it," but then I wouldn't get to see how I would deal with ED in the future.

      Frankly I'm still dealing with it, but at least I have more time to figure out how to live with and/or destroy existential depression.

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  6. I am really impressed along with your writing skills and also with the format on your blog.
    Existential depression

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the article (I think it needs updating, but I'm almost never happy with my work), and it's great you enjoy my blog format! I tried to keep it simple and calmly pretty without being distracting.

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  7. We want to say thnx to you 4 creating this cool weblog and keep going the good work!
    Existential Depression

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  8. I think your flow of writing is absolutely brilliant Archana. I can relate to the blog.
    I have been suffering from existential depression from a very long time.I get these sudden thoughts about my existence,whether this is all real or it is happening inside my brain in another dimension.Its not just depression but a sense of interrogation ,a sense of panic that I have ,feeling that I don't belong here.
    Asking myself where do we come from where are we going etc.I can't speak about it with my peers, they just don't get the point. So you don't get along with people whose thinking is less complicated and prefer to lead your own path.
    This has been really helpful and reassuring and I hope you blog more about such intricate and sensitive issues which can help people out there to overcome depression and distress.

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    1. Thank you very much, Anagha. It can be a lonely struggle for sure, but it is possible to find other people who are thinking similar thoughts. It just requires a little snooping ahead of time to predict who'll be the most receptive.

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  9. I think your flow of writing is absolutely brilliant Archana. I can relate to the blog.
    I have been suffering from existential depression from a very long time.I get these sudden thoughts about my existence,whether this is all real or it is happening inside my brain in another dimension.Its not just depression but a sense of interrogation ,a sense of panic that I have ,feeling that I don't belong here.
    Asking myself where do we come from where are we going etc.I can't speak about it with my peers, they just don't get the point. So you don't get along with people whose thinking is less complicated and prefer to lead your own path.
    This has been really helpful and reassuring and I hope you blog more about such intricate and sensitive issues which can help people out there to overcome depression and distress.

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    1. "whether this is all real or it is happening inside my brain in another dimension.Its not just depression but a sense of interrogation ,a sense of panic that I have ,feeling that I don't belong here." this was so spot on for me. It's the worst if I'm around other ppl, just hanging out, and then suddenly it feels like everything is artificial. It's all fake or irrelevant somehow

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  10. Hi Archana, I just now came across this blogpost from 2013. I very much hope that you are well, and that you still monitor the activities on here. I would just like to say that this post is helping me tremendously. I am going through the toughest time in my life and it is for lack of a better term "driving me crazy".. I am just having all of these ruminating thoughts about existence, my place in the world, grasping with all of the injustice in the world, loneliness, isolation, you name it.. I would really like to get to know more about your situation and just connect with someone on a spiritual and mental level that seems to understand this. I know I am not alone. I am so thankful for this post and your wisdom. It's even more amazing that you're just a sophomore(?). I'm a 35 year old man. Lol

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    1. Haha, I'm actually going to be a freshman in college very soon. I should update the description. I still monitor the activities here, and I've written about 10 blog posts in my head but none on paper!

      I am sorry you're going through this. I'll post a more in-depth reply soon. As in within the hour.

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  11. Wow thank you for this. It's great to know that I'm not alone, and this is really good advice.

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    1. Thank you! I wrote this in the 10th grade so I think it needs some revision, but I'm glad you found it helpful. May I ask what specifically you found useful advice?

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    2. The fact that people with ED get to to go on philosophical journeys that most people won't get to experience, and that we should appreciate how smart we are!

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    3. The fact that people with ED get to to go on philosophical journeys that most people won't get to experience, and that we should appreciate how smart we are!

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    4. Lol, yeah I added that as mainly an afterthought, but I'm glad that resonated with you because I hesitated before adding that on.

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  13. Archana, like everyone else here, I gotta say thanks for this article. I'm 24 and dealing with ED now. The season is starting to change from summer to fall and I'm wondering if that's what's got me feeling so weird/down/contemplative. Or if it's something else.
    It seems like as soon as I start to have a positive thought, then there's a negative one that pushes the positive away. It's such a struggle. I'm now going to read that article you linked to near the top and see if I can't help myself out.

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    1. I'm really happy I could help. Did the article give any fresh insight? Sometimes that's all you really need.

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  14. Still waiting on that post about how awesome existencusl crises' could be. I need it.

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    1. I am actually working on a follow-up to this post because it's my most popular one.

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  15. Archana, it feels good to know that I am not the only one who is destroying my head daily (just kidding), usually when I ask these questions people confuse it with me being religious or spiritual, and no one is literally ready to discuss about it, as you said and as I had read somewhere, you really need to destroy everything that you've been taught since you were born (I've been asking these questions since I was 7, I'm 16 now), and rebuild your own perspective of the universe by observing the world around you, this is all I have to say right now as most of my thoughts were elaborate in this post, a really great read it was, Namaste

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    1. Thank you, Mr. Pherwani. I'm glad you were able to get something out of my (rather old) post!

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  16. I am having really bad ED right now.. To the point where I can't get up and study..With anxiety and panic attacks.. Any advice

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    1. 1. Tell someone else. If that person doesn't seem to care, tell someone else until you get through to someone.

      2. Make sure you do step 1. And make sure it's someone who interacts with you most days. If you have no such person in your life, proceed to step 3.

      3. Breathe. Tell yourself that while, yes, life doesn't come with meaning pre-loaded and yes, one day you will die and eventually everyone will forget you, ultimately, you create your own meaning. Things do not have to be permanent to be worth doing.

      4. Find what makes you happy. This is the hardest part. You'll know it when you find it, and if you're like me, you haven't found it and are immeasurably jealous of everyone who has. Keep looking.

      5. I tried talk therapy. It works if you find the right person. If you can afford it, feel free to switch providers until you find one who clicks.

      How are you doing now? I'm sorry this is so many months late.

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  17. Hello,

    I know this article is old but I'd still like to thank you for writing it. I didn't come across the term of ED until very recently (say, about 2 weeks ago; to add a quick sidenote, what you say about meeting likeminded people and experiencing magic aptly describes it) when I started talking to someone over the internet. As such, I'm still incorporating it into my 'brain vocabulary'/understanding, but I think I tried to put it into words before.

    I'm 23, turning 24 in June, and I think I may be in a similar boat to you. I cannot pinpoint an exact time when I started experiencing existential thoughts; I think it may have been for as long as I can remember. As such, I also cannot separate different periods of it, merely lulls during which I become more aware that I do have these thoughts. This is when I can identify with the overall theme of frustration here, in response to other people; sometimes just the 'inane' things they talk about, other times because I try to verbalise what I think and feel and they simply don't understand. I used to think this was because they weren't trying, but am beginning to realise that maybe it's true incapacity.

    This frustration isn't something that showed up on my radar as a constant thing, more of a background noise, for me. It's certainly always been there, but just because of my personal life experiences, I withdrew very early (as early as 1-2nd grade) from people. That, of course, isolated me to the degree that I mostly kept to myself. This, in turn, didn't make me aware of other people and what they talk about, or feeling like I was misunderstood since I barely engaged with anyone. When I did, I was happy to talk about what they did, just glad to have anyone at all. It's still an ongoing habit even though I'm trying to be more social which is why I'm noticing more frustrations with people now than I used to. This early isolation also very early rid me of the want to fit in, 'be part of the crowd'. Sometimes I worry about not being 'normal' but it's much rarer than it used to be.

    (You mention personalitycafe. I was a member until very recently, INFJ and likely enneagram 5.)

    I suppose the reason I'm writing now is because I've been in an ED episode for nearly 2 weeks, not because I found someone to talk to, but rightly because that talk has gotten me to question everything about myself. That, I was actually ecstatic about, but it was my following actions that have led me into this episode. I let go of my largest psychological support system because I realised it was doing me more harm than good. I also realised - am still realising - many things about how I live/behave, and how it all needs change in how I can benefit me instead of trying to please others like so far, becoming damaged in the process.

    To sum up, your article was exactly what I'd been looking for. I never thought of this (call it intelligence or ED) as a curse on the regular, but merely a fact, the way I exist, though I did have plenty of episodes where I did wish I could get rid of it. Your advice on dealing with ED is sound, most of the time I try to do as you say. I may have developed depression in the way of mental illness over the last few years though, leaving me more sensitive to 'triggers' for ED and less capable of coping.

    As mentioned, I seem to be experiencing a bout now, and I'm struggling with it. But, and I hope you don't mind my lengthy response for which I do apologise, just reading your article and sharing my thoughts already helps. Depression has a way of making one feel like they're completely alone, and this assures me that I'm not. Thank you.

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    2. I feel like most people who relate to the term “existential depression” have been tossing around these thoughts for as long as they can remember/since they were young.

      Overall theme of frustration. Ha. You’re totally right—reading over this, there is definitely an overall theme of frustration. Some of it stems from the isolation of feeling that while other people might understand existential depression intellectually, few people consider these questions to be as important as we consider them to be. I think some of this is a personality thing. My father, for instance, certainly understands existential depression, but he isn’t the type of person who really cares. He’s here to learn things, improve the efficiency of software so it can help people in their daily lives, and spend time with his family. The end.
      During my extensive googling of ED I didn’t find too many detailed personal accounts, so I decided to write one. I hope this helps, I really do.

      I’m also an ass who responded four months later to your comment, so let me know how you’re doing these days.

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  18. I am on a phone rn, so sorry if there's a lot of spelling/grammar mistakes.

    My first experience with something similar to ED was when I was around 8 years old. I suddenly had an intense fear of death. I couldn't get the thought out of my mind that there would just be nothing forever after death. After a week or so, the fear went down. As time went on, I sort of accepted death. But the fear was now about the actual process of dying, but the fear was nowhere near as intense, but sometimes, the fear would kind of rise up, but I got through it.

    Now, instead of mostly being scared, I am now extremely depressed about it. It feels like everything is meaningless if we all end up dead and forget everything and most likely just be forgotten in the world. I feel like it wouldn't make a difference to me if I committed suicide, as I would just forget everything and it would be as if nothing ever existed. I know it would hurt a lot of people around me, but when I'm dead I wouldn't care considering I am not aware of anything. The worst part is that I feel like I am right, that I should just end it. I question the meaning of life and what happens after death a lot. When I am at school or just busy in general, I get distracted from my ED which is good, but it always comes back. Recently, I have been getting a lot better, bur since yesterday, it has gotten worse. Another thing that has been depressing me (although not as bad) is that I feel like I am ugly and would never get into a relationship with anyone because of it.

    Thank you for this post, it has given me hope. The article that you linked near the top was pretty helpful with the coping mechanisms and made me realize some of the things I were doing that negatively affected me. I do have some questions though.

    Are you still depressed? I understand that you probably still have existential thoughts, but do they still make you sad?

    How long did it take you to get out of ED? I have only had it for a few months, but it feels much longer than that.

    Also, this is kind of a weird question, but does Tylenol actually help with this? I have heard that it does, but I'm not sure. Something that has given me hope is that some time in the future, there will probably be some sort of medication and better ways to deal with ED.

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks.

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    1. Kudos to you for typing out all this on a phone! I hope this site looks acceptable on mobile, and that if your browser has a Reader tool, that it works on this post. My Firefox’s Reader tool is the best thing to happen to me since I first made hot chocolate from actual chocolate.

      About the suicide ponderings. It’s true that you won’t know that people will be sad when you die because you’ll be dead. However, before you die, you will know people will be sad.

      Also, IMO you’re right that we will all die and everything will be forgotten, eventually, by most people. In 10,000 years, how many people will know the name Aristotle? Or Mahatma Gandhi? We revere these people (ha, Paul Revere) because they seem immortal in our memories. The truth is that a) we only remember the bits of these people that we want to remember or have been taught are important, so we’re not really admiring the whole person; b) eventually we’ll forget them altogether; c) many revered people are dead and thus don’t know all the people who admire them. What I’m trying to get at here is that I’m trying to unseat this pervasive cultural notion that meaning comes from being immortalized. Transient things are worthless to us. That’s why we like the Egyptian pyramids and old statues and Stonehenge—they feel permanent, like they have endured with time. But there are other ways something is meaningful. Find them.

      I’m entering my second year of college and have never kissed anyone. I’m reasonably attractive by most people’s standards, when I don’t wear my extremely high-prescription glasses. I could write another ten thousand words about how you’re probably not ugly and how you will find someone, but I don’t think that would help you much. All I will say is that, yes, I’ve also thought I was ugly and that no one would want to date me. It sucks.

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    2. On to your questions (I broke up this post so you can digest it more nicely.)

      1. Am I still depressed? This deserves its own post, damn it. Yes, I am still depressed, but more from not knowing what my life would look like if it were truly meaningful. I’m now figuring out how to make my life meaningful. I have moved beyond the shock of meaninglessness. It’s… still depressing, frankly, but I’m not outwardly sad anymore most of the time. The vast majority of people who know me would say I am not depressed at all.

      2. It comes and goes in waves. I haven’t had a serious bout of “the world is meaningless, I cannot move because there is no point” in a few years, actually. It’s morphed into a never-ending fear of “what if I regret my life because I didn’t make it meaningful?” that follows me around like a guillotine.

      3. I haven’t heard of Tylenol making a difference. When I take it, I don’t notice much improvement in my ED. Does it help you? Did you hear about this from someone else? If you figure something out, hit me up.

      I hope all is well with you.

      Delete
  19. Thank you so much for this article. I am 14 and going through ED. I have always been scared and have though about death more than a lot of people, but eventually accepted it. However, a few months ago, I started questioning if life had a meaning. This immediately threw me into a deep depression. I was so desperate that i even considered doing certain drugs like DMT, and even contemplated suicide. This was easily the worst period of my life. But eventually, I found this article. It changed everything. It gave me hope that I could actually get through this, and that I'm not alone. Now, I am still getting through ED, but it has gotten MUCH more manageable. Whenever I start feeling hopeless again, I come to this article. I can't express how thankful I am for this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Leo. Thank you so much for posting this. It means the world to me that I could help you with your ED.

      I'm planning on a follow-up to this post. What, if anything, would you like to see in my follow-up? An update on how I'm doing? Additional coping mechanisms?

      You're welcome. I hope you're feeling better.

      Delete
    2. I honestly don't know what you should do for your follow-up post, but I do hope it goes well. But I would like to sort of talk about these issues over email if it's fine with you, as I have been having other struggles that are related to ED.

      Delete
  20. I feel so lucky to have found this post and to feel such a resonance with your words and your energy. I'm currently in the throes of what I can only define as the most horrific existential episode I have ever been through (I recently turned 24), and I know that your words will help me when I'm in a more stable place.

    If you are willing, I would love the opportunity to discuss all of this via email. I know that sounds like a strange, and perhaps intimidating request, but I just thought I'd ask.

    Regardless, I hope you're doing well :) I saw in a comment that you mentioned you are now in university. I just graduated myself and would be more than happy to pass along any advice if you feel you need it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi there! Sure, I'd be happy to talk more via email. Can you see my email address?

      College advice would also be great. I may talk big words, but I'm also a little college kid who's just like every other little college kid, trying to find a path in the world.

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  21. I found this when I needed it the most. Thank you so so much.

    ReplyDelete

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