What's your deepest, most existential fear?

As you’ve already clicked on the title of this thread, you know what it’s about. But I am going to set the stage anyway by telling you a story.

My old roommate and I would always find ourselves at different social gatherings (bars, lounges, parties, etc.) and people would, as people will do, ask to bum a cigarette of off either of us. (This was when I smoked [obviously]). After a while my friend started asking people to pay a fee for the cigarettes. The fee was that they would have to answer a question. The question is the title of this thread.

Over the years we got some really good responses which included:

  • Being attacked from below (like in the ocean)
  • Being stuck floating in outer space
  • Being sawed in half slowly
  • Getting a girl pregnant

At least one person actually chose to not answer the question and not take the smoke. I sort of admired that.

So I pose it to you: What is your deepest, most haunting, most existential fear?

(Mine is Rejection)

Earthquakes. I was in a relatively small one over 20 years ago and the terror of it has never left me. Just standing in a doorway, with everything moving and shaking. Knowing that the building would either collapse or not, and there was nothing I could do about it either way. The helplessness.

The idea of being trapped in the rubble for days, in terrible pain and burning thirst.
Every summer I spend 2 weeks in Northern California visiting relatives and the whole time I am an emotional wreck.

Being forced to relive my life as a kid with my stepdad. I ran away when I was 16 and 17 years later, I still have nightmares about being raped.

I am also terrified of getting hit on my bike and ending up paralized, but still thinking.

I’ve never smoked, but I’ll answer your question anyway.

To die alone, unloved, forgotten about immediately, as soon as my body is cold.

Not getting a job after law school.

Insanity. Losing my mind. Once I’ve lost that, what else do I have?


I’ve heard and seen enough to know that burning to death is a truly horrific way to go, especially if it doesn’t kill you right away and you linger.

I’m also deathly afraid of strange animals, for a variety of reasons. I always assume that an animal is going to attack me until proven otherwise.

But fire is the really big one for me.

Immortal solitude.

What if those silly philosophers were right and you WERE all figments of my imagination? Would I be doomed to an eternity of boredom if I ran out of creativity?

Death terrifies me. The finality of it makes me feel helpless and incredibly sad. Not so much my death (although that scares me too) but the death of my loved ones. I’ve never had to deal with the death of a person close to me, and just thinking about it paralyzes me.

Simple and existential. Death. Everything I am, everything I learned, everything I put myself through to learn and discover things. All that is, finally, for nothing. Most everything else I feared has already come true, though I have every confidence in the universe to surprise me with new and horrible things I have not anticipated.

(Carl Spangler)
So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.
(/Carl Spangler)

Losing my memory, and consequently identity.

Doorbells, hate 'em. Loud piercing noise, which I hate, combined with imminent interaction with someone I almost certainly don’t want to talk too.

I am absolutely afraid of heights but I can control that by not putting myself in a situation where I am exposed to them. But the one thing that terrifies me beyond words is drowning to death.

It’s been theorized by many a famous person that the human races greatest fear is the fear of being buried alive. I think of that and think I might have a chance somehow to escape the porous dirt. But what can you do if you’re trapped underwater and there’s no way out? There’s a chance to breath in dirt but water…

The world has been fascinated with live burial through out time immemorial with the introduction of wakes, to glass topped caskets and even breathing tubes placed in the casket so there would be an air supply if needed.

I have had many a near one pass on and I myself do not fear death. Except if it were drowning; that is my greatest fear.

Dying, I think about suicide often and the only option for me seems to be jumping from a certain bridge you may or may not have heard about. It takes about 15 seconds to fall from the roadway to the water. I don’t want to spend my last moments totally freaked out.

Reincarnation, I don’t want to come back once I’m gone.
…that and Republican spider children.

Also, finding out that the right wing fundamentalist Christians are right and that somehow this whole Fucked up existence of mine was for some purpose of God and that he could not be bother to clue me in on it, yeah that frightens me. Also pisses me off. I’m not trying to start a debate here, I was a Catholic and then I was a Baptist. Those experiences left their mark on me and given how my life has played out, it is something I think about from time to time.

I guess being buried alive is the most terrifying thing I can think of.
I feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable knowing that some people have been unfortunate enough to suffer such a fate. I can hardly wrap my head around it.

So there’s that. But also plane crashes, death of loved ones and mauled by large and hungry animals.

This, or being buried alive. For some reason I’ll think of the latter just as I’m trying to go to sleep. Stupid brain !!

Brain damage, stroke ,Alzheimers, rejection ,my teeth crumbling, someone shaving my bones with some kind of giant cheese grate, surviving a suicide attemtempt and living with the shame and pity of my friends/family

think I got enough for full pack

Drowning had always been a deep fear for me - I still remember dreams of drowning when I was young where I could see the surface of the water above me and realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to get there.

That fear was replaced when I had young children with the fear that something terrorizingly fatal would happen to them ; not just death which would be horrific enough but some sort of long drawn out painful death that was beyond their understanding and which I would be helpless to stop. That fear was far far worse than my fear of drowning.

I’m currently in the process of quitting smoking. I wish I had done this before I quit!

Losing my home, whether through forclosure, fire, natural disaster, or other means.

I was houseless, but not homeless, a few years ago. I had sold my house and didn’t have another place lined up by the time we closed on the sale (I’d made several attempts to purchase another house, but all had fallen through). My aunt and uncle took me in for the couple of months it took me to find a new place. I don’t remember being particularly scared back then, probably because I knew I *could *stay with them, or with my grandmother, for quite a while before being told to move on. I also knew I *would *find a new place - money wasn’t a problem, just me being cheap and picky.