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Question: What is an existential crisis!?
I think I might be having a bit of an existential crisis!.

I'm in medical school, and under an enormous amount of stress!. The stress has caused me excessive worry about everything!. School, friends, things in my past, and things in my future!.

It has gotten me worried about things like heaven and God!. Like, what if my religion is wrong, and when we die there isn't anything on the other side!? Or what if there IS something!? What might it possibly be like!?

I've been unable to keep these stressful thoughts out of my head!. Is this part of what an existential crisis is!? Will it go away when I am less stressed out and can relax!?Www@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Since you are going to be dealing with life, death and sickness in medicine, probably, then it makes sense these questions would come up!. It will go away when the questions are answered for you to be at peace with the answers!. Usually these Q's don't get looked at until mid-life, but it's part of your prep work!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Yes it is!.
I had it in my twenties too!. It didn't have to do with stress at my studies -which I did better than I deserved- but with the sudden realization that I was running through the air without ground under my feet (like in comics)!. It took a lot of time to get grip on things again but eventually I found a new balance!. Don't worry: I'm sure you will too!

If part of your problem is the stress you're under it's good to talk to a counselor and see whether you should alter some things in your life!. It won't solve the existential problems but you will feel much better!
Good luck!Www@QuestionHome@Com

Wikipedia says an existential crisis, derived from Existentialism, is the psychological panic and discomfort experienced when a human confronts questions of existence!. This phenomenon, presumably, is common to technologically-advanced cultures, wherein physical survival is not life's priority!.

My advice to you is to talk to your spiritual adviser!. Maybe he/she can help you!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

If you are around the age of 26-30 that is the normal time for people to discover their religious/spiritual side!. It sounds like you are on a normal course!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Stress is external,
worry is internal, in your description!.

If your religion is Roman Catholicism, you're mostly ok re afterlife!.

If you're Jewish, to the degree you keep the Word, you're ok re afterlife!.

If you're protestant, to the degree you keep the Living Word, you're ok re afterlife!.

If you're Jean-Paul Sartre, first cousin to Dr!. Albert Schweitzer, hell is other people, so you'd do well by being focused, kind, golden rule, re basic professional conduct re patients, who do after all count somewhat on your ministrations!.

Dr!. Chi Cheng Huang, a first-generation immigrants' child who graduated from Harvard Medical College recently, wrote "When Invisible Children Sing," about his street work in Bolivia, begun when he was a senior in HMC!. It is by turns funny, confessional, and pathetic (his treatment of his autistic younger sister), and inspiring!. (He continues to help the Bolivian situation, practice his speciality in Boston area, and teach)!. Worth reading as "escape, inspiration, and solace!."

"The Great Divorce," C!. S!. Lewis, is a novella about how people change in the greatest existential crisis: post-passing, when no physical platform assists in personal progressive development!.

"Testimony of Light," Helen Greaves, is a South African nun's vision of the afterlife!.

M!. Scott Peck, M!.D!.'s "In Heaven So on Earth" is worthwhile, as are
Jim Tucker, M!.D!.'S "Life before Life,"
David Chamberlain, Ph!.D!.'S "Babies Remember Birth,"
Olga Kharitidi, M!.D!.'s "The Master of Lucid Dreams,"
Martha Beck, Ph!.D!.'s "Expecting Adam,"
Ian Stevenson, M!.D!.'s "Children Who Remember Past Lives,"
Peter Fenwick, M!.D!.'s "The Art of Dying,"
Amit Goswami, Ph!.D!.'s "God Is Not Dead,"
Elizabeth Mayer, Ph!.D!.'s "Extraordinary Knowing,"
Carol Dweck, Ph!.D!.'s "Mindset,"
Gary Schwartz, Ph!.D!.'s "The Afterlife Experiments," and
Mark Prophet's "The Path of the Higher Self!."

Imho your "mental body" is letting you know that it is experiencing "death of humanity" per overload!. "Gaining the world and losing the soul" is Biblical phrase!.

Sabbath is a valid and sound homeostatic process, wherein various neurocircuits' and neurohormones' habituation/ratcheting up is slowed, brought to normalcy, even reversed/healed!.

Can you afford to take a complete (and genuine/authentic) day of rest once a month!? Once a week!? Or is your profession so mechanized/geared that "no rest for the weary" obtains!?

It is well to note that tension-reducing mechanisms beyond a good night's sleep are often trivial, cheap, expensive (internet porn, gambling, drug abuse, etc!., etc!.), and treat symptoms, rather than address the (perhaps-near-inevitable) stress conditions!.

People want what you've earned and learned, as an allopath!. They perhaps too often expect "Minor Deity" M!.D!. miracles (although placebo/white coat certainly help), instant accurate diagnosis and silver pellet, etc!.

So you can be your better self, practice your best, and remain a progressive soulful person, by healing your existential awareness of "hurry sickness," which is typical of many of the higher-demanding professions today!. Give a call to the licensed professionals at 1-800-232-6459 http://www!.focusonthefamily!.com during business hours, M-F, ask for Counseling dept!., ask specifically for "Physician Resources!." I!.e!., at that general dept!., the resource person should be helped to understand your particular situation, which seems basically faith/stress/medical science milieu-related!. There are several Christian medical doctors who work with that organization (Focus on the Family), and who will be understanding of the faith and professional, and stresses thereof, existential situation of which you are so well aware!. Those are the group whose contact numbers you'd probably benefit most by receiving, although obviously there could be other resource recommendations, based on what you tell the resource person at the Counseling dept!.

In other words, even if your soul/mentation is worrying you about eternal aspects of Being, as a kind of cri de coeur, it is a good awareness vis a vis the "examined life!." The comforting routine leading to midlife crisis amounts to same type of, but chronic, ignorance of championing inner childlike, the path of Jesus!.

http://www!.nderf!.org is run by an anesthesiologist, "Dr!. Jeff" of Tacoma, Washington, and you'd likely benefit by emailing him a couple of germane questions!. He is a well-grounded and good-souled individual of surpassing insight!.

Good fortune and please "keep the faith"--most patients, as you may have learned, prefer a doctor who will pray with them on well-defined occasions!. This per good surveys!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

"psychologic panic and discomfort experienced when a human confronts questions of existence" --wikipedia

Possible ways to handle:

"There is no one given therapeutic method in modern psychology known to coerce a person out of existential despair (the issue is seldom, if at all adressed from a medical standpoint)!. Peter Wessel Zapffe, a Norwegian philosopher provided in his work The Last Messiah, a four-fold route that he believed all self-concious beings use in order to cope with the inherent indifference and absurdity of existence, made up of Isolation, Anchoring, Distraction, and Sublimation:

1!. Isolation is "a fully arbitrary dismissal from consciousness of all disturbing and destructive thought and feeling"!.
2!. Anchoring is the "fixation of points within, or construction of walls around, the liquid fray of consciousness"!. The anchoring mechanism provides individuals a value or an ideal that allows them to focus their attentions in a consistent manner!. Zapffe also applied the anchoring principle to society, and stated "God, the Church, the State, morality, fate, the laws of life, the people, the future" are all examples of collective primary anchoring firmaments!.
3!. Distraction is when "one limits attention to the critical bounds by constantly enthralling it with impressions"!. Distraction focuses all of one's energy on a task or idea to prevent the mind from turning in on itself!.
4!. Sublimation is the refocusing of energy away from negative outlets, toward positive ones!. The individual distances him / herself and looks at their existence from an aesthetic point of view!. (e!.g!. writers, poets, painters!.) Zapffe himself pointed out that his produced works were the product of sublimation!. "Www@QuestionHome@Com