- This topic has 13 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 10 months ago by Anonymous.
November 20, 2018 at 1:11 am #238615
Since I was 5 (I’m now 39) I’ve suddenly felt winded to my stomach that we die. I get this sudden punch to my stomach a fair few times a year and I feel physically sick when u do. Since having children this has become more frequent and I almost feel guilty I hsd them because one day they have to die. I know that probably sounds weird. It comes with a horrible wave of panic sometimes.
In recent years I’ve been struggling with severe anxiety,.deprrssion at times. My grandmother died 6 years ago, we were very close. I came from a tough childhood, and my brother attacked me 6 years ago. As a result of him being the child who could do no wrong (he has severe mental health issues aswell as anger issues) my mother and sisters alienated me. I had severe anxiety for years after and in the last year after working so hard to overcome it all (and doing well rebuilding my life) and throwing myself into my own little family to make sure they were all OK, I had a nervous breakdown this year. It’s been tough.
My husband and 3 teenager children are amazing, love me unconditionally and we are so strong for all we’ve been through together. I’ve been struggling with anxiety, panic, depression and my gp diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s all the trauma, me carrying on for my children’s sakes that led to it I guess.
I’m doing better than I was which is good but I’ve felt this huge overwhelm we die lately. I guess bevause I’ve not lived much this year, barely been outside and worried I won’t ever find myself again. It’s been the worst year of my life. I cry daily I’ve let my family down, they’re missing out on days our with me (they go with hubby) and I fear now I’ve ruined their childhood like my unstable parents did mine. I’m not like my parents in what they did to me but all I ever wanted was to give my children the best memories and life, and I was until I suffered this tough time. I fear they won’t remember the days out, cinema trips etc I don’t want them to just remember me at home struggling with fatigue etc.. Although I obviously hide a lot from them.
I’m lucky they’re all amazing, so supportive and tell me I’m the best mum every day. I just fear life is so precious and what if I’ve ruined their childhood in recent years even though I bust a gut to keep goin out making memories even though I was heart broken inside with what my mum and siblings did to me. They bullied the life out of me for years with aggressive behaviour. I hid it all and carried on to be the best mum I could.
I went off track,. I apologise. How can I deal with these worries about life ending? It’s got worse in the last year because I’ve been unwell and my life is on hold. I fear life is passing too fasts, I can’t believe I’m 39 and my babies are all growing up. I fear I’m missing out and before I know it I will be 80. I live life and cry daily it will end for for my children, I can’t bare the thought of it happening to them. I’m terrified of losing my husband too.
Any advice on this, it’s been something I’ve had giving me anxiety since I was 5. I’ve had therapy for all I’ve been through but this was never something I was helped with. I guess it’s a difficult one.
Ive posted in the past,. Anita gave me amazing advice here.. Thank you.
JuNovember 20, 2018 at 2:59 am #238621
I apologise for ruling errors, my phone has a mind of its own at times.. I did mean to say, I love life and fear it ending. Obviously not live as my life has bene on hold this last year.November 20, 2018 at 3:00 am #238623
My phone just proved my point right. Typing errors not ruling..
Note to self, don’t buy another Samsung lolNovember 20, 2018 at 8:06 am #238659AnonymousGuest
Imagine a person with a good childhood behind him or her, a loving, safe home and loving current relationship with her parents and siblings as an adult, looking forward at this time for a lovely Thanksgiving 2018. An adult woman with a good history, good relationships, plus a husband and children in a loving home. You would imagine there would be no anxiety for such a woman, correct?
But there is, because as humans, we are the only animals who know (when healthy and well) that we will die. We don’t know when and how. And to add to it, we know that our children and everyone we know will also die. We just don’t know when and how.
This in itself is enough to cause anxiety, and it does. Even the richest person in the world, living in a castle, seeing income of millions and even billions every year, when that person goes to bed at night, after a day of fancy dining and golfing and what not, she or he knows that tomorrow may never be, that there is nothing at all she can do- nothing that money can do- to prevent this reality of death.
This is why anxiety is the human condition. Add to it the commonality of aggression, starting in the childhood home, and no wonder anxiety is such a huge problem.
There is a way to relax best we can into this reality. To do our best to promote our safety and that of those we have power over, our children, and at the same time, relax best we can into the reality of death. It is somewhat of a good feeling in me knowing that whatever distress I experience will not last forever. What misery it would have been to experience distress forever more. It is called hell, that idea. It is a good thing there will be an end to pain.
And yet, the fear remains, in me. I don’t expect it to go away. I wished it will my whole life, living a fear-free life (this is the idea of heaven, a fear-free forever living), but it is impossible for me as it is impossible for any and every human able to think. Because if we are able to think, we can’t ignore the reality of death.
And so we are in this together, as I type to you now, as you read this, anyone reading this, every single person, all in the same boat.
anitaNovember 20, 2018 at 10:54 am #238717PeterParticipant
Well you’re not alone in your fear of death, they even have a term for it “thanatophobia”.
The reality of death has been a major topic of philosophy, phycology, theology… Joseph Campbell research into the myths we live by suggested that the knowledge of our death is The concern that defines Life. Which might seem like a paradox but isn’t.
My understanding of his work is that behind the fear of death is a fear of Life. Life as it is. The knowledge that Life is motion that requires the sacrifice of Life. Life eats Life. Death and Life not opposites as if they could be separated but intimately connected. Each breath you take is a sacrifice of life for life. (death, resurrection, a reincarnation)
Life is a horrific wonder. That is Life’s wonder and it horror. Campbell argues that there are three attitudes, conscious or unconscious, that we take to that Truth. (the Solutions are my thoughts)
- No: Life should not be, let me off the ride. Solution, detach and dissolve ego, no ego no I no suffering, no death – no life.
- Maybe: Life is broken, but we can fix it. Solution, join the side of Good, follow the rules, fight evil, death will be overcome and life fixed.
- Yes: Life as it is, the sacrifice of Life for Life is Love: Solution. There is no problem to solve, Engage in Life as it shows up. A yes with gratitude.
If you can get to a place where you can authentically say Yes to Life as it is the existential fear of death that you experience will fade away.
Interestingly religions are often interpreted in all three ways depending on the perspective taken. My feeling is that the deeper you go into the theology the intention of all religion is to get to Yes. Just my opinion. However that means that many of the practices of the religions can be confusing so may not help you get over your fear of death.
As your issue appears to be essential you could read up on your philosophy. I can save you time by stating all philosophy ends in the absurd and the problem of language. Meaning forget it, embrace the absurd, have a good laugh at the joke and enjoy life.
I suspect none of the above helped much. I’m not sure if your fear is a choice or not yet if your going to get over it, it will be because you choose to let it go. Might as well save yourself from some suffering and let it go.
November 24, 2018 at 8:48 am #248331AsherParticipant
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by Peter.
I can empathize deeply with your situation – I’ve felt a similar way since I was about eight years old. It can make every day stressful, feeling like you’re not getting enough out of it, fearing the loss of loved ones (or that your loved ones will lose you). It can consume you with dread and nausea. It can leave you with the sense that nothing will be stable or okay – how can it be when you will one day lose the most important people in your life? It’s a painful anxiety because you know it will happen, eventually. I know my fear of death was mixed in with a sense of general lack of protection in my childhood – if i wasn’t safe then, how could I ever know security? All forms of stability feel short lived because we are more aware than others that they aren’t a given.
I can’t say I’ve ever completely “fixed” this fear of mine, either, but I hope I can help with some suggestions that eased my pain. I’ve tried many things, from philosophical/religious approaches (not at all a bad idea, either!) ,to therapy, talking it out, etc. but this is what I, personally, have had success with:
One was to become comfortable with the fact that I was afraid – it cut down on my mental load to stop trying to push these thoughts away and stop trying to immediately ease my panic. You’ve been extremely brave in opening up about your experience here! It’s perfectly fine that death worries you – it’s a sign that you value life, it’s something that keeps people from making risky decisions, and it allows you to appreciate what you have in a unique way. The problem is that this worry is harming your ability to live a happy life, the emotion itself is valid and doesn’t need fixing!
I also found comfort in slowly introducing the things that made me so upset – I spent time reading on the Order of the Good Death and on death acceptance in general. It was the first time I saw death presented as a truly neutral thing and as something that could be discussed openly without need for euphemisms. I found it helped immensely to view death without the pressure to judge it. I ended up writing many college papers on subjects like burial and mourning, a less direct exposure which helped me become less afraid to confront my fears. Learning facts gave me a sense of control and security back.
You are already doing the most important thing – putting in the effort to show love to your family who are still alive. Please don’t forget to show yourself love, too! You may not be able to do the same sorts of things with your family anymore but you are showing the same devoted care. Your commitment to giving your children good lives and memories is a gift to them. In my culture, we say “may their life be a blessing” when someone dies – from your words I can tell your life is a blessing to others because you are so empathetic, your reaction to suffering in your lifetime was to make sure it would never, ever happen to your children.
Chronic disease is depressing and life altering, even for the most grateful and happy person. Adjusting to it genuinely takes a lot of time and strength. I’ve found it helpful, on days when I feel I’m not getting “enough” out of life, to write what I have done that made me happy, what I did for others, and what I experienced that was beautiful and good. It does not fix my disease but it gives me perspective, sometimes. It is good to remember that even days when you do nothing are valuable because they rested you enough to do something else the next day.
I also started making small changes to enjoy myself more – if I want to eat chocolate or burn a new candle, I don’t wait for a special occasion. I wear whatever makes me happy. I started leaving places and situations that made me feel like I was wasting my time. I try to plan less for the future and let myself have a good day today. Over the year I’ve done this, I’ve become more comfortable with how happy I am in my daily life, which makes me a little less scared to die. You may find it helpful to identify what makes you feel more comfortable with the concept of death, whether it’s a large goal or simply making yourself happier.
I hope sharing my coping methods might help you, that you feel you were heard, and that you get some rest from your worries soon.January 17, 2019 at 8:43 am #275123
Thank you so much Anita, Peter and Asher.
All of your replies brought me comfort.
Asher thank you for sharing your experiences and suggestions. I shall definitely be taking them on board.. Thank you for your kind words too. This is the thing, I love my life despite the trauma and ill health, yet at the same time find life so hard. My family are my world and I just want to feel better to make memories with them. I fear they won’t remember all the things I did with them before the last few years. They are all teenagers now and I’m scared that they won’t remember the younger years when I took my holidays etc. They aren’t short of love at all they know I adore them but I just feel so guilty that life is passing by so fast and yet we can’t do family things together because of me and before we know it they will move out and I’ve missed all that precious time. I think that’s why I think about death so much because I just feel life is passing so fast and I’m always thinking so morbid, but I know it’s probably just situational, I’m just sat resting every day and just looking at the walls I guess so the mind will think negatively. If I was out living life and on autopilot as a housewife then I wouldn’t have time for these thoughts probably.
Thank you all aaginagain. It took a lot for me to post so I appreciate your replies.
JJanuary 17, 2019 at 9:15 am #275137AnonymousGuest
“I’m scared that they won’t remember the younger years when I took my holidays etc.”-
Why not take out all the photos and memorabilia from those holidays and time otherwise and put together a new photo album or albums, organizing or re-organizing the photos in a new way, adding a bit of glitter or little stickers of flowers and such, to the arrangement, to make it look happy, festive?
“I’m just sat resting every day and just looking at the walls”-
Why not start this routine: every day at about the same time, get up from bed and exercise, a treadmill will be best. Start five minutes, increase after a few days to ten minutes. Let your teenage children see you getting up at about the same time and persisting in this routine. This will encourage them, give them hope.
It will encourage you too, and give you hope too.
anitaJanuary 17, 2019 at 11:42 am #275173PeterParticipant
I was reminded of a book I read a while ago today and thought you might find it helpful
‘Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life’ by Philip Simmons
We are all—all of us—falling. We are all, now, this moment, in the midst of that descent, fallen from heights that may now seem only a dimly remembered dream, falling toward a depth we can only imagine, glimpsed beneath the water’s surface shimmer. And so let us pray that if we are falling from grace, dear God let us also fall with grace, to grace. If we are falling toward pain and weakness, let us also fall toward sweetness and strength. If we are falling toward death, let us also fall toward life. – Philip SimmonsJanuary 18, 2019 at 6:09 am #275317
Thank you Anita.
Lovely idea and recently I actually printed off alot of old photos for memories and bought a photo board to hang on my bedroom wall. On a better energy day I shall start pinning them. It may help me and nice for them to see. They say they remember everything but of course I worry they will forget.
I had a tough childhood and my mekroeis are not good at all. I just wanted better for my children. I know I’ve removed myself from my extended family to protect my children so of course they won’t suffer like I have. They are surrounded by love, a warm home, nice food and clothes. They have a very good life. I know that means everything. It’s everything u never had so at least I’ve given my children all of that. Being ill these last few years hasn’t stopped that but if course I worry its impacted them seeing me struggle with chronic fatigue issues and their dad having to do a lot more for them. They say they love me and are happy so u have to trust in that.
Having chronic fatigue syndrome. I have to refrain from exercise or it causes bad crashes but I get up every day before them, I wash, dress etc.. And they see that. I do gte up to do things upstairs every morning and potter about. They’re aware I’m now making their beds and cleaning the bathroom each day, all that I couldn’t do a while ago but they tell me off for over doing it haha. I’m going to restart some gentle yoga exercises on my bed each night but being mindful of my body.
Thank you for your reply.
JuJanuary 18, 2019 at 6:14 am #275323
Thank you Peter. Off to Amazon to take a look.
JuJanuary 18, 2019 at 7:43 am #275337AnonymousGuest
You are welcome.
It is a good thing to not give one’s children bad memories, way more important than it is to give them good memories. It is so because the bad ones are way more powerful than the good ones in affecting the children’s lives into adulthood. As humans we focus on danger and it takes precedence over anything and everything else.
So when you give your children safety in their home, when they are treated well in their home, no mistreatment whatsoever, my goodness, you give them a whole lot of good.
And to see you capable to make their beds and cleaning the bathrooms, to see you satisfied yourself that you are capable of doing these things, that is very good for them.
anitaJanuary 22, 2019 at 2:58 am #276061
I totally agree because my childhood has impacted me so much and I can’t remember any good memories because the bad are so powerful. I gave my children the best memories up until a few years ago because of course my brother attacked me and I had abuse from my extended family and that impacted my health mentally and physically. I’ve still continued to give my children good memories to the best of my ability, by showing them love, showing them bravery, they never go without anything, we have a nice home, we’ve taken on holidays and since my health deteriorated the last 12 months my husband has continued to take them to the cinema or meals out. They still get happy memories and our home it is a very happy home despite health issues that I have.
The most important thing is to give your children love and a safe home environment which something I lacked growing up and I’m just so glad I can give that to my children.
JuJanuary 22, 2019 at 8:35 am #276111AnonymousGuest
I am so glad that you are giving your children “love and a safe home environment”. I wish all children received this most important thing, the feeling of safety, and then topping it with loving attention.
I do wish your health improved much, that you will somehow come out of this chronic fatigue syndrome. I didn’t research the issue, but do you have information on people who recovered from chronic fatigue, being able to live the physically functional lives they lived before?