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Readers Respond: Confronting the Fear of Death

Responses: 210

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Updated January 29, 2010

will these thoughts haunt me for ever?

Im 23 & started having this fear of dying when I got pregnant w/ my beautiful son. He is 2 almost 3 now. I guess it started because I'm affraid to leave him & not see him become an adult. But its also because of the fact that I won't know when untill its too late. & the what happens next, is it just nothing? I agree with another post where I would prefer hell if just to be then blackness. The fear of dying came every night while I was pregnant, since then I have had episodes that go from a few nights to months at a time. I hadn't had them for a while but they just started again. My Bf is very supportive & will wake up to calm me down but it only helps so much. Since this last time my fear has moved to knowing he will someday die & that is driving me crazier then knowing I will. Luckly my brain will not let me think this way about my son, because I think if I did I would just break down. & if I do I don't know if I would be the same again. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
—Guest Adriana

Fear of Death is Taking Over my Life

Firstly, I'm relieved I'm not the only one feeling like this. I'm 18 and I cannot remember the last time I went one whole day without thinking about death. It gets worse at night when I'm on my own. If my boyfriend is with me it's not so bad. However, when he's not at my house I get so terrified that I end up crawling into bed with my mum... You may think it's pathetic but it's the only way I can sleep at night. It makes me feel sick and I have panic attacks which result in me crying. I have tried to put it out of my mind but it's not as easy as people say it is. I hate talking about it, because then it makes me think about it more, and I just don't know what to do. I feel so trapped... All I can think about is that I'm not going to be here in years to come, I'll be forgotten, I wont get to do anything anymore. I think about being in a coffin, which also terrifies me because I'm chlaustraphobic and scared of the dark. I've tried everything I can think of. Can anyone help me?
—Guest A. Nonymous

Fearing the Unknown

Ever since I was a child I have always had a fear of dying. Thinking of dying would send me into a massive panic attack and then I would constantly ask my mother if it looks like I'm dying. To this day I still have these fears and attacks. What makes matters worse is that I suffer from retinal migranes and with this I see auras. So naturally when this happens I begin to think I'm dying. There has been times I sent myself to the ER thinking it's true. I struggle with this fear on a daily basis and I have found that sleeping well, keeping my mind busy and eating right helps these attacks and fears. Also reading that I'm not alone helps too. I know that when I die I will go to the very same place that I was before I was created. It obviously wasn't a terrifying place because I have no memory of it but just the process of dying or leaving too soon frightens me.
—Guest Genevieve

Knowing it may not end

I am 22 years old and I have recently become aware of this phobia that I have. My worst time is at night constantly thinking if I fall asleep will I wake up? Its got to the point where I barely sleep. When I am at work a don't think about it as much because of the distraction but it soon starts when i am alone! It started for me when I had an apocalypse style nightmare and ever since the panic has settled in! I have found that at night when a panic attack starts that if I have a drink of water and a deep breath I soon begin to settle. Its my way of dealing with it.
—Guest Ctb

Fear of losing consciousness

I'm sure when I mature this will be the least of my worries, but currently as a teenager I tend to worry about 'non-existence'. Strangely during the day the idea doesn't bother me at all but some nights I am unable to sleep because I fear after death I will never be able to be conscious again. I feel like I need reassurance that reincarnation is true, but obviously that can't be guaranteed. When I am feeling uneasy I need to be nearby someone else or distracted by something but I'd really like to get over this fear sooner so it doesn't affect my lifestyle. However I'm glad to know I'm not the only person feeling this way!
—Guest Kiara

We ARE the same...

If you look at the ealier responses, I wrote my fear of dying and please read it under Roecampy. I am wondering as I am reading so many responses.. Is everyone here also scared of other things, ect.. Fear of flying, Fear of an intruder killing us, ect... I think we should all email or start a forum to help us through this, because I know I cannot control the thoughts most of the time, please contact me at my email. I will welcome all ;)
—roecampy

I am in the same boat

as a lot of you. The loss of my conscious self is more awful than any hell I can imagine. Some people have said that they just try to push those thoughts away, but that doesn't work for me. When I try to stop thinking about it - my mind yells out NO "you have to figure this out before it gets you". Pick a religion or something before the time runs out. I know how irrational that is ( you can never figure out whats going to happen before you die) but I can't help it. I also cannot wrap my mind around people who say they don't think about it or care what happens. It's the only thing guaranteed to happen to us & they don't think about it! When the nighttime panic attacks come now I just hope against hope that when I get much older - I'll be at peace with it. You always hear that the elderly or very sick almost welcome it & now I sit around and hope that it will be that for me. Isn't that horrible. I hate this phobia & the life I'm not having because of it.
—Guest joanne

others

I have such anxiety thinking about my fiancee dying. One of us will be left alone. That idea is crippling
—Guest Aaron

It's okay..

I think if I say it out aloud that it won't happen either. I just told my partner that I am worried that my fear of death may be getting worse because I am going to die soon. :s
—Guest annieREPLYTOjamie

fear of the end

I am a 34 yr old female with many issues the main one being death. Recently I became a mother and I fear it even more now than before because I want so much to watch him grow up. I am a severe nail biter, I am obese, and my hair has been falling out for about 5 years now. Doctors asked me if I have stress and I said no, but I am sure that my fear of death would be considered stress. I lost my grandma on my birthday when I was young and thats when it began I think. Over the years I have lost many loved ones and I think that just has added to my fear. Most of the time I will feel a little off and think something bads going to happen. I will get into a wreck and die or die when I am sleeping. The silly part about me is that if I am feeling this way I think if I say it out loud to someone that it wont come true. So I often tell my husband right away cause I think if I don't I will die and people wont know that I knew. I feel odd writing that down for the world to see but its true.
—Guest jamie

Irrational, yet terrifying all the same

In so many responses people say the same thing I always do: It's so irrational to fear death because it can't be changed, and that KNOWLEDGE that this fear is irrational somehow makes it worse. It's like saying, "I'm smart enough to know my worry won't change a thing and is only hurting my ability to live a full life...but I can't do anything about it." It makes me feel as powerless about it as about death itself. Mainly it is the idea of non-being that scares me most. I have had physical problems my whole life and so have always been very cerebral. The idea that even that almost certainly will end completely is unsettling to say the least. Reading about NDEs dosen't help either...everyone talks about going through a life review before they come back. Well what if that is just the mind replaying EVERY instance of life to try to find something it can relate to the feeling of death and shift into that mode...then it shuts off. If you go too far, you can't come back...you'd be brain dea
—Guest David

what helps me

This sometimes feels as if it is destroying my life, preventing me from feeling any joy now while I am waiting for the inevitable. What helps me - my puppy, bach rescue rememedy night, relaxation CDs, trying to make myself confront the fears and not giving in, saying the rosary (saying now and at the hour of our death 50 times is like medicine!), trying as hard as I can to see this as a motivation to love and live all I can now. But, to be honest, it is all a sticking plaster rather than a real cure. I wonder if anyone could really take away this dread?
—Guest lucy

Fear of Death and Meaning of Life

I have very bad panic attacks I read something that my EAP counselor that helped me and may help you. First my panic attacks are triggered by such things as hunger and excitement etc. These panic attacks have led me to the hospital many of times landing me with the same answer that I always get and 5000 dollars in debt! But heres the truth these pamic attacks seemed to come from nowhere so the "suggestive" mind takes over and you feel like youre dying and you believe it. Well the truth is youre not its your fight or flight respomse that makes you feel this way sure its uncomfotable but youre not dying trust me another human being. So now the fear of deayh is one selfish for me and two mysterious. Its selfish because how can this all go on without me? Second its mysterious cause I just want it to not be just nothing I would rather go to hell than there be nothing. Third listenimg to all these responses tells me its more than that I think its more of a fear of whats the meaning of life
—Guest Scott

You are not alone

Thank you all so much. I'm 16 and have had this fear of death since I was really young, maybe 7 or 8...I always thought that I was alone, there was no one I could talk to in my family about it because none of them knew what I went through or why I was afraid. I happens mostly at night in the holidays when I'm not at school...I just think about it, I can't help it, it's always on the back of my mind and I don't know what to do! Experience has taught me that when I do have a panic attack to sit up take SEVERAL deep breaths and walk around the house...even if it's as short a walk as going to the bathroom. My heart beats so fast when it happens and I go a bit limp and find it hard to breath...like the actual thought will kill me then and there. The thing I hate most about it is the fact that it's because of MY thoughts! I can't control them and I just lay there trying to think about other things and all it does is make me feel stupid and lonely. To all of u who suffer like me: U R Not Alon
—Guest Julie-Ann

Futility of existence

I have been suffering with panic attackr related to thoughts of death for about 8 years. There are pretty much part of my 'night time routine', so it takes me around 2 hours each night to fall asleep and often I have a racing heart rate, breathlesness and screaming/crying during the actual panic attack. When the situation gets worse is when I think about it in the daytime - my work and relationships are suffering because I do not see the point in making an effort since it will all come to an end anyway. I have been told to make the most of life, but what is the point if any achievements or enjoyment are ultimately futile? I have stopped seing friends and am considering leaving work but logically I understand that I cannot do that. While I have not seriously considered suicide, I often queston the notion of a worthwhile life since it means nothing at the end and we will all just become worm food. Whenever I try to talk to family about it they dismiss me and my friends can't relate.
—Guest Helene

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