The Fear of Being Buried Alive is a Common Phobia
Do you wake up screaming after nightmares about being buried alive? Does the thought of seeing someone else being buried alive give you sleepless nights?
If your answer to these questions is a yes, then you are most likely suffering from the fear of being buried alive.
While watching movies, do scenes involving funerals make you sweat profusely? Do you also worry about instances of people buried alive? Or, you may start to feel breathless, dizzy, or have headaches that can last for days. Experiencing these problems might compel you to think, “Why am I scared of being buried alive?” or “How do you get rid of the fear of being buried alive?”
Are you wondering, what is the fear of being buried alive called?
Taphophobia or Taphephobia is described as the extreme fear of being buried alive.
What is Taphophobia?
The word ‘taphophobia’ has been derived from the Greek words ‘taphos’ meaning ‘tombs or graves’ and ‘phobos’ meaning ‘deep dread or fear.’
While knowing that might not make you feel better, consider this. Several well-known personalities like Edgar Allan Poe, Hans Christian Andersen, George Washington, and Frederic Chopin, a Polish composer, were known to suffer from Taphophobia.
Taphophobia is closely related to other phobias such as Thanatophobia (fear of death) or Placophobia (fear of tombstones). Experts have also noted that Taphophobics can be afraid of cemeteries (Coimetrophobia) as well as a fear of enclosed or tight spaces (Claustrophobia).
Although it is not unusual to be scared of being buried alive, a Taphophobic is fearful to such an extent that they avoid certain places and situations.
Individuals who have Taphophobia may either make or request other people to elaborate arrangements for their funeral, such as putting heart stimulators, air tubes, and oxygen tanks in their coffins. Some may even ask people not to bury them for at least three days after their demise.
Why Do People Have Taphophobia?
As with many other types of phobia, there is no single cause for Taphophobia. However, the most common reasons why some people have Taphophobia are listed below:
- Being trapped in tight, enclosed spaces
- Looking at or reading about people being buried alive
- Substance abuse
- Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Genetics and a family history of Taphophobia
People with Taphophobia may avoid closed buildings, fearing that they may collapse. Taphophobics might choose not to undergo medical surgeries that include being administered anesthesia, worried that they may be mistaken for being dead and buried alive. They may even refuse to visit tombstones and graveyards and start crying and screaming hysterically when witnessing a funeral.
What are the Symptoms of Taphophobia?
Let us take a look at Taphophobia symptoms, both psychological and physical.
- Difficulties in concentrating
- Panic attacks
- Inability to relax
- Losing temper easily
- An impending sense of dread
- Prickly sensation all over the body
- Body ache
- Dryness in mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Frequent headaches
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Irregular heartbeat
Since the symptoms of Taphophobia are generally overwhelming and uncontrollable, they can take over an individual’s thought process completely. This can compel them to take extreme measures to avoid dealing with their fear. Though Taphophobics lead normal lives, the anxiety can interfere with their day-to-day activities in severe cases. Hence, it is vital that Tapophobics get help.
Are you now wondering, how do you get rid of the fear of being buried alive? Or perhaps, how do you treat Taphophobia on your own?
We’ve got a few ideas!
What Can I Do to Help Myself for Taphophobia?
Taphophobia is entirely curable. But first, you must acknowledge that you have Taphophobia. Acceptance is always the first step towards treating a disease.
If you have decided to tackle Taphophobia on your own, then here is a list of lifestyle changes that you can make:
- Engage in physical activity, especially something as calming as Yoga and Tai Chi
- Meditation, including deep breathing and mindfulness techniques that can help to relax the mind and eliminate thoughts related to death
- Taking part in charities and voluntary work
- Try to expose yourself to cemeteries and graves, either by visiting them or looking at photos, videos, and movies
If you feel you cannot overcome Taphophobia on your own, it is best to seek professional help. A therapist can help you with your Taphophobia using various therapies such as neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and hypnotherapy. Let us take a look at each of these methods in detail.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Under NLP, the patient’s mind is re-oriented to view their phobias more positively. Since Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive, Taphophobics may detest visiting cemeteries and graveyards as they view these places with dread. With NLP, however, you may begin to see burial grounds as positive and acceptable rather than as something that terrifies you.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
In CBT, the therapist will help you to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
As part of the process, therapists will help you to identify the root cause of your negative thoughts and come up with coping mechanisms to overcome them. The therapist might ask you to weigh the pros and cons of each solution and then choose the solution that you can implement. You might also be asked to keep track of your behavior and understand the things and situations that trigger your negative thoughts.
As the name suggests, hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to treat patients. Individuals are induced in a hypnotic state while being conscious, which helps them detach from their external surroundings and focus on their inner selves. The therapist may then ask the patient to picture themselves in a state of complete relaxation, suggest behavioral changes and coping techniques to help them overcome their fear.
Other People with Excessive Fear of Being Buried Alive:
How to Avoid Taphophobia Altogether?
If you wish to avoid Taphophobia altogether, then you shouldn’t visit cemeteries, graveyards, and tombstones at all. You could also avoid reading about and looking at photos, videos, movies, and TV shows centered around death or burials or skip over scenes that include dying and funerals.
In addition, try and limit your interactions with people who are either on their deathbed or with people who are preparing for someone’s funeral.
As feasible as this sounds, remember that death is an inevitable part of life, and eventually, you will have to attend a funeral or comfort a friend or loved one. Learning how to control your anxiety is thus more practical than avoidance.
A Taphophobic person often feels left out and isolated because they believe that their fear will be misunderstood and that people will mock them. However, like several other phobias, Taphophobia is entirely curable and can be overcome with the correct Taphophobia treatment. Hence, it is essential that you accept your fears and get help, to begin living a normal, healthy life.