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Readers Respond: Confronting the Fear of Death

Responses: 210


Updated January 29, 2010

Tainted Thoughts

My fear is generally based around uncertainty. What comes after? Is it infinite nothingness? Is heaven absolute? I started thinking about all this around 2-3 years ago, which I didn't disregard until half a year after I started thinking. Unfortunately, the thoughts recently came back. Mostly about the same stuff. But now I feel much deeper in my thoughts. Is there really nothingness? Thankfully, a previous commenter posted that there is good scientific evidence, and that made me feel slightly better. All these stories have helped. Generally, understanding what I'm going through helped me to understand the core foundations of my fear. Sure, distractions are good, but they are only good for as long as the distraction's duration. When in bed, it really takes hold of you. It grasps you and stares you right in the face, forcing you to think. Why do I have to think of this? I thought it was my ADD torturing me, but it's something... more. I want to understand, to be certain.
—Guest Skitch the Wolf

quater life crisis

i recently had my 20th birthday, i think this has been a trigger point to further push my underlying fears. im worse now then i've ever been, when i was very young i panicked at the idea of dieing and worried about "just seeing black forever" i couldn't think of anything worse, now i realise thats impossible, if that was to happen you would be unaware, a blissful ignorance of non-existance. now i worry that at your moments before death you don't have time to find any evidence or prepare yourself for death. i often deal with logic problems and am very philosophical in nature, so when i try and logically think of evidence or hints to ridiculously impossible things to understand like the meaning of life, or when time began or who made life...and who made him! i find myself coming to ridiculous conclusions and panacking! at least now i understand that not every person is as terrified of death as me, just a portion of people and we suffer from thanatophobia. but how can i deal with eternity
—Guest UK 20 Male

I hate seeing so many people...

having to death with the same things I go through. I wouldnt wish this on anybody. These panic attacks are starting to destroy me. I sit alone at night sometimes and just silently, internally freak out. I tried to talk to someone about it once but they just tried to tell me about how they didnt care about dying, I cant comprehend how people "dont care" about not existing. Its kind of funny in a way, I have panic attacks thinking about not being able to think anymore, almost like dying is the only resolution. It gets at its worst when i'm going through something stressful in my day to day life, and I think when is this going to end? then my next thought is instead of enjoying life i'm waiting for the struggle to be over, but whats left when its over? My mind does not comprehend the thought of not existing anymore. It goes into this weird cycle process where I try to find a loop hole in dying and my mind keeps coming back to the bitter reality that one day I just wont exist...scary.
—Guest Chris

Reply again..

Agh, I had thought I was done. But I'm agreeing with Sam, "this is ir?" I'm afraid that when I'm dead I'll SEE nothing but a black screen. I try every minute of my present life to have happy times, but the memories of scary stuff keep coming back. I'm afraid that when night comes, I can't sleep although I sleep in a room with my sister. The thoughts just occur to me, Kayako [from the scary movie] is going to kill me although all the people arent real, just acting. I'm still young and yet..
—Guest Miki


Yeah, this thought came to my mind when I started playing computer, a really young age. At 7, I started thinking about it and I didnt worry. And I was 9, worrying about scary stuff that the info I got online. Now I'm afraid to die. I really am, but I don't exaggerate that much. I know my mom will be a grandmother when I'm just an adult with children. And thats what I'm scared of, my family members are older than me. I'm afraid of losing my friends even before they are matured. I'm a really scared person when I hear something freaky. A story my classmate told in class, about phobias really made me in shock. The girls last words were "why me" and I keep thinking of it even after an hour. They say you remember memory just because of experience, my memory isnt that clear but SCARY stuff just make me feel like I'm dying..
—Guest Miki


It is 3am, my life is falling apart. I can't sleep without it eating at me, I try to go to sleep and as soon as I lie down I think "there can't possibly be anything after, but it's okay because you won't know, or think...or breathe..it will just be black and nothingness." then I try to relax and I end up trying to imagine the nothingness and I get so scared and alone. My stomach and chest tightens and I can't breathe. I think about growing old and how fast time passes like how in a blink of an eye I am 20, and a few more blinks and it will be over. I fear being forgotten, like if I am not remembered then I will be alone. I cry hysterically. I panic about death, I panic about panicking! People I have asked say they "just don't really think about it" I wish I could say that. It's mostly at night, sometimes I can go weeks without it bothering me, I mean it's in the back of my mind, but I'm not up at 3am crying. Sometimes it's everyday for weeks. Sorry this has been all over the place x
—Guest Clouded_past@hotmail.com


every single night I can't fall asleep because I'm afraid I'm going to die in my sleep or get murdered. And every time someone leaves, for example, when my boyfriend leaves my house, I get paranoid and terrified that he's going to get hit by a car or abducted or something. Im losing sleep over it
—Guest cmkmeo

Terrified of Death/Dying/Others Dying

I suffered from panic attacks after the birth of my first son. Went through Hell.. 20 years! But something changed. I woke up one night and just thought OMG Im going to die and never be here again! and a coldness slammed into my chest, and the fear was nothing I ever expierenced. Now it is all the time. Ex: I dont want to die knowing it is just going to happen one day terrifies me so bad, I cannot function, I cry uncontrollably, I cannot sleep because it keeps me up. It can be either me, or anyone I love. As soon as that thought pops in, the coldness and fear and DEEEP thinking, of where do I go?? which religion is rights? Is God really here.. Then I will see the earth and panic again knowing we are on just a planet in space a smallll insignificant... oh the fear it brings.. what if the earth just stopped turning.. These thoughts r constant. I dont know what to do. How can you go on knowing death in so beyond our control and WILL HAPPEN SOON.. it will happen. TERROR!!!!

How i cope

I have suffered the fear of death for about 25 years. I'm 44 now. Generally i will have these thoughts at night whilst trying to get to sleep. The thought process starts with thinking of having to leave life and there is absolutely nothing I or anyone can do about it. It is out of anyones control. Then it gets to "where will i go" and what happens, do u merely disappear? I wonder why most other people cope with death as "part of life, theres nothing you can do about it". Anyway while having these thoughts i start feeling panic, aggitation, terror, feel physically sick, sweating. I now have full blown panic attacks. It got to the point over the last year that I decided enough. I have now managed by getting straight up out of bed, and go outside or to a different space in the house. As soon as the thoughts start, cut them off. Sit up, think of something like a song u like and start singing. Read a light book, takes your mind elsewhere. Shower. I just will no longer let my mind scare me.
—Guest Dlt

I feel the same

I feel sad often, the thought of ceasing to exist, when the world comes to an end, when there is no life left on earth these thoughts cripple me, I panic, I worry then I look at my two perfect little girls and realise there is a purpose to life and we are all going to be a long tme dead so we must try and appreciate the time we have, the people we have in our lives and be thankfull of the time we have with them, and remember that memories last forever
—Guest sadness

will i cease to exist?

I am terrified of death. Not of the pain, or anything like that, but of being dead...and not knowing what's going to happen (if anything even happens at all)...That idea is even more terrifying: Ceasing to exist. As humans, we cannot fathom not existing. The closest thing we have is thinking back to before we were born, and how we have no memory of that time because we did not yet exist. Although, to me, death is different than "before being born" because right now we DO exist, and we do have a consciousness and a feeling of "me" and an existence...I can't comprehend the idea that it can ever be taken away. Surely there is some form of afterlife...but if not... well, I don't know. I'm rambling. But these types of terrifying and exceedingly stressful thoughts pollute my mind constantly :( I really think I need therapy or medication or something. It's interfering with my ability to function normally.
—Guest alex

I fear my death and my relatives.

I even fear the death of my dog, he is 5 years old, still has sometime left. But I think about it daily. I am very religious, and I think we should all have some religion, I would recommend Jesus. My dogs death really troubles me, because I ask myself "what's in it for him" I like to think that God being a loving God would let us unite with everything we loved here in earth. Don't get me wrong I question my beliefs. AT the end I think either believe in God and have a chance of going to heaven, or not believe where does that leave you. Play it safe, besides it's not a hard thing to be a christian .I do think about death all the time, my thoughts my dads and my siblings, and when wife is running in late from work, I am all worked up and thinking only the worst. God Bless you ALL. Give me a try It must need what you need. I apologize for the sermon.
—Guest Alex

I've had this my entire life

I was rather young when I really considered the idea of me. When I realized that eventually my loved ones would leave me, I ran crying to my mom. Over the years it has lessened but lately it has spiked. I lie away every night in panic thinking about how I don't want to die and I want to keep my loved ones forever. I'm really going to try to keep my mom from smoking...IwantohaveheraslongasIcan... I'm constantly having dreams about dying and my loved ones dying... I think if I can make my life a little happier (alone at a college separate from my love and my friends but trying to fix this) I will be better off... Until then...man, I don't know... (sorry for the messy writing...I just wanted to write this...
—Guest Notethan

We need an outlet.

I have lived with this since i can remember. This cold dark dread. As i read these responses i learn there are others out there with the same thoughts and fears and although it doesnt give me solace it does show me i am not the only sane person on earth. I also read of people who are fearful they will through panic, bring about their own exit, for me this is not what this fear is about. My journey every day is of a man trying to float. Each day i fill my time with 'doing'. Each moment i spend thinking of something is a moment this dark cancer cannot attack itself. I can sometimes go days, even weeks without a bad attack but once it has reared its head it is hard to shake. We will die... this doesnt bother me. Everone will die... this doesnt bother me either. Cold as i am now to the existence of man i care only of my own. Can someone build a forum? somewhere we can talk? therapy is scary.. an outlet would be helpful
—Guest Tinyark


I was very surprised to learn that I am not the only one who has these feelings. I thought I was weird for thinking these thoughts and have kept them to myself for a few years now. I don't enjoy the thought that one day I will not have control over my body and that my body will cease to exist. I have been very religious throughout my life, but since I have attended college I have worked with cadavers for a semester. Since then, I cannot think of life the same way. I think of my friends and family and how they will one day not exist as well. I question if animals are like human death and I am scared to kill insects. I try not to think about the meat I eat and how it came from an animal. This may sound silly and strange, but it is one of the other things I think about. And I cried the entire time I read the other stories. I try to distract myself with other thoughts, like homework.
—Guest Guest surprised

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