A serious question about a psychological symptom

It takes all my courage (and a xanax) to ask this. If you trigger easily over things like death or suicide, please stop reading!

I was reading a review of Ray D'Alonzo's book Contents Under Pressure. I haven't read the book myself, but in the review it said one of Ray's "symptoms" was an obsession with death. I couldn't believe it! I immediately started sobbing. Long before the worst of my physical symptoms started this June, I started obsessing over my death. I stopped playing violent video games, stopped reading scary books, stopped watching horror movies/TV shows because they all triggered this... I don't know what to call it... terror I guess, inside me. Death became this cloud that followed me everywhere - not that I wanted to die, just this obsession and fear that something I'm doing is going to cause me to die.

The past three years or so it's gotten worse. I blamed it on everything from a mid-life crisis (I'm now 32), to my upbringing, to some bizarre kind of depression. I was sure I was having a premonition or something. Now that I am physically ill, I'm terrified every day and especially going to sleep. I'm afraid if I go to sleep, I'm not going to wake up. Every night I struggle with this!

I thought I was alone, that this was something no one else had experienced. I haven't even brought it up to my doctor because it's SO ridiculous. I'm scared as hell I'm dying, even though I've seen so many doctors over the last six months. I'm sure someone would have said something if I was dying, right? My head says I'm being stupid but I can't stop this fear!!

Anyway I guess my question is... Has anyone else been crazy-obsessed with the fear of dying? I know people usually talk about their physical symptoms but if I knew just one other person felt this way... And I'm sorry if this offends anyone. I promise I don't want to die! That's the problem, I'm terrified of it and I can't meditate or pray or even medicate the fear away.

I have had some fleeting feelings of terror about death since I found out that I have chiari and realized all the other stuff that frequently goes along with it. I would normally (because of my beliefs)not really fear death. But it has just felt so close by that its scary. I have a lot of other drepression/anxiety/worry issues that have been bad for a few years now. I will think for awhile I should ask my dr for antidepressants. But as soon as I think I’ll go ahead it passes for a bit. I think it’s from my brain compression and not just from being upset about my situation. I can realize that I’m thinking irrationally but cannot do a thing to change it till it eases up again. It comes and goes like my other symptoms. I think alot,if not all of us have psychological issues from having our brain compressed. It varies individually though. At times I think the mental stuff is worse than the physical pain. I did get some klonopin for times I just can’t manage the bad times.
I just read the book you mentioned. I would recommend it.


I know exactly what you are talking about. I think my fear stems from childhood. My aunt survived an aneurysm and they explained to me what happened and how lucky she was not to die. Then my uncle had one and died. So basically my whole life I've known you could be fine one minutes and then just die. :( It terrifies me. Then when I started having chiari headaches that got worse when I sneezed, used the bathroom, or strained I was terrified it was an aneurysm. I think the doctor thought I was crazy because I was so happy the MRI showed chiari.

I'm definitely prone to panicking about dying. When my blood pressure is up I think I'm going to have a stroke. I cried and cried once because my blood pressure was 130/28, then my mom explained that was her blood pressure AFTER taking meds and she wasn't dead yet. My blood pressure is fine at home but when I go to the doctor I worry so much it's elevated. My heart rate is always high so I spend a considerable amount of time wondering if my heart will wear out faster than most. So yeah...you are not alone in this crazy fear.

Thanks for taking the time to respond! The weird thing is my fear started years before I had symptoms or a diagnosis. I thought it was stress from taking on too much (work, school, volunteering, planning a wedding, etc.). It just keeps getting worse... I don't want to take antidepressants if it's a side-effect from the Chiari, but I also don't think I can take it much longer. The fear is so overwhelming, day and night. It's nearly as debilitating as the fatigue, headaches, muscle pain combined.

I totally agree with Beeba I think you should maybe talk with your doctor just to put it out there we are here for support and we are all coping with pain family and day to day life I have just be come sick this year and I did find myself wondering “is this my last Christmas with my family” but it isn’t an obsession and I put it in a box and this illness has changed me in a lot of ways I fight to be normal as much as possible then go in my room with my heating pad and hydro codon at the end of the day in misery but so fulfilled that I have created “moments” with my children. Moments that a year ago I took for granted. What I’m trying to say in the long version is we all think about it I’m sure but if its consuming you, then maybe you need to talk to a professional about it. And I am NOT a fan of the CRAZY doctors but I did go for my testing to the neuropsychologist and he was so nice and explained how hard it is for us to be loaded down with all the physical and mental symptoms that go with this that it truly takes a toll on us and he is right and there are times we need help not permanent help just help to get through tough times but find the right person to help you not just a pill pusher maybe just someone you go unload to verbally once a week or once a month I hope it works out for you.