Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

How To Stop Being Afraid Of Death And Start Living

You’re all going to die. Are you scared? Unpleasant? 

Is it disgusting to even hear such a cynical statement from a complete stranger, made so categorically? Yes, of course it is. 


This publication is for those who really felt a negative response to the first sentence. Those who were mentally perplexed to agree: “Of course, we will all die sooner or later. Death is inevitable in the end,” they may not read on. But look around you, dear realists, will you not see at least one Tanatophobe among your family and friends. 


— “Who?” — You’re probably, asking. 


Well, here you are “on interest” (in social networks I would put a winking smiley face here). 


Okay, so the focus is on Tanatophobia. The compulsive fear of death no matter what the real threats are. Is it often a phobia like this how to see. 

According to the statistics of BasepointPsychiatry, the share of thanatophobia is 2 percent in the structure of the top 10 most common phobias of  our compatriots. Believe me, this is quite a lot (in fairness for the sake of ombrophobia (fear of getting in the rain) the Google is asked three times  more often, but the existential value of these two types of fear is incomparable). 


You can, of course, shrug your shoulders perplexed, because everyone is afraid of death. However, everyone is afraid of death in situations where life  is really threatened by something. For example, in the moment of developing myocardial infarction, or when the robber put a knife to his throat. Tanatophobia is irrational by word at all, because a person is afraid of something he has no idea about. 


The question for psychotherapists – is it often the case with those of your patients who are gifted, among other things, with a pronounced propensity for hyper-control? I think that the number of affirmative answers from observant and indifferent specialists will surprise us greatly. Because thanatophobia is the fear that one cannot control in any way. And this loss of habitual control over one of the processes, namely death, and makes a person be afraid of it, panicking to avoid this essentially natural phenomenon. Relative confirmation is quite official statement – most often the reason of fear of death is sudden loss of a close person. Yes, loss, impossibility to keep him/her in the zone of his/her control, impossibility to control his/her presence near him/her, his/her life course, or the coming of his/her death. 


Besides, as a rule, educated and intellectual people are irrationally afraid of death. That is people who are used to explain logically everything that  happens to them in life. But not in death. Death for them is something inexplicable, irrational, strange and alien. This “something” cannot be limited to a saving logical framework and clear, consistent explanations. It’s out of control, which means it’s scary. 


In essence, what is control? It’s an imaginary individual immortality. The felt world of a little man who was once not allowed to become big. A tightly closed, windowless room in which, even in total darkness, one can orient oneself to the touch. And imagine now the horror of the owner of this room, who suddenly found out that just outside the door of this gloomy, but livedly and personal paradise there is an aggressive, instantly absorbing and incomprehensible that is an infinite hell. Will such a person be afraid to leave his room? Of course he will. 


If you do not want one day to be in such a comfortable cell while you still have time, test yourself on the tendency to keep under control every movement of the world around you. Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine the happy meaning that you can still see in the words “You. That’s it. Die.” Do you feel it? Do you see? Can you feel it? Can’t you see the main vector, “You’re alive! “You’re still alive no matter what. And death, of course, is inevitable, and of course it will be. But here’s the question – do you want to know it after many years of free, full of feelings and creative victories of life, or would you prefer to wait for it because of every corner in an imaginary world full of fear and obsession to control everything. 



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