Dying To Be Heard


>By Lisa Behnke

In a recent conversation on campus, some students began to discuss what worries them. One of the most common fears was, Necrophobia, the fear of death. This disturbing phobia affects more people than you might think.

Jillian Bankoff, a student on the Ammerman campus, discussed having a large family and how she dreads having to attend funerals. “It’s scary to know that it can end at any time,” Bankoff, said.

If being afraid of anything associated with death, such as funerals, entering hospitals or the less obvious scary movies, then you might suffer from Necrophobia. People with extreme cases, generally experience a paralyzing level of fear. A fear that becomes so strong that it interferes with everything in their lives.

The fear of dying dates back to the time of Greek Philosopher Epicurus who lived from 341 B.C. to 270 B.C. He believed that the goal of Philosophy was to alleviate one’s omnipresent fear of death. Developing the tools to alleviate this fear by using powerful thought experiments is what modern day Psychotherapists are doing. Such is the case for Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., who has dedicated much of his life to the practice of Psychotherapy and written the book, ‘Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.’ As the books title suggests, it is a copulation of his years of helping patients overcome the terror of death. “Its not easy to live every moment wholly aware of death,” said Yalom.

The fear of death itself can lead to strong feelings of dread, paranoia, and anxiety. Phobia sufferers feel terrified when they are not in complete control. This becomes so powerful an experience for the sufferer that ultimately it develops into an irrational fear of dying or anything associated with death.

On the other hand, John Lewis, a Physics major and the Editor-and-Chief of Evolution, witnessed first hand the effects of just the opposite. A 17-year-old friend, who had no fear of death, subsequently died of an overdose of heroin. “She had it coming because she wouldn’t listen to the people who cared about her,” Lewis, said. She knew the consequences could lead to death, “Heroin is cool, all of my friend are doing it,” Lewis recalls her saying.

Having a handle on what worries you and finding what steps to take to conquer it could mean the difference between life and death.

Therapy, including hypnosis and NLP therapy can help those who suffer from Necrophobia, as well as other phobias. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behavior and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them. A system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behavior.”

Phobia treatment through Ericksonian hypnotherapy, named after Milton Erickson, MD, its creator, has helped patients re-shape the unconscious thought processes responsible for phobias. Some of the fears associated with dying according to http://www.phobia-fear-release.com are as follows:

• You cannot breath
• You feel as if you are soon to faint
• You tend to sweat
• You suffer from queasiness and you feel like vomiting
• Your mouth becomes dry and your limbs start shaking
• Your heart starts palpitating faster and you can’t think or speak clearly
• You feel as if you are going mad and you are unable to control your nerves
• You experience constant panic attacks
• You are afraid of everything unknown and unfamiliar
• You suffer from a continuous sickly feeling resulting in a fear of dying

Some reasons associated with a fear of dying are:

• Now you are rich, but when you die, you have to leave your wealth behind
• You don’t want to die because you are afraid of going to hell
• For Buddhists and Hindus who believe in rebirth death is fearful because they don’t know what they would be in the life thereafter
• You may be afraid of death because you believe that you will become a ghost after you are dead and you hate to be a spirit floating around aimlessly

Jan Heering, a Phobia Treatment Expert and founder of the Morpheus Institute in Amsterdam is one of several proclaimed phobia experts who claim to be able to cure people with many types of phobia’s. Whether or not you believe in the Necrophobia, the people who suffer from it have real anxiety. If you or anyone you know suffers from it, the best advice would be to seek the help of a medical doctor trained in Psychotherapy and NLP.

3 responses

  1. What a freaky article! Really cool. Can we connect this with Zombophobia, fear of zombies? As usual, stellar writing Lisa.

    1. journalisminternship

      Hey Professor, I will look into Zombophobia and get back to you. Thanks for the compliment.

  2. Lisa, Great article and you always choose interesting stories to write about.

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