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I Am Terrified Of Death.


So, I have always been terrified of death, ever since I was a little kid. Well, now I am in my twentys and it always pops into my mind and when it does I have small panic attacks. Sometimes it will keep my up all night just worrying about what happens after we die. Sometimes it even makes me cry because. I just don’t want to die and I can’t face it. Would therapy help me overcome my fear of death, or is it just something that I need to deal with myself and just get over it?

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  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Your preoccupation with death may be the result of several different factors. It is possible that you experience depression and those feelings take you to dark areas of thinking such as death. It is also possible that you experience more anxiety than you should and that results in a kind of obsessive or repeated set of thoughts about the end of life.

What you must understand is that you are a young man and, as such, do not have to face death. Upon reading your E. Mail question, there is a tone of impending death and, of course, that frightens you. Yes, depression and anxiety can cause this type of obsessive thinking.

All of us face death but do not think very much about it unless we are faced with the loss of a loved one or if we become sick with a terminal illness. One of the ways we defend ourselves against worrying about eternity is to be involved in life.

Boredom can lead to depression or can be a part of depression. However, having little or nothing to do can cause boredom, especially if we aren’t doing something meaningful in our lives. Some people look for careers that are meaningful to them, such as becoming social workers, teachers, doctors, nurses or business people, policemen, fire fighters, etc. Others do not want the long training and the school necessary for those careers. Instead, the find jobs in order to make a good living. After the work day many hard working people engage themselves in voluntary activities that hold deep meaning for them. They may work as volunteer firemen, volunteer police people, coaches along with many other types of community activities.

As a young person, you need to find meaning in your life so that you no longer worry about life and death issues. The best way for us to cope with the fact that we will die someday is to live our lives to the fullest.

To answer your question, yes, you should enter psychotherapy so that you can get help in defining your life, reducing your depression and living your life to the fulles.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Cathy

    I know a lot of people aren't religious or spiritual but I think it would be worth investigating what different religions or the non-religions believe about death - you might find something that brings you comfort - seems like a fit for you. I concentrate most on making the most of the time I have on earth and accomplishing all that I can (this keeps me to busy to think about death). As I get older, I greatly appreciate the time I have had on earth and consider myself lucky to have lived this long. Try looking at how others view death and I think there is a "fit" for everyone.

  • elise

    We all experience a great fear of the unknown. I also become scared of the thought of death. I consider myself a Christian therefore, I am even harder on myself. I feel guilt because i think I should know where I will spend eternity and should not be afraid. remember you are human and dont be so hard on yourself. God bless and hope to happily meet you on the other side, in the distant future. Peace forever.....................................

  • David

    I was amazed to read this and see somebody else describe to a T what I have been going through!

  • Anonymous-1

    I read jungs biography where he describes and experience he had when a small boy of sitting on a rock and not being able to distinguish if he saw the rock he was sitting on OR seeing himself sitting on a rock. I think a metaphysical feeling about death pursues us about death weather we like it or not, and the answer is a self identity melange which is at once generic and unique. Death. Is a generic experience, implicit is this reasoning is the caveat , that a borderline condition may be a preparation toward this "generic" experience of consciousness---which is probably more likely to have positive existential values, rather than non-existential ones. It could very well be the case that consciousness in this sense is a sine quo non of existence, a kind of a foundation---eternal--the like of which religions of all kinds talk about---this is my take on it.

  • jovanna

    Death is like a dream like when your asleep . Thats the way that our Father sees it and says it at The Bible . Dont feel scared if your in Gods hands and have Faith in God every dout or bad thought will become positive and sometimes persons would like to sleep until God comes for the second time for his temple people that had faith in him and spred the word of God and his promises that he will make everything will change theres gana be NO pain NO suffer No lies etc what ever pass through your mind its ganna be lost everything that makes us sad, mad, angry negetive stuff ... HAVE FAITH IN GOD Brother .. Put your life in God hands ..

    P.S Jovanna ( Faith )


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