Mental Health

My teenage years, or at least some of them, were marked with an underlying fear. The world was reaching the end of the Cold War, though the Eastern Bloc and NATO both had nuclear arsenals that would lead to mutually assured destruction (MAD), should war break out. Living under the bomb, I felt that a nuclear war was possible. While the reality may have been less drastic, my memories of those years were tainted with a worry that a war was actually probable, and a sense of fear came over me whenever I heard an aeroplane pass over.

Thankfully those years are behind us. Sadly, a newfound dread has taken its place, one that has come with middle age. Yes, my inevitable death has been playing on my mind for a number of months now, causing a rather annoying amount of anxiety.

Death is a part of life, and my existence on this earth is finite. When I focus on the hard fact that when I am gone it will be forever, I can feel panic bubbling within me, and for a split second my loss of me becomes intolerable and incomprehensible. My ego has an incredibly difficult time assimilating and accepting this. This is compounded by having children, of course, and I cannot bear the thought that they will be without me.

My current job has come with a long period of stress. Not surprisingly, this stress is not helping my death anxiety, if that is what it is. So the last few months of stomach pains has convinced me that I have some terminal disease (not a good feeling, if it needs to be said), and each muscle spasm or cramp in my upper body is indicative of heart problems.

I have made small changes to my life to counter the stress related nonsense: healthier eating, less drinking and the occasional promenade or run all help. Things are definitely better than they were last year, and I shall continue to create opportunities for further improvement. I just do not want to die whilst there is so much to be had from life (thanks, ego).