This is a pretty personal post and something I don’t talk about much because talking about it is a trigger in itself, but I suffer from Thanatophobia – the fear of death.
You might think to yourself now, “aren’t most people scared of dying?” and the answer is yes, in one way or another. But what I have is a phobia that triggers panic attacks. There are so many things that can act as triggers from science (the sun eventually exploding) to going to the bathroom (and thinking this is one of the last bodily functions my body will ever do). It’s not so much dying that scares me as much as being dead and not existing.
These triggers don’t happen all the time and sometimes I can control my reaction. Other times, I feel like I can’t breathe because the panic is so bad. I become so overwhelmed and I’ve lived with this fear for as long as I can remember.
The worst part of this phobia is the fact that I’m scared of something inevitable. Something I have no control over and can’t change. A lot of it is tied into my fear of the unknown and fear of loss of control – which link back to my anxiety and childhood.
It’s something I explore vaguely in therapy but also something my mind and body is not really ready to dig into yet without triggering me. I may never be ready but I will always continue to try to get better at handling it.
So you can imagine, right now I don’t have a will or life insurance or a bucket list because they are all linked to me dying and it’s something I can’t handle. I feel like a terrible parent and I hope that one day I will be able to at least get life insurance but right now, I just can’t and that’s okay.
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