Let’s Close the Lid on the Fear of Coffins
Is it nearly impossible for you to pay your last respects at someone’s burial? Does the site or even the mere image of a casket send chills down your spine and make you sick?
If the answer to all these questions is “yes,” then there is a high possibility that you suffer from feretrophobia. An agonizing terror grips you by the throat at the mere sight of these finely chiseled wooden boxes ready to hold a dead person, even if on screen. Your blood runs cold at the sight of coffins, even in still pictures.
The fear can make it difficult to function in daily life. Although the phobia is bothersome and dreadful, it is not incurable. The key to dealing with this phobia is to first acknowledge that you have it. Next, learn more about the fear. You can then work on gradually exposing yourself to the object of fear to overcome it. Find out the root cause of the issue. If you can figure out where the problem is arising from, you can target it and cure the condition.
What Is Feretrophobia About and What Causes It?
Feretrophobia is the fear of coffins. The term feretrophobia comes from the Greek words feretro, meaning coffin, and Phobos, meaning fear. The fear of coffins is sometimes mistaken as taphophobia or necrophobia. Such misinterpretation or misunderstanding is because coffins are a symbol of death and are used to bury the dead.
The uneasy feeling that accompanies this fear can be so gripping at times that it interferes with your daily activities. That is when this fear turns into a phobia.
What is Feretrophobia? Feretrophobia is a fear of coffins that many people experience. One of the central factors causing any phobia is genetic makeup. If your family has a history of mental disorders, you have a greater chance of developing a phobia.
The traumatic events of the past may result in a phobia. An example of such a traumatic event could be the loss of a loved one. Their burial, last rites, and watching them going away from you forever could have caused you to develop this phobia.
Upbringing also plays a significant role. Your family’s influence or the myths and stories you heard while growing up can shape the way you see a mere casket. Continued exposure to such narratives and ideas can gradually turn the fear into a full-blown phobia.
However, this does not mean that it is incurable. If you suffer from such a condition, you should not think twice before seeking medical help. You do not need to feel embarrassed or ashamed of it. Many famous people like George Washington, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and Alfred Nobel suffered from Feretrophobia.
Symptoms of Feretrophobia
Feretrophobia is one of the lesser-known phobias. The diagnosis and acknowledgment of this phobia can be a bit challenging. Still, one should not take phobias lightly. All phobias can limit a person’s daily activities and daily conduct to some degree. It can also emerge as the root cause of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Everyone is different, and so are all the types of phobias and their effects. The symptoms also vary depending on the severity of the individual’s experience.
Feretrophobia is an anxiety disorder. So, people will experience some, if not all, of the physical and psychological symptoms listed below.
Feretrophobia Physical Symptoms
The most commonly seen symptom in people with feretrophobia, or the fear of coffins, is panic attacks. These panic attacks can be frightening and distressing for the sufferer.
These symptoms often erupt at any time and without any prior warning. The occurrence of a panic attack and anxiety can cause physical symptoms like the ones below:
● hot flushes and chills
● rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
● chest pain or tightness in the chest
● shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
● a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
● feeling faint
● a choking sensation
● numbness or pins and needles
● headaches and dizziness
● dry mouth
● ringing ears
● a rise in blood pressure
● chest tightness, chest pain, and difficulty breathing
● confusion or disorientation
Feretrophobia Psychological Symptoms
In very severe cases, a panic attack triggered by fear can have psychological consequences too. Individuals may experience one or all of the following symptoms:
● fear of losing control
● fear of passing out
● feelings of dread
● fear of dying
● fear of harm or illness
● guilt, shame, self-blame
● withdrawing from others
● feeling sad or hopeless
● feeling disconnected
● confusion, difficulty concentrating
● anger, irritability, mood swings
● anxiety and fear
Self-help with Feretrophobia
Taking good care of oneself is one of the most effective ways to overcome any fear. Understanding how to help yourself will allow you to control your fear of coffins before it worsens.
You can practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, positive affirmations, and self-talk. Any practice that brings peace and calms mental turmoil can help.
Another helpful approach is Kidlin’s law. It says if you can write down the problem, you can solve half the matter. This law can be very helpful in dealing with problematic thoughts. Such thoughts are usually part of the initial stage of the development of a phobia.
Professional Help for Feretrophobia
Someone suffering from feretrophobia might not feel the need for treatment as long as they can avoid it. This gives people with feretrophobia a feeling of being in control. However, that is far from true.
Feretrophobia does not need the physical presence of a casket. A scene in a movie, an image in a magazine, a video on the web, is enough to trigger a full-blown panic attack.
As a result, individuals must seek professional assistance whenever possible. This way, you can understand better what is happening, which can help you not allow it to control your life.
As said above, all phobias are curable, but there is no single treatment available for all of them. Nor is there one that will definitely work. It will depend on the individual and the severity of the phobia. In many cases, a combination of treatments is more effective.
Talking treatments, therapies, and counseling can be effective at treating feretrophobia.
All the therapies ultimately have the same goal.
The widely-used treatments are:
● Exposure therapy
● Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and
● Psychiatric medications
In exposure therapy, the patient sees more of the object of fear over a given period. Greater exposure to the source of fear makes it less effective over time.
CBT is another form of treatment used to help people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It is also used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other similar conditions.
In CBT, the therapist helps the patient uncover the cause of their fear.
While medications are an option, they are not as effective as therapies. Therapies outshine any form of medication. But doctors prescribe some medications to treat the side effects of phobias like anxiety or depression.
Avoiding Feretrophobia Altogether
Although most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment that can treat them all. Most phobias result from traumatic experiences or genetic predisposition to that mental disorder.
You cannot avoid these two factors, so what you can do is train your mind. Yoga, meditation, exercise, healthy eating, and healing practices can help you manage your fear better.
Phobias are common and not a source of embarrassment. The keys to getting rid of a phobia are timely diagnosis, disciplined treatment, and self-care.
Do not be hard on yourself. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your fears. Take them on slowly until the fear slowly fades away. Be aware, acknowledge it, and work on your fear to get the better of it.
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