In Kota, India, a lot of students end their lives after the declaration of JEE (Joint entrance exam) and NEET(National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) results. They end up their lives because they fail to clear these exams.
What exactly causes kids of such tender age to end up their lives?
It is the bursting of the meaning of their lives. The guilt of not meeting their parents’ expectations, the fear of being labeled a failure, the inability to figure out “what next” and the inability to find another meaning at that very moment make them jump from the 5th floor.
That’s what Kirti, a 17-year-old girl did after the NEET results were declared.
Humans suffer because they expect. They expect because they attach meaning to ambitions, people, and materials. They attach meaning to their lives because they question their purpose of existence. Even if they don’t question their purpose in their life, something or the other happens to them, that makes them question their existence.
When the bubble burst and all the factors to which one assigns the meaning of his/her life, cease to provide a satisfactory reason to exist, people find themselves battling with an existential crisis!
Negative emotions are a part of typical life but sometimes they can lead to questioning one’s place in the world. An existential crisis refers to feelings of discomfort regarding meaning, choice, and freedom in life. It is not unusual to seek meaning and purpose in your life, the problem with an existential crisis is looking but not finding satisfactory answers, and feeling like your world is being crushed.
It can affect anyone at any age. Mostly followed by trauma or big life changes. Existential questions are overwhelming because we weren’t taught during developmental periods to talk and discuss them. A part of being human is questioning and exploring. Feeling that existence
is meaningless results from one’s realization that everything might have a reason. Unfortunately, we begin asking these questions only after having life-altering experiences.
The world doesn’t let us ask the big important questions without labeling it as a crisis. Victor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning said
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked.”
He also wrote: “Each man is questioned by life, and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to the life, he can only respond by being responsible.”
According to Existentialists, an existential crisis is an expedition, a consciousness, a required experience, and a dandelion phenomenon. It stems from a realization of your liberties and how your life will end one day. Existential angst stems from the human impotency to think,
feel, and act in the world or experience a zest for life, but also from the anxiety of death.
Carl Jung and Jean-Paul Sartre had views about existential angst concentrating on achieving meaningful existence through the development of inner resources, the creative exercise of
liberty, and overcoming self-deception.
Binswanger based his views on three different elements of human existence. These included the Umwelt, or “world around,” meaning the biological desire natural to humans; Mitselt, or “with the world,” the social and interpersonal human interactions; and the Eigenwelt, or “own world,” the personal, intentional world of the self.
Nihilism is the belief that everything is baseless and nothing can be communicated. The existential crisis has its roots in nihilism. It is mostly associated with the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. He wrote that every belief that we hold is probably wrong because there is no true world and why finds no answers?
A person may experience depression, anxiety, engulfment, loneliness, lack of motivation, and obsessive concern. Experience of anxiety or depression when life doesn’t go as planned doesn’t mean you are facing an existential crisis. Existential depression comes with hopelessness and the attempt is to understand the point of understanding why things are the way they are. Existential anxiety relates to death, the afterlife, and finding one’s purpose.
Finding meaning and purpose in your life can help break through. Radical acceptance is important. You need to know you can’t find answers to all your questions. Remember others’ explanations might not answer your questions. They’re your questions and seek out answers
satisfactory for you.
Understanding your life has meaning and making it what it is in your own hands.
Follow a passion, volunteer, help people or do anything else which helps you be compassionate towards others. Simple activities like maintaining a gratitude journal where every day write three things, events, and places or people you are grateful for.
If you feel asking all these questions and not being able to find answers might be overwhelming take the help of a therapist. You can also take a mental health assessment here Talking to professional aid to overcome self-doubt and help explore what you have been looking for. A therapist can help deal with unconscious beliefs to change thinking patterns.