"Depression" has become one of the most common ways
for people to discuss all their internal problems.
The number of books about depression has doubled in the last decade.
It seems that people are widely depressed,
but they do not quite know why.  

    The most common and popular explanation of depression
is bio-chemical:
There is something wrong in the chemistry of the brain
so that people find themselves feeling terrible.

    This portal into existential depression takes a different approach.
If you have been disappointed by other approaches,
perhaps one that says that depression is a deep part
of every sensitive human person will suit you better.  

    Another major problem: The word "depression" is used
in both popular psychology and academic psychology
to cover all sorts of different experiences.  

    This probably arises because we use
the psychological technique of becoming depressed
dull, numb, unresponsive, out-of-touch with ourselves
whenever we find ourselves faced with difficult problems.  

    For example, when we are worried
that our loving relationships are going downhill,
we might almost automatically become depressed
to avoid facing our interpersonal problems directly. 
This technique uses a psychological method
to avoid the pain of lost love.  
Being disillusioned in love is a form of suffering we prefer to avoid.
Therefore we become depressed.  
The collapse of love does not cause depression.
We try to cope with relationship problems by numbing our feelings.  

    We can also use the technique of pressing ourselves down
in order to avoid the pain of more general problems such as anxiety.
Existential anxiety itself is not caused by specific life-situations.
But we can still use the method of desensitizing ourselves
as a way of avoiding the angst we prefer not to face.  


    For clarity of thought, existential depression should be separated from
each of the following inner states-of-being:
(Links will lead you to other portals.)

existential loneliness
existential absurdity
existential meaninglessness
existential void
existential anxiety: angst
existential splitting
existential guilt
ontological anxiety
existential depression
existential insecurity

    Each of these other perspectives on our Existential Malaise
receives a chapter-long analysis in a book entitled
Our Existential Predicament:
Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety, & Death
If you click that title, you will be led to the complete table of contents,
from which you can open the first section of each chapter,
which includes an outline of the contents of that chapter.


    A short article on existential depression:
"Being Depressed in Spirit: Deeper than Psychological Depression"

    The author responds to readers' comments here:
Dialogs on Depression
This discussion specifically addresses the question of brain-chemistry.

    If depression has sometimes made you think about suicide, read:
"Depressed? Don't Kill Yourself!"

    See also: "Sinking into the River of Existential Despair".

    And: "Existential Anxiety: Angst".

    If you are somewhat more spiritually inclined,
you might appreciate an approach that uses some religious language.
Consider a chapter entitled:
"Psychological Depression & Spiritual Depression".
This appears in a small book called
Opening to Grace: Transcending Our Spiritual Malaise
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/OG.html .

    The most comprehensive discussion of existential depression 
found in print appears in James Park's book:
Our Existential Predicament:
Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety, & Death
(Minneapolis, MN: www.existentialbooks.com, 2006---5th edition)
Chapter 2 "Existential Depression" , p. 39-51. 


    If you might be interested in an ongoing discussion
of themes related to existential depression,
have a look at this Yahoo group, called the Existential Freedom Group:
If you experience existential depression,
this group of kindred spirits might be just what you are looking for.

    A related Facebook group has been created called "Existential Spirituality".
Go to: http://facebook.com.
And search for "Existential Spirituality".

Created March 3, 2003; revised a few times, including 5-11-2009; 5-27-2012

Go to the Existential Spirituality page.

Go to the EXISTENTIALISM page.

Go to the opening page for this website:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum .

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.