We have all been through some crisis that makes us question everything. Many of us have lost family members and friends, causing us to challenge ourselves and what we do. If you have ever confronted the “what is the point of it all?” question, you’ve been there as well.
What is an Existential Crisis?
An existential crisis is when a person starts to question why they exist. It is asking the “meaning of life” question and finding no answers that you like.
It is a form of identity crisis studied by Erik Erikson in the early to mid-1900s. In his eight-stage theory of development, he discussed what we call a midlife crisis. An existential crisis is the extreme version of this, as you question your overall existence in the world.
It is often a response to extreme trauma. For example, you may have lost a family member in the past year. The loss of this family member can create a void in your life.
Does It Affect My Sobriety?
When you are an addict, an existential crisis can cause you to lose your sobriety. It comes in two extreme forms.
In some situations, drug abuse may lead you to reach the point of an existential crisis. You may be looking for an escape from reality through drugs and alcohol. It becomes your crutch when you are dealing with significant trauma.
Other situations cause drug abuse to become that existential crisis. The overall abuse of drugs can cause you to reach a mental state where you no longer feel like yourself without them. Anytime you stop taking drugs, your body goes into a panic. You may even feel like you don’t have an identity without illegal drugs.
Whatever your motivators may be, it is clear that an existential crisis can cause you to take several steps back.
Crisis and Addiction
When you go through an emergency, you may be encouraged to return to your addiction. It can be your escape and your coping mechanism, making it an easy way to stop feeling.
The crisis is not entirely personal, as only about ten percent of people who suffer from addiction get treatment. It is due to the social stigma that comes from being an addict. It can lead to increasing desires for isolation, only furthering the crisis.
Calming Down From An Existential Crisis
Going through an existential crisis is entirely natural for people from all walks of life. Whether you are someone who has a history of drug abuse or been through a traumatic experience, you can be affected. It is a natural part of being human.
Below, we will go through some methods you can use to calm down during an existential crisis.
Surround Yourself with People Who Care
Your friends, family, and those at your self-help group have all been there. It is essential to keep that connectedness to give yourself the best opportunity to beat this monster.
If you end up feeling yourself start to panic, reach out to someone you can trust. Good people will talk you through your problems. By the end of it, you may not feel as isolated as you were.
Seek Out Therapy
Contrary to what you may believe, an existential crisis is not a one-and-done deal. It tends to stick around and cause the person to go through continuous existential angst. As a result, you will want to seek out a therapist.
You may have heard of Existential Therapy. It is a therapy that is specifically for those going through an existential crisis. It is meant to help people understand their emotions in response to an emergency. It helps us know that there are some things outside of our control.
There are no specific medications for it, and you won’t find it in the DSM, which can be concerning for some people. This form of therapy is slowly gaining popularity.
Like all forms of therapy, it may or may not work for you. Similar to treating any anxiety or depression, keep trying things until something works out.
Hear Yourself Talking
Sometimes you need to take a moment to listen to yourself. Find a quiet room for you to be in and begin to explore your thoughts. With more self-awareness, you will be able to talk yourself out of anxiety-driven situations.
An existential crisis is full of despair and anxiety, and it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions. While it may seem counter-intuitive to allow yourself to explore these thoughts, greater understanding is essential to beating any mental issues.
Regardless of what some people may tell you, meditation is an excellent method for you to calm the mind. It is used by people who have anxiety disorders and is just as useful as someone who is going through an existential crisis.
It can calm you down and generate a better self-awareness. If it is your first time, many podcasts devote their channels to meditation.
Sober Living Can Help
If you have read our other blogs on the subject, sober living isn’t just not having drugs or alcohol. It’s a lifestyle. If you truly immerse yourself in the topic, you will have a natural body of strength to fall back on.
There is a brotherhood that comes with being among people who have suffered from drug abuse. Those who have been there will quickly understand you. Together, you form a bond of strength that you can use to get through any crisis.
Seeking meaning is a daunting task for anyone, regardless of a history of drug abuse. For those who have been through an existential crisis, there are a variety of ways it can impact you, your loved ones, and your sobriety.
There are many ways you can address this in the short-term. These include taking up meditation, surrounding yourself with loved ones, and seeking out existential therapy. Whatever path you choose, always remind yourself that you are essential, and you deserve to live a life with meaning.
Experiencing an existential crisis? Reach out for help. All conversations are confidential and free.