Sunday, August 12, 2012

Death: A Coping Device for Anxiety

Type 1a supernova. A beautiful example of finitude.
Anxiety has the ability to affect the life of an individual that comes across its path. I have struggled most of my life with anxious feelings, mostly brought up due to new situations. They have seeped into my life in times of transition, such as beginning school for the new year or starting a new job. I have received intense therapy in my early years in life, which has allowed me to discover physical coping techniques. But, I must say, rationalizing anxious thoughts has helped just as much.

Ironically, death  has allowed me to create beneficial scenarios. Many of us fear death. Philosophers (since the Stoics to the modern existentialists) have tried to discuss and observe the natural event of death/dying; they tried to de-mystify and show how death was like every other life process. In a way, the thought of death is helpful to the anxious subject because it creates a worst possible scenario when one experiences an irrational, anxious fit. For example, when I started a new job, I was making a big deal about every miniscule detail, causing me internal panic. Then I thought about death. In death, the act of dying, the body ceases to exist; all pain and worry leaves the mind, and we go into a peaceful rest. If all goes wrong and chaos erupts, I just think to myself, "Feeling is what it means to be alive, no matter how much I suffer. Dying, the worst case scenario, puts an end to all suffering."

The comfort of this thought is unexplainable, but apparent nonetheless. 


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