Existentialism and Anxiety

I started university recently and it's been quite stressful. I must take existentialism as an elective and it is truly driving me mad. As someone who has suffered with SEVERE depersonalization/derealization in the past, studying existentialism is very difficult. My struggle with dp/dr was truly the worst thing I have ever gone through and it traumatized/scarred me big time. Since starting this class, all the worries about "what is real", "am i dreaming?", "how do we know what is true and what is not", and all the what ifs are flooding back. I just worked myself up to a panic attack thinking about all this and I feel like my head is spinning and my brain feels "tight." I feel like I'm losing my mind, which is my worst fear. The last time I struggled with depersonalization/derealization, I became housebound for months and could barely eat/sleep. I can't even stomach the thought of re-living that experience. How can I continue taking this course without internalizing everything, overthinking everything, and driving myself mad???


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5 Replies

  • I suffered from DR too and you have to remember that existentialism is all opinions as well no matter how many facts they say they have. You have to remember that life is beautiful and getting longer and longer and we are suppose to just have fun and enjoy living! Life is meant to be lived. And I learned a lot of positive things actually after suffering from Derealization. You ARE real!! This is why you can FEEL physically and mentally. And no one is the same. Realizing how no one is the same at all is what helped me a lot with me DR. If we weren't real we would all be the same. Think the same, feel the same, talk the same, look the same, act the same, etc... trust me I know how scary DR is, to me it sounds like maybe u haven't fully recovered. I recovered and honestly can't remember how DR made me feel which is crazy!!! I was scared I would be that way forever!! But thank God I recovered. Sometimes the sky still freaks me out but I brush it off lol. Maybe watch some YouTube videos about others that have recovered as well. That was another thing that helped me as well as Magnesium. I suffered for about 4-5 months, the beginning of this year. You're going to be just fine and recovery from this feels AMAZING!!!!!!!!

  • Thank you so much! Your post reduced my anxiety and truly made me feel somewhat better :)

  • You're welcome love, anytime😊 If you ever wanna talk to me about anything, don't hesitate, I'll be here. Feel free to reach out to me. And I'll be looking out for your posts to see if there's anything I can help u with ❤️

  • It was Marcel who coined the term 'existensialism' which has become the rather misunderstood or non-specific ontological explanation of a human being accepting or denying what 'truth' they bear in relation not only to other human beings (Dasein, the term Heidegger employed but which has no exact translation from the German word into English) but to the world around them. One of the most fundamental and important edictal postulates of existentialism is the formula which states that 'existence precedes essence', in other words, we make ourselves the individuals we are, read Camus and Sartre on this topic. Freedom and choice as opposed to any form of determinism is a key notion also. When you speak of depersonalisation and/or derealisation, you are departing from the philosophy of existentialism and begin wandering into the now common psychiatric nomenclature which has, unfortunately, made such terminology a diagnostic tool when, in all truth, it is a nugatory and easy a priori excuse of a label (to label me is to negate me as Kierkegaard remarked). You need to learn to extract what you think you are from the you you think you ought to be and should that require the employment of a mental health specialist then so be it. There is a distinction between the mind and the brain, a notion Descartes battled with for the whole of his life - is the mind organic, ie. is the mind rooted firmly within the biology of the brain as medically understood, or is the mind independent of the brain, sentient because of itself. Classic dualism. I wish you well.

  • Wow! Thank you for your detailed and well written reply

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