Today is November 2nd, 2016. Today, I have decided to make a guide to help others, and myself.
Why not start now, as I am not getting better sitting around and doing nothing.
An explanation of "death anxiety" from Psychology Today:
- Death anxiety, in some cases, is a morbid dread of death.
- Not merely dread of the physical and emotional suffering that can accompany dying, but a profound dread of the presumed nothingness that comes with death.
- It can also consist of anticipatory anxiety about loss: loss of consciousness, loss of loved ones, loss of the experience of being alive, loss of meaning, and loss of control over what happens to us during and following death.
- Neurotic or psychotic death anxiety typically includes an obsessive focus on these various dreadful aspects of mortality.
- Excessive death anxiety can sometimes become debilitating and require therapeutic amelioration, something existential psychotherapy can assist in constructively addressing: not by suppressing it pharmacologically or otherwise--though in severe cases this may temporarily be necessary--but rather by confronting it head on.
- When normal existential death anxiety is chronically repressed or avoided, it frequently, at least in part, likely underlies and drives various psychiatric symptomatology and mental disorders such as panic disorder, agoraphobia, depression, bipolar disorder, and psychosis.
Now that we have a basic understanding of "death anxiety", here is how we can help those who struggle with it:
In my personal life, I have experienced loss on multiple occasions, but one sticks out more than the others.
Last year, I lost my best friend. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph-nodes, and unfortunately passed away a week later in the vets office, in my arms. I watched him be euthanized as I held his body. It was by far the most awful experience of my entire life. Ever since then, I have had such awful anxiety towards death, especially the death of my loved ones. I am horrified that they are going to die, and that i wont e there for them. I have unfortunately acquired OCD tendencies due to my serious death anxiety, which is not convenient or welcomed in any way. It is crippling, but I have found ways to combat my anxiety:
1. The best thing that I have found that helps combat my anxiety, is staying busy. When I am busy, I don't usually think about what causes me so much angst and stress. I highly recommend picking up a book and reading, listening to music, watching TV, or going out for a walk when you are feeling anxious.
2. The next thing, is to accept your anxiety. “Anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling, acceptance is critical because trying to wrangle or eliminate anxiety often worsens it. It just perpetuates the idea that your anxiety is intolerable" (Deibler)
3. Calming Visuals, or meditation, has always been a calming ritual that has helped me through even my worst anxious moments.
4. Positive self talk has always been something that has calmed me.
5. Focus on NOW. There is no time like now, and reminding myself of that has always been something that calms my nerves.
In the end, my anxiety towards death will always be lingering. I know that things will only get better, and that I can't expect change over night.
But I do know, that it is perfectly okay to have anxiety. Now, all that matters is combating it with healthy coping mechanisms.
"Our shoes are tattered and torn, but our feet are dry. As for our places in history, we will run naked through your streets before we sit decorated in your halls."