What is Existential Depression? 15 Signs You Have It

Existential Depression Signs You Have It

The Dark Night of the Soul was originally written about by the 16th-century mystic St. John of the Cross. He described it as a period in life where the soul yearns to reconnect with God (or Spirit). Although the Dark Night of the Soul is a painful and tormenting experience at first, it is actually a cause for celebration. I know this sounds crazy … but you are finally waking up! For many people, the Dark Night marks the beginning of the sacred journey back to Wholeness or spiritual Oneness.

Want to know more about soul loss? Read 20 Signs You’re Experiencing Soul Loss

So how do we experience soul loss in the first place?

Soul loss, and our subsequent existential depression, happens for a number of reasons. Reasons can include, for example:

  • High sensitivity (HSP)
  • High intelligence (emotional and intellectual)
  • Contemplative personality type
  • Soulful maturity6
  • Tragedy or hardship
  • Poor self-awareness
  • Self-abuse
  • Soulless living (e.g. being raised with thin values, working in a trivial job, making choices that aren’t aligned with the soul, destructive societal influence, etc.)

Think back to when you first started experiencing existential depression. Did some big, traumatic, or otherwise disruptive experience come before it? 

Usually, you can trace back to something definite that triggered it (although don’t worry if you can’t, it might be mentally repressed).

Existential Depression, Sensitivity, and Giftedness

Without fail, I have always found that existential depression is the product of being a sensitive person. After all, sensitivity allows us to feel what other people usually can’t feel. This is usually why existential depression sufferers feel so isolated and misunderstood: they really are on another plane of existence from the typical population.

At heart, the existential depression sufferer is always some form of “gifted” individual — a poet, artist, philosopher, healer, mystic, or sage in the making. Because such people find very few places to call “home” in our current society, it’s no wonder that they naturally feel misplaced, alone, and consumed by irrelevance.

8 Ways to Overcome Existential Depression

Recovering from existential depression can be immediate (in rare circumstances), but it is usually a gradual process.

I want to share with you what I have discovered that helps speed up this process:

1. Give your pain a higher meaning/purpose.

Give your pain a meaning. Learn to see your unhappiness and meaninglessness in a different light. This is where being introduced to the “Dark Night of the Soul” helped me out immensely: I realized it was a journey, not just an endless pit of suffering. Yes, when you start out it sucks. But eventually, you start finding your path again with time and patience.

Want to know more about the “Dark Night of the Soul”? Read The Dark Night Of The Soul: 7 Omens That Signal Its Arrival

2. Realize that the mind is limited.

Certainly, it is natural for us to want all the answers in life. But this is what I found: the more answers you get, the more questions you ask. The mind is an endless cycle, an endless labyrinth of questions, thoughts, and more questions.

But here’s the thing: the mind is not all there is to life. Don’t fall into the trap of making the mind and the intellectual pursuit of answers your God. The mind is only one layer of existence, and it can actually PREVENT you from living.

As author Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

You might like to read more about this topic in my article, “What is the Point of Living?

3. Stop, pause, be still, and know peace.

If you have ever read into the works of enlightened people you will discover one major message: peace can be found in every moment. And this isn’t some airy-fairy promise, it is a reality that you can experience first-hand. But it requires patience, stillness, and dedication.

Meditation is one of the best ways to experience this deep, eternal, abiding peace. Make sure you dedicate at least 10 minutes in the morning to meditation — try to increase it to 30 minutes or even 1 hour eventually. There are thousands of articles and many studies out there that have focused on the miraculous benefits of meditation. Read into them, watch YouTube videos to find different techniques, and find your niche.

4. What fills your soul with fire?

If you are unable to answer this question, think back to childhood … what did you love doing? If you still aren’t sure, explore different fields and topics of interest. Find what your passion is, or what makes you feel excited, fulfilled, energized, and engaged.

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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