How Serious is a Lack of Meaning and a Feeling of Emptiness?

Most individuals experience emptiness at some points in their lives, and this does not always indicate that they have any underlying issues. However, if the feeling is prolonged, it can have serious impacts on your day-to-day activities. It can significantly affect your ability to interact with other people and will decrease your performance at work. Let’s learn more about this condition. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Emptiness can be a sign of major issues like personality disorders or depression;
  • There are several habits you can adopt to help reduce the feelings of emptiness;
  • If you suffer from extreme or prolonged feelings of emptiness, you should visit a therapist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

What Causes a Feeling of Emptiness?

Although many people experience feelings of emptiness at certain points in their lives, this problem should not be ignored. It may result from many different things, and some of these are listed below. 

Extreme Anxiety

Mothers and fathers usually suffer from anxiety and stress as they have an extra responsibility of rearing a child. As a parent, you are likely to worry about the safety and well-being of your baby. Women who have recently broken out of abusive relationships may also experience this emotion, especially if they had grown attached to the abusive partner. It is also common to experience a void after a close friend passes on. 

Another thing that commonly leads to anxiety is excessive consumption of social media. Although there have not been sufficient researches to show how online platforms affect well-being, it is clear that people may feel lonely and empty after using these services. One way it can worsen your mental health is by presenting negative news continually. You will not feel good by watching people suffer and reading stories about crimes. 

Also, it is worth noting that neglecting physical connections for online friendship may negatively impact your well-being. Just like drugs, these websites raise your dopamine levels, and eventually, you will get hooked to the screen. You may even be unable to experience happiness with regular activities. Another issue with these platforms is that they portray the lives of other people as extremely happy and unrealistically perfect. Since it is almost impossible to achieve such a state of happiness, you may end up feeling unfulfilled. 

Failing to Meet Your Goals

We all have dreams we want to achieve, and failing to meet them usually makes us feel frustrated. These goals may touch on your professional or personal life. When you feel empty, you have no motivation to work hard to make your dreams come true. And if you don’t have a sense of accomplishment, it’s bad for your self-esteem and can lead to depression.

You are also likely to experience these negative emotions if you have an unpleasant job. Although we all need to pay the bills somehow, it is better to make an effort to land a position that interests you and makes you feel fulfilled. Try to create a description of your ideal job and then send applications to places that offer similar jobs. Since you spend a large portion of the day working, it would be unwise to settle for positions that drain your life.

Drug Use

Using substances will usually cause feelings of apathy as your sense of fulfillment will depend on the use of the drugs. Most people find it hard to enjoy simple things in life after getting addicted to drugs. In the early stages of drug rehabilitation, you will usually find daily activities boring and meaningless. A better way of treating your addiction is to approach professionals since they are trained to manage patients’ physical and mental symptoms. 

Relationship Problems

Some relationship issues that can make you feel empty include:

  • Infidelity;
  • Communication breakdown;
  • Lack of emotional connections;
  • Emotional dependence on one partner.

Is the Lack of Meaning a Serious Condition?

As mentioned earlier, most of us may feel empty at some point in their lives. However, when this state is prolonged, it may indicate that you are suffering from a more serious issue. A good step here would be to contact a therapist, particularly if the feeling of emptiness makes you unable to function in society. An advantage of working with our counselors is that you can create schedules that suit you. 

Another condition that can result in feelings of apathy is depression, and this is a serious issue that requires treatment. In most cases, depression will also lead to symptoms like sadness, irritability, anger, and fatigue. People with more severe cases will usually exhibit symptoms like lack of appetite, extreme weight loss, as well as frequent thoughts of death. You can approach a psychiatrist for a proper diagnosis. Sometimes, depression can be a result of stressful situations like the passing on of a friend or a relative.

In extreme cases, anxiety disorders can lead to excessive dread of everyday situations, and that can be disabling. Severe anxiety should be treated like any other mental health illness. It is important to get help for anxiety as early as possible, instead of letting it go on its own. It gives you the best chances for recovery. You should work with professionals to make sure you treat the mental disorder completely.

It is also worth noting that some people experience extreme apathy because they suffer from a borderline personality disorder (BPD). The seriousness of the condition will vary from one person to another. For certain individuals, the BPD can be completely disabling, and such cases have to be addressed urgently. Besides emptiness, a borderline personality disorder may lead to symptoms such as fear of abandonment, an obsessive preoccupation with parenting or love, a fear of engulfment, and strong emotional reactions. 

What Can I Do to Manage Feelings of Emptiness?

There are many ways of treating feelings of emptiness, but for the best results, you should work with a qualified counselor. Such professionals will help you identify the root of the problem, and that will make it easier to find a solution. In some cases, the issue is easily solved by changing your mindset or creating lists of goals you need to achieve. But in severe conditions, therapists will have to run personality tests to see if you have any disorders. Mental health professionals may have to prescribe medications in addition to psychotherapy methods, particularly if you suffer from a borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder. 

One thing you can do to control the feeling of emptiness is to try and meet friends in real life instead of just communicating on social media. Try to connect with people who you can rely on and share happy moments. You can also consider joining support groups, where you can share your issues and get some advice. In some cases, just talking about the problem will help you gain perspective and will make you feel better. Mental health support groups can especially be useful if you find it hard to share your problems with friends and family or if they can’t provide you with proper emotional support

You can also consider creating a journal and write about your emotions and feelings. In this way, you can find patterns in your thinking. Apathy may be triggered by certain settings or even people, and learning the triggers will take you closer to a solution. 

Another excellent way of managing negative feelings is by setting simple goals at the start of the day. Completing small tasks like making your bed can make you feel more fulfilled, and that can give you the energy to tackle more complicated tasks. You may also create lists of what you find most important in life. We often feel like life is meaningless because we do not understand our priorities and passions, which usually forces us to follow the societal definitions of success. 

In case you are addicted to drugs, you should consider working with trained professionals since you will get physical and emotional symptoms when you get rid of the addiction, and you will find it challenging to enjoy simple activities. That will happen because your body and mind may already be accustomed to the positive sensations brought about by these substances. 

You also need to actively work on your emotions. People typically suffer from apathy when they get overwhelmed with emotions and make attempts to block them out. So it’s important to maintain a positive attitude. Step back from the problem to clear your head and make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. You can practice yoga, meditation, and learn some relaxation techniques.

Consult Our Therapists

If you feel you can’t cope with your mental help problems on your own, you should seek professional help. Our licensed counselors have helped different people cope with the feeling of emptiness and find the meaning of life. We give you the opportunity to schedule the meetings at any time as the therapists are available 24/7. It is also possible to switch your therapists without extra fees. 

When using our platform, you should start by adding some information about your symptoms. If you are suffering from any other issues apart from emptiness, you should indicate it at this point. Our counselors can help you explore those feelings and find the motivation to move forward. With their support, you will be able to develop a positive mindset and live your life to the fullest. Fill our request form to begin your therapy program.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more