I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
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26-07-2014, 01:28 PM
RE: I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
I have noticed that people who de-convert do go through a stage where this fear is overwhelming and it does seem to take time to reason through and understand it. Because there was the idea of an afterlife prior to de-conversion, it seems as if the idea now is, "there is nothing to fall back on" ... "Holy shit, I'm expected to live without a safety net!" It's also probably quite a jolt to suddenly realize that there never was a safety net ... this can be a terrible shock to the psyche.

The psyche is always trying to protect itself and the ego ... everything in the psyche adjusts to keep things safely in place. If perspective in one area changes, perspective in another area usually must be adjusted. If not, fear will produce unsubstantiated possibilities and continually reinforce them. It begins to work from a reality that it has created, which really isn't there. (It's no coincidence; the same process is what has kept the former delusion of "god/afterlife" so easily acceptable.)

I think it's part of the process for the psyche to utilize defense mechanisms to re-form a new perspective of "acceptance". After all, death was previously accepted as a part of life; why not now? It takes time for all these new perspectives and their respective influences to be safely placed and balanced just right.

Give yourself time Clever, time for your mind to gather and put new perspectives into place. Bemore suggested concentrating on breathing and I can't agree more. Keeping one's self ready to expect the unexpected does not have to be fraught with anxiety.

Many times the very idea of physical health and knowing one is doing all one can in that area, can be a very comforting influence in minimizing anxiety. Some thoughts which might counter the psyche's terrified, "I'm expected to live without a safety net!" might be: "I'm taking responsibility for my life. I'm consciously attempting a healthy lifestyle by staying fit and stimulating my mind and body in positive ways." Make these notions a mantra.

We all have an inner dialog of sorts and if we are only used to negative shit going in, then countering it with positive shit will help to overcome that negative. The mind will fight it... so saturating it with positive reinforcement is key. Let's face it; you were brainwashed to think a certain way. Now, you have to rewash your brain to think YOUR way... the way things really are, not the way you wish things were.

You got a little ways to go and it will take some concentration. I do think since you are able to articulate your fear issues, it's a good sign you may be on the verge of moving past them. Keep going. Thumbsup

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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27-07-2014, 08:32 PM
RE: I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
Thanks for the help attempts, everyone.

I've been thinking about everything a bit. I've begun to think maybe my problem is less fear of death, more just plain old paranoia. I tend to think of the worst case scenario other places, as well, and unless I can prove it can't happen, or have a backup plan in case it does happen, I can't stop worrying. Of course, you can't really have a backup plan for, or disprove the possibility of death (and I have tried the "remind yourself that you've survived it already" tactic many times, for the record) so neither of them can be pulled off.

It's hard to focus on something else, since I'm mainly scared when going to sleep, and there's nothing to do except think, but I've been trying the tactic of just immediately shoving any worries that come up out of my head. It's worked with some of the other things I've worried about.

As for the "You can't actually tell" responses, the idea really doesn't help. Maybe it will years down the road, but for now it just kind of creeps me out.

Popcorn Putting more thought into fiction than a lot of people put into reality.
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27-07-2014, 09:07 PM
RE: I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
I'd try and focus on all the good things you've got going on for you in your life. We all have irrational fears about something at some point or another, but it's all about focusing on positives. This may sound silly, but what you may be reading or listening to can effect your thoughts on this thing. Try watching films or reading books that aren't so focused on death, if you actually are doing that? Haha, silly maybe, but I hope your fears subside.

"Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?" --Ellen Ripley
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03-08-2014, 08:57 PM
RE: I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
"I'm not afraid of death or dying, I'm afraid of losing my life..." - Me

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits... - George Carlin.
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09-08-2014, 06:48 PM
RE: I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
I ride a motorcycle in a country with truly atrocious road safety. Non-bikers are constantly telling me they wouldn't dare or asking "isn't it incredibly dangerous", and the truth is: Yes, it is dangerous, and not for the faint hearted but mostly it's about risk management. I wear proper safety gear, I've done some advanced training and taught other riders, and I'm constantly aware of what the lunatics around me are doing.

The possibility that I will be killed today by some moron in a Land Cruiser is still there, but I know I've done everything in my power to mitigate it without compromising my enjoyment of riding a bike.

I know this probably doesn't help when you know your fears are somewhat paranoid, but you have almost certainly already done the same kind of mitigation for all the daily risks that worry you. Rationally, you can remind yourself that the chances of something happening to you are as small as they can possibly be and perhaps eventually overpower the fear. Not sage advise exactly but that's how I deal with the problem.

'The world holds two classes of men: intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.' - Abdallah al-Ma'arri
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09-08-2014, 10:04 PM
RE: I think I'm developing thanatophobia.
(25-07-2014 08:58 PM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  I prefer the comparison "it'll be exactly the same sensation you had before you were born". Do you remember how it felt?

That's how I feel about death. We are unalive or back to being unborn. Nothingness. But look on the bright side, as one is unalive one is also non-taxable. So there's that.

"If things aren't funny anymore then they're exactly what they are and life is just one long dental appointment interrupted occasionally by something exciting like waiting or falling asleep" Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns
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