Handling Existential Crises amidst a Pandemic

Abigail Prichett, Assistant Growl Editor

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and depressed right now. This past year has been one prolonged existential crisis, slowly growing larger and larger, until our heads feel like they will explode. We are individuals living through a worldwide pandemic while also going to school and possibly working jobs. It’s not easy, and if your mental health has been less than good, you’re not the only one.

So what exactly is an existential crisis? To use the proper definition, existential crisis(es) are moments when individuals question their purpose in the world and the ultimate meaning of life. For me, they can be moments or more extended periods when I disassociate and think about why I and others do the things we do.

I’ve always been one to disassociate and ponder the heavier topics of life. Still, over the past year, these instances have been much more frequent. The news is littered with more death and destruction than ever. People feel trapped and lonely from being stuck inside, and school almost feels like it’s on a back burner than the happenings right outside our doors.

When having an existential crisis, many often experience panic attacks, myself included. Trying to figure out life’s most asked questions completely overloads our brains because the world is such a complicated place.

Every minute detail in this world has meaning, and when looking into that, you can find it hard to breathe. Your chest might feel like a fifty-pound weight is sitting on top of it, and the air in the room suddenly disappears. To put it lightly, it’s not a fun feeling.

How do we combat these feelings when thoughts of upcoming assignments, jobs, graduation, and relationships plague our minds? Quite honestly, there’s no natural way to rid yourself of this anxiety entirely. You can join the large percentage of the population taking antidepressants, but this is only a tiny piece of the puzzle. We, as people, need to slow down and focus on the now.

We spend so much time worrying about what’s going to happen in the future that we ignore what’s happening currently. We also need to remember that we are humans, not programmed robots. We make mistakes, and that’s alright.

If you’re panicking about your final project, go take a walk and zone out. Sometimes I go to the park, sit on a rock, and stare out at the water. It may sound silly, but it can help clear my mind, even if it’s only momentarily.

Remember that you’re trying your best in these times. You’re allowed not to be okay sometimes or even all the time. Like I’ve said before, you’re going to college in a pandemic, with a completely new format. That’s enough to make anyone go mad.