What is existential crisis and why do we need help?

You have moments when you start questioning your  life, search for meaning in life, reflect a more on yourself and explore the abstract concepts related to your self and your enviroenment. You experience extensive emotions which are disturbing and not self regulatory, your life seems meaningless and you constantly search for the purpose of your existence.

It is when you are experiencing an existential crisis, an existential crisis includes the inner conflicts and anxieties that accompany human responsibility, independence, freedom, issues of purpose and committement. 

Existential crisis is not time and age specific, people might experience this crisis at any time and at any age. It depends on how fulfilling your life is, how purposeful and meaningful your actions are. These reflective questions might leave you in a state of hopelessness and despair. The crises is related to three basic aspects- the emotional aspect and the cognitive and behavioral aspect. Victor Frankl in his book “Man’s search for meaning” mentions that one of the fundamental aspects of existence which can take away the meaning of life is pain. A person suffering from a chronic disease, a person experiencing emotional distress  often seems to be in a painful state, it is when the individual realizes the impermanence and meaninglessness of his existence. Despair, helplessness and hopelessness are also facets of an existential crisis. Because of these emotions an individual might be less motivated to work, does not experience life with inner joy, associate happiness with relative things and thus does not value the responsibilities for their life. The cognitive aspect comprises of the loss of personal values and decision making.

Meaning of life is associated with change of mind, therefore when encountered with diffrernt problems it is not necessary to apply the same possibilities or the same solutions but explore different set of possibilities, discover new values and reinterpret the situation with positive thoughts. Decisions made at the time of crisis has a large role to play with our own resiliency , the perception and refelction of the cognitive aspects can help a person to interpret the situation in a completely different way and help make the right choice which would  resolve the exiistential crisis. The behavioral component comprises of the actions taken at the time of crisis. The inability to cope with the daily activities and causing trouble to others, thus lack of proper coping mechanisms leads to loss of relationships, health problems, addictions and anti social behavior. Meaninglessness experienced in an existential crisis is related to the alienation state and with other worlds which eventually affects the social life of the person.

The existential vacuum can accelerate the emergence of feelings of anxiety and depression and other psychological and somatic symptoms. Despite of your successful life, you might experience boredom and other feelings related to meaninglessness. A person experiencing an existential crisis is characterized by the need for therapy. Due to lack of coping mechanisms and resiliency you might not be able to overcome the crisis. But with the help of the therapist ,who will help you to reflect and introspect more on yourself trying to find the answers and the solutions which lies deep within you. 

Sense of meaninglessness is associated with a wide range of emotions such as fear, anger, shame, sadness which might trigger feelings of anxiety and depression. This is a moment when you feel unsure and uncertain about life and your life seems to be directionless. You feel your emotions are unexplainable and they are incomprehensible by people. But this life state is not permanent, the emotions and feelings are not permanent, you won’t be going though this phase forever. When you realize your life is in a state of utter despair and everything around you seems to be meaningless and valueless . 

This is the time when you need to seek for help, may be opening up about your feelings and thoughts with a friend or seeking help from a therpist. Therapy helps at this time because you might not know what to do with these feelings and there does not seem to be a solution , but it is important to accept that your therapist will help you identify your limitations and work beyond these limitations and discover the possible solutions for the problem. You will eventually realize that you have the power to get to the other side even if it’s hard to imagine it at the moment. 

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