Thantophobia

TRIGGER WARNING!

I really don’t want to talk about this.

Lately, I have not been in a good place. This is because I suffer from thantophobia, the fear of death. I have been going through this for the last 5 years, give or take. It is really hard to talk about and I’m not sure I will get through this post without having a panic attack, but I need to get this thought out of my head.

My fear is not the manner in which I die, that doesn’t concern me. I don’t think about that. The fear is what comes after. Generally, I am a very open-minded person. I am not religious or spiritual, I don’t follow any type of belief system, but I don’t not believe believe anything either. I won’t be the guy to say whether or not something is real or fake because I don’t know anything. I know nothing, at the end of the day. But when it comes to dying, nothing can sway the thought of eternal oblivion.

I can’t talk about “would you rather” questions like “would you rather die of cold or die of heat?”, I can’t even consider becoming an organ donor (even though I want to because it’s a great thing to do), I can’t even sleep sometimes because I’m afraid I won’t wake up. If death is like a dreamless sleep, how can I go to sleep knowing that?

Usually, I can somewhat keep the thoughts away with grounding techniques, games, reading, or just consuming myself in some random activity but today has been so bad. The thoughts will not go. I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t see a way out. Death is going to happen, there is nothing I can do about it. I keep having panic attacks; I can’t calm down. I don’t know what to do.

If anyone has advice, do leave a comment. I’ll pretty much listen to anything.

Thanks

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Getting Through a Panic Attack

Sometimes panic attacks are caused by overthinking and sometimes, you have no idea why it’s happening. These are some techniques to reduce anxiety and, hopefully, stop a panic attack in its tracks.

Disclaimer: Everybody is different so all of these might work for one person, while none of them work for another person.

Technique #1: Deep Breathing

Inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 3 seconds. Repeat that 10 times. Regulating your breathing, lowers your heart rate, and automatically calms you down.

Make sure you breathe using the whole of your lungs. To do that, lay on your back and take deep breaths. Your tummy should expand as you inhale, and shrink as you exhale.

Technique #2: Redirecting Thoughts

What many people try to do is distract themselves with TV. The reason this doesn’t work is because watching TV doesn’t require a lot of brain activity, so you still think about the problem. You are telling yourself not to think about it, so you think about it more.

Redirecting thoughts is different. Instead of trying not to think about the problem, do an activity that requires your full attention. This way, your brain doesn’t have a chance to overthink things.

Some ideas: writing, painting, playing an instrument, sports, tidying the house.

Technique #3: Grounding Techniques

Grounding works well because most panic attacks are a worry about the past or the future. Grounding tries to bring you back to the present. There are 2 good methods.

The first is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. It works like this:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

The other method is to list 5 things to do with a certain category. The What’s Up – Mental Health App is good for this.

For example: 5 football teams, 5 colours, 5 songs by Madonna, etc…

 

QOTD: What method(s) do you use to get out of a panic attack?

 


 

Sources and further reading: