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Thread: Fear of Death

  1. Lightbulb Fear of Death


    I searched the site for articles about the fear of death, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.

    I'm just wondering what anyones thoughts on fear of death are. Anything you want to share about your experience with the death of a loved one, or even just your experience of pondering the almighty and whether or not it scares you.

    I just want to hear other peoples opinions or comments about death so I can ease some anxiety.

    Here is my thoughts on it right now if your interested:

    Sometimes, usually when I'm alone, thinking about death and how ugly and painful it can terrifies me.
    The overwhelming finality of death shakes me to the point I want to puke because I feel so helpless and scared.

    Fear of death doesn't rule my life. I'm usually fairly confident and happy go lucky. But there are those times that I'm sure everyone has where the ugliness and possible pain of death grips you. To me though there are times it just makes everything seem so ugly and doomed. I hate that feeling since there are times when the fear of death is completely overridden by an equally powerful positive feeling.

    Maybe I just didn't get enough sun today...

    I look forward to your posts and hearing what you have to say about the subject.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Fear of Death

    It would seem that thoughts about our own mortality are often associated with the death of a loved one, with the news of an illness or with aging.

    Our perception and emotional response to thoughts of death seem to be associated with how we perceive an afterlife...if any.

    Are the concerns about death centered on the manner of one's death, such as an unexpected event vs a chronic illness, the loss of current lifestyle or the possible consequences of an afterlife?

    Dum spiro spero....While I breathe, I hope

  3. #3

    Re: Fear of Death

    Regarding such existential issues, there is the movie Groundhog Day. The main character is doomed to relive the same day over and over again in a 24-hour time loop until he is able to live life happily and spiritually in the present.

    Regarding spirituality, specifically, it can help even if one doesn't have notions of an afterlife, e.g.

    A Buddhist view of fear and phobia - Psychlinks

    Thoughts Without A Thinker: Psychotherapy From A Buddhist Perspective

    Outside of such normal concerns and fears about death (which are often pushed under the rug in our death-denying culture), for some people with depression or anxiety, thoughts of death may be more problematic as part of distorted, all-or-nothing thinking, e.g. I have sometimes felt like Shakespeare's Hamlet:

    "absolutist, dichotomous thinking," which views death as the "principal reality"

    Cognitive Distortions: Ten forms of twisted thinking - Psychlinks
    The ironic thing for me is that fear of death can be lowest in old age. One finding:

    Gesser et al. (1987-1988), found that death has a curvilinear relationship with age, being relatively high in young adulthood, peaking in middle adulthood, and reaching a minimum in old age.

    Dying, death, and bereavement - Google Book Search
    To make the point, my developmental psychology textbook had a picture of an elderly woman who bought a wood casket in advance and was using it as a standing bookshelf.

    A similar point is that life is lived in stages and, therefore, one can deal with these issues in stages:

    ...Erik Erickson proposed that humans go through stages of development. The last one is late adulthood/elderly when psychological conflicts revolve around integrity vs. despair. Those who have integrity feel complete, content, and satisfied with their lives, and are more serene as they face the end. Their later years can be the best ever, as exemplified by the centenarians on the show. Those who have despair, however, feel they have made too many wrong decisions and have no remaining opportunities to change their lives. Bitterness, defeat, and hopelessness consume them, and they find it very hard to accept death.

    ...Our quest should be to create more integrity in our lives so when we face our inevitable death, its sting is gone.

    Life Ends at 150, or Later? | Psychology Today Blogs
    Last edited by Daniel; March 9th, 2009 at 04:43 PM.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. Re: Fear of Death

    The ironic thing for me is that fear of death can be lowest in old age.
    i am so glad to see that. death really scares me and when i think about what it actually is i find it distressing to think that some day i just plain won't exist. i do hope as i age i find it less bothersome. i'd hate to go when i'm still terrified of it.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

  5. #5

    Re: Fear of Death

    Other people's death scare me. The people in my life. But my own death doesn't scare me...

  6. #6

    Re: Fear of Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzey View Post
    Other people's death scare me. The people in my life. But my own death doesn't scare me...
    I completely agree with Jazzey. This is how I feel too.

  7. #7

    Re: Fear of Death

    Neither my death nor that of others scares me. I have already lost a loved one and that is the one that mattered.

  8. #8

    Re: Fear of Death

    Another point:

    One important observation is that people's death attitudes tend to be a mixed bag, with conflicting attitudes that counterbalance each other in the service of adaptation.

    Death Anxiety Handbook: Research ... - Google Book Search
    And another irony:

    By withdrawing feeling and energy from personal pursuits and goal-directed activity, individuals reduce their vulnerability to their anticipated loss of self through death. Ironically, in deadening themselves in advance, people barely notice the transition from "living" to dying.

    Death Anxiety Handbook: Research ... - Google Book Search
    Last edited by Daniel; March 9th, 2009 at 06:10 PM.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. Re: Fear of Death

    Death is just the final stage and to me i am not afraid of it.

  10. #10

    Re: Fear of Death

    Hey !when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
    When it's time to go,It's time to go. don't fight it..
    Try to do the best you can , while in this body...
    specially if you're suffering and or in pain..look forward
    to the next life,your suffering will end and who knows! maybe a new begining... Just let the river take it's own course..

    End Of Life
    The human race we are
    We have come long and far
    Time should have foretold
    Our tales of the past known

    Lucky are we to live
    The spirits still hold us within
    We should have been history
    Yet we are still here in mystery

    The nature speaks the truth
    Yet we think it's all a fluke
    Our earth has undying magic
    Yet the turn of events are tragic

    We should hear the nature speak
    In many forms it deforms to be
    The living of many species
    And it's spirits that helps us to be

    Light the sun bring in days
    Brightness of moon and stars at night
    Blue sky, yet so dark at night
    Full of life, yet alone at times

    All this will end
    Only the time will tell when
    All the spirits will leave
    And new life will begin then
    yours sincerely, bk
    Where are my bright stars?
    Lost in my soul

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