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Death and Fear of Death


Phobia of Death

Have you ever wondered, why the thoughts of our own death can “freeze” us? Why the thoughts of losing someone we love are so shocking? Why does the concept of death frighten and terrorise us?

The closest and the opposite emotion of faith is the fear and mostly every person experiences the painful feeling of hopelessness in the attempt of avoiding this feeling. The fear of death is a human and universal phenomenon, which is present in the minds of people. It can trigger the dark sides of the personality and push it to the edges.

The scary thought of inevitability of death can prevent us from enjoying life and it even might cause psychopathological behaviours, such as depression and panic attacks. In some extreme cases, it even can make a person hate life itself, because of the fear of death.

  • Those who are scared of death believe they suffer from countless diseases.
  • Some are trying to predict how their life will end in order to prevent it’s coming.
  • Some seek eternity through reputation, social recognition, acquisition of wealth and power.
  • Some turn to supernatural religious beliefs and astrological predictions.

The Injustice of Death

Sometimes we do experience the death as a personal failure or even injustice if the death comes from the failure of medicine and science, we feel injustice for an inability to keep alive those whom we love. The fear of death often occupies both the time and space in our lives and emotionally we can not continue living the same way. The feeling of death can be so intense that feel like we are under the constant threat.

Nevertheless, the anguish of death overpowers the lives of most people and disrupts their thoughts and behaviour. Complete denial of the approaching end of life reveals most of the times our fear of death. While living our lives we build defence mechanisms in order to be able to handle the awareness of death but honestly, we cannot get the thought out of our mind completely. It just bursts into every nightmare.


Famous Quotes About The Fear of Death

Shakespeare said, "I prefer better to die every hour from the fear of death than to die once”

Socrates asked people to think and philosophise about the matters of life and death and to accept the process, while Epicurus believed that the task of philosophy is to relieve human suffering and he considered the main cause of misery is the ubiquitous fear of our death.

The Bible as an expression of divine revelation of God to man refers in (Hebrews 2 b: 14,15).

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death"

Woody Allen stated, " I do not fear death, just do not want to be there when it comes!"

The greatest living existential psychotherapist, the Irvin Yalom, invites us not to ignore the death but to work on hardest to achieve: to make a peace with it and confront the greatest human fear.


Overcoming of Death

We realise that the fear of the end of life touches sensitive existential levels of a person and critical aspects of human existence itself. Death and the internal processing of death clearly illustrate the holistic view of each of us about the meaning of life, relationships with the world, the finite existence and ourselves. It might be a brutal experience of mourning, but it is important to accept and understand that the existence of death helps us to live better.

The joy, the sense of life, our memories and records of the past, loneliness, despair, freedom, decay, sickness, all these lead us to confront the fact of existence and to convulse innermost structures of our psyche.

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The treatment of death is the darker side of our existence, and the way we experience the upcoming end depends on how we live our lives. If we go one step further, we will understand that the person is afraid of his last moment and he searches desperately to discover the future instead of trying to shape it.

The inability to control our own life, keeps us immobilised in the same static position. Fear predominates in personal responsibility and confirms the complete absence of personal freedom. The treatment of death can give a new meaning in life if we manage to move from the denial of death to acceptance of life and from despair to hope for the future. Experiencing the death of a beloved person does not have to result necessarily in despair, but instead, it can be the experience that will wake us up and lead us to a fuller life.

The fear of death is basically the fear of unfulfilled life.


Fear of Death in Psychotherapy

The agony of death is always discussed in every psychotherapeutic session. Psychotherapy is a deep and comprehensive exploration of the path of the meaning of life. And since death plays a big part in our existence and because life and death are interdependent, it is completely impossible to ignore the subject during the sessions.

A therapist usually aims to connect as deeply as possible with the patient. The phycologist is always called to understand not only the symptoms of a patient but also to highlight and elaborate the inclusive vision of the patient concerning the meaning of life, the anxiety of existence, freedom and etc.. Every therapist is inevitably faced with his own existential questions about life and death through the process of therapy.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 SAM ELDER


Debra Allen from West Virginia on April 30, 2014:

I do not fear death itself. I have been to the other side. I fear the pain it will cause to others who will still be here when I walk through the door again.

Thomas Swan from New Zealand on October 29, 2013:

This is a coincidence because I'll be publishing a hub about "comfort theories of religion" later today, and much of the evidence deals with how our fear of death motivates us to form religious beliefs. So, I'm glad you mentioned that some people turn to supernatural, religious, or astrological explanations... but wow, what a coincidence! I enjoyed the quotes too, good job, voted up and interesting.

SAM ELDER (author) from Home on October 29, 2013:

Thank you msDora, I always enjoy your comments and mostly your positive energy that can be seen clearly in your work and in your kind comments...

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 29, 2013:

Since death will come for sure, "to make a peace with it and confront the greatest human fear" seems like the wisest thing to do. Thank you for these profound thoughts on the subject.

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