Why does life exist? What if human life had never begun? What if there was simply nothing? Or does there have to be something for nothing to exist? Why don’t people understand the inconsistencies, absurdities, and hypocrisies they create? Why do humans crave connection when ultimately, they will always be alone? If death is inevitable why does society treat it like a taboo chronic condition? How am I supposed to live when there are so many terrible issues with the world? Why do I have to be limited by time and the confines of being one human? What is the point of anything if ultimately time will turn humanity into oblivion?
These are the questions that control my mind at 2am when insomnia wakes me up. At 8am when I drag myself out of bed for class. At 7pm when I have kept myself busy all day and have a moment to reflect. At 10pm when I finally can refuge in sleep only because of potent medication.
Having Depression means living with a mental illness, a marginalized group in our society. Mental illness is slowly becoming more destigmatized which is great, but there is still a long way to go. I find comfort in knowing there are others out there who struggle with Depression, but sometimes it makes me feel even more marginalized.
I do not have Depression because of a traumatic event I went through or a loss in my life. I have a type of Depression found in gifted individuals called Existential Depression. My therapists tell me I am not the only one out there who struggles with debilitating existential thoughts that can make me suicidal, but I have yet to personally meet anyone else. Even on a wonderful community like The Mighty or in the Partial Hospitalization Program I did this past summer, I have not found like-minded people who share my diagnosis. This makes me feel entirely alone in a world where everyone is already inherently alone.
Generally, people can at least somewhat understand Depression because they know what sadness feels like. But hardly anyone seems to understand the existential questions I am plagued with. I feel as though I am carrying the weight of the world. I see the inconsistencies, hypocrisies, absurdities, and injustices that others don’t. I want to change the world for the better, but then I remember that I am a mere one person among seven billion. And that seven billion is only a blink in the eye of the universe. So how can anything I do matter? Anything any human does today will be rendered meaningless, so I cannot create any lasting change.
As if the burden of existentialism wasn’t already enough, I have to be marginalized within a marginalization. I just want some acknowledgement for my mental illness. I want to feel validated that I am not the only one who grapples with these questions. This feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction with the world is so strong within me, but I can’t be the only one, right? Amidst a time of unprecedented political and social turmoil that makes me feel so small, I simply want to be heard and understood. Existential Depression is real and should not be left out of the discourse of mental illness. It is imperative that destigmatizing mental illness happens on a comprehensive level to support all types of struggles.