Constant Thoughts of Death for 18 Years.
Hi, I am brand new to this forum and when I read others responses; I feel very calm and at peace. Thank you, kind people. I want to please share with you, my story. What I write is a true personal experience that has affected my entire mental outlook thus far and has lingered with me for 18 years.
In the fall of 1998, 4 months after finishing my first college degree, I was helping my parents run a business they inherited from my grandfather. My dad was split from my mom because of the business, so I agreed to come help the business so my dad could go home to mom.
During Thanksgiving week of 1998, I flew home with my dad to my family in California. I got a bad cold on the airplane. I went to store and bought Robitussin Gel Caps for the cold. I took two of them during the day and while sitting at the table with family, my heart started to beat out of control. My pulse was in the 160's-170's and my blood pressure went up to over 200+ / 110.
I felt as if the adrenaline in my body was broken and flowing 10x what it should. I was literally scared out of my mind. I could not sit still. I yelled to my parents to take me to the hospital right away. Once in the hospital, I could not sit still. I was pacing as my heart raced. It was the most miserable scary feeling I had ever had.
The doctor recognized that I had a reaction to the pseudoephedrine in the cold medicine. From that point on, my life was never, ever the same.
All I could think about was death. Prior to this, I was a healthy, fun, wonderful young man. I had so many dreams. I was accomplishing so much. But, after this experience, my life turned upside down.
I could not get the thought of death from my mind. I was so scared and I started to have massive panic attacks. I was having panic attacks during my sleep! I went to numerous doctors and they all said I was healthy and fine.
I even went to the doctor at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and he did a full work-up. He told me to go out and run a marathon.
However, even though physically I was strong, mentally, my mind constantly, 24/7 thought about my own death. This evil cycle continued up to this point in my life.
I am now 40. I am medicated and doing better, but, I yearn for non-death thoughts. I can't get the thought of death out of my mind. Yes, I have done much therapy as well to try to combat these thoughts.
Am I cursed? I often ask myself... Am I crazy, I ask myself? Or, am I just scared like PTSD from that experience?
In any case, I have gone on to earn two Master Degrees. I am embarrassed to talk to people I know face to face about the experiences I have. I have also developed a pretty debilitating social phobia of people because of this.
I am kindly asking for anyone that has knowledge of death and or maybe has the ability to Astro project or whatever it is that you do; to please try to help me. Maybe I have a negative parasite that has attached itself to me during my time of vulnerability?
I have no idea. I just want to have my confidence back and to be able to go through life not worrying and thinking about my own demise. Any helpful advice, thoughts, etc are much welcomed. Please, no mean or judgemental comments. Thanks kind people!
This may not be something that you want to hear, but I was once where you were. My circumstances were not quite the same, but I had the anxiety and a constant fear of death, as well as an inability to stop thinking about it. So here is my input.
In many spiritual traditions throughout the world, contemplation of death is a fundamental part of practice. Hindu yogis often meditate in graveyards, and it was a common Buddhist practice to have a human skull on your desk. The reason is that deep contemplation on the subject of death has the ability to lead a person to a state where one is open to the ever-changing reality around us, and to deeper spiritual understanding.
You were faced with a situation where you truly thought you were dying. Your Ego was forced to confront its own destruction, and it is having trouble coping with such a fact. This inability of your Ego to cope with death is what is fueling your anxiety. So my advice is this... continue thinking about death. The issue is not that you are thinking about death (contemplation of death is a fundamental part of the spiritual path in my opinion). The issue is that you fear death. Distracting yourself will not help, as you will always have that fear in the back of your mind now. You cannot simply forget about it. Death is not something that you can escape. In order to progress, you must confront your fear. You must face your notions of death, and see it for what it truly is.
I went through an existential crisis which started my fear of death about 3 months ago. What got me through it was discovering topics such as spirituality (this site in particular) which lead me to explore other systems.
Shortly afterwards, I started meditation and it has helped me (and will continue to) to go through it. If you practice hard enough, you may gain insights if you have an open mind.
Fear of death is an important experience but it can be crippling if you let it dominate your life. For a couple of weeks I had become a nihilist, thanks in part to the current nihilistic mentality going on in society currently. However, something in me caused me to seek out information which led me to my current path.
As WabiSabi perfectly mentioned above me, distracting yourself is very counter-productive. I know a person about your age who has a hidden fear of death which leads me to constantly distract himself by purchasing a lot of things and working a lot.
Read Wabi's reply and if you require more information or more resources, I would be happy to help. Having your own experiences would help you tremendously.
You can also read Spirit Guide Sparrow's thread a few posts below your topic.
I agree with what WabiSabi is conveying... Contemplation of our inevitable physical 'death' is important and valuable... Eventually you will come to the awareness and realization that you exist independent of your physical body. The fear/concern/worry that you are experiencing is rooted in the influence of the physical/egoic mind (which stems from your physical body)... There is a deeper/higher aspect of you which is not threatened by the notion or experience of physical death - the key is to uncover that aspect and increasingly connect with it...
GotSpirits - since you say that thoughts on this matter are already on your mind, how would you feel about reading about this subject matter so that you can promote a deeper understanding of this very natural and normal life experience? I would firstly recommend books in the Thanatology field (includes descriptions Near-Death Experiences)... Many individuals who have had NDE's report that afterwards they have shed all fear of physical 'death'... I would imagine there are also books written directly with the intent of helping individuals to reconcile and transcend the fear of 'death'... Respectfully, I don't think you can force these thoughts out of your conscious mind or hide from them. What you need to do is develop an expanded/elevated state of Awareness and then the former anxiety-inducing thoughts will become reconciled and resolved....
Welcome to the forum by the way... Glad to hear that you decided to sign up here and discuss this important matter.
WabiSabi, thank you so much for that excellent insight. You stated everything I feel perfectly. You are correct. Death is my greatest fear. I struggle with it constantly. How can I overcome and accept death? Namely, my own death. I am a very educated man. I have had a ton of wonderful and professional experiences. But, thinking of my own demise puts my body physically on edge to the point that I panic. And, the more I think about it, the more I panic. It's a vicious cycle. Thanks in advance for any insight on how to overcome the thoughts of my own death.
Hi Kizen, thank you for taking the time to respond to me, a stranger, that you did not need to address, but did, because you have a good heart. I am learning a lot by reading these posts. I learned a new word today. "nihilist" I've never heard of this word. I will reach out and try to discover more about this topic. Meditation is great advice. I need to remember to take the time to do so. I pray as much as I can. I think that making a schedule in my busy life to do these things will be beneficial. You are exactly right. I have made my life so overwhelmingly busy, I try to distract my thoughts from the root problem; thoughts of my own death. Believe it or not, just typing to you has helped me a lot release some of the burdens that I have been carrying.
I will also look for that spirtual post you were referring to. Best regards!
Hi wolfgaze, what a wonderful community I have joined! Thank you for your courteous reply. You point out some very valid points. I have a very open mind. I do not discount anything and believe everything; I mean everything in life contains a perfect balance and perfect cycle; including our oldest stars and solar systems. I kind of like to dabble in theoretical physics; so having an open mind is very important.
I have read about two books on NDE's. I have also read The Celestine Prophecy. I admit that I may not be nearly as advanced in these areas; that is why I have come here :)
Everyone, you are absolutely correct. My EGO is what is getting in the way. No, I do not mean I am conceited or think overly high of myself. Rather, my physical, body thinking has surpassed my spiritual thinking. (Is that correct?)
"Eventually you will come to the awareness and realization that you exist independent of your physical body. " How do I do this Wolfgaze?
"There is a deeper/higher aspect of you which is not threatened by the notion or experience of physical death - the key is to uncover that aspect and increasingly connect with it..." Can you help guide me in unlocking this key?
"What you need to do is develop an expanded/elevated state of Awareness" Wolf, I don't know how....? Please advise.
Thank you so much for your time and kind words!
I find that those who fear death the most are those who are very invested in their lives. Education and material/professional success often fuel this fear, as you know that you cannot take your wealth or your accomplishments in this life with you when you die. You must leave them behind, give them up.
As for what you should do? I cannot really say for sure, as your path is your own to tread. What happened to me was that I finally decided that I was okay with dying. In the midst of an anxiety attack like many others, one where I thought I was going to die (again), I decided that I would rather die than continue to deal with the misery of my constant fear. My heart was beating so fast, I thought I was going to drop dead any second, and so I lay on the ground and let go of everything, let go of my self and everything that I had any attachment to. I wanted death to take me, to take away the pain. In that instant I made a conscious decision to accept my death, and my fear and anxiety dropped away immediately. I didn't die, of course, and I often still think about my death to this day, but my thoughts have no association fear.
This is not necessarily something that you can just do because you want to. I had to be pushed to the brink before I came to accept my mortality. So what can you do? My recommendation is to take up a practice of mindfulness, something that grounds you in the present moment. Start meditating or doing yoga. And continue to think on your death. Try and discover why you are so fearful of it. What are you so scared of losing?
Welcome to the forums...
Lots of great advice from the posters in this thread...
Another thing that might help ease your fears about death is think of yourself as already being eternal...The only thing that really "dies" is our physical body, but our souls/consciousness remain eternal....So you don't have to wait to experience eternity, You are experiencing it right now! :)
You are not alone in feeling like you do there are many people that can relate to it, having a reaction to anything can bring on panic attacks this is normal, have you seen a councellor for how you feel CBT cognitive behavoral therepy is very good for this, if you go to your doctor he can arrange this for you.
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