- Mental Health
Fear of being Forgotten: Athazagoraphobia
Phobia; a combining from meaning "fear", occurring in loan words from Greek (hydrophobia); on this model, used in the names of mental disorders that have the general sense "dread of, aversion toward" that specified by the initial element: agoraphobia. (dictionary.com)
You might've heard many people confess their fear or phobia of heights by the word "acrophobia" but not everyone realizes the fact of carrying a phobia until and unless they face a similar situation. And many can't laugh it off as a common thing.
How phobias are formed?
One faces many experiences in life, some of them leave wounds which heal overtime but some wounds leave behind scars that haunt the victim for the rest of his life.
But, it depends on the victim. One person with a strong mental immune system or one with the ability to share and overcome such traumas might not endure the same weight of fear compared to one who is unable to accept and move on.
Fear of forgetting or fear of being forgotten.
Athazagoraphobia is not a rarely discussed phobia, rather a rarely shared one. Fear of forgetting is a symptom experienced by patients or likely patients of Alzheimer's/Dementia. Fear of being forgotten is another case.
Fear of being forgotten or fear of being left behind, may be triggered in the childhood where one has been left alone or been ignored for long periods of time.
It is a surprising fact that this phobia, while rarely reported, is actually quite a common phobia.
Symptoms of Athazagoraphobia
People with the fear of being forgotten phobia tend to have low self esteem and self confidence. Often, such people are inherently introverted, depressed or tend to lack the ability to interact normally in society. They are, by nature, shy and passive. At the same time, it is difficult for the person as s/he undergoes deep turmoil thinking repeatedly of “simply fading into oblivion”.
Then there are patients who have weak memory which worsens with age. They are also afraid of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases because their own parent/s has suffered from such conditions. Such patients tend to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on medications that claim to improve memory.
Like in any other phobia, Athazagoraphobia can also set in panic attacks in the individual. S/he will likely display the following symptoms when thoughts of being forgotten arise in their minds:
- Breathlessness or shallow rapid breathing
- Feeling like being choked, dying
- Sweating profusely
- Inability to form coherent sentences
How to overcome it?
Though a serious issue, athazagoraphobia cannot be treated through anti-depressants or medical treatments rather it needs to be accepted and overcome by the victim. This may not be easy and might take years.
Doctors may suggest psychological therapies, by sharing their inner thoughts. Athazagoraphobia causes the victim to distant himself from the people around him in order to avoid the sensation of being left behind or forgotten.
If you are a victim of athazagoraphobia or you may suspect someone of facing it, help him overcome that fear, don't think if they consider you a bother, you can force your presence, ask what's on their mind and help them realize that they don't need to distance themselves and try talking about their true feelings to others, rather then hiding and enduring it on their own.