Is there an existential crisis section?

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almosttwenty
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Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/6/2011 8:29 PM (GMT -6)   
So, hello. I'm turning 20 in a few days (hence username) and I've been undergoing an existential-type crisis ever since late high school. I hear this is common amongst people my age, but that doesn't really make me feel less alone. It just sucks.

Maybe it's just when I feel lonely, but I often feel like life itself is so tragic. And really, it is. We're brought into this world with a sense of hope and that hope is tested once we realize our own mortality. How fragile life can be. How quickly it can be taken away. We think we're invincible, but I hardly feel like that. I do when I'm on an adrenaline rush. I do when I've just done something crazy. It's like a high, but it quickly fades. But a lot of the time, I'm content. I feel I have come to terms with my short life and I know I have to enjoy it before it's gone.

I recently found out (the morning before I moved across the country for college) that I may have a rare form of breast cancer. I have feared this since I can remember. I so desperately want to live free from fear of disease or freak accidents. I want to live fearlessly and strong. I want to be strong and live til I can't live anymore. But then this tiny little thing takes over and says "hey, I could kill you if I wanted to". This discovery merely added to my existential anguish. It wasn't even that much of a surprise, despite my emotional breakdown in the doctor's office after the nurse kept repeating "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry". It was just another slap in the face. I have always felt like I was going to die young. I can't help it. I can't imagine myself living past 25, 30 at the latest. I can't imagine what I'll look like or who I'll be working for or if I'll be living in my own apartment or with another person. I could always picture myself in college...and then my imagination stopped. I feel like this possible cancer is an accidental prediction come true.

So on top of this ongoing 'what does this life even mean', I could be dying rather soon. I can barely type this.
I feel like a very old and very tired person in a young body. I feel like I should be out dancing instead of writing out my woes in a depression forum.

I need a reason to live. It needs to come from me, I know that. But I don't know where or how to find it. I had it when I was younger, but the world has stamped it out of me. I'm so tired all of the time. I want a reason to be alive and hopeful for the future. I don't really believe in myself. I say I do, but I really don't. I have very little faith in the people around me. I feel like they have futures and I do not. I feel like a ghost. In between worlds, waiting for an answer but knowing it may never come.

I just don't know what to think anymore. I would appreciate some advice. Anything.

It's Genetic
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Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1540
   Posted 9/6/2011 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, Almosttwenty, and welcome to the Depression Forum,

Am I right in assuming that you have been in to see a specialist and
that tests have been made to determine that you may have a rare
form of cancer of the breast? Something is terribly wrong here. Your
doctors would never release you  knowing that you have such a cancer. Almost all types are curable if they are  caught early and removed.

Why would you leave your home before getting a final determination on what to do regarding the diagnosis? You need to see a new breast specialist as soon as you possibly can where you are to determine what might be happening. Please do that for your own mental health and for your physical health.

You're almost twenty; your survival rate is probably the highest of anyone who undergoes surgery for that. The one thing you must do
is follow up now to make sure that it is under control.

Please do that and then come back and let us know how your feelings are treating you. Once you have that resolved, there's no reason for you not to have a wonderful year in college and do all the activities that are healthy for young college students.

My best wishes are with you and hoping you will let us know what you discover and what decisions have been given you by your specialist.

It's Genetic

Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 9/7/2011 10:40:50 AM (GMT-6)


Sara14
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Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4201
   Posted 9/6/2011 8:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry to hear of your possible medical problem. You said you found out you "may" have cancer...did they not give you a firm diagnosis yet? I can't imagine what you're going through, but try to stay strong and as calm as you can before you know for sure.

As far as existential crises, I believe I went through something like that when I was 19, almost 20, as well. (Happy almost birthday, btw:) I felt like life was meaningless and I was in college but had no idea what to major in, what career I wanted, or what I wanted out of my life. I didn't have any long-term goals. I felt lost, confused, extremely lonely and depressed.

BUT...somehow I made it through. I'm now 27, have a great job and while I'm still figuring out who I am and what I want out of life and still dealing with emotional problems, I no longer worry about the "meaning of life" or what have you. I simply don't care about that anymore. I only want to be content and at peace and enjoy life as much as I can.

I think it's normal to be feeling the things you're feeling at your age. You brain keeps developing until about age 25 so you are still growing, you still have a lot to learn (I I thought I knew everything when I was 20!). It's okay not to know all the answers right now. You're not alone.

Let us know what the doctors say.
27 years old; diagnosed March 2007

Asacol, 6 tabs, 2xday; Rowasa every other night; Ortho Tri-Cyclen; Wellbutrin started 8/4

almosttwenty
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/6/2011 9:06 PM (GMT -6)   
It's Genetic: Sorry, I didn't really explain that very well. They determined that it may be a tumor and I have to fly back home to in a couple days to get the biopsy. That will determine if it's malignant. If it's benign, it will still have to be removed (in December). If it's malignant...I honestly don't know. Trying not to dwell on that.

I feel like my new and exciting college years are on hold. I need to know the results of this biopsy. I just...I can't stand it. I'm barely engaging in any social activities because it all feels so pointless. Like I'm leaving soon to start treatment anyway.

Sara14: They can't know for sure until I get the biopsy (read my above reply to It's Genetic). It's rather infuriating.

I'm hoping that's how things will work out. I'm hoping I'll just be 30 one day and say hey...I made it. That's an accomplishment. I've done it before. I was depressed (because of my home situation at the time) in my younger teenage years and all I could do was imagine the future. I thought about being in college and being happy. That got me through it. I guess it's because there is no guarantee after college. There is no mandated next step. I have to make my own decisions now, and it's terrifying. But I suppose that comes with age or faking confidence or something.

I hope I evolve past this. Can't wait to be 25. Maybe then things will slow down and start to make sense. But for now it's just this cluster of questions and doubts and insecurities.

I'm happy to hear that you made it past these years. I'm aiming for that =)

Sara14
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Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4201
   Posted 9/6/2011 9:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I am confident you will make it past these years. You sound like a very intelligent 20-year-old and I am sure you will get through this tough time. I totally understand how terrifying it can be thinking about finally being an adult and having to make decisions for yourself, but it can also be liberating to be able to choose whatever you want, to be in charge of your own life. I quite like being an adult now, although I was scared out of my mind at one point.

I think you're right that it becomes easier to find your way with both age and a little (or maybe a lot) of faking confidence (fake it til you make it is actually pretty good advice).

I'm glad you get to find out the biopsy results soon. Waiting is the hardest part. Once you find out, you can then make a plan with your doctor for the next step. I don't know much about breast cancer, but I would think It's Genetic is right that you're young and if it's being caught early (supposing it's even malignant), that you absolutely don't have to worry about dying or anything like that. Let us know what you find out. And try to not get too worked up in the meantime. I know, easier said than done.
27 years old; diagnosed March 2007

Asacol, 6 tabs, 2xday; Rowasa every other night; Ortho Tri-Cyclen; Wellbutrin started 8/4

almosttwenty
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/6/2011 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Sara: Fake it til you make it has become my unofficial slogan. I've plunged head first into a lot of terrifying situations and I don't think I've ever regretted doing it.

These next few days are going to be tough. The anxiety is starting to get to me. I'm trying to play it off like 'oh, I'm just happy to see my family again, even if I'm there for a not so good reason'. But deep down it's all anxiety. All fear.

In any case, you're very kind. I really appreciate everything you've said. Thank you, Sara.
I'll definitely let you all know. The results should be in by early next week.

Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4201
   Posted 9/7/2011 7:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hang in there! Keep us posted.
27 years old; diagnosed March 2007

Asacol, 6 tabs, 2xday; Rowasa every other night; Ortho Tri-Cyclen; Wellbutrin started 8/4

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42436
   Posted 9/7/2011 7:48 AM (GMT -6)   
HI Almost20,

And happy almost birthday. When I was your age, I felt I couldn't imagine living past 30. I have had two surgeries on my cervix and one on my left breast. But here I am at 52. Though my mind still wants to be 20. lol... I feel good and live a happy life for the most part.

Know I am praying that your biopsy comes out okay. I believe in this. If it is malignant, they are catching it early. I hope... And they will get it out of you. Remember, really, life is short. And if it is going to be shorter for you, get out there and enjoy everything posible. I have faith that you are going to be okay. You are stong and you are optimistic in your posts. That plays a lot in our will to live. And that plays into our survival. Keep your thoughts positive. Stop and smell the roses as they say. Take notice of the beauty within this world and within yourself.

You are like a breath of fresh air. Remember that.

I hope you keep us poted as to what happens next. Know we are all praying for you and will be here for you. We all care about you.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

almosttwenty
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/10/2011 3:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Karen: Thank you so much for everything you wrote, I truly appreciate it. You all have given me a lot of hope. Honestly.

I had the biopsy today and I'm currently waiting on the results. I will definitely let you all know what the results are.

Thank you everyone for helping me through this. I cannot express how much it means to me to know that complete strangers are praying for me. Thank you =)

Bigquestion
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 9/10/2011 6:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Almost,
 
Do you actually have depression? I didn't but it dropped on me like a stone not long ago yet. I know what a shock it can be when we realise we are actually human and will die, all of us, evenetually. Some sooner than others.  Are you saying you weren't aware of this? I'm sure you were but a diagnosed disease or illness can be a huge burden at least initially. I haven't figured mine at all yet, just drinking lots right now.
 
Please don't take this personally but you seem to be over dramatising this issue. It's not an existential crisis at all and has nothing to do with your age. Saying it's n existential crisis simply means you are worried about dying. Keep it simple and don't complicate things as it just makes it all harder to understand. Do you actualy know what existential means? All it means is pertaining to existence. Pertaining to life. Nothing deeper than that, you're worried about life and death. Many people worry themselves so much about death but the truth is it makes no difference except they waste their life pondering the inevitable. Initially you said it was breast cancer in which case I would have said there really isn't a lot to worry about if it was caught early. A tumour though. Does frighten anyone so much as we don't know anything. We fear the worst and maybe that happens. But there are so many who come through with a benign and removable problem.
 
My brother and his wife both contracted cancer within about a year apart and went through all the treatments but both were also cleared in time. My son in law too has been through it and his was malignant, all three were. And all 3 came through having it contained. I think the key seems to be catching it early. Nasty treatment, chemo but life saving. I have to say you don't "evolve" beyond illnesses. You get better or worse depending on the treatment and your own strength. Your youth and fear is showing with what you have written and that's fine, it's how you feel. But believe me it will be just another awful event in what will likely be a long and happy life.
 
Big questions are what I love writing about and thinking about and yours is one of those big ones which many fail to express. Just leave it as a puzzle in your mind, not dominate your life.

almosttwenty
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/10/2011 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Bigquestion: perhaps I mislabeled my post, but I assure you my thoughts are merely jumbled and confusing, not overly dramatic. There is nothing more dramatic than death. It's just something I've been thinking about.

I don't know if I'm clinically depressed, no. It's not something I've followed up on. I'll do it in my own time. I was merely sitting in a cafe, watching people talk and laugh and look carefree and it all came crashing in on me. Finding out you may have breast cancer the morning before you move across the country for college is a lot to take in. This year has been full of these kinds of events. It doesn't matter that I'm young; emotionally exhausted is emotionally exhausted.

I am aware that there is a very small chance of malignancy and an even smaller chance of death, but that doesn't make it any more frightening. I am now waiting on the results.

I've been feeling a very intense sense of emotional unease and spiritual longing for quite some time now. I lost my grip on my future because I realized I never had a grip on it. I felt small, insignificant, meaningless. And I've been struggling to find a philosophy that works for me. So far, all I have is 'enjoy it while it lasts'. And I've been trying my hardest to. It often feels pointless, though. I struggle to find the line between hopelessness and potential meaning.

My original post was a little rambling, sure. But I was trapped underneath the weight of anxiety and fear. I still am, in a way. It has lessened but it's still there. I felt completely alone the night I wrote that. I felt like I was already dead. And we, as human beings, can do nothing more than express how we feel and hope to get through it. That's what I'm doing.

p.s. Yes, I am completely aware of what existential means, thanks.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42436
   Posted 9/10/2011 1:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Almosttwenty,

What you are going through is huge. I had to have surgery on my breast in 2000. It was just microcalcification and was benign, but it was still scarey. Plus you are starting college so you have to try to focus on school with this in the back of your mind all the time. That is a lot. I hope that you are able to focus on your studies at this time.

There are some things in life that have no answers. Sometimes we just have to take life as it comes and enjoy it the best that we can. Often when we quit searching for answers, they appear right in front of us. We just have to relax with the world as it is. But this will come to you with time. We grow everyday. And learn if we are lucky. Life is full of change. Which many of us are uncomfortable with. But it is inevitable. I hope i spelled that right.

I hope that you find contentment. I am keeping you in my prayers and thoughts. I hope that your tumor is benign. Please keep us posted. I am anxious to know the results of the biopsy. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

badheartdude
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 9/10/2011 2:24 PM (GMT -6)   
almosttwenty,
I can relate. At your age i always thought i would die young and my friends always told me I was a old person trapped in a young persons body:) I too felt invisible in my 20's but reality set in my thirties when I got sick. I have since figured out that we have take each day as a gift and look for some type of happiness every day. I hope your biopsy comes out ok and your able to move past this sickness and find happiness.
good luck,
badheartdude
intercostal neuralgia, degenerative disc disease, atherosclerosis, depression, & anxiety
meds: gabapentin, oxycodone 30 mg, lipitor, xanax, effient, cymbalta, carbamazepine

Bigquestion
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 9/10/2011 4:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Almost, Sorry you seem to have done exactly what I asked you not to do. Take my words personally. Yes your disease, illness is highly personal and critical and huge in your thoughts but it is still just that really. Thoughts, until you have facts to settle the issue one way or another. Trying to think ahead, into our futures is a bad way to live as if anything bad happens, as it has to you, all our future is suddenly seemingly cut short, affected and negative. The truth is the future doesn't exist yet. Only today does. Try and forget the future, it will arrive regardless of how you think things will turn out. Dire predictions which we make are nearly always wrong and just serve to depress us.
 
You say you don't know if you're clinically depressed as you haven't followed up on that. I can tell you that you are not clinically depressed based on those words as that term means a case of depression being treated by a clinician, a doctor. Right now it may or may nor be depression but if you do it in your own time all you will be doing is increasing the chances it will develop when, again, early intervention is the only good choice. It's procrastination and apparently we all do it in not accepting what MAY be wrong. Not is, a doctor needs to tell you, a diagnosis. If you do know what words mean then you must also know that when writing or addressing an audience of people whose abilities you don't know you should use the most commonly accepted and known term for what you talk about. Why complicate your message? You're worrying about dying, that's not complex, it's just very sad if it happens before it's due.
 
I learnt a lot about depression through my wife as she battled with it for years and I didn't know what it was until she suddenly disappeared and was found, dead. Now I know and it's only recent I'm trying to remember all she said about it as she was doing OK and then.... I don't know what happened.
 
I'm not criticising you in any way, just trying to give you some thoughts to ponder. Of course your age has a lot to do with your thoughts as you haven't experienced that much as yet so much of life is uncertain and unknown. You can't buy experience, but you can listen and read to people who've been there and done that. I remember knowing everything when I was much younger too. Well, I was way wrong as I still don't really know much at all. Everything that happens is often new and I don't know what to do in such a new situation. Like right now, I'm just lost and miserable and struggling so bad I can't sleep, don't eat and am bone weary.
 
You say you're looking for a philosophy that works for you. May I ask why? Is it because so many seem to know what theirs is and seem certain of it? I can tell you that most peope are faking it with their belief sets and way of life. It only takes one event and their faith, certainty etc is shattered and gone. You have a philosophy of "enjoy it while it lasts". That is the best there is. There doesn't have to be anything deep and meaningful in life. Just enjoying what you can, when you can is hard enough. To impose meaning over and above just living is really assuming you have a specific purpose or even that there is a God who predetermined your role in life. None of that is real or true. It's just what so many believe as they do not have a grip on their own truth. They give their minds to the unknown trusting "it" will care for and guide them.
 
That really isn't a way to live today, it was thousands of years ago when humans knew next to nothing. Today we know so much and people still deny it and try to pretend some God created everything and will help us when we need it. Not so, it's us and experts in relevant fields, such as doctors and specialists right now for you. And me. Don't keep searching for a philosophy thatis "meaningful". You will know what it is when you are ready for it and right now what you have is as good as life philosophy gets. Searching for such will surely lead to you settling for something cos it sounds OK rather than fits like a glove.
 
Hope you get good results, and soon.

Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4201
   Posted 9/10/2011 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   
BigQuestion - I really enjoyed reading your two posts here. You brought up some great points that hit home with me. Thank you. Are you a writer?
 
Almost - Thinking about you and hoping for the best results. I know it must be hard to wait. Did they give you an estimate of when you can find out?

Post Edited (Sara14) : 9/10/2011 10:19:00 PM (GMT-6)


Bigquestion
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 9/11/2011 1:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Sara, Thank you. Just trying to give Almost some things to think about really. Am I a writer? Well, yes. In my own lunchtime that is. But I have done a lot of thinking over the years due to my wife's depression and her quest for answers to her big questions. Seems to me many who suffer depression suddenly find a need for logic and reason in their lives, but it's not there of course. My own feeling is that quest has more to do with WHY ME? than anything else. It's such a poisonous illness isn't it? Just turns you in on yourself and starts biting. God I hope this doesn't last, I know I'm nowhere near as strong as my wife was. How do you you keep going? Right now it's booze for me but just until I see a doctor this week. And I've only felt it for a short time. Lived with it in my wife for many years but had no idea really. On writing. I have an urgent need to talk to someone and here feels good so I write but normally? No, no creativity really.
 

almosttwenty
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/13/2011 8:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys.

I got the call earlier today. I don't have a tumor or cancer or anything like that. It's just fibroadenoma which is totally benign and you only get it removed if you want it removed (which I do).
I'm doing a lot better. The night I wrote that post was just an off day. They come and go. This whole thing played a major part in it though.

Today was my birthday as well, so I am no longer almosttwenty.
I feel like finding out you don't have cancer on your birthday is a good sign. That's how I'm seeing it.

Thank you to everyone who helped me through the past few days. You're all absolutely wonderful and I'll be sure to check in every once in a while. =)

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42436
   Posted 9/13/2011 10:11 PM (GMT -6)   
That is such great news!!!

I am so happy for you...

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

Bigquestion
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 9/13/2011 10:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Almost, I too am thrilled it's good news and nothing like your could imagine. Much as we try not to worry, we always do and create the worst results. Could I suggest you record your experience with this so you can read it next time something is unknown and potentially bad news. It happens right through our lives and many of us get worn down t it and succumb to depression when we needn't if we were just able to keep things in perspective until we actually have facts at hand. I'm in that boat myself right now, don't know what's going on but I can't give up and won't assume the worst as that has already happened and I'm still here.

Sara14
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4201
   Posted 9/14/2011 10:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Great to hear that! Hope you had a good birthday. I'm sure with that news you did.
27 years old; diagnosed March 2007

Asacol, 6 tabs, 2xday; Rowasa every other night; Ortho Tri-Cyclen; Wellbutrin started 8/4
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