Sunday, 18 February 2018

Living with thanatophobia

There is one anxiety disorder no one ever seems to talk about: thanatophobia, the abnormal fear of death and losing your loved ones.

This post is very personal but I felt like talking about it. My biggest wish is to spread awareness to this topic.

I've been dealing with this disorder ever since I can remember. I remember going on my first class outing in Elementary school; being terribly home sick and all I wanted was to go home. I cried for four days non stop but they wouldn't let my parents come to pick me up from there. Of course, I didn't have a mobile phone back then, so I wasn't able to call my parents whenever I wanted. During those four days, my biggest fear was that something would happen to my family and that they won't be there anymore when I come home. I was afraid that my family could be involved in an accident or that someone would kill them. Needless to say that the class outing was everything but a fun trip for me. The years passed and the fear grew bigger and bigger. Every time a class outing was pending, I felt anxious and had nightmares and stomach ache weeks before the outing itself. I would try not to let the others see how I'm feeling but there were so many times when my fear was so big that I would search a lonely spot to cry. That went on for years. Twice I pretended I was sick so I didn't have to go. It's ridiculous, I know, but I know that I wouldn't be able to enjoy it anyway as the fear is always in my mind. Even nowadays, at work, when people come up with the idea of outings, I find excuses. It's more than frustrating that I can't tell the truth but almost nobody takes thantophobia serious. I am thankful for my parents, who care, understand and try to help me as much as they can. Usually, "Don't make such a fuss!" or "That's absurd." are typical responses to this disorder.

Thanatophobia goes hand in hand with depression and restricts the daily life of the affected persons considerably. After I finished school, I suffered from depression and it made my thantophobia even worse.  I was at home for a whole year and almost every time my parents left the house for work or to go to the grocery store, I started worrying, imagining the worst scenarios. The most terrifying thing that could happen was when my mum didn't answer her phone. The demons in my mind were telling me she's dead and that she'll never be able to hug me again. Crying fits and panic were guaranteed.

I had dreams - my biggest dream was working in Disneyland Paris. Living my life like I'm supposed to, in the most magical place on earth. For 6 years, I've been learning French like a lunatic so I can make my dream come true. Thantophobia shattered everything. How could I go and live about 550km away from my family when I start panicking when they go to the local grocery store already? It's devasting to lose my dream because of an abnormal and unfounded fear of mine.
Once I finish my apprenticeship, I'd like to continue my education and learn the job of a registrar. I don't know yet if I'll ever be able to do it because I'd have to live in a city that's over 160km away from home. I guess people who don't suffer from thantophobia will never be able to fully understand the problems people like me are facing. It's fucking scary. Our life quality is severely restricted and we sometimes just can't do the things other people can do easily. Dealing with elderlies or people who suffer from illness is triggering to me. It's terrible to say so, I'm aware of that.

This anxiety disorder is a bitch. You may think you've beat it but it's coming back every time when you don't expect it. It's eating you from the inside. There were many times in my life when I believed I can finally stop worrying but the demons always find a way to poison my mind again. One of my biggest wishes is that one day, I'll be able to leave this fear behind but I assume that it'll always be a part of me.

Quote of the Day: "And oh, I'm losing sight, I'm losing touch - all these little things seem to matter so much, that they confuse me. That I might lose me." -Stevonnie

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