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Suffering with Thanatophobia

R

RyanC1997

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Gibraltar
For the reasons unknown to me, at just 21, I suffer from this terrible lonely battle, to feel so isolated and imprisoned by thoughts.

I do not fear death itself or the process of dying but only the thought of no longer existing after death. My fear is that it will be like sleeping without dreaming for eternity and that scares the hell out of me.
This has been the rollercoaster I have been on since I was around 14-15 years old. Hiding in the comfort of my room most of the time, finding comfort in others, trying really hard to understand how people can just accept death.

The occasional breathers when your brain has forgotten what it feels like to be afraid for a while is incredible.
Usually, people with this phobia have somewhat a core to the spike. Unfortunately for me, I do not know why. The only question that comes to my mind when I think of this is, “have I bare witnessed something which was so severe that my brain has decided to remove from my memory?”

Keeping busy and filling my mind with as many positive thoughts, helps. Trying to tune my focus on the present, concentrating my senses such as what I’m presently seeing, smelling, touching, also helps. I used to pray for the best part of an hour every night, which is insane because it’s my complete lack of faith that instils this bloody fear in me even more! I prayed repeatedly and repetitively to live for one hundred thousand million etc years.

What doesn’t help is the stigma around mental health. It’s been extremely hard for me to open up to family about the baggage I carry in my mind daily. It’s been even harder to seek help, with the fear of what people might think of me. Life throws at you many other contributing factors such as job instability, family problems, living conditions, loss of a job, family member getting sick and many other things which we just are bound to come across. When these ‘uncontrollable’ situations happen, for a person with Thanatophobia, it’s extremely distressing because you almost know that a panic attack could spark up.

Fortunately I don’t smoke, don’t abuse alcohol and don’t take any drugs aside my prescription. It’s hard to resolve such a complex condition and even harder to put it all into a synopsis for people to understand.
There are many external factors which don’t help. You can simply be watching TV and an advert for retirement/funeral plans come up or walking through the street and see a funeral convoy driving along. These are things that you just need to grow a thick skin to, if not you’ll just spend your entire existence avoiding these situations.

A person with Thanatophobia doesn’t just carry a phobia. This imprisonment which takes over your life can bring an array of other mental health issues such as depression and severe anxiety when going through a panic attack. Others who may have manifested this horrible phobia are people who have had an NDE (Near Death Experience) or someone who has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I decided to start medication this January 2019. I was initially prescribed 50mg daily. The first 2 weeks I had horrible side effects, Nausea, gurning my teeth, excruciating headaches and loss my appetite. After approximately 2 months, it had been doing me a world of good! I was much more motivated, making goals, cleaning more often, going out and other things which seemed impossible. However, I still was having a panic attacks weekly, which is a great improvement from 2-3 a week. My GP decided to increase the dose to 100mg daily. Now I’m just waiting for my body to adjust to the increase, I have had side effects which I hadn’t had before such as insomnia and nightmares.

Hope all of you who suffer from this understand that you’re not alone, for those who had no idea, welcome to our world, for those who know someone with the phobia, help them. I will keep you all posted.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
13,530
Location
The West Country
Thanks for sharing your story here and i'm glad that you've found medication has helped you somewhat, although I appreciate it doesn't make it all go away.

I think some fear around death is natural but I also can see how it can turn into something more sinister whereby it becomes a full on phobia.
I find if I think about it too much it makes me panic. Similar to you, I don't necessarily fear the dying process. I just find it shocking to think about my loved ones dying and it makes me panic.

Anyway, I hope you continue to move forward and keep posting about your progress. I'd be interested in knowing what helps people who have this phobia live their life.
 
E

Emily2435

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Uk
For the reasons unknown to me, at just 21, I suffer from this terrible lonely battle, to feel so isolated and imprisoned by thoughts.

I do not fear death itself or the process of dying but only the thought of no longer existing after death. My fear is that it will be like sleeping without dreaming for eternity and that scares the hell out of me.
This has been the rollercoaster I have been on since I was around 14-15 years old. Hiding in the comfort of my room most of the time, finding comfort in others, trying really hard to understand how people can just accept death.

The occasional breathers when your brain has forgotten what it feels like to be afraid for a while is incredible.
Usually, people with this phobia have somewhat a core to the spike. Unfortunately for me, I do not know why. The only question that comes to my mind when I think of this is, “have I bare witnessed something which was so severe that my brain has decided to remove from my memory?”

Keeping busy and filling my mind with as many positive thoughts, helps. Trying to tune my focus on the present, concentrating my senses such as what I’m presently seeing, smelling, touching, also helps. I used to pray for the best part of an hour every night, which is insane because it’s my complete lack of faith that instils this bloody fear in me even more! I prayed repeatedly and repetitively to live for one hundred thousand million etc years.

What doesn’t help is the stigma around mental health. It’s been extremely hard for me to open up to family about the baggage I carry in my mind daily. It’s been even harder to seek help, with the fear of what people might think of me. Life throws at you many other contributing factors such as job instability, family problems, living conditions, loss of a job, family member getting sick and many other things which we just are bound to come across. When these ‘uncontrollable’ situations happen, for a person with Thanatophobia, it’s extremely distressing because you almost know that a panic attack could spark up.

Fortunately I don’t smoke, don’t abuse alcohol and don’t take any drugs aside my prescription. It’s hard to resolve such a complex condition and even harder to put it all into a synopsis for people to understand.
There are many external factors which don’t help. You can simply be watching TV and an advert for retirement/funeral plans come up or walking through the street and see a funeral convoy driving along. These are things that you just need to grow a thick skin to, if not you’ll just spend your entire existence avoiding these situations.

A person with Thanatophobia doesn’t just carry a phobia. This imprisonment which takes over your life can bring an array of other mental health issues such as depression and severe anxiety when going through a panic attack. Others who may have manifested this horrible phobia are people who have had an NDE (Near Death Experience) or someone who has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I decided to start medication this January 2019. I was initially prescribed 50mg daily. The first 2 weeks I had horrible side effects, Nausea, gurning my teeth, excruciating headaches and loss my appetite. After approximately 2 months, it had been doing me a world of good! I was much more motivated, making goals, cleaning more often, going out and other things which seemed impossible. However, I still was having a panic attacks weekly, which is a great improvement from 2-3 a week. My GP decided to increase the dose to 100mg daily. Now I’m just waiting for my body to adjust to the increase, I have had side effects which I hadn’t had before such as insomnia and nightmares.

Hope all of you who suffer from this understand that you’re not alone, for those who had no idea, welcome to our world, for those who know someone with the phobia, help them. I will keep you all posted.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan
This is exactly what I’m going through at the moment and it’s literally taking over my life. Every time I feel ok, happy and positive the thoughts jump right back in! I’m on 40mg of Fluoxetine and been on them for a 4weeks now. What medication are you on? Are you coping any better now?
 
AlwaysinCrown

AlwaysinCrown

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
1,287
Location
Poland
If you believe in life after death you aren't so afraid. I'm only afraid of the whole process. As I suffer from many diseases and strange things've happened to me many times I'm not much afraid.
 
E

Emily2435

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Uk
If you believe in life after death you aren't so afraid. I'm only afraid of the whole process. As I suffer from many diseases and strange things've happened to me many times I'm not much afraid.
I do- and I do try and to focus on that.. I just literally obsess all day, every day about it... Irrational thoughts run away with themselves 😣 sorry to hear you suffer with diseases 😔
 
K

Kev77

New member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
1
Location
UK
Hi All, I’m 43 years old now, happily married with two beautiful young children and I’ve lived with Thanatophophia since approximately the age of 5. I believe it was the death of an uncle at that time in my life where I was just starting to realise what mortality meant that was the trigger.

Growing up it was always my mother that I felt I could confide in but she genuinely had no fear of death at all so couldn’t really understand what I was going through and it wasn’t until recent years that I found my father also has a similar fear so maybe it’s inherited!

I have to say there are points in the first post on here which could have been written by me, the whole thing of not fearing how I die but the fact that one day I simply won’t exist is what I’ve battled with all this time and for years I couldn’t even put a name to what I had.

For me tiredness can be a trigger although I’ve been very lucky, I can have what could only be described as mild panic attacks, racing heartbeat, feeling of not being able to move etc but it lasts seconds for me and then I gain control again.

I’ve read various books which are supposed to help, none have but I must admit I’ve never considered seeking a medical solution but perhaps that’s because I’m only a mild sufferer. Strangely for me what has given me some comfort is the realisation that I’m not suffering alone, for so long no one seemed to understand, not family or friends and it was very lonely. Don’t get me wrong I would rather I was the only one that did have this to save anyone else suffering but knowing you’re not alone has helped.

I’m agnostic so sitting on the fence regarding religion, I have similar thoughts on the paranormal, health wise I’ve never smoked, drank or abused medication and physically so far I’ve remained fit and healthy. I steer away from extreme sports and would never in a million years consider doing something like parachuting or bungee jumping.

Having young children is the most amazing gift and although I do experience a feeling of guilt as one day their life will also end I make a point of being there for them and talking to them if awkward questions do pop up as I think talking is the most important thing any of us can do and I’m hoping they won’t have to live with this as they get older.

So there are a few observations which can be looked at as potential positives which I have found and might help someone out there.

I’ve heard so many times that people close to death have more awareness of their surroundings and find simple things like just sitting still and watching nature give them pleasure. For me having Thanatophophia means I have that exact same feeling, I genuinely enjoy nature and can find beauty in the most simple things. It means everyday I find something to make me feel at peace and or happy which most people are simply incapable of doing.

I have a zany sense of humour and always find something to laugh about, trust me laughing helps.

From experience literally every time I’ve worried about anything else it’s always transpired that whatever was bothering me never actually turned out to be as bad as what I imagined it to be. I’ve only ever fainted once, one minute I was standing the next minute I was on the floor with someone standing over me asking if I was ok, there was no feeling that I was going to faint and I have no memory during the event. I assume that death is much the same, my fear of not existing is only something that I can perceive while I’m alive, when I’m dead I won’t have a clue I’m dead so I’ve basically got to a point where when I have these feelings of dread creeping in I can quickly then focus on something more positive as a distraction.

I’ve also not found anything else I’m particularly afraid of, I’m fine with creepy crawlies, heights, confined spaces etc, I suppose in comparison nothing else simply seems as bad.

So there you have it, just a few thoughts from a sufferer with a different perspective. I know I will have this for the rest of my life, I can’t remember a time really when I didn’t have it but I’ve learnt over the years to focus on the areas of my life that I can change positively and don’t let this control me.

Stay strong people and no matter how bad things seem, know that there is light out there somewhere and you will find it.
 
GhostOfLenin

GhostOfLenin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
3,321
Location
Glasgow
For the reasons unknown to me, at just 21, I suffer from this terrible lonely battle, to feel so isolated and imprisoned by thoughts.

I do not fear death itself or the process of dying but only the thought of no longer existing after death. My fear is that it will be like sleeping without dreaming for eternity and that scares the hell out of me.
This has been the rollercoaster I have been on since I was around 14-15 years old. Hiding in the comfort of my room most of the time, finding comfort in others, trying really hard to understand how people can just accept death.

The occasional breathers when your brain has forgotten what it feels like to be afraid for a while is incredible.
Usually, people with this phobia have somewhat a core to the spike. Unfortunately for me, I do not know why. The only question that comes to my mind when I think of this is, “have I bare witnessed something which was so severe that my brain has decided to remove from my memory?”

Keeping busy and filling my mind with as many positive thoughts, helps. Trying to tune my focus on the present, concentrating my senses such as what I’m presently seeing, smelling, touching, also helps. I used to pray for the best part of an hour every night, which is insane because it’s my complete lack of faith that instils this bloody fear in me even more! I prayed repeatedly and repetitively to live for one hundred thousand million etc years.

What doesn’t help is the stigma around mental health. It’s been extremely hard for me to open up to family about the baggage I carry in my mind daily. It’s been even harder to seek help, with the fear of what people might think of me. Life throws at you many other contributing factors such as job instability, family problems, living conditions, loss of a job, family member getting sick and many other things which we just are bound to come across. When these ‘uncontrollable’ situations happen, for a person with Thanatophobia, it’s extremely distressing because you almost know that a panic attack could spark up.

Fortunately I don’t smoke, don’t abuse alcohol and don’t take any drugs aside my prescription. It’s hard to resolve such a complex condition and even harder to put it all into a synopsis for people to understand.
There are many external factors which don’t help. You can simply be watching TV and an advert for retirement/funeral plans come up or walking through the street and see a funeral convoy driving along. These are things that you just need to grow a thick skin to, if not you’ll just spend your entire existence avoiding these situations.

A person with Thanatophobia doesn’t just carry a phobia. This imprisonment which takes over your life can bring an array of other mental health issues such as depression and severe anxiety when going through a panic attack. Others who may have manifested this horrible phobia are people who have had an NDE (Near Death Experience) or someone who has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I decided to start medication this January 2019. I was initially prescribed 50mg daily. The first 2 weeks I had horrible side effects, Nausea, gurning my teeth, excruciating headaches and loss my appetite. After approximately 2 months, it had been doing me a world of good! I was much more motivated, making goals, cleaning more often, going out and other things which seemed impossible. However, I still was having a panic attacks weekly, which is a great improvement from 2-3 a week. My GP decided to increase the dose to 100mg daily. Now I’m just waiting for my body to adjust to the increase, I have had side effects which I hadn’t had before such as insomnia and nightmares.

Hope all of you who suffer from this understand that you’re not alone, for those who had no idea, welcome to our world, for those who know someone with the phobia, help them. I will keep you all posted.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan
An under reported phobia, well done for sharing. You will help many people im sure.
 
AlwaysinCrown

AlwaysinCrown

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
1,287
Location
Poland
Maybe you can read any book about life after death or NDE?
 
E

Elisante

Taking a break
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
1,676
Location
Greece
I can relate. The thought of eternal nothingness scares me like nothing else. It always did. I would rather go to hell than fade into nothingness. I remember the first time I learned about death when I was four or five and I cried so much that my parents had to convince me that I'm going to get recreated. And then I was afraid of being a tree in my next life, and still lack self awareness. I can't even make plans for my life now because what if I die tomorrow?

I think there are some phobias that do not have a reason for being there. You don't have to have gone through a traumatic experience in order to develop them. I certainly know I didn't.
 
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