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Anxiety/fear about death

I've struggled with anxiety for years, and lately I've been obsessing over death. In the past I've had hypochondria which would cause me to panic (convinced I had a brain tumor, that kind of thing), but this time it's different.

I'm not worried about OMG AM I HAVING A HEART ATTACK?!?! like I used to, I'm just freaking out about the fact that I have to die one day, and everyone around me will be dead, too. I don't have any siblings and have no plans to have kids, my partner is 15 years older than me and I don't have many friends; I'm worried that someday it's just going to be me, by myself, with no one to take me to doctor's appointments or be by myself in the hospital, or to plan my funeral. I'm fearing the fact that death is the one thing in life that we absolutely MUST endure, and we have little control over how and when it happens (other than eating right, avoiding bad habits, etc, of course). It's also one of the few things in life we MUST do alone--even if I died in some sort of terrorist attack with a thousand other people, I'm still going through the process of dying ALONE.

I used to be very independent, but in the past few years as my anxiety has increased, I've relied on other people (my partner and parents mostly) a lot. I don't like to be alone for long periods, I don't like to go to the doctor alone, I don't like to do much of anything alone. I do wonder if becoming more self-reliant will help me get over some of the fear of being alone in my old age.

Everytime I think I get past this fear of death and it's not on my mind 24/7, someone dies. Last week it was a friend who passed very suddenly from a heart attack, age 43. And that got my mind working--what if I die suddenly? I could die tomorrow and my last day on earth will have been spent worrying about death and working. Everything I've worked for in life could be gone in an instant. What would my parents do? I have another friend who's my age who died last year, and every single day her mother posts these long, sad posts on FB. I don't want my mother to have to go through that. It makes me more anxious because I know as I get older, there will be more and more funerals to attend, including my own parents and my partner. Sometimes at family gatherings I look around and think if I live to be 85, all these people will be dead before me and I'll be attending all these funerals. Sometimes when my partner is on the couch next to me, I'll look over and think "someday I'll be alone on this couch and all of this will be just a memory".

Does anyone else think this way? I know, I need therapy, unfortunately my health insurance is horrible. I feel like I'm wasting so much of my life worrying about death and getting old. I get depressed because I think if I'm having THIS much trouble at the age of 28, when I could have another 60 years left to live, what's going to happen when I'm 80 and my days are REALLY numbered? Or what if I only think I have another 60 years, but I am diagnosed with a terminal disease in only 10 years?

by a messreply 2602/20/2013

Why don't you stop running from death? You are going to die, think about it, realize that you have no control over it. It's not such a bad thing, it's just part of life. Nothing to be afraid of.

by a messreply 102/20/2013

and yes, I know, get a blog. beating you to it to the cunty R1 reply.

by a messreply 202/20/2013

OP it sounds like you are having a mid-life crisis. Grow a ponytail and buy a corvette. Honestly though I think everyone goes through that phase and it doesn't help that people around you keep dying. 30 years is a long way off, you don't even know who you will know then and I guarantee you will have someone to help you with doctor's appointments, etc. Don't sweat it.

by a messreply 302/20/2013

Honey, there's meds for that shit. See a doctor.

by a messreply 402/20/2013

Another thing, unless you die suddenly, probably by the time you do die, you will have a much easier relationship with death.

by a messreply 502/20/2013

r5 exactly! OP, you have about thirty years to come to terms with this. It will be vastly different by then.

by a messreply 602/20/2013

OP, I'm a three time cancer survivor. The first time terrified me - i was 35. Had not done a good will, didn't have a health directive and no plans. In between Cancer 1 and Cancer 2, I got those sorted out which let me focus on my health. By #3, I've come to grips with it. Preparation was my solution. 5 years later all is well and I don't stress about it.

by a messreply 702/20/2013

You sound depressed, OP. Make a doctor appointment to get an antidepressant. Take your partner with you. Best wishes. I've had feelings like yours, could be a lot more people than you think have/had the same thoughts and feelings.

by a messreply 802/20/2013

My 20s were filled with thoughts like these. That's why most poets are young. I'm deep in my 30s now. I think about the bigger picture with more calm and serenity. That's why most novelists are older.

by a messreply 902/20/2013

r7 Glad you are still with us. That's some crazy shit. I imagine you are good with it because you came pretty close to the edge as it were. I hope I don't have to nearly die a few times to be at peace, I want to be good with it in another way.

by a messreply 1002/20/2013

R10. In a strange way it was good. I had the opportunity to set a lot of things right and depart prepared and with a clear conscience. Regret is the toughest thing to face.

by a messreply 1102/20/2013

OP, you are having what's called intrusive thoughts. They are recurring and not in your control.

I recommmend you see a psychiatrist to help you with this.

by a messreply 1202/20/2013

r11 Sorry I am not trying to hijack the thread but are you sad that you didn't die? I imagine if you get all your ducks in a row and make all your peace and then still live it would be a letdown of sorts. I remember an episode of 'Scrubs' where Elliot got sued by a patient she had deemed terminal. The guy did all the stuff you did and then didn't die and he was mad.

by a messreply 1302/20/2013

I'm with R8 and R12 on this one. Anxiety all by itself is a killer, if left untreated. Fortunately, there are very effective treatments for anxiety involving either psychotherapy, medications, or both.

I hear what you're saying about having shitty health insurance, but have you considered the possibility that you are using the "I can't afford therapy" as a way of excusing yourself from seeking it out? For me, anxiety is very self-sustaining, and in the past I have put off seeking help until I was really miserable.

I recommend you do some research into your local mental health resources, specifically looking for low-cost or no-cost (i.e. pro bono) providers. You probably have a community suicide hotline: the people who answer those phones have a wealth of referral information at their fingertips. Think of other referral sources: for example, do you trust your doctor well enough to ask for a referral to a low-cost psychologist or psychiatrist? How close are you to a college or university? Find the number for their psychology department, and ask them what local resources are available. Another good resource is your local library. If you are uncomfortable asking a librarian, the info is often displayed on community bulletin boards.

The bottom line is yes, you could die today, tomorrow, or 60 years from now, as could anyone you love. Nothing can change that shitty reality. What you can change is how you deal with that reality, in a way that allows you to enjoy the hours/days/weeks/years you do have, and not exist in an endless cycle of fear, panic, and obsessive ruminations.

Do not use your insurance as an excuse for not seeking ways to become a happier person. Reach out, and get yourself into a better frame of mind, and into a happier life. You deserve it, whether you think so or not.

by a messreply 1402/20/2013

[quote]My 20s were filled with thoughts like these. That's why most poets are young. I'm deep in my 30s now. I think about the bigger picture with more calm and serenity. That's why most novelists are older.

(rolls eyes)

by a messreply 1502/20/2013

[quote]Honey, there's meds for that shit. See a doctor.

Yeah...pills solve everything. No work needed.

by a messreply 1602/20/2013

R13 - absoutely didn't mean to convey that I was sad I didn't die. My point was that I did have a lot of fear about it after Cancer #1. I took the downtime between #1 and #2 to really set things right. I got my will/healthcare directive/plans done and documented. I cut unhealthy people out of my life and set some things right with people I hadn't treated fairly in the past. I made sure my partner was going to be taken care of. When it came to Cancer #2 and #3, we could focus purely on how I could get better instead of me stressing about regrets or things I should have done. You can't believe the difference it makes.

Sorry, I did not in any way mean to convey that I was sorry I lived. I am happy for every single day I have now. I see them all as bonus days. Kind of hard to explain and I'm sure it is a deeply personal experience for anyone who goes through something similar.

by a messreply 1702/20/2013

I just had a birthday (40's) and I've been thinking a lot about old age and death. How and when it will happen. What my last thoughts will be.

I worry most about my leaving my pets behind. I want to stay alive til they're all waiting for me in Heaven.

by a messreply 1802/20/2013

r17 Oh you didn't convey that you were sad that you lived, I was just curious about it from the Scrubs I saw. It sounds to me like you did some cool stuff though. All those things are good to do and it's too bad that we have to be staring down the barrel of a gun before we realize we need to cut all the bullshit out of our life.

by a messreply 1902/20/2013

r18 You are only in your 40's? I can guarantee you will not leave your pets behind unless you have animals that live 30 years, like a chimp or something. Don't sweat that, it will be ok.

by a messreply 2002/20/2013

[quote]I just had a birthday (40's) and I've been thinking a lot about old age and death. How and when it will happen. What my last thoughts will be.

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream...it is not dying, it is not dying.

Maybe you should read The Tibetan Book Of The Dead.

Personally, it's life that worries me. Not death.

If you're in a retirement home or something like that, there will always be people to oversee your death.

My mother lives in one. There are buttons to press and people will be there for you. If you die before they get to you, so what?

by a messreply 2102/20/2013

OP, you are having seperation anxiety from the fear of weaning yourself off of mother earth's teat.

go into nature, get closer to her, and understand that we never really leave her, we just hang around in new energy forms.

by a messreply 2202/20/2013

r21 and r22 are right, energy doesn't die, it just gets transferred.

I never trip about death too much, I had to deal with it all my life. My brother had Cystic Fibrosis (he was born in 1971) and he was expected to only live for 12 years. He lived to be 30 but he had a hard life. I honestly wanted him to die and get it over with and he did too. When he finally went in the hospital for the last time in 2002 he had DNRs and even though he could have lived yet again, he wanted his morphine does upped and that was what killed him, an od of morphine. I think if you get to the point where you are very sick, dying is not a bad thing and maybe your energy will transfer to something that is not sick and feeling bad.

by a messreply 2302/20/2013

R23, I am so sorry about your brother. I know he's in a better place without suffering.

Does having the cystic fibrosis gene affect your decision to have children yourself?

by a messreply 2402/20/2013

Oh thank you r24 and my sister and I got tested and are not carriers. She has a healthy 12 year old daughter. I just don't want kids at all but would think twice if I did and thought they would have CF. It is highly genetic and I get so pissed when I see families who have 4 kids with CF. I am the youngest and was born in 72. They didn't know Eric had CF until 74. They do the heel tests now for it but didn't used to. Why parents have a litter of dying kids is beyond me.

by a messreply 2502/20/2013

Hi OP,

I send love to you. Try volunteering and keep a daily "Grateful journal" about the lovely things in your life. Live one day at a time. Be gentle with yourself and others. Set boundaries in all areas of your life. Life can indeed be beautiful. If you need additional help, don't be ashamed to get it. Many here have given great advice. I love you!

In Spirit :)

by a messreply 2602/20/2013
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