What is an Existential Crisis? What is an Existential Crisis? And How to Cope With It?

We all have questions at some point. It is natural to wonder about the mysteries of life and ask deep questions. These thoughts can become overwhelming and cause you to feel depressed, anxious, and frustrated. This is called an existential crisis.

What is Existential Crisis?

A person’s existence is in crisis when they begin to question it. An existential crisis is a persistent negative feeling or emotion a person experiences while searching for meaning in life. Extreme thoughts and unanswered questions can lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and even suicide in some cases.

Other names for existential anxiety or existential dread are existential dread. Many people experience an existential crisis. A phase of existential crisis can be characterized by intense feelings of despair that lead to questions such as “What’s the point?” and “Why does this matter?”

It usually coincides with a pivotal moment in one’s life. A trigger is any event that disrupts the established and safe way of living or thinking and forces one to think differently. You can also get it from an external shock like a pandemic, natural calamity or any other event that disrupts the safety net or disrupts a routine that was previously considered normal.

Signs that an Existential Crisis Is Coming

It’s normal to question your life and think deeply about it. When you are unable to find an answer, the problem is present. This leads to a continuous loop of complicated questions without satisfying answers. This leads to conflict within oneself about their reason for being alive. An existential crisis can happen to anyone of any age.

These symptoms can look similar to other mental illnesses. Look for trigger points to identify an existential emergency. Having difficulty in everyday life or experiencing hardships at work or with family members is unnecessary. Major life-altering events can trigger existential crises. Every situation that disrupts your daily life is a trigger for the crisis to develop.

Understanding the symptoms can help you to identify such a condition:

  • Inability to will yourself to do the daily chores
  • Constant irritability, scepticism
  • Fears that are not explained
  • No energy or motivation
  • Every choice should be questioned.
  • Anxiety and worry are constant.
  • Feeling depressed
  • Separation from loved ones
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • The loneliness of being alone
  • Anxiety levels are rising.
  • Panic attacks
  • Negative self-worth
  • Suicidal thoughts suddenly occur.
  • Grief symptoms

Causes for an Existential Crisis

Death of Loved Ones

  • Sometimes, the death of a loved one may also cause an existential crisis in which one questions the meaning of life or the end of the world.

The Possibility of One’s Death

  • A death-related existential crisis is when you are worried about the future and how it will affect your life. This anxiety can be caused by ageing or a diagnosis of chronic disease.

Divorce or a Split

  • Sometimes, the end of a relationship can lead to low self-worth. This makes the person doubt their life and can lead to anxiety or loneliness.


  • A pandemic is sweeping the globe. This pandemic has caused people to lose their jobs, families, friends, parents, livelihood, and everything else. A feeling of loneliness has resulted from isolation and the inability to communicate with others.
  • Our world is filled with grief, suffering, death, and frustration. This has led to feelings of helplessness, anxiety and frustration. It forces one to question the meaninglessness and uncertainty of life.

Freedom of Choice

  • All of us love our freedom. Too much freedom can lead to anxiety, depression, and uncertainty. An existential crisis can result from the freedom to do whatever you want.

Emotional Crisis

  • Sometimes people suppress their emotions. These feelings can sometimes bounce back with intensity and cause them to feel the emotions strongly. If this happens, it can lead to a person feeling overwhelmed.

Fear of Responsibility

  • There is no one right way to live your life. It is up to you to decide what life looks like. This type of thinking can lead to a fear of failure. This can lead to isolation from other people.
  • It can be a trigger for existential anxiety when you realize that you are about to make a major decision that could change the course of your entire life.

Significant Life Events

  • People should cherish life’s important moments. Some people might feel deprived or even disabled by these events. You may feel crippled by them when you reach 50. These are just a few situations that can make you question your life. It is hard to change and can be stressful. Major life events can bring on existential dread.

Identity Crisis

  • You question your identity and the foundations of your existence. You may not have expressed your feelings in the past. Either you’ve walked the safe route, or you’ve not expressed dissatisfaction. Your grief may have been swept under the rug. You may have tried to hide your grief.

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