Coping With Death and Dying

Although we all know that we will die one day, we don't particularly enjoy thinking about it, and we live our lives as if we are going to be around until the end of time.

This preference to avoid thoughts of death is a natural coping mechanism. Death is inevitable. It is an individual journey that each person addresses in their unique way. Our beliefs about death may be formed by cultural, social and spiritual factors as well as by past experiences of death. In life, we may face the loss of a loved one, and this can affect how we come to view our end.

Growing older and terminal illness

As the population grows older, some people grapple the ageing process. Ageing can be both frightening and frustrating, especially in a world that celebrates youthfulness. In therapy, people often express complicated feelings associated with ageing. The later years of our lives are sometimes marked by loss as people we've known for many years, both friends and family, pass away.

While death is unpredictable, some people know when they have begun the process of dying. Through sickness, for example, we may be informed that life is coming to an end. Facing the end of your life is a private experience that may invoke feelings of fear, sorrow, regret, hopelessness, helplessness and powerlessness. Natural feelings that those facing the end of their life encounter include denial, rage, panic and acceptance.

For some people, an awareness of imminent death evokes existential anxieties about the meaning and purpose of their life. For some, dying brings questions and concern about what happens after death.

Therapy can help resolve the concerns you may have around ageing, death, and dying. The anxiety associated with death is common in people of all ages, even when death is not imminent. Healthy people can become hyper-aware of their mortality, and thoughts of mortality can lead to a constant and irrational fear of death. Anxiety about death or dying can also be very distressing and may impede your ability to engage with life.

A lot of people have difficulty with the process of ageing and find growing older mentally and emotionally challenging. Counselling can help you make sense of the ageing process and adapt to the physical changes that occur as you age.

Equally, therapy can be beneficial in exploring the tough emotions around death and dying. Speaking with an experienced therapist, like Justin, can help you understand the many complex issues related to the end of life.