How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

Move past your existential crisis by listening to yourself talk.

Posted Jan 26, 2014

Have you ever had an existential crisis? They’re not fun. But man, they’re important.

I had a miniature version of one a few weeks ago. It had been building up for a while, finally erupting when I spoke of it out loud during a brief, scattered bedtime conversation with my half asleep husband.

FYI. yes, you can totally work through an existential crisis by talking it out with someone who is barely listening. Sometimes you don’t really need advice, you just need a to hear your own voice. We always seek for answers outside of ourselves, but that’s not where answers live.

Here’s what else I learned while talking to my sleepy husband:

1. Don’t abandon the people you love in your quest for answers.

Me: What if we never have kids? I mean, what if what we have now is all it’ll ever be? Would this marriage be enough for me to be happy?

Him: You’re seriously making me feel like crap right now.

2. The problem is never what you think it is. Dig deeper.

Me: Sorry, I think I said that because I’m depressed. I don’t know why I’m depressed though. I think it’s because you were outside grilling and having dinner with the neighbors while I was here folding laundry.

Him: You should have come out with us.

Me: No, actually…I wanted to be alone. But I wished I was working on a craft project instead of folding laundry. I think I’m depressed because I don’t have enough time for crafting.

Him: So work on your craft projects; no one is stopping you.

Me: Maybe it’s not about crafting. Maybe it’s about not having enough time for things that are important to me. It’s like I don’t have enough balance in my life.

Me: I mean, yeah, I can hang out and grill with you guys. Or do more crafting. But I think what I really miss is what I had in my 20′s– being part of a group of friends that works towards a common goal. So I think I need to be more active in church, or join an activist group or something.

Me: I need more than just a good job, a nice apartment, and some hobbies to be happy. I wanted those things last year, but now that I have them, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I need to be working on something meaningful, and making meaningful connections with people while doing it.

3. Know when to seek, and when to let go.

Me: I think I’m having an existential crisis.

Him: [Half asleep, mumbling.] Kim, you’re always having an existential crisis.

Me: Oh yeah, I forgot. That’s so true.

And that’s when I fell fast asleep, relieved that I didn’t have to figure it all out right then and there. The weight of the world was off my shoulders, at least until tomorrow.

And then I remembered: Questions, answers, more questions– that’s how life works. As long as we’re consciously seeking, we won’t be stuck forever.

Your Turn: Have you ever worked through an existential crisis? How did you come to a place of peace?

Move past your existential crisis by listening to yourself talk.

Posted Jan 26, 2014

Have you ever had an existential crisis? They’re not fun. But man, they’re important.

I had a miniature version of one a few weeks ago. It had been building up for a while, finally erupting when I spoke of it out loud during a brief, scattered bedtime conversation with my half asleep husband.

FYI. yes, you can totally work through an existential crisis by talking it out with someone who is barely listening. Sometimes you don’t really need advice, you just need a to hear your own voice. We always seek for answers outside of ourselves, but that’s not where answers live.

Here’s what else I learned while talking to my sleepy husband:

1. Don’t abandon the people you love in your quest for answers.

Me: What if we never have kids? I mean, what if what we have now is all it’ll ever be? Would this marriage be enough for me to be happy?

Him: You’re seriously making me feel like crap right now.

2. The problem is never what you think it is. Dig deeper.

Me: Sorry, I think I said that because I’m depressed. I don’t know why I’m depressed though. I think it’s because you were outside grilling and having dinner with the neighbors while I was here folding laundry.

Him: You should have come out with us.

Me: No, actually…I wanted to be alone. But I wished I was working on a craft project instead of folding laundry. I think I’m depressed because I don’t have enough time for crafting.

Him: So work on your craft projects; no one is stopping you.

Me: Maybe it’s not about crafting. Maybe it’s about not having enough time for things that are important to me. It’s like I don’t have enough balance in my life.

Me: I mean, yeah, I can hang out and grill with you guys. Or do more crafting. But I think what I really miss is what I had in my 20′s– being part of a group of friends that works towards a common goal. So I think I need to be more active in church, or join an activist group or something.

Me: I need more than just a good job, a nice apartment, and some hobbies to be happy. I wanted those things last year, but now that I have them, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I need to be working on something meaningful, and making meaningful connections with people while doing it.

3. Know when to seek, and when to let go.

Me: I think I’m having an existential crisis.

Him: [Half asleep, mumbling.] Kim, you’re always having an existential crisis.

Me: Oh yeah, I forgot. That’s so true.

And that’s when I fell fast asleep, relieved that I didn’t have to figure it all out right then and there. The weight of the world was off my shoulders, at least until tomorrow.

And then I remembered: Questions, answers, more questions– that’s how life works. As long as we’re consciously seeking, we won’t be stuck forever.

Your Turn: Have you ever worked through an existential crisis? How did you come to a place of peace?

Part 1: The experience of worrying that the world around you does not exist.

THE BASICS

  • What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
  • Find a therapist to treat OCD

How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

For much of my life, I have been plagued by a terrifying question: “What if nothing is real, and everyone’s in on the joke, apart from me?” I’m talking some kind of Matrix-esque, Truman Show hellscape, where everything I think I experience is some kind virtual reality, or a reality TV show that I’m both the star of and in the dark about.

It is not unusual to wonder about this sort of stuff, and it’s all fun and games over a late-night discussion with friends. Yet, in my experience, the nightmare starts when the feeling that nothing around you is real starts to dictate every waking hour. Your days are consumed with wondering whether your friends and family exist, and how you can be certain that you are not utterly alone, trapped in the screen of an alien’s computer.

I have lived with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for as long as I can remember. The misconceptions that surround this disorder are so entrenched that many people think OCD is an adjective for someone with a cutesy liking of symmetry and order. In fact, to have OCD, all that is required is that you experience obsessions, which are unwanted thoughts that cause you significant distress, and compulsions, which are the action you then take, whether physical or mental, to neutralise that thought or worry.

Seen in this light, you begin to understand that OCD is a disorder that can literally be about anything. As Patricia Zurita Ona, Psy.D. (known as Dr. Z.), author of Living Beyond OCD Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, comments: “obsessions can vary from being regular thoughts that we all experience — ‘What if I get cancer?’, ‘Am I in love?’ — to being very nonsensical — ‘What if you steal my knowledge when I’m talking to you?” Basically, the ways in which the brain could latch onto obsessions is limitless.”

Some people with OCD experience what has been termed “existential OCD.” Dr. Z. says that “this theme of obsessions involves philosophical thoughts, existential matters, and reflections about life issues. While they seem like natural reflections that every person has at one time or another, at some point these thoughts arise alongside extreme distress that is hard to let go. Most well-known existential obsessions are about death, life after death, feeling love after death, making the best of life, whether emotions are the right ones in a given situation, immortality, life-after-death experiences, and other similar matters.”

For me, the obsessions centered around questions such as “What if I don’t exist?”, “What if nothing is real?” or ‘What if everything is meaningless?” These are interesting philosophical questions, but for the person with OCD, the engagement with them is not academic or curious. It operates in the same way as any other obsessive-compulsive cycle (which is why there is really no “existential OCD” — it’s more a useful way of describing a particular obsessional theme). It’s tedious and debilitating, and less about the actual content than the cyclical process of engaging with compulsions such as rumination — perhaps trying to endlessly “talk yourself out” of the belief that nothing is real or “check” your perception of things is accurate.

Dr. Z. adds that “compulsive behaviours may include scanning memories about life events in which a person experienced particular feelings, replaying emotional experiences (such as falling in love, being excited about life, etc.), dissecting past encounters when having a particular feeling to make sure it was the right one, discussing existential topics or life issues as a form of ‘figuring them out’ and hoping to find the ‘right response,’ searching online about existential matters, and reading books about philosophical matters.”

At times during my experience of existential obsessions, I even “saw” things, such as snow on a car roof in summer, that I felt confirmed my view nothing could be real. I have since wondered if I was experiencing a period of psychosis, as the feeling I had “seen” those things was so real.

I discussed this with Dr. Z., who felt that what I described were occasional images experienced in the context of severe symptoms of OCD. She explained that “a person dealing with OCD may have random visual errors or — like we all do — but instead of moving on with their day-to-day life, they actually cannot let it go. Instead, they quickly engage in compulsions such as replaying it multiple times over and over to find the truth, to figure out exactly what it is; the challenge is that, the more they mentally review an event, the more uncertain they feel, which in turns, keeps the OCD cycle going.”

I recently contributed a short story about my experiences with existential obsessions as both a child and an adult to What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival, published by Unbound, and you can read the first part of it here. I wrote it, and share my experience of existential obsessions in this blog, so you know you are not alone if you experience similar thoughts about reality and existence. I tend not to say that any obsession is “the worst,” as they can all be pretty hellish in their own unique ways, but these have certainly been the ones that have made me feel the most alone.

It pays to organize your approach to heart disease or any chronic medical problem.

How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

Dealing with the pain and aggravation of a broken bone or burst appendix isn’t easy. But at least there’s an end in sight. Once the bone or belly heals, you’re pretty much back to normal. That’s not true for high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, or other chronic conditions. With no “cure” in sight, they usually last a lifetime.

You can live with a chronic condition day to day, responding to its sometimes swiftly changing symptoms and problems. Or you can take charge and manage the disease instead of letting it rule you.

Here are 10 helpful strategies for coping with a chronic condition.

  • Get a prescription for information. The more you know about your condition, the better equipped you’ll be to understand what’s happening and why. First direct your questions to your doctor or nurse. If you want to do more in-depth research, ask them about trusted sources of medical information on the Web.
  • Make your doctor a partner in care. We’d put this one more bluntly: Take responsibility for your care, and don’t leave everything to your doctor. One way to do this is to listen to your body and track its changes. If you have hypertension, learn to check your blood pressure. If your heart has rhythm problems, check your pulse. For heart failure, weigh yourself every day and chart your symptoms. This kind of home monitoring lets you spot potentially harmful changes before they bloom into real trouble.
  • Build a team. Doctors don’t have all the answers. Seek out the real experts. A nurse might be a better resource for helping you stop smoking or start exercising. You’ll get the best nutrition information from a dietitian.
  • Coordinate your care. In an ideal world, the specialists you see for your heart, your diabetes, and your arthritis would talk with each other every now and then about your medical care. In the real world, this doesn’t usually happen. A primary care physician can put the pieces together to make sure your treatments are good for the whole you.
  • Make a healthy investment in yourself. Part of the treatment for almost any chronic condition involves lifestyle changes. You know the ones we mean — stopping smoking, losing weight, exercising more, and shifting to healthier eating habits. Although these steps are sometimes relegated to the back burner, they shouldn’t be. The people who make such changes are more likely to successfully manage a chronic condition than those who don’t. Investing the time and energy to make healthy changes usually pays handsome dividends, ranging from feeling better to living longer.
  • Make it a family affair. The lifestyle changes you make to ease a chronic condition such as high cholesterol or heart disease are good for almost everyone. Instead of going it alone, invite family members or friends to join in.
  • Manage your medications. Remembering to take one pill a day is tough; managing 10 or more is daunting. Knowing about the drugs you take — why you take them, how best to take them, and what problems to watch out for — is as important as learning about your condition. Talking with your doctor, nurse, or a pharmacist can put drug information into perspective.
  • Beware of depression. Dark, dreary moods plague a third or more of people with chronic diseases. Depression can keep you from taking important medications, seeing your doctor when you need to, or pursuing healthy habits. Read up on the signs of depression. Let your doctor know if you think you’re depressed or heading in that direction.
  • Reach out. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals aren’t always the best reservoir for information about what it’s like to recover from open-heart surgery or live with heart failure. To get the real scoop, look for a support group in your area and talk with people who have been through what you are facing.
  • Plan for end-of-life decisions. If the diagnosis of a chronic condition, or life with one, has you thinking about death, channel those thoughts to the kind of care you want at the end of your life. Spelling out whether you want the most aggressive care until the very end, or whether you’d prefer hospice care and a do-not-resuscitate order, can save you and your loved ones a lot of confusion and anguish later on.

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Part 1: The experience of worrying that the world around you does not exist.

THE BASICS

  • What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
  • Find a therapist to treat OCD

How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

For much of my life, I have been plagued by a terrifying question: “What if nothing is real, and everyone’s in on the joke, apart from me?” I’m talking some kind of Matrix-esque, Truman Show hellscape, where everything I think I experience is some kind virtual reality, or a reality TV show that I’m both the star of and in the dark about.

It is not unusual to wonder about this sort of stuff, and it’s all fun and games over a late-night discussion with friends. Yet, in my experience, the nightmare starts when the feeling that nothing around you is real starts to dictate every waking hour. Your days are consumed with wondering whether your friends and family exist, and how you can be certain that you are not utterly alone, trapped in the screen of an alien’s computer.

I have lived with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for as long as I can remember. The misconceptions that surround this disorder are so entrenched that many people think OCD is an adjective for someone with a cutesy liking of symmetry and order. In fact, to have OCD, all that is required is that you experience obsessions, which are unwanted thoughts that cause you significant distress, and compulsions, which are the action you then take, whether physical or mental, to neutralise that thought or worry.

Seen in this light, you begin to understand that OCD is a disorder that can literally be about anything. As Patricia Zurita Ona, Psy.D. (known as Dr. Z.), author of Living Beyond OCD Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, comments: “obsessions can vary from being regular thoughts that we all experience — ‘What if I get cancer?’, ‘Am I in love?’ — to being very nonsensical — ‘What if you steal my knowledge when I’m talking to you?” Basically, the ways in which the brain could latch onto obsessions is limitless.”

Some people with OCD experience what has been termed “existential OCD.” Dr. Z. says that “this theme of obsessions involves philosophical thoughts, existential matters, and reflections about life issues. While they seem like natural reflections that every person has at one time or another, at some point these thoughts arise alongside extreme distress that is hard to let go. Most well-known existential obsessions are about death, life after death, feeling love after death, making the best of life, whether emotions are the right ones in a given situation, immortality, life-after-death experiences, and other similar matters.”

For me, the obsessions centered around questions such as “What if I don’t exist?”, “What if nothing is real?” or ‘What if everything is meaningless?” These are interesting philosophical questions, but for the person with OCD, the engagement with them is not academic or curious. It operates in the same way as any other obsessive-compulsive cycle (which is why there is really no “existential OCD” — it’s more a useful way of describing a particular obsessional theme). It’s tedious and debilitating, and less about the actual content than the cyclical process of engaging with compulsions such as rumination — perhaps trying to endlessly “talk yourself out” of the belief that nothing is real or “check” your perception of things is accurate.

Dr. Z. adds that “compulsive behaviours may include scanning memories about life events in which a person experienced particular feelings, replaying emotional experiences (such as falling in love, being excited about life, etc.), dissecting past encounters when having a particular feeling to make sure it was the right one, discussing existential topics or life issues as a form of ‘figuring them out’ and hoping to find the ‘right response,’ searching online about existential matters, and reading books about philosophical matters.”

At times during my experience of existential obsessions, I even “saw” things, such as snow on a car roof in summer, that I felt confirmed my view nothing could be real. I have since wondered if I was experiencing a period of psychosis, as the feeling I had “seen” those things was so real.

I discussed this with Dr. Z., who felt that what I described were occasional images experienced in the context of severe symptoms of OCD. She explained that “a person dealing with OCD may have random visual errors or — like we all do — but instead of moving on with their day-to-day life, they actually cannot let it go. Instead, they quickly engage in compulsions such as replaying it multiple times over and over to find the truth, to figure out exactly what it is; the challenge is that, the more they mentally review an event, the more uncertain they feel, which in turns, keeps the OCD cycle going.”

I recently contributed a short story about my experiences with existential obsessions as both a child and an adult to What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival, published by Unbound, and you can read the first part of it here. I wrote it, and share my experience of existential obsessions in this blog, so you know you are not alone if you experience similar thoughts about reality and existence. I tend not to say that any obsession is “the worst,” as they can all be pretty hellish in their own unique ways, but these have certainly been the ones that have made me feel the most alone.

Move past your existential crisis by listening to yourself talk.

Posted Jan 26, 2014

Have you ever had an existential crisis? They’re not fun. But man, they’re important.

I had a miniature version of one a few weeks ago. It had been building up for a while, finally erupting when I spoke of it out loud during a brief, scattered bedtime conversation with my half asleep husband.

FYI. yes, you can totally work through an existential crisis by talking it out with someone who is barely listening. Sometimes you don’t really need advice, you just need a to hear your own voice. We always seek for answers outside of ourselves, but that’s not where answers live.

Here’s what else I learned while talking to my sleepy husband:

1. Don’t abandon the people you love in your quest for answers.

Me: What if we never have kids? I mean, what if what we have now is all it’ll ever be? Would this marriage be enough for me to be happy?

Him: You’re seriously making me feel like crap right now.

2. The problem is never what you think it is. Dig deeper.

Me: Sorry, I think I said that because I’m depressed. I don’t know why I’m depressed though. I think it’s because you were outside grilling and having dinner with the neighbors while I was here folding laundry.

Him: You should have come out with us.

Me: No, actually…I wanted to be alone. But I wished I was working on a craft project instead of folding laundry. I think I’m depressed because I don’t have enough time for crafting.

Him: So work on your craft projects; no one is stopping you.

Me: Maybe it’s not about crafting. Maybe it’s about not having enough time for things that are important to me. It’s like I don’t have enough balance in my life.

Me: I mean, yeah, I can hang out and grill with you guys. Or do more crafting. But I think what I really miss is what I had in my 20′s– being part of a group of friends that works towards a common goal. So I think I need to be more active in church, or join an activist group or something.

Me: I need more than just a good job, a nice apartment, and some hobbies to be happy. I wanted those things last year, but now that I have them, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I need to be working on something meaningful, and making meaningful connections with people while doing it.

3. Know when to seek, and when to let go.

Me: I think I’m having an existential crisis.

Him: [Half asleep, mumbling.] Kim, you’re always having an existential crisis.

Me: Oh yeah, I forgot. That’s so true.

And that’s when I fell fast asleep, relieved that I didn’t have to figure it all out right then and there. The weight of the world was off my shoulders, at least until tomorrow.

And then I remembered: Questions, answers, more questions– that’s how life works. As long as we’re consciously seeking, we won’t be stuck forever.

Your Turn: Have you ever worked through an existential crisis? How did you come to a place of peace?

Illustration: Francesco Bongoirini for the Guardian

Illustration: Francesco Bongoirini for the Guardian

‘Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough!” wails the character of Garcin in Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, brilliantly encapsulating both a) the human condition, and b) the experience of banking with Santander, though it’s possible that last one’s a coincidence. Garcin is having an existential crisis, as people tend to do in Sartre. (These days, he could just pick up a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life and be done with it.) He’s facing the Big Question: how to deal with life’s apparent meaninglessness? Of course, many other philosophers, not to mention self-help gurus, would argue that life isn’t meaningless – that meaning’s to be found in family, or work, or spirituality. But intriguing new research suggests that, for a sizeable chunk of the population, a different answer to the Big Question may be more pertinent: who cares?

Psychologists have tended to assume people can be located on a simple continuum: at one end, those who feel their lives are deeply meaningful, and are consequently happy; at the other, those who feel their lives lack meaning, and feel tortured or depressed. (Something like this is implicit in Abraham Maslow’s venerable “pyramid of needs”, with self-actualisation at the summit.) But a study by Tatjana Schnell, of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, based on a survey of 603 Germans, found 35% of them were “existentially indifferent”: they didn’t feel their lives had meaning, and frankly, it didn’t much bother them.

Judging by Schnell’s efforts to measure their levels of life-satisfaction, these chilled-out types aren’t as happy as those who score high on the meaningfulness scale, but they’re significantly happier than those who crave meaning yet lack it. “Without commitment to sources of meaning, life remains superficial,” Schnell observes. “But superficiality is not necessarily a state of suffering.” She doesn’t seem to think much of existential indifference – “[it] can hardly be viewed,” she argues, “as living a life of health and wellbeing.” Still, it’s not Sartre-style hell, either. If you do want to live a life of meaning, her other results suggest, it’s better to be married, and slightly better to be employed, among other factors. But it’s entirely possible – not that you’d ever imagine it from the legions of self-help books promising to help you “discover your purpose”, “find your calling” or “live a life that counts” – that you simply don’t care.

Well, not you specifically. I suspect reading magazine columns about the psychology of happiness isn’t high on the agenda of the existentially indifferent: to them, pretty much by definition, Schnell’s findings presumably don’t matter. But for the rest of us – the non-indifferent – they carry some powerful and ultimately reassuring implications. Compulsively, we compare ourselves with those around us and find our lives wanting: other people seem to have found meaning, while we’re still searching. Partly, that’s because we have no direct access to their inner torment. But it also may be because they’re not looking for meaning in the first place. Perhaps that’s a blessing of sorts, but it’s hardly the enviable state of fulfilment we imagine must suffuse their lives. Being the kind of person who seeks answers in life is troublesome enough. There’s no point feeling inferior to those who aren’t even asking the questions.

One in five children in the United States has a severely depressed parent at home. It’s no secret that there is a strong connection between a parent’s mental health and a child’s development. Knowing that the stress of being a good parent as you’re suffering from an existential crisis can be incredibly overwhelming. In addition to taking care of your children, needed to combat depressive symptoms that may have an effect on your child’s development.

In this article, we’re going to review 4 important aspects of maintaining healthy parenting skills while you cope with an existential crisis.

1. Understand how emotional crisis can affect your ability to parent

Mental health is complex. No two existential crises are the same. Though you may be unable to simply ‘get past’ a crisis, do your best to stay aware of your symptoms and how they can affect your parenting skills. When possible, do what you can to leverage healthy coping mechanisms. Children learn how to cope with their own issues by the example of their parents.

If you are zoned out or filled with dread, your child is going to sense that. They may turn away for fear of upsetting you further, or socially withdrawal. With young children, it’s nearly impossible to explain what’s going on with mom or dad. But with older children, you will be able to talk calmly with your child and let them know you’re struggling- but you don’t love them any less.

That doesn’t mean that your child should never see you sad. Emotions are real and they need to understand that. However, if you use unhealthy coping mechanisms your child is going to follow suit.

2. Don’t fixate on guilty feelings

Your mental health doesn’t mean you’re not a good parent. It means that parenting may be a lot more challenging for you. Don’t fixate on the fact that you’re not a ‘happy parent’. This will only make an unhappy parent. Talking down to yourself will only inspire a cycle of negative thoughts that shatter your confidence in your parenting skills. More importantly, it will drive a wedge between you and your child.

When you feel guilty for how you’re feeling or acting, remember that this isn’t the end of the world. Focus on the small joys. Lucky for you, children live in the moment and can help you focus on the beauty of the little things in life. Instead of withdrawing from your child, lean into them. Sit down on the ground and play with legos. Show them something new. Not only does this give you the opportunity to bond with your child, but it also will help you realize that the purpose of life is live.

3. Get the support you need

A therapist can do more than help you work through this crisis. There are plenty of mental health professionals that specialize in supporting parents. Through therapy, you can understand how your symptoms affect your child and get specific advice on how to parent your child more effectively. There are also therapists that work with children to help them understand mental illness and how it interferes with a person’s ability to function. Getting professional help when you’re in crisis will make it easier to overcome the challenges an existential crisis presents to the child-parent relationship.

But your support system doesn’t have to end there! You can reach your family, friends, and support groups alike. Talking with people who understand the struggle of overcoming an existential crisis will help you realize you’re not alone. Many people find comfort in talking to other parents who are facing the same issues.

4. Try to Stay Positive

Like most things in life, positivity is easier to talk about than to execute on. It takes practice. When you feel negative thoughts overtaking your mood, use self-affirmations to inspire positivity. Ask your spouse for help with the children and do something that will make you happier. In short: Do whatever it takes to inspire some happy brain chemicals. If you can’t muster the energy to take a walk or talk with yourself, remind yourself that this will pass.

Conclusion

Trying to overcome the existential dead is hard for anyone. It’s especially hard when you’re a parent. A life-changing event like the loss of your own parents or a decline in your health can inspire thoughts of hopelessness. Whether it appears on its own or alongside depression, the best way to maintain a healthy environment for your children is to work towards healing and if needed, seek professional help. Don’t hide your emotions, but realize that how you deal with the crisis has an impact on your child. If your crisis has already compromised your parenting skills, seek professional help for both you.

What advice do you have for parents who are coping with an existential crisis? Share your tips in the comments.

We’ve all heard the term mid-life crisis. We imagine a middle-aged man revving up his motorcycle, or a couple buying a new car to make themselves look young. While this does happen, in reality, the mid-life crisis usually revolves around our regrets. It often involves making drastic changes to your life based on the feeling that you are running out of time.

Here you will find articles that talk more about the mid-life crisis phenomenon. What are its symptoms? What can someone do to help relieve their mid-life crisis? Is middle-age really all that bad, or is it some of the best years of your life? You can find these answers and much more.

Recent Articles

Popular Articles

What Is An Existential Crisis And How Can It Be Resolved?

What Is A Mid Life Crisis: What You Need To Know

Midlife Crisis

A midlife crisis occurs when you are transitioning from the first part of your life into the latter years. When we’re young, we’re more apt to do whatever we want. We’re carefree, and take on new adventures. As we grow up, it becomes more difficult to take risks and to be carefree. We may have children, gotten a demanding job, or taken on other responsibilities that make it hard to live freely. These responsibilities may take precedence over feeling like you can do anything, and like you are on top of the world. When you reach the middle of your life, you begin to crave that freedom again. You want to feel carefree, and that’s where the midlife crisis comes in.

How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

What is a Midlife Crisis?

A midlife crisis happens when you feel like you are missing out on something. You want to experience everything, but feel like time is “running out.” You often hear the term “midlife crisis” and think of the man that buys his hot, new, red convertible dream car because he wants to feel young. He wants to feel like he is taking a risk. That’s what a midlife crisis is: it’s the feeling that you need to do all of the things that you want to before you leave this world. You realizing that one day you won’t be here, so you experience a sense of panic and urgency paired with the desire to make sure that you get the most out of your life. Whether that’s taking a trip to Bermuda or buying a convertible, that is the nature of a midlife crisis.

Identity

People may begin to feel trapped by the confines of societal expectations. They might feel stuck in their career until they retire. They may want to achieve the goals that were set out for themselves years ago but have forgotten about, and so they start to get anxious. The anxiety they experience results in a mid-life crisis. They want to find out who they are before they don’t have a chance to explore those identity issues any longer.

How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

What Does Someone Do When They Experience a Midlife Crisis?

Each person reacts to a mid-life crisis in a unique way. There’s no one way to have a midlife crisis. A person experiencing one could respond to many ways. They might do something drastic that no one saw coming like shaving their head, selling their house, getting a giant tattoo or going on a trip around the world. They may change careers, get a divorce, or go on a reckless spending spree. No one action defines a midlife crisis. The point is that an individual is experiencing some identity crisis, and they are questioning who they are. They explore their identity by embarking on new adventures in life to feel like a free-spirited version of themselves.

Returning to Adolescent Years

When you’re a teenager, you explore your identity and discover who you are. Then, you enter adulthood, and your identity solidifies. Life is a little less carefree than before. There’s something similar to this feeling that occurs during a midlife crisis. You feel that there’s a part of yourself that is untapped and unexplored. Maybe, you even develop new thrill-seeking urges that you’ve never had before. You might not know what you want to do in this next chapter of your life and you might not understand why you’re feeling stir-crazy or stagnant. Talking about these feelings and thoughts in counseling can be helpful.

How to deal with an existential crisis and live a happy life again

How Counseling Can Help

Whether you’re talking to an online counselor or a mental health professional in your local area, it’s important to discuss your experiences during a midlife crisis because you do not want to make drastic actions or mistakes that could negatively affect you or your family. Talking to a therapist or counselor in online gives you a place to discuss what’s changing within you before you make any lasting decisions. Search through the network of counselors and therapists at BetterHelp who can help you through this challenging time.