An Existential Depression begins when some of the symptoms of and Existential crisis combine with some of the symptoms of a Major Depressive Disorder or a Persistent Depressive disorder;
Alienation, detachment, isolation disillusionment , dissociation and feelings of meaninglessness.
Intense sadness most of the time, little pleasure in most things, decreased appetite, weight changes, sleep disturbances, agitation ,fatigue, inappropriate guilt , decreased ability to concentrate, indecisiveness and suicidal thoughts.
Existential Depressions often have a series of other symptoms associated with them that may be caused by coexisting conditions or may simply be symptomatic secondary reactions to the existential depression
Understanding the nature of how these symptoms appear and function in any particular person existential depression allows the clinician to distinguish between secondary reactions to the depression or part of the symptom profile of a co-existing condition. This distinction is what helps avoid misdiagnosis
An experienced practitioner who understands the context within which an individual’s unique form of giftedness exists and how and why it did or didn’t develop can determine whether the symptoms represent a diagnosis of an existential crisis/existential depression with issues of giftedness at its core; whether the symptoms represent a diagnosis of a major depressive disorder caused by life events/circumstances other than giftedness but with secondary existential features , which symptoms are reactions to these and/or whether a co-existing condition is present.
When did the symptoms of existential depression first appear?
Are the symptoms an intensification of long-standing pattern of existential symptoms?
Was there a precipitating event or circumstance that preceded the symptoms of existential depression?
Preoccupations with personal existential questions: the how and why of my own Giftedness and my discomfort with it
non-gifted related issues: loss or death of important people, pets, Financial reversals, medical illnesses, trauma, accidents, natural disasters
Birth circumstances : Medical ,genetic , congenital or traumatic issues at birth
Early signs of giftedness/precocity
Reactions to the giftedness:
the child’s excitement or withdrawal:
Now the the primary cause and secondary contributing factors of the existential depression can be described .
In addition the clinician is also able to distinguish an existential depression in a gifted individual that is primarily about h/h giftedness from a Major Depressive Disorder in a gifted individual that is primarily caused by non- gifted issues and has only secondary existential issues.
A concise narrative shows how all the conscious and unconscious factors have worked together to cause the existential depression
No narrative statement of the causes of an gifted individual’s existential or other type of depression can be complete without describing the gifted individual’s emotional response to h/h giftedness and how h/s has chosen to use or not use the elements of giftedness :
Has this gifted person embraced and accepted this part of their personality or neglected, disavowed, denied or rejected it ?
In gifted individuals, this more ,than any other factor, is often the key to an in-depth psychological understanding any depression -existential or other type of depression- in gifted individuals.