What is Existential Depression? 15 Signs You Have It

Existential Depression Signs You Have It

If you are highly sensitive, intelligent, and unusually perceptive, chances are you probably have (or have had) existential depression.

Depression is a topic that is frequently written about. We hear remedies, theories, and stories all the time. But few people have heard of existential depression – hence why those who suffer from it can feel tremendously alienated and under-represented.

There are numerous types of depression, and they can be categorized in the following way:

  1. Situational Depression — or caused by external events such as a death, tragedy, loss of employment, etc.
  2. Hormonal Depression — caused by an internal imbalance of chemicals.
  3. Biological Depression — triggered by genetics.
  4. Seasonal Depression — caused by the changing of seasons (as seen in seasonal affective disorder).
  5. Intrapersonal Depression — caused by toxic beliefs and perceptions that lead to low self-worth.
  6. Existential Depression — caused by a lack of meaning and Soul connection.

In this article, we’ll only be exploring existential depression and how to handle it. Seeing as it’s such an unusual form of depression that doesn’t respond well to normal treatment, my goal is to help you compassionately face it. As someone who has experienced existential depression before, I want you to know that it does fade and go away – there is hope. 

Looking to know about how you can deal with depression? Read 7 Important Things To Remember When You Feel Depressed

What is Existential Depression? 

In a nutshell, existential depression is a type of spiritual emergency. It is crippling, profound, pervasive, and highly personal in nature. Most people who experience existential depression feel numb, lost, and empty inside. 

These people tend to be philosophical deep thinkers and feelers who want to understand the meaning of life. Clinically, existential depression falls into a “grey” area as it is often classified as “uncaused,” although it can sometimes be triggered by internal or external crises.

15 Signs You Have Existential Depression

Signs of existential depression include:

Continuous “deep thoughts” about the meaning and nature of life.

Intense desire to answer seemingly unanswerable questions such as, “What is the purpose of existence?” “What happens after death?” and “Why was I born?”.

Intense dissatisfaction with the state of society.

Feeling disconnected from others (thus few or no friends).

Feeling misunderstood and on a “different level” to others.

Chronic and profound loneliness.

Sensations of being “dead,” “numb,” or empty inside.

Disinterest in social contact because it feels shallow.

Melancholic moods.


Loss of interest in usual pursuits.

Lack of enthusiasm or motivation.

Low energy and chronic fatigue.

The belief that most things are “futile” or “meaningless”.

Contemplation or attempt of suicide.

How many of these signs can you relate to?

Why Existential Depression Can’t Be Healed With ‘Usual’ Methods

If you’re suffering from existential depression you’ve probably been taken to or sought out, psychotherapy already. Chances are that it didn’t work for you, and no matter how much medication, counseling, or analysis you underwent, your feelings never left. If this is the case, you probably feel even more hopeless and alone than before.

But the true failure lies not with you, but in the psychotherapeutic profession and its blind treatment of all depression as “one and the same.” Writes one author:

The danger with depression in the gifted adult is that to 99% of the psychological profession “depression is depression is depression.” Thus someone who presents with “depression” is drugged and treated for “depression.” Sorry! Wrong! But thank you for playing.

What Causes Existential Depression?

So then, if existential depression is not like usual depression, what is the source of it?

As I mentioned previously, the clinical understanding of existential depression is that of a vague and uncaused mental illness. (In other words, it isn’t external, biological, seasonal, hormonal, or to do with self-esteem.) But this is an extremely superficial definition and one that is based on the limited insight of the psychotherapy profession.

As someone who has personally struggled with existential depression in the past, and counseled countless others with the same issue, I can say confidently that existential depression is a crisis of the soul. That is why I have written about it in the past being connected to something known as “the Dark Night of the Soul.”

If you don’t know what the Dark Night of the Soul is, it’s a period in life when we awaken to the deep disconnection we have with our souls.

Soul Loss as the Root Cause

Our souls are the deepest sources of our creativity, hope, joy, love, bliss, compassion, energy, and passion.

When we lose touch with our souls, we lose touch with our deepest essence or divinity. And when we lose touch with our essence, we feel lost, alone and empty. This is what is known as “soul loss” and THIS is the very cause of existential depression.

So here we have three experiences that are all interconnected:

  1. Existential depression is caused by Soul Loss
  2. Soul Loss is what causes the Dark Night of the Soul
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Aletheia Luna

Aletheia Luna is an influential spiritual writer whose work has changed the lives of thousands of people worldwide. After escaping the religious sect she was raised in, Luna experienced a profound existential crisis that led to her spiritual awakening. As a spiritual counselor and professional writer, Luna's mission is to help others become conscious of their entrapment and find joy, empowerment, and liberation in any circumstance. See more of her work at lonerwolf.comView Author posts