I've dealt with EXTREME thanatophobia for nearly a decade, and a few years ago, I was suicidal despite those fears. Here is what happened to me, and how I cope with it:
I needed to find the right religion for me that would bring me peace. I was a part of a Christian cult for nearly 10 years, and it came to a head when I attended one of the cult's colleges for 2 years. Things got very ugly, and I fell apart as a person. I went from star pupil to C average, well-behaved angel to angry nervous wreck.
In the cult, they told us we needed to bring about the End Times by sending missionaries all over the world. If we checked off every country on the map, Jesus would come down and snatch us up, and then proceed to go on a violent rampage to kill everyone else. This terrified me to my core. I no longer found peace and healing in my faith, and I was spiritually devastated for years. This vision of God brought me horrific nightmares and panic attacks.
I chose to turn my back on the cult. For years afterwards, I would receive letters and phone calls and college adverts begging and harassing me, but I am never going back.
Instead, I became a witch. I told Jesus I wouldn't give up on Him, but I needed a new way to pray and worship that didn't terrorize me. I'm also Native American, and our beliefs line up with what I need spiritually. I still haven't found total peace with God, but this is as close as I can get without having a nervous breakdown. Someday I'll find the same comfort in Christ that I once had, but that day is not today.
I went to therapy and talked to friends and family I trust. It took me years to admit that I had this phobia that was causing me to panic all night and day. Despite my worries, it was helpful to talk about it with the right people.
I currently take medication to lessen the effects of my anxiety and depression, and it has helped me tremendously. Though I was on the wrong meds at first, I did eventually find that a low dose of lexapro is best for me at this time.
Whenever I'm panicking, I play the 54321 game (5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you like about yourself) or I Have A Basket (naming something for every letter of the alphabet that can fit into a basket.) I also have to practice deep breathing... if I breathe calmly and slowly during panic attacks, they go away quicker.
My panic attacks used to last for HOURS, and I was legitimately going insane.
I remember one day in college when we were in mandatory church service, and I was set off by a very scary sermon. I was walking around in tears clutching the front of my shirt so I could feel tethered to my body. I didn't want to let go of my life.
Sleeping at night became impossible. To this day, I have a hard time not being a night owl. I used to spend all night having breakdowns, and during the day, I'd be passed out, often in classes and other public places.
I learned to completely avoid sermons like that, and people. I cut that toxicity out of my life. Church should make you feel like you're alive and thriving, not dying and doomed!
I learned that there is no shame in reverting back to the things that helped me sleep as a child. Get you a stuffed animal that you can really cuddle with (I have a pink seahorse that's almost as tall as me, for example) and some books you can read to them. If you have a dog or a cat that likes to be with you at bedtime, even better. Read soothing books. I ended up collecting a whole library of children's books because gosh darn it, they help!
(I recommend the complete series of My Fathers Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett... that story always puts me in a great mood. I also recommend Factfulness by Hans Rosling.)
Very important to note, sometimes our bad feelings arise from our bodies. For example, I am VERY likely to have a panic attack when I need to use the bathroom, when I'm hungry, when I'm cold, and when I've eaten something that doesn't agree with me. I've since had to change my diet to prevent panic and despair. I avoid ice cream, cow milk, too much sugar, beef, baked beans, beer, excessive cheese, and going back for seconds and thirds. Instead, I have a lot more water, almond milk, bird and fish meats, green beans, the occasional lemonade or limeade, and I stop eating when the hunger goes away instead of feeling stuffed full.
When it comes to feeling like the world is a shitty place, I start studying nature. There are endless beautiful things in this world that give me hope and spark wonder. Underwater forests, cotton candy grapes, apples that are pink on the inside, cloudberries, venus fly traps, tenreks, seahorses, parrot fish... I am always in awe of nature, and it comforts me to know that other people are out there taking the time to appreciate it, too.
Whenever I feel like there's no point to living because we're all going to die anyway, I give myself something small to do that will snap me out of it. Dishes, laundry, washing the windows, cleaning my room, game programming in Furcadia, brushing my dog's fur.
A wisdom I want to pass on to everyone in this world: Life is all about sandcastles.
Why do we play in the sand, if everything we make is going to get washed away? Why bother, when it's gone tomorrow? Why even begin to take the time to craft the castle walls and decorate with seashells and sticks?
Because it's FUN. It has meaning and a purpose. All the things we do in life are temporary, and that's okay and we should learn to appreciate ans expect that. We live in the moment, and what we do in the present is meaningful and important, no matter how small. The dishes in the sink will be filthy again tomorrow, and that's fine. My family is happy every time I do them.
The world is not perfect, but it's our home, and I've chosen to find all the things I love to love about it. People are scary, confusing, frustrating, and hurtful, and yet I can find at least one thing to appreciate about every human being.
The afterlife may or may not be there, but I'm convinced it is. I've had too many wacky experiences to not believe. Pascal's ultimatum says that it's better to have faith. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by having a healthy amount of spirituality in your life.
All in all, worry is often a waste of time. Do your best to cope. Find a good therapist and support network. We are all in this experience together, so you won't have trouble finding the help you need.
Remember to eat well, pee often, and build really great sandcastles.