Fear or Fair

Okay, I know I have discussed my recent psychiatry appointment a lot this past week. There were several moments that stuck out in my head, most notably the healing or a heart attack dilemma that I talked about yesterday. Yet, the final piece that stuck with me, one I want to talk about today, is an observation that the psychiatrist made that I’d never really thought about. 

While discussing my anxiety, the psychiatrist paused from his note-taking, looked up, and said, “we haven’t touched on this before but it seems like you have a fear of death.”

“I guess,” I acknowledged. “Doesn’t everybody?” 

And the answer is yes. And also no. As it relates to me, mostly no. 

Even people without anxiety disorders may nevertheless find themselves anxious if they are walking close to a cliff that lacks a handrail. Yet most people I talked to about the issue after this exchange with my psychiatrist said that they aren’t really afraid of death, it is just that they don’t think about it. And sure, they might admit, there is always the chance of some terrible accident, but nobody can control that, so why worry about it?

Why indeed? In my case, the obvious answer is my anxiety, but part of recovery is recognizing triggers and recognizing areas where you can slow down the primal brain, which, of course, is where the anxiety lives, and engage your rational, logical brain to bring you back from that anxiety. 

Because while a little bit of anxiety is good, and likely keeps you out of the Darwin Awards, too much will paralyze you, keeping you so afraid of dying, that you never really live to the fullest, and you are always left to wonder what if.  At least I am, and the anxiety and the unreasonable fear of dying are to blame, even if I didn’t realize it was an unreasonable fear until this week. 

If you’d like to share your thought’s on dying, I would love to hear them. Otherwise thanks for reading and see you next week.

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