Living With Necrophobia and the Reality of Death


Necrophobia is a fear of death and corpses. Or anything associated with death. Symptoms often include rapid heart rate and hyperventilating when confronted with death (e.g funerals and corpses). Some people who have this phobia obsess over death all the time.

For me personally, the phobia is specifically directed to corpses themselves… A dead bunny or a dead mouse or anything dead scares the hell out of me (surprisingly, dead bugs don’t bother me as much). Funerals are always hard, too, because while feeling sad for the deceased’s family and friends, I also try not to look at the coffin. The fact that a dead person is lying a few feet away freaks me out so I try not to think about it. I have never seen a dead body of a person. I don’t even get how you can be afraid of something you’ve never encountered. I also don’t get why some of us have this fear of corpses. What is it about something being lifeless that triggers a physiological response of panic? Apparently, necrophobia can be triggered by witnessing a death or being forced to attend a funeral as a child or any upsetting media.

Necrophobia (directed at corpses) doesn’t really have an impact on my life in general. I don’t come into contact with dead things on a day to day basis. It’s just those odd times when something happens, like my cat dragging in a mouse or a bird she’s just slaughtered, that it makes a difference. Psychologically people who have necrophobia have probably not accepted the reality of death. All things that are alive on earth right now (including me) will eventually die. Some time after this inevitable death, there won’t even be remains left. There will be nothing left of you (on earth). If, like me, you believe in an afterlife, it makes things a little easier to accept. Maybe it’s just the uncertainty of death that bothers us. We really have no idea what’s coming after this life. It’s also bad that we don’t have a choice in the matter. We can’t choose not to die because our bodies will eventually wear out no matter what we do to try to prevent it. We will apply creams and go under the knife to try and stall the ageing process. We try and exercise and eat as best we can to keep our bodies as healthy as possible. We do all these things to stall the inevitable. One day, will it be an accident, old age, sickness, etc… one of these things will get us and we will all die. We don’t know the time, the place or the reason. We just know it’s coming.

To overcome necrophobia, experts say we just have to think of death as a release. I tried this, but it didn’t work. Seeing corpses still freaks me out.

It will always freak me out, I think. Death is coming to us all, it is out of our control and we can’t do anything about it. Maybe we should just accept this, take a deep breath, and spend more time being alive. We are living, right now. That’s the most important thing we should be doing while we’re alive – just live.

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