Most of us have heard the term existential crisis thrown around about life’s common inconveniences. If you are that exciting friend, you might know that your coffee order being messed up doesn’t constitute an existential crisis.
A Dark Corner of Existentialism
Though, if we’re going to get technical—it could be. If it contributes to consistent feelings of contemplating life’s meaning and purpose with dread. If negativity seems to dwell, and there seems to be a pointlessness to the day, these are feelings consistent with existential dread.
It’s the difference between feeling slightly ticked about being late and feeling like you were late because they messed up your order. While on that train of thought, there might not be a value to being on time anyway or having to be somewhere. These are the kind of ideas that might signify a more in-depth investigation.
Defining the Existential Crisis
There are levels and separate distinctions of an existential crisis, the foundation being worsening feelings of anxiety, fear, and indifference about the world. In some cases, it can lead to and be associated with mental health conditions such as depression.
The term existential relates to the human experience. The existential crisis was derived from psychoanalyst Erik Erikson who used it interchangeably with an “identity crisis.” Intently questioning identity is a strong indication of one.
Symptoms and Classifications
A person experiencing an existential crisis may have a deep contemplation of meaning. Often suppressing emotions, inability to be authentic, lack of connectedness and freedom, or recent experience of grappling with immortality.
Aging, losing a loved one, trauma, or significant changes in relationships, all contribute.
There may be a link between having an existential crisis and having clinically diagnosed anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
If You Think You Have One
If you feel that you may be experiencing an existential crisis, know that you are not alone. The stressors and triggers may be outside of yourself, but how they are internalized and processed exists within you. This is where improvement is possible.
However, consider consulting with a mental healthcare professional about your feelings, especially if they progress. Existentialism, by definition and as it relates to humans, is embodied by all of us. Never feel alone in this.