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Existential Depression

by TheHandle

I’ve suffered from depression since I was a child and am now in my 30s. I’ve seen several therapists and tried every type of anti-depressant medication without relief. I discovered later in my life that a bulk of the type of depression I am ailed by is known as Existential Depression and usually does not respond to medication.

I came across Dr. Ivan Yalom who is an American existential psychiatrist. He wrote a book on Existential Psychotherapy and is currently practicing in San Francisco. I contacted him for help and a referral in Detroit as this is where I live. He was unable to refer me to anyone that he knew who practiced existential psychotherapy here and suggested I contact Wayne State University’s psychiatry department. I contacted them and now have an appointment with a psychiatrist there who they state is familiar with this type of depression, yet, I am skeptical.

It’s been weighing more and more on me everyday where I am losing any interest in continuing to live. I self medicate and try to sleep as much as I can. I think about suicide on a daily basis, multiple times a day. I’m sure that if I’m unable to at least decrease the degree of this suffering and pain that I feel all the time I may have to end my life.

Anyone else suffer from existential depression or familiar with it and was able to do anything that helped?

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Randall 4/7/2016 - 5:56 pm

I had to google existential depression. In short the article said it has to do with not being able to find a purpose for living. No medication will help, but psychotherapy might.
Isn’t this interesting? I think I’ve been on this path for years. I don’t know what the purpose of my life is and I’ve come to the grand conclusion that there isn’t a purpose. I can make a purpose up, follow it for a while. Like I practiced Zen buddhism for 12 years. I thought this was ‘it’. Nope. I practiced yoga for 12 years, but was disillusioned with that. Nope. Other things have come and gone. Now…I’m convinced my purpose is to simply experience this life. That’s all. Nothing more complicated than that. Anyway, that’s my synopsis on finding my purpose in life. Hope the therapist helps for you. this is a question everyone asks and there are millions of talking head gurus who will tell you they have the answer. Maybe the search itself is the answer? Good luck

mysteriousvisitor 4/7/2016 - 6:13 pm

“…my purpose is to simply experiemce this life.” Sounds like you got something out of the Zen even if you didn’t continue to practice.

I have an interest in what is typically called philosophical Taoism. That path would probably help me, and yet I am so dead inside I don’t even want to try anything anymore.

mysteriousvisitor 4/7/2016 - 6:17 pm

*experience

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 6:22 pm

That’s the surface definition of existential depression, it’s a little deeper than that. This is an article I came across and approximately 90% of it applied to myself.

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10554.aspx

As far as my personal views regarding life and it’s purpose or meaning, I’m an existential nihilist, there is none. This does cause me some angst. The works of Ernest Becker and his Pulitzer prize winning book “The Denial of Death” and the documentary based on his book “Flight From Death” entirely encompass my worldview.

Randall 4/7/2016 - 6:27 pm

Thanks for this link and book and documentary. I’m on it. Searching…

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 6:35 pm

The documentary may be hard to find, I found it on The Pirate Bay, you may check there. The book is an easy find. Let me know what’s your opinion of either.

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 6:37 pm

I must also say that if you watch the documentary you will be exposed to the clinical studies they did to establish the validity of Ernest Becker’s theories. This field of study is called “Terror Management Theory.” I have become a little obsessed with this field.

mysteriousvisitor 4/7/2016 - 6:15 pm

Mine is a combination endogenous, situational, and existential – with overlaps, of course.

Antidepressant take the edge off of the biological portion of it and allow me to function more effectively, but they don’t provide a reason to live.

mysteriousvisitor 4/7/2016 - 6:16 pm

Geez, if I am going to use voice-to-text I need to remember to go back and correct any grammatical and spelling errors.

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 6:25 pm

I do have a history of depression in my family and suspect a genetic predisposition for it. So, it is well possible that my depression is an aspect of both genetic heredity and existential depression. Like I said, no anti-depressants have ever helped me. I have been following the studies on low-dose ketamine and the success it has had on alleviating major depression and suicidal ideology in a matter of hours.

Randall 4/7/2016 - 6:24 pm

also you said you self medicate. I assume that’s alcohol or the like. I can’t even drink anymore. I don’t see the point in it. It’s no help. I don’t pursue friends and lately I’ve been mostly avoiding people altogether because they’re just too complicated and strange.
So, this is interesting. I never put a name to what I’ve been going through. Your problem sounds more intense than mine…although…at least once or twice a week that bridge looks mighty tempting. Thanks for this post.

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 6:32 pm

Yes, alcohol, and other things, whatever helps numb the void that causes me distress. When I get tired of self medicating I go for months on end without anything, then I just return back to it. I’ve also pulled back from being social, around others, or even interested in wanting to have a romantic or sexual relationship. Like you, I find others strange, complicated, and actually pretty stupid and dumb to be blunt. It’s funny because I’m also a moderately well known DJ locally and have worked with some major celebrities, and yet I still feel empty and numb. One thing I’ve never been able to relate to is most other individuals who suffer from depression express feelings of being unwanted, unloved, low self-esteem, unworthy, and of no value. I, on the other hand have never really felt like that but still have major depressive disorder.

Randall 4/7/2016 - 6:53 pm

Strange as this sounds, this is good info. I don’t know where it’ll lead, but I’ll check out the book, documentary and I found the article from the Davidson Institute.

rocketman 4/7/2016 - 7:26 pm

TheHandle, oh so you like entertainment! me too! except i like meaningless relationships accompanied by uncomplicated sex? perhaps your to serous?

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 6:57 pm

I hope the info helps and doesn’t cause any negative effects. I have exposed some to it and they’ve gone into deep depression because of it and it made me feel responsible. Regardless, let me know what you think.

rocketman 4/7/2016 - 7:15 pm

TheHandle, i don’t know? all i can say is I feel any medication should be used short term for depression not for a cure, finding out the root cause and dealing with it is the best cure.

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 7:30 pm

Then we probably have to agree to disagree as evolution is genetic mutations and anomolies which can cause an individual or species to survive and thrive, or to decline and die. I don’t hold a “holistic” view of medicine or diseases.

As far as entertainment, it was a passion, which I excelled at, but am finding no solace in anymore. I can only hope for uncomplicated sex, that would help lol!

TheHandle 4/7/2016 - 7:34 pm

To be honest, uncomplicated sex would be a distraction, but I know it’s not uncomplicated. The amount of women who, in a sense, throw themselves at me, complicate my life. Complications I don’t want and would rather jerk off to porn to avoid.

rocketman 4/7/2016 - 9:18 pm

TheHandle, you sound like me! are we related? we are a species to survive and thrive, nature is in charge of to decline and die.

TheHandle 4/8/2016 - 3:45 pm

The fucking psychiatrist cancelled my appointment and had to reschedule. Fuck man! There ain’t shit out there to help me, fuck I hate feeling like this, I hate society, I want out!

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