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Suffering with Thanatophobia



Mar 26, 2019
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,



Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
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.
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