[Trigger Warning : Talk of Depression & Vivid Nightmares]
For those of you who have gone through this, I applaud you for coming out the other side stronger and braver than you may have felt going in.
For those of you who have yet to experience this, please read carefully and know that everything I say is deathly serious and not to be mocked or giggled at.
According to Wikipedia the meaning of an ‘Existential Crisis’ is below.
[Taken directly from wikipedia these are not my words. Link to the article below.]
An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose, or value
An existential crisis may result from, be a misdiagnosis of, or be associated with:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Dissatisfaction with one’s life
- Major psychological trauma
- The sense of being alone and isolated in the world;
- A new-found grasp or appreciation of one’s mortality, including but not limited to following diagnosis of a major health concern such as a terminal illness;
- Believing that one’s life has no purpose or external meaning;
- Searching for the meaning
- Shattering of one’s sense of reality, or how the world is;
- An extremely pleasurable or hurtful experience that leaves one seeking meaning;
If you want to read more about it the link is here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_crisis
Now, what’s the meaning of me pointing all that out and making a blog post about this? Well, I haven’t actually given this any real amount of thought in a very long time. Recently, however, I have been following a certain Youtuber by the name of [Dan] : https://www.youtube.com/user/danisnotonfire and he mentions the words ‘Existential Crisis’ several times throughout his video. He also has a few videos centered around this topic, on his channel where he explains that this is a common occurrence for him. So, why should you care? Why is it a big deal? Why am I taking time away from your day to make you read about my fucked up brain and what it forces me to overthink? Well sweetie, put on your pj’s, make a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle up with your Pet Phillion or Wild Danosaur because this is about to Go Deep.
Right, where to start? Well, at the beginning, I suppose. As I am one known for being physically unable to keep shit short, I will warn you, in advance, that this could be a very, very, VERY long post. So you might wanna go pee and put your phone on silent for a while. (Seriously, Jessica can wait and Becky just wants to complain anyway!) — SIDE NOTE : If you did have to go pee, I totally do not need to know…So don’t leave a comment saying you did….Please.
Alright, so where were we? Oh right, the beginning, okay! So, when I was about ….. I wanna say around 15 or 16 I use to have really vivid, pretty terrifying nightmares. I would almost always be running (Ugh! Running!) from something. I almost never knew what I was running from. Sometimes it was a noise, other times a shadow and, on the truly rare occasions, I would actually see it, if only for a moment or two, before it eventually caught up with me. It would oftentimes grab me and throw me hard against the ground, climbing on top of me, grumbling and speaking words I didn’t even want to understand. The few times I did see it the image was absolutely horrifying and not something I ever wish to experience again. I have had instances where the …. creature(?) had been leaning over me, so close I could feel it’s breath, wait, was it even breathing? Oh, who knows?! Anyway, it was close and it would hurt me. I won’t explain how as that would turn this post into something else entirely, but it was terrifying. I would scream, kick, claw at it’s flesh and struggle so hard I even broke bones in my dreams. Nothing ever worked and it continued to laugh and mock me until I was finally able to scream myself awake, bolting upright with a sheen of sweat covering my entire body. I considered myself lucky if I was able to sit up properly and, even though it took me ages to calm down, I still felt like I got off easy. For these were the nights where I didn’t have to experience the horrors of ‘sleep paralysis.’
Sleep Paralysis is explained here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis
When I did experience sleep paralysis this made the nightmares unbearable. Mostly due to the fact that I could no longer tell if I was still dreaming or if I was awake. If you’ve ever experienced SP you will know exactly what I mean when I say you are, without a doubt, 100% out of control. You are literally lying in your bed, most times on your back, breathing heavily, unable to move a muscle and feeling like something is sat on your chest all while ‘appearing’ completely normal to anyone who might see you, yet you are screaming for help inside your head. These are the nights I longed for the sun!!
Okay, so nightmares and Sleep Paralysis, what’s all this got to do with Existential Crisis and questions the meaningfulness of your existence? Well, everything! You see, as most girls my age, I was in school, I had friends, not many but I had some close ones, I had a family and I had a roof over my head and the comfort of a warm bed. Yet, those things alone did not stop me from experiencing these nightmares. The nightmares, well they got worse, then the nightmares kept me awake at all hours of the night and then being awake after a bone chilling run through a dark forest in the middle of a night with the spawn of Satan chasing after you, leads to you thinking about your own mortality and the inevitability of death. (Who! That was a mouthful.)
This leads to you over thinking your life, all of your life choices, remembering every tiny little blip of a detail of something you did wrong, reliving every embarrassing moment and bring forth every single mistake you’ve ever made in you entire life. Which leaves you panicking and thinking that you’ve done absolutely nothing with your life, time is moving way too fast, you’re nowhere near smart enough, you’re not even remotely good at anything and everything and everyone is moving too fast and they are all better than you and life is so short but yours is shit and you’ll never amount to anything and you could wake up tomorrow and brush your teeth, walk outside and be hit by taxi and all that would be left of you is a few posters on your wall and some bad report cards. Would your friends even miss you, would your family? I mean that argument you had with your dad was pretty intense, you probably should have done the thing your mum asked you to without complaint and your sisters or brothers don’t know how much they mean to you because you’re always fighting and your friends never call and everyone hates you and you could die right now and would anybody even know? Why am I not a genius and how come i’m not beautiful and why didn’t he call me back? Is that rumour still going around school? Do people believe it? Am I smart enough to make the grades I want and go to that college or get that big job? Will I ever fall in love? Do i have a soulmate? Are soulmates even real? Is anything real? Is the universe even real? SHIT! AM I REAL?! OH FUCK!! OH SHIT! OH FUCK! OH FUCK!! OH FUCKING FUCK FUCK FUCKING HELL!!! *Commence three hour panic attack and hyperventilating with sobs and tears*
Did that seem a tad overwhelming to you? Yeah, it was meant to be. That’s only a GLIMPSE into the thought process of what a person goes through during an existential crisis. Dan probably wasn’t lying when he says he cries a lot. He probably wasn’t lying when he said he has [had] these quite often. He also probably wasn’t lying when he said that this can last for days…even weeks. THIS HAPPENS. It’s not a joke. It’s not to be laughed at. It’s actually quite depressing and distressing to go through something so emotionally painful and mentally draining. You can become exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally even if you’ve done literally nothing all day. He also mentions that it can affect your day to day life and even while you’re doing mundane things like….making breakfast. It literally interrupts your entire life and begs for every ounce of your attention. — I just got a massive cramp in my leg whilst typing this….Maybe that’s a sign. I’ll ignore it for now. —
So, how do you get out of an existential crisis, you may ask? What’s the cure? What’s the door I must go through in order to escape this mental hell? Huh, don’t I wish I knew? Honestly, apart from talking to someone, opening up to someone and truly talking it out and explaining, uninhibited about what you’re thinking and experiencing, there really isn’t a ‘cure.’ I made a friend, someone I loved dearly, when I was about 22, who was probably the only person I have ever been able to completely open up to. He and I talked for hours and hours about that very thing. The meaning of life, our thoughts of death and the afterlife. We talked about God and religion and the seeming endlessness of the universe. We talked about our inner most fears and we talked about why we were afraid to die. [Though, to be fair he wasn’t afraid, I was very much so afraid.] The point is this was someone I trust. Someone I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that no matter what happened, he would not tell my secrets nor I, his. He helped me, by simply believing me, truly listening to me and honestly understanding me and explaining his thoughts on the matter and by taking me serious enough to let me vent whenever I needed to get it out. So, the only thing I can say to you, the only ‘cure’ I can find is just find ‘someone’ who you trust enough to tell anything to. I almost want to say you have to honestly love this person but I won’t, as that is a biased opinion and I am not delving into that right now.
I will leave you with this. Regardless of what the media say, regardless of what the kids at school, the teachers in your class, your parents at home or the kids on the bus say, think or believe, You ARE Important. You DO Matter. You WILL Survive. You don’t need lots of friends, you only need one good one. Life isn’t meant to be easy. It is, however, meant to be cherished. You’ll have your bad days, your terrifying days, your boring days and your downright ‘fuck-this-shit-I-hate-everything-this-really-fucking-sucks’ days. You will also have your ‘Oh-My-Fucking-God-This-Totally-Just-Happened-I-Can’t-Believe-How-Amazing-I-Feel-I-Am-Going-To-Cry-From-Happiness’ days. LIVE FOR THOSE DAYS!!
I can’t tell you what your mortality rate is. I can’t give you the reason for your existence and I can’t tell you you’ll never have those terrifying moments again. What I can tell you is that you are strong enough to recognize them for what they are, you can pull through them and you will come out the other side even braver than when you went in. Don’t doubt yourself. You’re stronger than you believe. You just don’t know it yet.
So in conclusion, while some may laugh when Dan mentions his existential crisis, I actually cringe while my heart breaks for him because I know the hell of which he speaks. Yet, I remember, that he has that someone I mentioned above. He has Phil and he is definitely a much happier person now than he ever was before. So please, don’t mock the phangirl who seems legitimately concerned whenever Dan does post something depressing about his life or thought processes. Understand that we are concerned because we know what it’s like to be lonely and afraid and hurting. You can’t always see it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Dan uses humour as a coping mechanism. Just remember, a simple ‘Are you okay?’ can really do a world of good to someone who believes that nobody cares about them.
Okay, that’s enough from me. If you made it all the way through this message, kudos to you! I know, I don’t know how to keep anything ‘short and sweet.’ If you understand and wanna leave a comment below, please do! If you don’t understand but want to comment and ask me questions, go for it. I’ll answer most. [Barring personal information or things I’d rather keep private, of course.]
Thanks and until next time.
You’re a star burning bright, light up the sky and