In this brief article, we will answer the question ‘why do you feel like you are going to die?’.
We will also find out what death anxiety is, its symptoms and treatment. In this article, we will be also discussing what you should do when you feel that you are going to die and how you can stop that thought.
Why do I feel like I’m going to die soon?
The reason why you feel like you are going to die soon can be because you are battling with any sort of anxiety disorders or depression or it can be an induced feeling by some event or someone close to you. This fear of death is probably a result of anxiety and negative vibes as our subconscious are designed to create and induce feelings, thoughts and scenarios based on our everyday experiences.
Few people experience this feeling as a result of experiencing a panic attack. They report having heart palpitations, feeling like your stomach is in a knot or your head is going to explode.
Sometimes the body wouldn’t show the typical external symptoms of a panic attack like sweating, trembling or increased breathing rate but then inside, the person might feel that he is going to die, that his heart feels crushed, head feels heavy and loud and it’s unbearable.
Unlike other animals who experience fear of death only when they see their predators, human beings are cognitively aware that one day our death is coming and is haunted by dreams the one day you will age and die. Experts say that to an extent the fear of death is normal and helps us in protecting ourselves from potential danger.
The feeling that you may die soon can be caused by fear of death and the anxiety this fear results in. It’s generally not just the fear of death. People fear the change, the unknown, the thought of which only scares them and the fear of separation from their loved ones.
Experts call this fear of death ‘Death anxiety’. Even though it is an unpleasant emotion, some level of death anxiety helps you to reduce the risks of being in dangerous situations and can help you in adopting positive coping mechanisms. But the extreme level of death anxiety can lead to maladaptive coping strategies and feelings of terror.
But aside from the terror one experiences while thinking about death, its also about the pain one feels thinking about how it’s going to be when they are no more alive, that they will no longer live life with their loved ones and how it is unfair to end life very soon.
Death Anxiety/ Thanatophobia
Death anxiety refers to extreme anxiety and fear about death considering that death is inevitable. It also involves fear of loss, separation and leaving loved ones behind. This fear or anxiety is called thanatophobia when they interfere with one’s daily activities and cause significant distress.
Death anxiety in most people is considered to be a stable distinct trait, not a state. It is not an emotion that comes and goes but is considered to be a part of the personality. In others, death anxiety is conceptualized as an expression of generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder.
But some experts consider death anxiety as distinct and they overlap with generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder 10-15% times. They say that death anxiety is more stable over time than GAD or depressive disorders and less responsive to treatment than them.
Some key symptoms of death anxiety are:
- Intense fear or anxiety caused by the thought of death or the process of death
- Panic attacks cause heart palpitation, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness etc.
- Situations that invoke even the thought of death are actively avoided
- Anxiety and feelings of depression
- The thought of death or its process causes stomach ache and feeling sick
A lot of times death anxiety is considered to be transdiagnostic. Which means that it can be an expression of some mental disorders but it is not a mental disorder on its own. We see that it manifests often in Panic disorder, OCD, somatic symptom disorder etc.
Most professionals suggest that the best way to treat death anxiety is by providing treatment for the underlying anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder or any other mental health disorder or the specific cause of their fear.
This primarily involves altering the individual’s thinking and behaviour patterns to overcome feelings of anxiety and adopt behaviours and strategies that help them to stay and not be scared while thinking or talking about death.
If the death anxiety is experienced as a part of existing mental disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD or major depressive disorder, medications for these disorders along with appropriate therapy is found effective in treating death anxieties.
What should I do when I feel like I am going to die soon?
When you feel like you are going to die soon, It is always better to talk to someone about the feelings and how it is bothering you. Experts say talking to someone always helps.
If this feeling is extreme that it’s interfering with your daily activities, it can be due to existing anxiety or depression and its always better to seek help from a professional. Many people tend to stay silent and suffer through this alone because they don’t want to sound crazy to others. You need to know that this feeling doesn’t make you any crazy but seeking help would help you in dealing with the anxiety.
How can I avoid the feeling that I am going to die?
Take charge of your life
You can be beginning to take charge of your life by surrounding yourself with people you enjoy spending time with and spend quality time with them. Other things than you can do is ensure that your mind is occupied with positive thoughts and mentally uplifting activities. Furthermore, start doing those things that make you happy and leave you satisfied, quit jobs that are not satisfying, do not stay in relationships that make you unhappy.
It’s seen more often that the fear of death is not simply the fear of death but also the fear of not living on your terms. Experts say that you would be less scared of death if you appreciate your life more.
Understand that death is a natural occurrence and inevitable
Understand that we are a part of a great cycle from birth, conception to death that everyone has to go through. Considering death as an inevitable privilege that marks the end of our mission on earth just like we consider being alive as privilege is more helpful in dealing with the fear of death.
Getting yourself some time to breathe very calm and concentrate will help you in feeling relaxed and is known to be very helpful in coping with anxiety.
Analyse and question your thoughts
- Asking yourself ‘why do I fear death so much?’
- Looking for evidence of any potential threat or danger
- Asking yourself ‘what else this feeling could also be?’
- Checking with other people if they have had experiences like this and what did it turn out to be.
Try living well
Try adopting daily activities that will help you lead a positive and healthier life. Making a list of awesome things that you would like to do and working towards it has been seen as profoundly helping people deal with death anxiety.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
In this brief article, we answered the question ‘why do I feel like I am going to die soon?’. We found out that this feeling can be due to anxiety or depression or as a result of any negative event, related to oneself or the loved ones.
In this article, we also discussed death anxiety and its functions, its symptoms and treatment. We found out that in some people death anxiety exists as a distinctive personality trait while in others they exist as an expression of an underlying mental health condition like anxiety, depression, OCD etc. death anxiety is transdiagnostic, i.e can be a manifestation of many mental disorders but is not a mental disorder on its own.
We also discussed what can be done when you feel you are going to die and how you can stop the thought of dying.
FAQ: why do I feel like I am going to die soon?
Why does it feel like right before death?
The reason why it feels like right before death can be that you might be experiencing a panic attack. The feeling of impending doom, sweating, palpitation, shortness of breath, dizziness and feeling detached from your own body or reality might seem like a near-death experience but instead, you are getting a panic attack.
What does it mean when you are constantly worried about dying?
Your constant worry about dying suggests an underlying condition of anxiety or depression. This constant worrying can be about one’s own or loved one’s death. It involves the fear of separation, losing somebody or leaving your loved one behind.
How common is death anxiety?
Death anxiety is one of the most common fears among people. It can be either a distinctive trait in an individual or can be an expression of underlying mental health problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD etc.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
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