Cassie from England asks,
Recently I discovered that I’m a highly sensitive empath, but although this discovery helped me to better understand who I am, it doesn’t really help alleviate my emptiness. I have struggled with depression since I was 13 and have tried to commit suicide multiple times. I feel as though I’m ruining my parent and sister’s life because they’re always so concerned about me. I hate it. But as hard as I try to be happy, I feel lost, numb and completely alone. I’ve tried medication, but it only deepens my feeling of being dead inside. What can I do to “be normal” again … if there even is such a thing?
Depression is a topic that we’re frequently asked about. And there are many causes of it. If you’re currently struggling with depression it might be caused by any one (or combination) of the following reasons. It might be for example:
- Situational — or caused by external events such as a death, tragedy, loss of employment, etc.
- Hormonal — caused by an internal imbalance of chemicals
- Biological — triggered by genetics
- Seasonal — caused by the changing of seasons (as seen in seasonal affective disorder)
- Intrapersonal — caused by toxic beliefs and perceptions that lead to low self-worth
- Existential — caused by a lack of meaning and soul connection
This article will only be dealing with existential depression which is resistant to traditional treatments such as psychotherapy and medication. For this reason, existential depression is often the hardest, most stubborn, baffling and persistent form of depression. But it can be healed.
What is Existential Depression?
In a nutshell, existential depression is a spiritual crisis. It is crippling, profound, pervasive and highly personal in nature. 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.
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?” “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
- Belief that most things are “futile” or “meaningless”
- Contemplation or attempt of suicide
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 psycho-therapeutic 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 it based on the limited insight of the psychotherapy profession.