How to stop having an existential crisis every night before I go to bed

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Opal, Jul 28, 2016.

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  1. So tired of this. I've been taking a lot of Ativan lately because my crippling fear of death has gotten really out of control. Reading even tangentially related things gives me a panic attack about dying and then I can barely move from my chair, much the less go to sleep. My regular panic attack techniques don't work for this unfortunately. I don't want to rely on Ativan and sleeping meds, because I already feel bad enough as it is about all the medication I'm on. :(

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips for calming your mind and bringing yourself out of panic attacks, especially when it comes to sleeping. Any help at all is appreciated. Though, before anyone suggests therapy: though I'm not currently in therapy, I have been many times and have tried to work through this, but it's something tough to break. Like, really tough. I just want something to help in the mean time before I find a real, hard fix for this fear.
  2. If it's a crippling fear of death keeping you awake, then there's only one thing (to my unprofessional knowledge anyway) you can really do; come to accept that death is possible, but not linger on it. No amount of drugs, techniques, compensation can counter-act a fear than acceptance.
  3. I know this. Unfortunately, it doesn't help me right now. Should have mentioned that. I've been told just to accept it and that everyone dies and so and so forth many times, but as it stands, it just makes me feel worse. That's why I'm just looking for techniques to help settle panic attacks and fall asleep until I can work through the fear itself with a therapist. It's hard to work on things like this when you're so goddamn tired all the time.
  4. :/ I don't think there's really any reason for you to feel bad about taking medication... after all, you have it for a reason. Would you feel bad about wearing glasses if you needed them? No, because there's no reason why you should feel guilty about needing some sort of man-made crutch in order for your eyes to work properly. The way I see it, taking medication for a mental health issue is the same way -- just, for your brain, not your eyes.

    Obviously medication can be trickier than glasses, though. Sometimes a certain kind of medication doesn't do its job very well, or has unpleasant side effects, etc -- but if none of these things are the case, and your medication does work well... then there's no reason to feel guilty about taking it.

    I know you said you're already on several medications, but, so long as there are no health risks to taking these different drugs at once -- again, I don't think you should feel bad.

    If not taking your meds is preventing you from having a good night's sleep, then... I don't think you should let your guilt get in the way of letting yourself sleep. Once you're actually capable of sleeping, then you can work through your fear with a therapist, which will hopefully serve as a better long-term solution. But, in the short-term... you already have something that can help you, and you might as well make use of it.
  5. Something that I have recently learned to do with my anxiety is to ask myself questions. Anxiety and I rational fears can't just be taken away. You can't really control them, but you can learn to live with them and choose what you do about them.

    So maybe answering these questions and focusing on them may help (you don't have to answer in thread, you can just think about it in your head if you want).

    1. What was the trigger? What triggered you into thinking about death. Was it a memory? Something you were doing? Or was it a thought? What lead you into your fear being triggered?

    2. What emotions are you feeling? Fear, obviously. But what else do you feel? Angry, sad, nervous? Etc.

    3. Why do you think it makes you feel those emotions? Try thinking of reasons why it makes you feel each individual emotion.

    4. What thoughts are running through your mind? Any thoughts that pertain to your trigger. It could be a few thoughts or many thoughts. Whatever is in your head.

    5. How many of those thoughts are accurate? Now think of the thoughts as statements. How many of them are true, and could be backed by relatable evidence? How many are false and irrational?

    6. Of those false thoughts, why do you think they come into your mind? How did they get into your head? Was it something that happened? Something you were told?

    7. What behaviors do you do when thinking about your fear? Was do you do about your fear? You already mentioned taking pills and trying to sleep. Those are considered behaviors of avoidance. Maybe try to look into different ways to try and alleviate anxiety and fear. Avoiding will only make it worse later.

    And last, not a question but a breathing technique. While you are thinking this, get comfortable somewhere. Sit or lay down, doesn't matter. Just try to breathe with your diaphragm. Your stomach should be moving, not your shoulders. You should take three deep breaths at minimum, focusing more on the breath out. Breathing in will take in your fear, and breathing out is meant for relief. People gasp and hod their breath when scared, they sigh when relieved.

    I'm not sure if this will help at all, but sometimes breaking up the bad thoughts and trying to rationalize helps. It might also make you tired. Don't worry if you get bored and fall asleep.
    • Thank Thank x 1
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