Depression and existential thoughts.

Hello dear reader. I do applaud you for reading this blog and not be frightened by the heavy title. I did notice that a long period before my diagnosis with burnout and depression my thinking changed. I tried to keep the thoughts to myself but it did shine through I believe. I myself, don’t like those thoughts but they are there and sometimes it sucks.

How to explain this? First I became more critical. Especially at work. I was very critical towards the institution I worked it in. I also thought that my colleagues didn’t took their work so seriously as I did. I felt not the nicest person having those thoughts. I felt something was wrong but being able to be ‘mad’ at something gave me the strength to fight it. To speak up, for what I believed was a good cause. In all honesty, I made some good points. Now, I still stand behind my beliefs. But I also know now that I had lost the bigger perspective. I was not happy in that workplace, I could have just left. I could have realized that it didn’t suit me anymore, that my ambitions had changed. But I was so unhappy, that I needed to put up this last fight. I did speak up but mostly the thoughts went on and on in my head. All the things that I tought that had to be better. I realize now, that even writing this out, it wears me down. It was a feeling of utter meaninglessness.

I was also increasingly critical about society and the consumer culture we live in. I thought a lot about the meaning of life. What could the meaning of life be when everything is so miserable? What about death? What is the meaning of life in the shadow of death? I know people sometimes don’t like to talk or to think about it. I didn’t find someone to speak freely about those thoughts. In my experience people tend to shy away from such topics (or I am being ‘smart’ again?).  But I needed to be able to think about it. To see my life in a bigger perspective. To see a purposeful life because of the finiteness of it. It was of vital importance to me to strip my life of all the light and funny things and not to pretend that I could ‘clean’ my sadness away. I needed to work through it because I refused earlier in life. Not so much refused but I was not strong enough to begin that journey. I don’t know why but I became depressed once I made a safe environment for myself. When I was mostly alone in this world, I wasn’t happy either but the survivor in me was more dominant. I was more an external fighter, the fight within was suppressed.

Back to the thoughts about life and death, they gave me comfort at first but soon they were not balanced at all. They pulled me in on the more heavy side of things. The perspective of non-meaning. I must say that it felt secure to realize that my life had no purpose. I didn’t had to worry anymore, it didn’t made sense and I didn’t made a difference. Those thoughts taunted me but for some reason there was still a struggle inside. If not for the struggle I must have been completely at ease to realize that there is nothing to do and nothing to worry about.

I must have been a real pain in the ass with all my existential questions. I imagine I must have had  an ‘intellectual air’ around me. On the inside that was not the case. I tried to hide the ugly feelings and thoughts because even in that gloomy state I somewhat felt it just couldn’t be true. My mind saved me by shielding me from the destructive emotions and my emotions fought hard to feel some light in the darkness.

But almost a year later, I made it. I understand now what was happening to me. I found my meaning of life in this very moment. I need to get better. For me it’s as simple as that. And I will fight for that and for a more happier life. Because in the shadow of death it will be better to have lived a – for me – meaningful life.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

8 thoughts on “Depression and existential thoughts.

  1. I think when dealing with things like depression and burnout existential questions are not uncommon. There’s a lot of identity work to be done to figure out how thoughts of death fit in with who you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a very accepting and thoughtful comment. Thank you! I was debating if I should even post it. It is nice to see that I’m not that ‘out of the norm’ as my thoughts may suggest at times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was directed here by your March 2020 post on “Recovery.” This post here is such an important one in that it highlights what a lot of us feel on the inside, but that we may have difficulty expressing on the outside. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found it interesting. It was one of the more difficult ones to write, together with a post on ‘anhedonia’.
      Expressing those feelings helps me tremendously. I’m so lucky to get helpful comments like yours, thank you! Sharing stories empowers people 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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