Okay, so here's how I feel now and have felt consistently for the past decade....
Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. Death is an inevitable occurrence. Freedom, in an existential sense, refers to the absence of external structure. That is, humans do not enter a world which is inherently structured. We must give the world a structure which we ourselves create. Isolation recognizes that no matter how close we become to another person, a gap always remains, and we are nonetheless alone. Meaninglessness stems from the first three. If we must die, if we construct our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have?
I struggle to overcome this as basically I can find no meaning in life and therefore nothing to focus on and attempting to develop things like empathy and compassion just serve to prove to me how horrible humanity is. And yet I cannot continue on in this extreme state of boredom with life. Most advice I have received has been things like
Get a hobby - if anyone was aware of just how many hobbies I have they would be shocked. I constantly find a subject that I know nothing about, assimilate as much information as I can, put it to practical use then resume state of chronic boredom. My last hobby was a year long permaculture project which I finalised basically because I moved and lost access to a place to garden. If a year of intense focus on gardening and ecology cant help then I really dont think another hobby will.
Get out more - out where? Just how many walks in the park, shopping expeditions and visiting new and unknown places can one person handle. The big flaw in this argument is that existential depression isn't caused by spending too much time indoors. It's an unresolved tension with the vagaries of life, something which no amount of picnics in the woods will resolve.
Meet new people - I meet new people everyday. My issue isn't a lack of access to people. I find people fundamentally uninteresting basically because the more I get to know someone the more clearly I can see the things I dislike in them. It's not very long before I find nothing to redeem someone whatsoever. It's no secret, I'm not a big fan of people.
So if you have ever stalked the dark halls of meaninglessness as I have been doing, where did you find a door to exit? I actually thought I had come through this about 6yrs ago as my life started on an upswing and I found focus again. But my last relationship failure has seen me fall into the pit of hell once more and lose faith in people completely. I have absolutely no hope this time that there is anyone out there better than the last one, and if you'd ever met the last one you would understand how bleak a situation that feels. For as awful as things were, I've come to realisation that its probably a common experience and this is likely just how people are....aka, things will never be better than that, because thats just how things are.
In short I am experiencing wholesale disappointment with life. But please, don't go and suggest medication. I'm not interested in hearing it. I cant see any positive aspect in being doped up to my eyeballs just so I don't have to feel the pain I currently feel. What I want, is to find a reason to live.