Medical Information As we speak: Going through an existential disaster: What to know

An existential disaster might happen when an individual regularly wonders whether or not or not life has any inherent that means or function. An individual may additionally query their very own existence inside a world that may appear meaningless.

Experiencing an existential disaster is widespread, and it’s regular and sometimes wholesome to query one’s life and objectives. Nevertheless, an existential disaster can contribute to a destructive outlook, particularly if an individual can not discover a answer to their questions of that means.

Existential crises could also be related to a variety of psychological well being situations. For that reason, it’s typically greatest to contain a health care provider — particularly if an existential disaster has the potential to result in despair or suicidal ideation.

That mentioned, there are some methods to face an existential disaster in a wholesome manner, finally benefiting an individual’s psychological well being and well-being.

Hold studying to be taught in regards to the various kinds of existential disaster, the dangers and issues, and a few methods to beat them.

Share on PinterestAn individual experiencing an existential disaster might surprise if life has any inherent that means.

Merely put, the time period “existential disaster” refers to a second of deep questioning inside oneself. This normally pertains to how somebody sees themselves and their function inside the world.

An individual who’s experiencing an existential disaster might attempt to make sense of some grand or difficult-to-answer questions, resembling if their life has any function or if life itself has any inherent that means in any respect.

Though it’s wholesome to query one’s life and work, existential crises can take a destructive flip. This isn’t all the time the case, however it might happen if the particular person is unable to seek out a solution to those difficult questions.

An existential disaster may additionally happen after lengthy bouts of destructive feelings, emotions of isolation, or different stressors, resembling melancholy or nervousness.

Feeling down or going by a interval of tension and negativity are additionally regular. Nevertheless, when these feelings or struggles construct up and haven’t any decision, an individual might fall into despair about themselves, their worth, or their function on this planet.

When asking questions from this destructive headspace, there might solely appear to be destructive solutions, and this may be dangerous for an individual’s psychological well being.

The time period “existential disaster” has its roots in existentialism, which is a college of philosophy. Existentialism focuses closely on the that means and function of existence, each from an total and particular person perspective.

The core thought behind existentialism is that the world is inherently meaningless, and that it’s right down to the person to create their very own sense of that means and function.

Philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche have each printed works that students contemplate to be existentialist. It was Jean-Paul Sartre who finally popularized the time period “existentialism” within the 1940s.

It was not till years later that psychologists would outline the situation as an existential disaster.

Within the easiest phrases, an existential disaster refers to dealing with the disaster of 1’s personal existence. Nevertheless, this can be a very broad umbrella time period. There are lots of varieties of questions which will trigger an existential disaster, and an individual might face one in every of many various points.

The sections beneath take a look at the varieties of existential disaster an individual might expertise.

Which means

Maybe the central query surrounding an existential disaster is whether or not or not an individual’s life, or life itself, has any preexisting that means. A meaningless life just isn’t interesting to many, so people will are inclined to create a that means if they can not discover one.

Traditionally, this that means got here from faith, however it might now come from things like household, work, ardour and pleasure, or journey. The essential thought is that an individual should discover their very own that means as a result of there isn’t any inherent that means within the life that precedes them.

Nevertheless, if by this questioning an individual can not discover a sense of that means, they could have deep emotions of existential nervousness.

Feelings and existence

Some individuals might attempt to block out or keep away from emotions that they battle with, resembling struggling or anger, considering that this can enable them to solely expertise emotions they wish to take pleasure in, resembling happiness or tranquillity.

This will likely result in some individuals not giving validity to all of their feelings, which can, in flip, result in a false happiness. This might make an individual really feel out of contact with their feelings. If this state breaks down, it might result in a sort of questioning that might trigger an existential disaster.


Some individuals might expertise emotions of inauthenticity that might result in an existential disaster.

For instance, an individual might really feel that they don’t seem to be being true to themselves, or that they don’t seem to be being genuine to who they’re. They might really feel that they don’t seem to be appearing authentically in varied conditions.

Questioning this may increasingly result in a breakdown of the varied definitions an individual has given themselves, which can trigger nice nervousness, a disaster of identification, and finally one in every of existence.

Demise and the constraints of mortality

Anybody can expertise an existential disaster. Nevertheless, some types of questioning and disaster might go hand-in-hand with sure life occasions. For instance, as an individual will get older, they could battle to come back to phrases with their very own mortality.

Discovering the primary grey hair or seeing age traces and wrinkles within the mirror could make an individual very conscious of the growing older course of and the truth that their life will in the future come to an finish.

An existential disaster primarily based on dying and mortality just isn’t unusual in individuals who obtain information of a life threatening sickness. They might ask themselves if they’ve really achieved something in life. They might additionally develop into really conscious of dying and the nervousness of dealing with the tip of their life.

The unknown points of dying, such because the thriller of what awaits individuals afterward, also can set off deep emotions of tension and concern in some individuals. This will additionally result in an existential disaster.

Connectedness and isolation

Connectedness and isolation might appear to be polar opposites, however they exist on extra of a sliding scale in people. People are inherently social creatures and must kind connections with others to satisfy a few of their most simple wants.

Nevertheless, people additionally want occasions of isolation to have interaction with themselves and develop certainty in their very own beliefs.

Having both an excessive amount of isolation or an excessive amount of connectedness might result in a disaster of kinds. With out isolation, for instance, an individual might lose points of themselves to the group.

Alternatively, a lack of connectedness — as a result of lack of a liked one, a damaged relationship, or feeling ostracized from a gaggle — may additionally trigger somebody to query these connections and the way they relate to their very own existence.


Freedom is a typical side of existential crises. Being a person means having the liberty to make one’s personal selections. Nevertheless, the flip aspect of that is that it additionally means being accountable for the result of these selections.

This will result in an uncertainty about taking any motion for concern that it might be the flawed motion or result in undesirable penalties.

Such a disaster can set off nervousness not solely about alternative, but in addition in relation to how these selections form life and existence as an entire.

Experiencing an existential disaster doesn’t routinely imply that an individual has a psychological well being subject. In actual fact, it may be a really constructive factor. Questioning one’s life and function is wholesome. It may possibly assist present path and result in higher fulfilment in oneself.

The next sections present some easy suggestions which will assist an individual positively overcome an existential disaster.

Hold a gratitude journal

Moderately than having one giant, significant expertise that provides life function, most individuals have a collection of small however important experiences that make up their life. Conserving a gratitude journal might be a good way to establish these moments.

An individual can add these small and significant occasions to their journal as they occur. Wanting again on this journal later might assist remind an individual of the issues they take pleasure in about life, in addition to the constructive experiences and interactions they’ve that collectively give their life that means.

Don’t give in to pessimism

When an individual finds themselves in existential chaos, it may be straightforward to let the destructive ideas take over. Nevertheless, this may increasingly give rise to even deeper emotions of negativity.

An individual ought to attempt to acknowledge any pessimistic concepts however then change them with their optimistic counterparts. This will likely assist management the interior dialogue an individual has or a minimum of make the self-talk extra impartial.

Search for smaller solutions

A part of the load of an existential disaster is in looking for a single, all-encompassing reply to a query that could be too giant or advanced to reply in such a manner.

Looking for grand solutions to those large questions may cause much more nervousness, resulting in deeper emotions of fear and despair.

As an alternative, it might be a lot simpler to interrupt these very giant questions into smaller chunks. Then, work to seek out solutions to those smaller questions.

For example, as an alternative of asking whether or not or not an individual has completed something with their life as an entire, they need to ask themselves how they’ve impacted the world round them prior to now month.

This will likely reveal the small however constructive actions an individual has carried out, resembling having conversations of help with pals or colleagues. These positives might in any other case go unnoticed when wanting on the giant, overarching questions of life.

Speak it out

Speaking to oneself is useful, however it might result in related conclusions every time.

Having an individual or group to speak to, resembling a good friend or trusted liked one, might assist an individual see the disaster from a unique perspective. This may give them extra choices and prospects to discover.

A research within the Indian Journal of Palliative Care notes the significance of dialogue teams for individuals with most cancers who’re dealing with existential dilemmas.

Having discussions with their friends about these subjects may also help such individuals face challenges and be taught, presumably even discovering the solutions collectively.

Though questioning oneself and the world is wholesome, there are occasions when it’s best to see a health care provider or a psychological well being specialist.

Some individuals can overcome an existential disaster on their very own, however anybody whose existential disaster appears to steer them towards melancholy and nervousness ought to see a psychological well being specialist.

If an existential disaster results in suicidal ideation, search instant assist.

Suicide prevention

If you recognize somebody at instant threat of self-harm, suicide, or hurting one other particular person:Name 911 or the native emergency quantity.Stick with the particular person till skilled assist arrives.Take away any weapons, medicines, or different probably dangerous objects.Take heed to the particular person with out judgment.For those who or somebody you recognize is having ideas of suicide, a prevention hotline may also help. The Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline is obtainable 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Anybody can expertise an existential disaster. It’s regular and wholesome to ask oneself large questions on life and that means.

Nevertheless, these giant questions is not going to normally have easy solutions, and they’ll fluctuate extensively from one particular person to the following. For that reason, there may be typically no straightforward option to resolve an existential disaster however by navigating by it.

There are occasions when an individual might get previous their existential dilemma with out assist, and usually, an existential disaster doesn’t require medical intervention.

Nevertheless, if existential questioning does result in extra critical psychological well being considerations, resembling melancholy or nervousness, an individual ought to see a health care provider or a psychological well being skilled for recommendation and therapy.

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