Existential Depression: Are You Hurting, Trailblazer?

existential depression

While others are in awe of your worldly achievements and ever-expanding footprints, they may not see the pain you carry:

The loneliness of not fitting in anywhere.

The fear of not knowing what lies ahead.

The attacks you endure when walking away from the herd.

The split between what you ‘should’ do and your soul’s cries.

The distance from your heart to your mind, from emotions to logic.

The rawness of having to peel off layer after layer of ego defences.

The shakiness of facing up to vulnerabilities and showing up to life.

The guilt of outgrowing loved ones, letting friends go, leaving families and communities behind.

Related: 7 Omens That Herald the Dark Night of the Soul

If you are currently going through a rough patch, experiencing a seemingly never-ending inner turmoil, having chaos inside and around you… fear not. You might be going through a positive transformation. The old ways of being, alongside the beliefs, behaviors, and defenses that have expired are dropping away. What you are experiencing, is a growing pain.

You tell the truth because you have to, even you know most people cannot handle the truth. After a lifetime of biting your tongue for the sake of job security, or domestic tranquillity, you could do it no longer.

Stepping into your bigness requires releasing your old identifications, beliefs, ways of being in the world, and, often the most painfully, relationships.

You may be plagued by waves of complex feelings— from grief, fear, to remorse.

You may have bad dreams, intense nostalgia, unexplainable physical symptoms, or even bouts of shame attacks.

But march on, my courageous soul. Like the caterpillar that needs to shed her cocoon, you are breaking through. You are doing the necessary shedding, so some pain is inevitable. After all, your shield has been with you for a very long time.

The shedding pain is your growing pain.

Much like the ache that comes from breaking down of the old muscle tissue so it can rebuild, or a dose of bitter but potent medicine, the shedding pain rebuilds you to be a fuller human.

Cry if you have to, but know it is for a worthy goal. You are doing something uncommon, profoundly important.

Honouring your true self is the harder, but the more honourable path.

But it is by doing what others don’t could you get to where others don’t.

Trust me, the chaos will pass, and liberation and deep joy are on the other end. Your scar is a sign of your courage, and what marks you as the glorious phoenix that you are.

Embrace the shedding pain; it is a sign that says things ARE heading in the right direction.

Keep going.

Do not let the opinion of anyone hold you back.

Keep shedding.

Promise yourself that you would no longer do anything out of fear or guilt.

Let go of the demand on yourself to be ‘happy’, but rather, run with the complexity of your rich, ever-expanding world, where joy and sadness, excitement and pain can all happen at the same time.

It is tender; it is wild.


Written By Imi Lo
Originally Appeared In Eggshell Therapy
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Existential Depression: Are You Hurting, Trailblazer?
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Imi Lo

Imi Lo is a consultant for emotionally intense and highly sensitive people. She is the author of Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity, available in multiple languages, and The Gift of Intensity. Imi is the founder of Eggshell Therapy and Coaching, working with intense people from around the world. Imi has practiced as a social worker and therapist in London (U.K). She has trained in mental health, psychotherapy, art therapy, philosophical counseling, and mindfulness-based modalities. She works holistically, combining psychological insights with Eastern and Western philosophies such as Buddhism. Imi’s credentials include a Master in Mental Health, Master of Buddhist Studies, Graduate Diploma in Psychology, Bachelor of Social Science in Social Work, Certificate in Logic-based Therapy, and an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Psychotherapy. She has received multiple scholarships and awards including the Endeavour Award by the Australian Government. She has been consulted by and appeared in publications such as The Psychologies Magazine, The Telegraph, Marie Claire,and The Daily Mail.View Author posts