Anyone Suffer from Anxiety and Overwhelming Feelings of Dying

Updated on February 16, 2007
J.C. asks from Sacramento, CA
26 answers

Hello,
For some reason I have been dealing with MAJOR anxiety lately and I don't know what the cause of it could be. I am deathly afraid of flying and I have to fly in March to visit family. Ever since I booked my ticket I have been overwhelmed by feelings of dying and I am starting to think about how my death could affect my children. I worry about what will happen to them if I am not around. Does anyone else drive themselves crazy we these kinds of thoughts? I feel like it is starting take over my life.

What can I do next?

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V.H.

answers from Las Vegas on

I had a hard time with this while I was going through custody stuff with my 3 yo dad. I think it was made worse by some post partem from my 8 month old. I suggest that if you are having problems to go see a dr.

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D.H.

answers from Spokane on

You may want to consider going to a doctor and getting a mild anxiety pill so that you can relax. I have lived my whole life with anxiety and have learned to deal with it without drugs but at times even I feel I need help. It is not a bad thing to get help from a professional.

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M.C.

answers from Las Vegas on

It sounds to me like you are possibly having panic attacks. I suffered from them in my mid 20's. I would be fine than all of a sudden I felt like I was going to die, my heart would pound and I felt like I couldn't breathe. If this is what you are feeling, there are many different treatments out there. I didn't know enough to see a doctor so I suffered for a long time, even getting so bad that I had a hard time driving out of my immediate neighborhood. I don't recommend letting it get this bad if help is readily available. If you let your doctor know you are having these attacks, they will help you select a good course of action so you can get on with your life. For me, after 10 years or so they started becoming less frequent. Although once in a great while, I will still start to have the feeling but I talk myself out of going into a full blown attack by telling myself, "you are fine..it is just a panic attack...you are perfectly healthy, etc. Best of luck to you.

M.

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T.R.

answers from Stockton on

Hello. I have a massive problem with anxiety. Mostly being around people. I can fly but everytime I do I assume that will be the one time something happens. so i wont fly without my 2 kids just in case. could never leave them. dont know how you feel about medication but if you can have your dr. give you a valium for the flight there and back, it will make a world of good. you wont be spacey or anything, it will just relax you and make your flight a tolerable one. happy trails.

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C.D.

answers from Bakersfield on

Hi Christie. My name is C., i'm a 24 year old single mother of a loving four year old daughter. I used to be worry free and adventuress until I turned 18 and moved into my first apartment. That's when I started entertaining unwanted thoughts of dying in some scary way. I am also deathly afraid of flying and haven't been on a plane in ten years. I think that these fears whether justified or not, are a hindrance to both my and your well-being and will continue to affect us in negative ways. I do not want these fears to rub off on my child. My suggestion would be to speak to a counselor and/or try hypnotherapy. There may also be a help group that specifically deal with fears and anxiety. Check it out.

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Y.M.

answers from Portland on

A lot of people addressed the anxiety part of your question and they suggested that you find coping skills (mentally and physically relaxing and meditating) and meds. They did a good job.

My only contribution to the discussion is to address the logical & practical side of this. If you don't have a life insurance policy and a will, get one.

My husband and I have a life insurance policy of $250,000.00 on the both of us, time and 1/2 pay if we both die together, and a Will regarding the distribution of the money and assets. This may be one of those non-med coping skills that you need to do. For me, it worked.

I feel so much better knowing that I have made preparations for my children and husband (and vice versa) if we were to die. The bill fit into our budget at $71. per month. It's only $14.00 for me and the rest for him because he refuses to quit smoking and chewing tobacco. But, if he were to quit for 3 years, the cost would go down significantly.

On the emotional side of this topic: even just talking with the insurance guy about our decisions helped. He talks with people all the time about the subject of death and providing for a family. He had experience with folks that were obtaining insurance after experiencing a scare and with folks that are just being reasonable and responsible. I really appreciated his feedback about how common and normal it is to make preparations for death. It actually reassured me that I was within the realm of normal anxiety about it and that it had no reflection on me spiritually speaking, because I had been told that it was a "lack of faith" to get life insurance... that it gives the devil a foothold on our fear. Rediculous. God helps those who help themselves. And it's also biblical to make financial arrangements in preparation for death. I want to pass on a legacy to my children of abundance... not struggling.

That kind of action and persective not only gave me something to do with my anxiety but it also gave me a positive focus about it. The anxiety dropped immediately from thinking about it every day, with darting thoughts several times a day, to not thinking about it for days/weeks.

The only thing I do now that I think is a little stressy and over the top is when I'm taking care of the children I show and teach him how I do things and I say to him, "if anything every happens to me... I want you to do this or that like I do to bring comfort to the babies." I ask him to try and reduce the transition by being like me as much as possible. I don't know,..... I only say that to him like one a month about something. Not bad.

God bless and besh wishes on this.

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T.H.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Hello there! I am going through a lot of anxiety right now. My 4th child is almost 2 months old. When my third child was 2 months old my mom passed away and my husband was in Denver. Right now as my son reaches that point and my husband is back in Denver I am having the same feeling like something bad is going to happen or I can't stop thinking of death. I use to have major anxiety problems and I conquered it by diverting my thoughts. I turn on something funny, get online, start talking to the kids, or anything that will get my thoughts to change. I am also scared of flying. Last year in March I took my 2nd flight ever after 16 years of not flying at all. This website http://www.fearofflyinghelp.com/ really helped me. It's a free fear of flying course that a pilot created. It really helped me and it gives you print outs that will help you prepare for the flight and during the flight. My main fear was being enclosed, the plane crashing, and how that plane stays up in mid-air. This course answered all those questions and really made it easy for me to fly and it wasn't a short flight, I went from Las Vegas to Atlanta over 3 hours!!!! Then I flew again in October to Puerto Vallarta!!!! I don't really mind flying anymore, but I also got a prescription for Xanax to help me take the edge off. I take it now as needed, which lately being alone with 4 kids, preparing to move out of state, not working, this feeling of anixety has been more often. I usually only take it once a week because it can be addictive but it does help my mind and me relax. If you want to talk I am available. You can email me at [email protected]____.com Hope I helped! Definitely take a look at that website though!

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G.S.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi there.....I really think it would be helpful for you to talk to someone. Anxiety is weird thing and if not treated can be debilitating. I am assuming the kids aren't traveling with. You could see about taking some xanax it is so...helpful! It will just take the edge off. You could take a 1/2 one when you get overwhelmed. They can make you a little sleepy and you definitely don't want to drink on them..It even has a mild anti-depressant. I am pretty sure it is a control thing. You have to get some relaxation techniques. you could (without knowing it) project these fears onto your kids....be careful.
Let us know how your trip goes.I personally can't relate.....but my husband has it and I know what has worked for him.One thing is for sure, it will not get better on it's own. It doesn't "go away"...you can't ignore it. He requested to depart the plane on a business trip and he is an extreme introvert.......Good Luck!!! G.

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A.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I am sorry that you are having these feelings and thoughts. There are things that can help you get through them. You have received many wonderful suggestions...getting your affairs in order will help with the feelings of what would happen to your children, and I honestly think that every family should do this regardless of their circumstances. Honestly, you have already taken the first step in making things better for yourself, you have admitted that you have a problem. Our brains and our bodies aren't always equipped to handle everything on their own, sometimes we need something else. This does not mean that we are bad people, bad mommies, weak, any of those things, it means that we are human. You should speak with your doctor. He/she may be able to help you, or they may be able to send you to a counselor and/or psychiatrist. There are medications that can help you in the short term and in the long term. Maybe this is the only thing that creates anxiety in you, or maybe this is just the thing that has finally allowed you to admit it to yourself. You owe it to yourself and your family to get help. I think that you will find that you can be a happier person and a better mother to your children if you are able to get your anxiety under control. Good luck to you.
A.

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M.H.

answers from Spokane on

Hi! I suffer from Major depressive disorder and panic disorder without agoraphobia, so those thoughts you have, I've had many like them. It really can hurt you and your relationships if not dealt with. I agree with the lady who said meds help. I went to a psychologist and psychiatrist. I was put on Lexapro and xanax. This started the process and helped me get through the crying and the actually Panic attacks! But then I started the counceling. Granted I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post Traumatic Distress Disorder, so I had a lot to work through at counceling, but just talking about what made me anxious helped. However the one thing that helped more than all the others was an anxiety management class. Basically it was a class that taught meditation. It was amazing! In the class we used the book: "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This book is about using meditation and mindfulness to work through cronic pain and anxiety. It really made all the difference. Now I am off the meds and out of counceling. But the one thing I take with me is the meditation. I can work through just about anything. I'm also a Christian and it helped me to be able to concentrate on my prayers. I truly believe in the power of prayer. So a combination of all and I think you will do well. But getting help and not being afraid of asking for help is key. If you can get to a councelor or psychologist, I think that would be the best first step. If you would like to know more, or I could recommend someone to you, just email me. I'll pray for you!

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J.K.

answers from Sacramento on

After my father died I had severe depression with horrible thought of dieing and what would happen to my children. I have dear close friends to us that I ask them if they would be my childrens god parents. If this worries you so then I would suggest to find domeone who would love and care for your children and be able to finacial support them. I hope you feel better and realize death is a part of life. It could happen you just need to prepare for it.

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

I went through this same thing when my son was younger, and still do sometimes. I find myself crying sometimes even, with a sudden paniced feeling like I'm going to have to tell my son I'm dying of cancer or soemthing... what that would be like for him to go through, etc.
I can't say a lot of what helped or does help me, other than to try to think of other things, but I could go on for days about the strange thoughts I've had surrounding this.
I know they did start to subside once my husband and I got together and my life started to take a more "permanent" shape. I still have fears of having a fire in our house and either me not getting out and leaving the kids without me, or me not being able to get to all of the kids in time. I also have sudden visions of my son getting hurt, hit by a car, drowning (this is a huge one for me), etc.
Have you been through losing a parent? I believe some of my anxiety may be from this... My dad had just been diagnosed with brain cancer when I found out I was pregnant, at 20 years old, while still living at home. I had to deal with it all at once... bringing a child in to the world and hearing that my dad was dying.
Feel free to chat.

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M.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

I've had a recent struggle again with anxiety. Out of the blue. A looming event can bring it on so that part is normal. The tragic thoughts are horrible. I have them too. I imagine cleaning out my Explorer with my daughter standing in the back. I can see me walking to the dumpster to toss some trash and BAMM! I'm struck with horrible images of her falling out the back window and hitting the cement. Horrible accident type tragedies. Me crashing my car, my husband dying. It's not normal (as in good for your well being) to have these thoughts but your not alone. You have to fight these thoughts. I call them a thought train. Once you board the wrong train, you are taken further and further from home. Before you know it, you are in a different town. Just like a train, your thoughts can take you where you don't want to go. Don't board the thought train that will take you down the path to distruction. When you feel it coming on or when those images pop in your head...move your thoughts to something else. Stop them. Distract yourself with a favorite song. It helps me to call my husband for distraction and a quick pep talk. I have to fight them like this and I recently wondered if I was losing my mind for a bit.

Just breath, get off that train of thought and start over with a new thought. Soon it won't be as easy for your mind to go there.

xoxo

M.

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C.A.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi Christie,

Yeah, ever since I got married (and especially got pregnant and had my boy), I started becoming deathly afraid of flying. Before then, I had no problem. I have issues with anxiety in other ways too, so I've dealt with anxiety in some form or another all my life. Your mind is a powerful thing. What has helped me tremendously is forcing myself to think other thoughts. When I notice myself starting to feel that way, I divert my thoughts to something else to distract me or I force myself to think that I will be okay. It also helps talking to someone, like a spouse or friend or parent. Good luck, though - I know how hard this can be!

-C.

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K.M.

answers from Eugene on

Hi Christie, I used to suffer from this same thing. It started after I flew to the Bahamas after I got married. My anxiety and fear of dying got so bad that my Dr. put me on medication, which made it even worse. My husband would have to come home from work to calm me down at times. I really don't know what made it go away, except for the fact that I tried to get out of the house more. I think spending too much time at home by myself is what fueled the fire, so to speak. Eevntually it went away for the most part. I still don't like to fly and I still think about dying from time to time but it doesn't make me crazy like it used to.

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C.N.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear Christie,

You need to talk to your doctor about this. Also, calm down and think about it. Please do not take Xanax, it is addicting, and will cause you to have problems, they have something else that is good for helping anxiety and will not cause addiction. I know. I took it and luckily got through that experience, now I take something else.

Do you absolutely have to go to that family gathering? Then go by bus or train. I feel the same way and I am 76 years old and have flown a lot, but suddenly, I do not want to fly, and I am making plans for a bus or train trip to see my beloved children and gr grandchildren. Who knows? Maybe that is a premoniton? I don't know, but I am not flying - it is my life, and I am taking responsibility for it. So don't let anyone make up your mind for you. See the doctor, think, pray, and decide this for yourself. You are right, your passing may make it very difficult for your children in their lives. My passing would make it very difficult for my 81 year old husband and my children, who still need me, even though they are far away and leading their own lives now. So there you are, another side to the story.

Sincerely, C. N.

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R.W.

answers from Las Vegas on

I suffer from this severly during pregnancy and postpardom. I went to counsling for it after my 1st child because my thoughts played through like a movie where I could see my husband and baby in AWFUL TERIBLE situations. It would play out down to talking to a police or firefighter, having them show me things. I am especially vulnerable while driving. It was suggested to listen to audio books while driving to take my mind out of those situations and focus on the story. THat works wonders. I get fears of me dying, my husband dying, my kids dying. I don't go out as much as I'd like for the fears. I try to do the excercises I was taught. The most important thing is to change your focus and concentrate on something pleasant and stay focused on that thought expanding on it as much as you can. It is scary everyday but you can't become eaten up by it or you will end up closed up in the house on disability because you can't function. Each day is a new task. Look at flight statistics and know that you are very safe to fly even more so than being on a highway. For extra piece of mind it is good to have a will and a plan in the rare case that something did happen to you. THen you can have the peace of mind that you did all you could and it was God's Will. Also if it gets to overwhelming I would recomend a counsler. It really helped me. I didn't need to go back after my 2nd baby, my husband just jokes that I could write some good books while I am pregnant and postpardom!!! LOL!!! I do wish you luck it isn't easy! Even going to work everyday or kissing my husband goodbye when he goes to work is scary but you just get through it!!! I have also had fears over flying and even just walking to teh park with my kids. (THis coming from a gal who was carefree flew everywhere, went to unknown places byself walked down city streets in the middle of the night, walked through cemetaries after dark and found them peaceful.. get the picture) I want that girl back, but it is possible having babies messes with your hormones and body chemicals!! DONT GET MEDS!! just work with the thoughts!!!

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A.E.

answers from Seattle on

I've suffered from these thoughts, off and on, all my life. The best thing is to recognize them as false. There is no way you can know what's going to happen moment to moment, and trying to control the uncontrollable will make you crazy. I went to a counselor, and talking about some of the underlying issues helped me. Sometimes, women get this sort of thing unexpectedly, without any warning, and it just takes over their life, personality, relationships...I think you should mention it to your family doctor. I've heard of Valium being prescribed for plane trips.
More long term, counseling is a way to approach this. I've heard that a HUGE percentage of the population sometimes has times like this, when their minds trick them. Think of it as you need a tune up, time to time. Sometimes just one session helps people tremendously, like knowing you're NOT alone makes some of it fade.
Other times, people choose to take medication for a time, until they are better able to deal with all the stress that is part of being alive.
Take back your life! Talk to your doc, or if you attend religious services, someone at your church can be a resource.

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A.M.

answers from Reno on

Hi Christie. First of all I am so sorry you are going through this. I have anxiety issues and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. You, however, are experiencing somthing I hear of more and more. I don't know if it's true but it helps me, processed foods...wierd I know. I heard (don't think I'm crazy) psycic Silvia Brown say that it's causing anxiety in a lot of people and then I heard it again. So, I try to stay away from it and I've noticed a huge difference.
I also had to fly and I was terrified...only my son had to go with me. Thankfully daddy was there to care for him. We brought a dvd player that I too watched. We had a million magazines, coloring books...whatever you can bring to keep busy while sitting. I cried, calmly, but cried. I kept very quiet. Here is something else I brought, zanex. I didn't take it because I didn't try any before hand and I didn't want to try it for the first time on a plane. I had it though and I know a lot of people who swear by it. It's not a daily pill...just something to take in the middle of an anxiety attack and you will calm down. You may sleep. I heard take 1/2 to start and chew it to make it work faster. Ask your doctor...he'll give it to you. I flew. I had to calm myself the entire time and remind myself I've done it a million times before. It's safer than driving...driving. We all drive every day and don't let ourselves get upset. Plus I paid close attention to the car ride on the way to the airport. It's bumpy, there are strange sounds, I got jerked around...all same as a plane. Only differences, we're used to car rides and a plane will save us a LOT of time!!!
Something my boyfriend always reminds me of is that we can't let our minds go to the what ifs...there are too many. It takes all the fun out of life. I think once women become moms we have a lot of what ifs and we sort of do this to ourselves. So, undo it. My mind always goes somewhere bad at night. I know this, so I do stuff to keep my mind in the right place. Read a book about something postive. Watch something happy. Whatever.
There is a book by, (I believe) David Burke called feeling good. Get it. It' on anxiety. It teaches you to redirect your thoughts. Get it and read it front to back. I'm sure it will help. It's on Amazon.com for cheap.
Good luck and stay positve. I still hate to fly but I've done it twice since I started having anxiety. We can't stop our lives for it. We all deserve to enjoy all that we do.

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J.W.

answers from San Francisco on

I have anxiety too - I'd definitely talk to a doctor if you can - you are not weird, bad, etc. There are some excellent anxiety meds out there that would likely really help you. As for the flying, medicine and talking it out with a professional would likely do you really well. You DON'T have to let this take over your life - you can beat it back down and be you again.
J.

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D.N.

answers from Medford on

I don't know if my anxiety is as bad as yours, but I often tend to think the worse and have quite a vivid imagination when it comes to bad things happening - don't know why, always been that way though. If you feel like it is taking over your life maybe you should see the doctor.

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A.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

It could be OCD. Have it ckd out, talk to someone. I have the same fears, I dont have a living will for my kids, because I dont know how to get around them going to their bio father that doesnt see them. I have a lot of mom guilt too. I think its normal, but you should talk to someone that can maybe make you feel better or give advice on how to deal.

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

Christie,

Dying has been on my mind but for different reasons. Recently I was diagnosed with scar tissue growing across my trachea (breathing tube). This was easily remedied with a simple surgery, but the doctor still doesn't know why this is happening. This tissue is likely to grow back and restrict my breating regularly. I will have to have the surgery again and again.

When I was first diagnosed, I was relieved to fianlly know why I was having such difficulty. Then the worries began to set in. The only way I was able to alleviate the worries was to submit my worries to God and put my trust in Him.

I've been a believer in Jesus as my Savior since I was eleven. I've studied the Bible off and on and have trusted God through many struggles. He has proven faithful....Life hasn't been easy, but He has helped me to get through the hard times and see good on the otherside.

I hope that you can put your trust in God. Seek out friends who are believers who can help you if you do not what believing in Jesus means.

I hope I wasn't too preachy. I will be praying for you. Fear is not fun to live with and it can take over your life.

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V.T.

answers from Fresno on

Hello Christie,

I do understand your feelings of anxiety! I have come to understand that hormones have a huge impact on anxiety. I had no idea they could cause such havoc. I just had a hysterectomy at 47 and the hormones that I get from my Dr. are still not figured out... so I made a huge mistake: I asked for a prescription of Xanax to help relieve the horrible antsy, neverending anxiety. The Xanax worked wonderfully! Really, it was like a miracle. The reason it was a huge mistake for me was that I became addicted to them. I needed more to do what half as many would do before. I ran out last month and couldn't get them for only 2 days and I swear to you, I thought I'd die! I still have not discussed this with my Doctor because I know he'll take me off Xanax and I don't think I could handle the withdrawl again.

The reason I share this with you Christie, is for you to know that you are not alone; there are medications that can help IF you only take them for a short period of time (until you are back from your trip); and I strongly encourage you to talk to your Dr. About all of this. I honestly believe it's the hormonal flucuations that you are still experiencing after the birth of your last child. I'm rooting for you girl and please let me know how it all comes out!!

V.
[email protected]____.com

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E.K.

answers from Sacramento on

I absolutely do! I know exactly how you feel. I am afraid of the plane crashing(I think it's the feeling of being out of control). I'm not afraid of being dead because I know that I am going to heaven to see Jesus! BUT I am afraid of the minutes before death if I crash. I have all those terrible thoughts about my kids, etc. I'm flying in April and am not looking forward to it. However, with all that said. I make a conscious choice NOT to think about the plane AT ALL between now and then. I convince myself that I'm really not going so that I don't think about it as much. As it gets closer I pray everytime I get scared and it really does help. I pray and pray and pray. I know that God is in control of my life and my kids and I need to give it over to Him. I don't know if you're a Christian or believe in God, but that is exactly how I get through. Otherwise, I'd die from the torture I put myself through. God is in control of your life and your kids' lives and nothing is outside of his control. He holds the world in place, he can keep a plane up. Statistically speaking (I hear this from my husband all the time), it's safer to fly than drive in a car. I don't know if this helps, but know that other people feel the same way and that God can get you through it. Good luck.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Major anxiety, such as you describe, does need to be evaluated by a professional mental health person. We now know that anxiety can be caused by physiological conditions such as not enough of certain chemicals in the brain. It is also true that they way we think can cause those changes and that learning different ways of thinking and relaxing can lesson the anxiety. And so I believe that we should use a combination of medication which can help the body replace the chemicals and therapy to help us to learn a healthier way of thinking and living.

I, too, believe that when anxiety reaches this level one needs the medication first. I speak from experience. I have always been somewhat anxious but as I got older my anxiety increased. When I was younger anti-anxiety medications were not yet available or I would've started using them sooner. I use both medication and counseling.

I am a Christian and have believed that death resulted in being in a better place. Although I have been somewhat anxious about death because of the uncertainty involved in not knowing what death will feel like and what actually happens, other than a better place, I became so afraid of death and anxious about things that had happened in my life that I was unable to sleep much of the time. I started taking an anti-anxiety medication which helped. Then I had to have an MRI which requires that one remain, motionless, in a small tunnel for as long as 30 minutes. I could not do it. My medical doctor prescribed a short term medication just for that event and my counselor increased the anti-anxiety medication after than.

I feel so much better. I sleep better. I have more energy. And what is most important, am able to do things that I procrastinated about before.

I believe that God provides for us in many ways that include medicines. We don't have to tough it out the hard way.

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