Working on Fear of Death

I just wrote an update post and thought I had nothing of note to say, but I just realized I was wrong.

A couple years ago, I wrote about my crippling fear of death. The other day, I talked to a counselor about this for the first time, and it actually really helped. But before explaining my counselling session, I should try explaining this bizarre fear again.

Since about 2015, I have had a near-constant fear of death. I can’t explain away the irony that I have been suicidal at times since this began; mental illness is weird. But I am always afraid that I could die any second, and that my life would mean nothing because I haven’t done anything important yet. It ties into an existential anxiety about the reality that everybody dies and the desperation to attach meaning to my temporary existence.

I am aware that statistics suggest I will live for several more decades. I have spent time looking through Stats Canada data to make sure of this. But I just have this overwhelming feeling that I will die young. I find it difficult to plan for my future, because I don’t feel like I will have one. Making plans for later in life feels like deciding what I’ll spend the money on if I win the lottery. Because of this constant fear of death, I never feel safe. I imagine the bus I’m on crashing, or nuclear war breaking out today, or a plane crash-landing onto my house. It’s obviously very distressing.

After speaking with my counselor, I have learned a bit about why I feel this way. For one, I realized that this started around the time I found out that a girl who had gone to my babysitter’s died in a car crash. She was 19. I also spend a lot of time watching the news, where freak accidents are reported on regularly.

These things might play a role in creating my fear of death, but what sustains it? I realized that the thought of letting go of this fear ironically terrifies me. I feel like constantly expecting my death protects me somehow. I can’t handle disappointment and changes of plans, so thinking about a future that nobody is guaranteed is really hard for me. I guess I’m trying to prepare myself in case I do die young. I want to avoid a situation where I’m slowly dying on the ground, thinking about all the things I’ll never be able to do. Like “Joke’s on you death; I knew this was going to happen the whole time.” I also feel like having this fear pushes me to create a legacy NOW. In reality, this is hardly true. Sometimes, I will desperately write in an attempt to get all my thoughts out into the world while I still can. So cool, I have a journal and a blog. But a real legacy is built over decades, and I can’t plan that far in advance.

So I’m going to stop ruminating on these fears, as difficult as it is. And yes, there is a small probability that death sneaks up on me while I’m not expecting me. But there is a much larger probability that I stop living in constant fear long enough to make something of myself. So I guess that’s something?

Sarah

Let’s Talk about Death

Last night, I was in a really strange mood. After listening to hours of Kimya Dawson songs, I started feeling abnormally peaceful. I’m not a person who feels peaceful unless something is horribly, horribly wrong. So that was weird.

When the peace began to subside, I started desperately trying to figure out how to bring it back. I didn’t need it back right away, I just needed to know how to access it again. I wrote the following note in my phone:

peace

Kimya Dawson
Everything has made me who I am?
One with the universe?
Song writing?

It looks like a mason jar and a Lululemon bag (the ones with the “inspirational” quotes) made a love child, and it was this note. Essentially, these were my ideas of what had caused that peaceful feeling.

I just listened to a couple Kimya Dawson songs again. And I might have figured out what it was about her songs that made me feel so calm.

She talks about death.

She sings about the death of her friends, the death of her loved ones, and alludes to her own eventual end.

I think about death all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. And not in a suicidal way. Okay, sometimes in a suicidal way. But mostly in a “We’re all going to die one day, so what’s the point?” way. It makes me feel depressed. Which sometimes makes me feel suicidal. And terrified to die. Simultaneously.  It’s all an exciting whirlwind of death and sadness. That would be a great title for my future memoir. Anyways…

I think I’ve been depressed since I was 13, but my depression became severe just after I left Christianity. I knew what happened when we died; I knew what my purpose was; I knew why the world existed. And then I didn’t. I watched a bunch of documentaries on the origin of the universe, looking to Stephen Hawking to tell me why I existed. But it turns out, that’s not really that guy’s job.

The point is, I’ve spent a lot of time since then contemplating death. And life. And the meaning behind all of it. And the lack of meaning. But I think about it in my head, because otherwise I bum people out.

As a society, we’ve decided that even though death is the one thing we all have in common, we are not going to talk about it. I will die. You will die. Everyone we love will die, and we’re supposed to go on working out and studying and paying bills like that isn’t true. And when somebody we know does die, it’s impossible to comprehend. It fucks us right up, because people don’t die. People are here and we know them, and they can’t just not be here anymore. What the hell?

So I guess there was something relieving in hearing someone sing about death. It made me feel like it’s okay that everybody is going to die. That sounds morbid, but I mean it feels okay that everything is temporary. We can spend the time we have connecting with others and feeling inspired and talking about how fucking weird it is that one day, we won’t exist. And when that day comes, the world will go on. Unless you die in some sort of Armageddon-style end-of-the-world situation, in which case it won’t. But the matter and the anti-matter will do whatever it did when… okay I didn’t pay enough attention when I watched those documentaries. I digress.

The point of this post is that, as it turns out, talking about death brings me incredible peace. And I think that as a species, we should do it more. I’m so fucking weird.

Sarah

The Ativan High Continues

TW: SUBSTANCE ABUSE, DEPRESSION, SUICIDE

In sake of full disclosure, I am extremely under the influence of excess Ativan/ Lorazepam.I took some more, and now I have bad a lot, but not  a dangerous amount.

I would like something very deep to come out of this post, but I doubt it.I am very, very, very, very happy that **This is when Sarah forgot what she was talking about and became unable to keep the conversation going or whether there is a mood that needs to be kept or anything,

My point is, I am in Hell, Lorazepam helps. Will probably want more later. I’m turning into the worst fucking influence. Didn’t step out into traffic today. Win!

Sarah

 

Note: I cannot comprehend anything about this posting at this point so I apologize ahead of time for the poor decisions in posting.

Fear of Death and Considering my Legacy

Hey everybody,

My anxiety has been especially bad lately. I have been meaning to ask my doctor to prescribe me Ativan, which I have received from a different doctor in the past, but I keep chickening out.

In a hilarious twist of irony, after spending over a year killing myself slowly and experiencing periodic urges to instead do it quickly, I have been feeling pathologically afraid of death nearly all the time. I have been spending a majority of my time fearing freak accidents, violent attacks, and my heart finally deciding it’s done with my crap. Essentially, I am apparently under the impression that I am living in a Final Destination movie.

This fear of death has led to an obsession with the meaning my life would have if it suddenly ended today. In other words, I cannot stop thinking about my legacy. I feel this urgency to voice every thought, to take every action, to live every dream I have ever had. Today. It is stressful and burdensome and exhausting.

As I write this, I am quickly realizing that this is all I have to say on the matter. There is no real solution, and no larger message. But I feel significantly better just expressing these thoughts. So on the off-chance that I die in five seconds, the world will be aware that I felt this way.

Sarah