The Preponderance of Demoralization

A Hidden Epidemic?

Let’s explore this possibility: Could some of what’s being call depression, actually be demoralization by another name? Beyond diagnosis, individuals often use psychological terms to describe their state of being and how they’re feeling. There appears to be a high propensity of individuals describing themselves as being depressed.

Do you find yourself identifying with feeling depressed? If not yourself, maybe you’re noticing others around you stating that they’re depressed. I notice this occurring, how about you? I believe it’s worth recognizing and exploring what this could mean. Has the statement “I’m feeling depressed” become a broad umbrella term? So broad that there may be something hidden amongst the many individuals who identify as such.

I’m opening this discussion not as a means of diagnosis, rather a way to explore our terminology and references for clarity of one’s true condition. In the spirit of optimal communication for conveying what one actually believes is happening with them. If there’s a predominance of information and references for signaling depression in our society, will that cause an increase of self-identification with it?

What if someone’s depressed feelings are a symptom of something else? What if it’s an issue of demoralization? I believe in some instances, this is the case. But one can only self-identify as demoralized if they are clear that it’s even an option for them. Some individuals are unaware of what demoralization is. Or some may believe demoralization to be something altogether different than how it’s showing up in their lives.

What is Meant by Demoralization?

I believe the average person would describe demoralization as something that happens to someone or that it’s an act taken toward a group of people. While it can indeed be viewed from an externalized perspective, demoralization is also a feeling or a perception they might have for themselves. And yes, this feeling may increase or be maintained by external actions from surrounding forces.

So as we shift the perspective of how one can view demoralization from an internal vantage, we can see how this might be described as depression. It’s not as clear to name or understand from an internal resonance. The feeling may not be seen, but there’s a sensing of its presence.

Feeling demoralized can be characterized by feelings of failure and hopelessness. It can affect your ability to cope when change happens quickly, especially social changes. It can involve personal trauma, although it’s likely attributed to other factors occurring in addition to those traumas.

Can you see how this description can sound similar to what many would consider depression? Someone thinking they’re in a low mood or depressed, when they’re actually feeling demoralized. How can we assist the process in determining one from the other? Are depression and demoralization intertwined? Is one the symptom of the other? How do you testify to these conditions?

Diminished Desires and Doubts of Actualization

Along with the emotional component, there’s a mental component of demoralization that can be explored. Another way to describe demoralization is a loss of connection between your cognitive map and the world you’re actually living in. For instance, your cognitive map allows you to envision yourself enacting your skills with the world in a generative way.

If this cognitive map is inconsistent with how you actually live each day, it becomes deflating. There are feelings of demotivation as misalignment grows. Continuous doses of doubt can quash any lingering hope for actualization. Then how do you actualize the more beautiful world, if you can’t represent the version of yourself you know to be true?

Consider the question: When will I ever do what I believe in? Is the answer: “now,” or do you feel like actualization is always put off? What about the question: Can I do what I believe in? Is there an emphatic “yes” or is your authentic response “no” or “not yet.” These are important questions to ask and answer to help determine if you’re in a state of demoralization, or if you’re nearing one.

There can be a chronic sense of hopelessness that almost feels undetectable. It’s become normalized, and blends in with the woodwork. Yet it’s noticeable if more acutely observed. There seems to be a lack of desire to want to do something as it seems “pointless.”

Demoralization can feel like a spiral downward; it can be a long, gradual descent. Perhaps unable to tell when it began, but it’s been looping around a lower place for some period of time. So, what’s the best way to address it? Start by adding as much awareness around it as possible.

The Rootedness of this Condition

Society plays a role in demoralization, and I plan to speak more about this at another time. Let’s stay focused on you, relative to society. What if I told you that our current societal circumstances are not the only cause contributing to feelings of demoralization? What if the exacerbation of something rooted more deeply in one’s life experience is at play?

It can be significantly true for one to believe: “I was not given the choice to consent in my own life’s journey.” If this feels true, then certainly acknowledge it. Embrace it. From there you can move forward searching for what would feel most empowering from that place. You can move beyond yourself, beyond society, to expand as to why this phenomenon has compounded your being and stunted your ability to live fully.

Could the compounding of demoralization stem from a wounding that could be known on a soul level. One that we cannot fathom when we are a child. Are such wounds meant to be healed? This is a rite of passage within adulthood. Despite any societal blocks compromising that path from unfolding, can there be progression with the healing of wounds?

What would it be like to trust that the universe has already gathered the cooperative components for you to go out into the world and be the version you know yourself to be. Who can you share this version of yourself with? Commiserate, collaborate, lean into those edges.

What Can You Do? What Can be Done?

Are you sitting with these questions: Will I ever have meaning in life? Will I matter? How can the way I want to show up in the world — the way I see it in my head — ACTUALLY BE the way I show in the world?

I believe every individual faces these questions? Exploring how to find meaning in life. True, deep, resounding meaning. Fortunately, in healing arts and holistic health, there are openings in which to explore this on the individual level. This is juxtaposed to a very contrived, confused external world of increasingly compromised systems. (More on that later)

For now, you must build up your own sensemaking. Acquaint yourself with your ability to arrive at your own explanations for things. Sure, you can outsource information from trusted sources, but you must be engaged in your own synthesis of knowledge and experience. This will open a door that leads out from the current state of demoralization. A door to tend the embers.

If you’re stuck with the thought/feeling: “What is it all for?” Then continue to question. If you know a version of yourself that’s not displayed in the arena where it’s needed to be seen, then gain clarity on your request. It may feel like a battle-cry for an internal struggle. It wants to be heard.



I’m a holistic health coach & writer living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m the creator of assisting others to reach desired health goals.

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James Governale

I’m a holistic health coach & writer living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m the creator of assisting others to reach desired health goals.