This one might get a little weird and metaphysical/philosophical/whatever. Not sure what to call it or if my explanation will do it justice. Pretty sure the comments are going to be fairly interesting on this one and next week’s similar subject.
Basically, one of the things that happens when my anxiety hits at night is that my mind locks on the concept of death. I can’t pull it away and I think part of it stems from when I thought it was me having a heart problem instead of it being mental. In fact, one of the ways I figured out that it was anxiety was because of this fear. A friend pointed out that it was strange my mind went to this instead of trying to get help or considering that it was a heart attack. I became locked in my own thoughts of death. So, when I went looking for panic/anxiety attack information, I purposely checked to see if this kind of mindset is common. It was and that helped me handle the thoughts a little better.
Truthfully, to say I was afraid of death isn’t exactly true. It was more that I began thinking about what happens afterwards and my mind went wild with a series of ideas:
- The idea that I would die and the rest of the world go on freaked me out. It made me consider that I wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. Also, that I would truly exist for as long as people remembered me. This led to the fear that I would be forgotten and then I wondered how many people have existed, but have been erased due to having no remaining sign that they were ever here.
- The idea that I might simply ‘turn off’ instead of having any consciousness continuing on in some form. Similar to the first one, this is centered more on my inner self than my place in the world. Again, I would freak out because I imagined that everything in my head that never got out would be lost forever. Every character and story that I failed to complete would be erased, which made me feel like I’d wasted so many years of my life. Anger would come about in this one because I’d hate the way the world works in that most of humanity can’t go for their dreams. All we can do is survive and gather as many years as we can before we die. If one believes that God has a plan for everyone then it means most of us would be cattle under this concept, which didn’t sit well with me. I’d usually pass out here hoping that I got to have a few words with my maker.
- Perhaps the strangest one is also the longest running. It led to the more complicated ‘turn off’ in that I ceased to exist. It was more a focus on the concept of no longer existing and trying to imagine what it would feel like. This has to be impossible because one wouldn’t feel or think anything. There’s nothing left to hold either of those concepts. You’re gone. Now, the strangest part is that I would become afraid that thinking about it too long could make it happen. This would make me panic even more and I would be terrified that I’ve already gone too far, which meant I was about to blink out of life and wouldn’t even be aware of it.
There were some smaller death scenarios that would turn up, but those were the big three that still make me twitchy. Even writing about it makes me uncomfortable. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever tried to explain it too. I know most people will bring in religion and their thoughts on the afterlife here. Yet, that really isn’t part of the scenario because it’s not entirely logical. If we die and end up either in another dimension or getting reincarnated then great. No way to tell though, which means any of my scenarios could be equally valid.
I did try to use this for my upcoming release and see if I could get my train of thought sorted out through a depressed character. Pretty sure it didn’t work because she proved to be stronger and more stubborn than me. Might have made me feel a little worse too because it meant there was a piece of me willing to fight to live. The only that has managed to help is recognizing that the ideas are coming and cut them off quickly. It’s a 50/50 thing.