How to Overcome an Existential Crisis

Although I claim to be no expert in the field of psychology, philosophy, or any field for that matter, I do feel I have a distinct perspecti...

Although I claim to be no expert in the field of psychology, philosophy, or any field for that matter, I do feel I have a distinct perspective on this issue which I believe, plagues people more than they care to admit.

First of all, let me define an existential crisis. According to the most reliable source in the world, Wikipedia, an existential crisis is when an individual questions the very foundations of their life and doubts whether life has any meaning or purpose at all.

The major causes of this include:
  • A psychologically or physically traumatic event
  • Clinical depression
  • Isolation; a sense of being alone in the world
  • Dissatisfaction with life
  • An event that shatters your sense of reality
And so on.

The first step towards enlightening yourself back to a state of peace and calmness is choosing a meaning for your life. The philosophical theory of existentialism posits that an individual is free and responsible for their own actions and can grow and develop through their own free will. Kind of like an RPG video game. Obviously, there are some things that are out of your control like the fact that most music you hear in Top 40 radio stations will make your ears bleed. That is a fact. My cynicism aside, there are actual solutions to most of your problems.

Using myself as an example, my life has been the perfect storm for a doozy of an existential crisis. From childhood trauma to psychoactive drug use, I developed a warped sense of reality in which my problems seemed to be of a cosmic magnitude. Up until recently, I googled it and came across a post on Quora that guided me toward a clearer path. Usually our search for meaning stems from actual problems in our everyday life, whether they be financial hardships, health concerns, fear of abandonment, sexual intimacy problems, social anxiety or a comorbidity of all of these wrapped into one giant overwhelming black hole that consumes you.

The good news is that these problems have real-world solutions. We are all struggling to be our best selves and if we are actively looking for solutions then that should occupy our time instead of pondering life's unanswerable questions. Dealing with a problem instead of ignoring it or simply letting it consume you is by far the best way to overcome an existential crisis. Once we tame all or most of our basic primal needs, then we can begin to ponder the meaning of life but by that point it won't be as painful of a process.

To reiterate, I am no expert but I do know a thing or two about how it feels like be a meager speck on the painting of life. If you are feeling suicidal or simply reject any value to life, just think of what's worse, being dead or being able to eat pizza, drink your favorite stout, watch The X-Files. Nothing is better than The X-Files.

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