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When Your Fear of Getting Older Isn't Just a 'Normal' Fear

Gerascophobia is the fear of getting older. I have been clinically diagnosed with this phobia.

I have had it since I was a young child, and with my 25th birthday drawing near, I find myself getting more and more preoccupied with the thought of “getting older.” My therapist thinks my phobia got particularly bad whenever I witnessed my grandfather (my mother’s father) getting old and how he regularly complained about it. He passed away when he was in his late 80s, and he groaned about how “getting old is hell” on a regular basis.

Whenever I tell people about my phobia, they normally tell me things like “oh, that’s normal.”

No, it’s not.

I have been clinically diagnosed with this phobia. A clinical diagnosis of a phobia is a completely different level than your average fear or something that makes you jump because “it spooked you.”

I find myself looking at more anti-aging products. I am staring at myself longer in the mirror. I regularly hear my inner voice telling me “I am still beautiful, pain is beauty,” throughout the day. I have panic attacks at the thought of my skin wrinkling, my hair going grey, getting “age lines” on my forehead, getting crow’s feet — all the signs of getting older.

I can’t afford a therapist right now. The best way I know to deal with it is through art therapy and writing. My best advice to others? Please stop minimizing a clinical phobia. Phobias are serious mental health disturbances that have the power to completely destroy someone’s wellness and happiness.

Photo by Isaac Castillejos on Unsplash