Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death

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Abstract

In this article, the author, an eminent psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and writer, presents a brief introduction to the problem of human mortality as one of the givens of human existence, locating the problem squarely in the domain of selfawareness or human consciousness. He names the problem as death anxiety, a fear that can erupt into terror depriving an individual of happiness and fulfillment. Having identified the problem of death anxiety, the author then goes on, through a personal memoir, to disclose his personal ideas about death, their autobiographical sources, and how they have affected his life, as well as his coming to terms with the necessity of his own death. Within this autobiographical essay, he touches on experiences of death and dying from his youth, adolescence, and adulthood as well as his experience of the death of three of his most prized mentors: Jerome Frank, John Whitehorn, and Rollo May.

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