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Death Anxiety

Hi, 

For the past few months I've been dealing with what I think is a kind of death anxiety. A few months ago I started to struggle with intrusive thoughts about suicide, and it's become a bit of an obsession. I don't want to die, but I sometimes find it really difficult to stop imagining, worrying and over analysing. I've been getting help from my parents, my uncle, a school counsellor, a psychologist and websites like Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline, but I wonder if anyone else has or is struggling with something like this and if they have any tips to provide?

Thanks.

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Re: Death Anxiety

Hi @Clementine75 , 

 

Thanks so much for your post and for opening up about the intrusive thoughts about suicide that you're experiencing. It sounds like you have a lot self-awareness about these thoughts, which is fantastic, and it's excellent to hear that you're getting support from your family and mental health professionals. There's a lot of people in this community who have dealt with different kinds of intrusive thoughts, and hopefully they will be able to give you support and advice. 

 

Has your psychologist given you any strategies that you find helpful when you're dealing with these intrusive thoughts? Some things that people find helpful in similar situations include grounding techniques, or listening to a favourite song, or getting outside and having some exercise - what works best is up to the individual, and I'm sure that the community here may be able to give you some tips of what's worked for them. 

 

The most important thing is that you stay safe in that moment. Thank you for reaching out here, the community is here to support you Heart 

 

I just wanted to make sure that you're aware of our community guidelines which I've linked to here - we do have some boundaries around what's okay and what's not okay to post about in regard to suicidal thoughts (which you have followed here, but I just wanted to make you aware of them in case you weren't already). 

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Re: Death Anxiety

Welcome to the forums @Clementine75!
I think that a lot of people can relate to your experience. I know people who have experienced something similar, so you're definitely not alone. Heart It's normal to be anxious about death, but it can be a problem when it starts to take over your life.
Is there any kind of activity that helps distract you from the thoughts? We have a list of coping strategies and distractions that might be helpful if you need some ideas.
Something I personally find helpful is letting intrusive thoughts wash over me like a wave. I often write them down in my phone, then do something to take my mind off them.
I think it's great that you're getting support from people and websites. Smiley Happy Would you feel comfortable asking them if they have any suggestions for dealing with the thoughts?

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Re: Death Anxiety

I have gotten some advice from people and websites (breathing techniques etc) which has been helpful, I just feel like a lot of the advice that I'm getting now is stuff I'm already aware of. I've been using these websites a lot more recently because I won't be able to talk to my psychologist for a few weeks because she's on holiday. Sometimes I might obsess over the idea of how the thoughts would stop if I did die, but I know that's not true, and besides, I don't want to die, that's what's scaring me so much in the first place. I recently seem to have developed a tendency to obsess over thoughts like that, even though I don't believe them, want them to happen or have an intention to act on them.

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Re: Death Anxiety

Sometimes I just feel so scared and, as much as I don't want these thoughts to happen to me or these thoughts to continue, it's like my brain doesn't know how to not feel afraid and worried, even though I know I'm not in danger and that these thoughts won't happen.

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Re: Death Anxiety

@Clementine75  I'm glad that the advice has been helpful. Smiley Happy Well done for using the websites!
I understand that the thoughts do sound pretty scary. I think it's important to remember that the thoughts are just thoughts. Like you said, you have the power to choose whether or not to believe or act on them. You can also choose how you interpret them and how you feel about them.
It might be hard to control the intrusive thoughts and telling yourself not to think about them can make you think about them even more. But remembering and focusing on the things that you can control could help. For example, you can look after your health by eating well, practicing good sleep hygiene and doing self-care.
Are the thoughts triggered by anything or do they just happen?

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Re: Death Anxiety

No, they aren't really triggered by anything. It's become a bit of an obsession and they just happen.

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Re: Death Anxiety

Hi @Clementine75 ,

 

I hear how difficult these thoughts are for you.  When you said " as much as I don't want these thoughts to happen to me or these thoughts to continue, it's like my brain doesn't know how to not feel afraid and worried, even though I know I'm not in danger and that these thoughts won't happen.", - I think that shows so much insight, and wisdom. You know that you don't want to die or to harm yourself, and you know you're not really in danger - but our brains and bodies can sometimes react in ways that we can't control. 

 

It's fantastic that you're using websites and this community while your psychologist is on leave, did they help you to make a safety plan at all for this period if you feel that you need it? 

 

Are there any distracting activities that you've found helpful, while you wait for the thoughts to pass? You mentioned breathing exercises, and @WheresMySquishy  linked to a great list that different community members contributed to that helped them - personally, I have sometimes found playing games on my phone to be a useful distraction when I need to give my brain a break - things like tetris, and mario runner sometimes help me to zone out a bit when I need to de-stress. 

 

Heart Heart 

 

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Re: Death Anxiety

No, my psychologist didn't really make any plans with me, because at the time I was feeling better and didn't think I'd need to see her again. I have some activities I use to take my mind off it sometimes, but sometimes it gets really intense and difficult to control.

Re: Death Anxiety

Hi @Clementine75 , it sounds like you're being really proactive in looking for ways to cope with these thoughts, which is amazing. You've mentioned your psychologist is on holidays at the moment, do you think you'd be able to make an appointment for when they're back? It might be helpful to talk through ways to keep yourself safe and strategies you can use to ease your distress when things get really intense - it can be really hard to control feelings like these, it's important to remember that those feelings will pass eventually. It's great to hear that you do have some activities that can help to take your mind off them, what are your favourite things to try? 

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