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Readers Respond: Confronting the Fear of Death

Responses: 183

By

Updated January 29, 2010

Living with the fear of death

Ive had fear of death for 4 yrs. Began with panic attacks the day after having my gall bladder removed. Ive always been sceptical about life after death. Seeing other peoples stories I think this is the basis of my fear. From this moment on Ive been constantly consumed with thoughts of dying, any physical sensation I feel will result in my death. My lifes completely controlled by this. I limit what I eat due to fear of putting on weight causing a heart attack. I dont smoke due to fear of cancer. I don't drink alcohol. I dont go on holidays cos I dont know the nearest hospital in case Im ill - let alone the language barrier! I could go on and on. It also impacts on my work life and relationships. I just cant seem to comprehend that I will not feel or exist in any way after Ive died. I will not see my loved ones again. What is the point of living? I feel there is a constant doom hanging over me. However I truely recommend anitdepressants and CBT - it doesnt take it away but it does help!
—Guest Linda

Death

I am eighteen years old and a senior in high school. I have had four friends die in my years so far in high school. Two I was not to close to but talked to and was friends with. The last two I was closer with, one I had a few classes with and we were friends. The last one was an extremely close friend. We have been friends since 7th grade. Before all their deaths I didn't believe in God and had no car for religion. After their deaths I have been freaking out about death. I think about it everyday, it consumes me. I am trying to find a belief in God but I feel like I am trying to force myself so I will calm down. I feel like I need to see a ghost or something for proof. Just the thought of not being on earth and being here scares me beyond belief. I have no idea what to do. If someone can help please email me at rmftechguy@yahoo.com
—Guest Ryan

It's not possible to comprehend

I'm 15 years old however this thought has plagued me since I was 11 after a series of truly terrible nightmares. I've been unable to pull myself away from the thought of death and what it's like for so long but the problem is as an atheist my impression of death is nothingness and it's impossible to consciously think of nothingness. It dominates my life and I can't escape it, death is in movies, books, video games. Every reference of dying brings me into a whirl of thought. Im so glad I found this site so I could finally tell people but be anonymous
—Guest Jonny

i hate this

I think the first time I can remember this happening was in high school, when I was about 16...the thoughts just started creeping into my mind and I couldn't control them. I tried to start reading something to distract myself but the fear overwhelmed me, my heart started racing and I was so angry at my inability to overcome the anxiety that I threw the book across the room. Somehow I was able to calm myself and get some sleep. But then a few weeks later it started to happen again and I told myself "no!" and forced myself to sleep, only to wake up in a panic attack. It was terrible. I haven't had another panic attack thankfully, but there are still many nights, like tonight, when my mind gets caught up in trying to fathom the unknown, I struggle with the separation of mind and body as I know the latter will be in the ground or a pile of ashes...though I won't know it then so why does it matter? Because presently I am this body, and I cannot separate my consciousness from it. The result
—Guest Jada

i hate this

I think the first time I can remember this happening was in high school, when I was about 16...the thoughts just started creeping into my mind and I couldn't control them. I tried to start reading something to distract myself but the fear overwhelmed me, my heart started racing and I was so angry at my inability to overcome the anxiety that I threw the book across the room. Somehow I was able to calm myself and get some sleep. But then a few weeks later it started to happen again and I told myself "no!" and forced myself to sleep, only to wake up in a panic attack. It was terrible. I haven't had another panic attack thankfully, but there are still many nights, like tonight, when my mind gets caught up in trying to fathom the unknown, I struggle with the separation of mind and body as I know the latter will be in the ground or a pile of ashes...though I won't know it then so why does it matter? Because presently I am this body, and I cannot separate my consciousness from it. The result
—Guest Jada

I hope this helps

I'm 15 and I had the fear of death about 4 months ago. It suddenly dawned upon me that I would not be existing after death. I could not grasp the idea and panicked, thinking of death. as I lay down on my bed, my feet were sweating and my body heated up. I started perspiring and my mind was in a whirl. after seeing a psychiatrist, my condition improved. however, I'm still afraid that illnesses will plague me and then cause me to die. any symptoms of a possibly deadly disease and I'll have a panic attack.
—Guest Dillon

Irony

I would say this phobia started when i was a kid, one of my favorite uncles died, weeks later i saw the news about this 80 yr old couple getting married. I broke down to tears in front of my cousin screaming that i didnt want to die. I probably had the phobia for months as a kid. Then the good times came in, i was a teenager, kept busy due to skool, then parties, then clubs. Now im 22 yrs, most nights, dark and alone, i think that my life passed by pretty fast, not that i feel really old but I think that from now on its gonna be down hill. u know with kids in the future, they grow fast. These nights we all have, i close my eyes,i feel the darkness,then i start feeling empty,i run out of breath,i feel like a black hole is growing from my heart,and i feel like my heart stopped for a sec. Like everyone else, i wake up saying no, no, no. I think its ironic that we live to die. I fear not knowing whats next, i fear leaving/losing my family, i fear losing my partner and fall in depression.
—Guest Juan

Fear of death

It's 2 am and I had my panic attack for the nth time. At first I only had a fear of loosing love ones when I was young, but two years ago I started to get these sleepless nights. I fear about what happens when I die. I think about my daughters, will they be able to survive without me knowing that I'm their sole provider. I want to know if there's really life after death, will I still feel or will it really be my end? I cried after reading the articles written here. For quite sometime I thought I was the only one experiencing this type of attack.
—Guest Myonlybabe

The Problem with Bodies

I, like many here, am overwhelmed by the thought of not being. I've always had depression and anxiety issues, but the thought of my ultimate fate has put a new spin on things. Becoming nothing is inherently something we can't wrap our heads around, except with metaphors relating to sleep and unconsciousness. It hurts to think about, and fear is the natural result of digging too deeply. But, at the same time, logic says that if we're not there to feel anything - even the passage of time - then there's nothing for us to fear or want. It should feel natural when the process resolves - like sleeping. I imagine the anticipation of death will be far, far worse than the actual experience. I'm not brave like many atheists claim to be, but I trust my reason. It's unavoidable and absolute, but how can nothingness hurt? And if there really is something like an afterlife, so much the better. The trick is convincing ourselves of that in the meantime, so we can make use of the time we have.
—Guest Chris

My thoughts on this

I have had this for some time now. It started out as a small after thought that grew like a plague in my head. It comes in waves like an ocean, receeding & then coming back in full force. It's only at night when I'm going to sleep that I think about it. I'm one of those intellectual people that this article was talking about and reached this wall after attempting to put logic into religion. Logic is based on absolutes and it would appear that religious ideals about death aren't absolute for me...i fear the nothingness, the non-existance, the thoughts of having done nothing worthwhile in my life. I feel that in order to truly cope with this, we must live our lives without regrets and strive to accomplish our dreams/goals with passion and fervor. I know it may all seem like one big distraction that only serves to push the thoughts to the back of your mind..but we can't give up! we have to continue dreaming & striving for the hope that it will all go away someday. walkingwill@hotmail.com
—Guest Will

Regrets

Every day as I drive in to my job where I spend a great deal of my time on this earth and I see all these people and they seem so complacent, so completely at ease with working, climbing some corporate ladder, or working towards some career because “it’s a good job/career”. They seem so ready to sacrifice the majority of their lives to something they don’t truly love and it freaks me out because I can’t do. I see it all as a wasted gift, like I’m settling because my job doesn’t bring me joy each day. I don’t know how people can be ok with some remedial job as the grandest version of themselves... We only get one chance at this, time is ticking, and I feel like our whole society is blowing their chance to experience the greatest joy imaginable by following their hearts!!! The worse part is… so am I and I can’t seem to break these chains. My fear is that I never will, and at the end of my life I’ll say, “Why did I ever settle?” .. And my biological clock keeps ticking away.
—Guest Adam

After Death

My fear likewise to many others here is not dying but possibly ceasing to exist. I've been having panic attacks since I was about seven or eight, I am now twenty-one. At first I thought it was panic disorder, now I have a real name, something to grasp onto, and possibly help to cope with it. While I believe in life after death it's a belief that unfortunately only reached the 99% sure mark. It's that sliver of doubt that gets me. I did find that mint things help me, mint is very calming. Other than that I have nothing, but maybe the mint thing will help somebody.
—Guest Cait

This may help

I have been suffering from this particular phobia for in excess of 8 years however I never knew the name until now. I believe in my experience this phobia can be split into two different parts anxiety being one I believe the best course of action to begin with is to treat that by seeing your GP doctor for a anti-anxiety/depression medication I had very positive results with effexor 75mg then later upped it to 150mg this gave me alot more of an ability to put up a mental barrier when thinking about anything that could raise my anxiety levels i also got prescribed a small amount if low dosage valium just to help me sleep for the first three weeks so the medication had time to take effect which took a month but this will vary from person to person. I then took the next step and went and saw a psychologist which helped me considerably There's still not a day that goes by that I don't think about my unavoidable demise but I am now able to lead a normal life I hope I helped cheers from AL
—Guest Allan

Coping at night

At night I take several steps to relax and distract myself in order to try to stop the fear of death that so often comes at night. First, I do not watch the news. Anything that is too upsetting or negative, well, who needs it? Then, I keep my bedside radio tuned to something soothing, for me it is NPR, and I have a timer for it. Then finally, I play the game Sudoku almost every night when it is time for bed. It helps me relax and my mind doesn't have the chance to start worrying. Then I sleep. If I wake up in the night with a panic attack then I use the same tools, distraction, books, music and Sudoku. Hope this might work for someone else.
—Guest Shanna

=/

I just sort of googled this because I've dealt with this as a constant obsessive type of fear I think for about a year and a half now. It just sort of came to me while I was obsessing that maybe it could actually be some type of phobia so I searched and found this. The fact that I keep seeing the recurring theme of people being scared of not existing makes me think this is really my problem. It is the exact same thing that I obsess over. I guess it's sort of nice to know that I'm not alone in this but I also wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy so my feelings are a little conflicting. Hopefully I will be in a position where I can actually seek some sort of help soon.
—Guest michelle

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