"Everything is fine in my life, yet I feel empty." A feeling that on many occasions we avoid facing, putting temporary patches that prevent us from identifying a solution to the root of the problem.
Last update: 29 September, 2020
“I have everything I want in life; yet, I feel empty. " This phrase is often repeated during sessions by the psychologist. Everything that should be a source of desire does not make you happy and the person tends to keep busy so as not to think too much about it. There comes a day, however, when she can't take it anymore and in that moment stopping means overcoming the sense of emptiness.
Facing this feeling means, at the same time, identify the causes of discomfort and stop applying patches or levees that are only temporary.
What is the sense of emptiness
It is difficult to describe the sense of emptiness. If you've ever tried it, you know what we're talking about. Sometimes the term "emptiness" is associated with "existential", as it upsets our every perception of the meaning of life.
The sense of emptiness is a source of intense discomfort, which often no effort can remedy. Controlling this feeling is sometimes like cupping your hands in an attempt to hold back the rain. This malaise, accompanied by uncertainty about where to direct efforts, can generate despair.
Many people feel dissatisfied because, although everything is going well, they feel the lack of something, which they cannot define. It is a common feeling when a goal is reached after a lot of effort and, contrary to what was thought, the desired satisfaction is not achieved.
Trying in vain to fill the void
The sense of emptiness is so disturbing that the initial impulse is to fill it as quickly as possible. The person tries in various ways to calm this feeling through strategies that usually act only as momentary patches.
In most cases we keep ourselves busy with activities of all kinds so as not to have time to think about the existential crisis. In moments of inactivity or in free time, you usually feel a lot of anxiety.
Another resource used to overcome the sense of emptiness is to purchase material goods. It is common to hide feelings of restlessness with the well-known compulsive shopping - buying products that you don't really need. Similarly, addictions such as alcohol, gambling, food, among others, can be resorted to.
These are momentary palliatives of the feeling of emptiness, which, however, do not have the desired effects, but rather generate other problems, be they health, economic or sentimental, which usually force the person to ask for help.
Why does this feeling occur?
The sense of emptiness is associated with the so-called abulia, that is the lack of motivation and the inability to enjoy activities or situations that were previously pleasant. This condition depends on several cognitive areas.
People who feel empty actually have less brain activity in the corpus striatum, a component of the brain closely related to the sensation of pleasure. In addition to this, it is linked to various psychological pathologies or moments in life. Among the most significant we find:
- Emotional disorders such as depression. When the feeling of emptiness becomes chronic, a depressive disorder can develop, the main symptoms of which are despair and anhedonia.
- Painful breakups or bereavement. When you lose a loved one or end a relationship, it is normal to have to deal with the feeling of emptiness. This is because life has suddenly changed.
- Having very high expectations. It is common when a person focuses all his efforts on one goal, whether it is to get a steady job, start a family, or whatever. Achieving that goal would produce total happiness, which is why disappointment can be evident when not getting what you want. It occurs, for example, during the so-called midlife crisis.
- Desire to have total control over life events. Neurotic disorders cause the person to want to control everything that happens and have a lot of time to plan every little detail. When you find that some aspects of life are out of your control, a sense of emptiness and despair emerges.
Stopping means overcoming the sense of emptiness
The sense of emptiness is the manifestation of a deep and non-specific malaise. There is tremendous discomfort, but the direction to get out is unknown.
The emotions produced by this emptiness can be so intense that many people try to mitigate them through quick strategies, such as keeping very busy, having addictions, or buying material possessions. However, these are temporary patches which, moreover, can create greater difficulties than the initial problem.
The causes of the feeling of emptiness can be different, some normal at certain stages of life in order to re-evaluate the really important goals. When it becomes chronic, however, a mood disorder, such as depression, can ensue.
Although it is painful to admit it, moments of emptiness and existential crises are necessary in some phases of life, as an engine for change. When you touch the void, there is no other option than to dig deep until you find the cause of the discomfort.
This research will allow us to reconstruct an identity that made us happy, but which no longer has the same effect. These moments indicate that the time has come to reinvent yourself.