Fear of death


I have been aware of procrastination as a periodic issue in my life for decades. For a long time, my avoidance of certain tasks seemed to have been related to anxiety, fear of making a mistake and how I would be viewed by others if I messed up. For the past few years, I find myself procrastinating all manner of tasks — things that I perceive to be challenging, things that seem easy, things that are interesting, things that seem boring, little things, big things, work tasks, fun things, you get the idea. I’ve been very curious about why I would avoid even the easy little things and choose to buffer instead of doing them. I am not sure what to make of the thoughts and story I’ve come up with: my mother died of pancreatic cancer when she was 52 and I was 13. In 2015, when former President Carter was diagnosed with cancer, I learned that apparently three of his siblings and one or both of his parents died of pancreatic cancer; I researched and learned that there is indeed a genetic component to pancreatic cancer. In 2016, I turned 52 and became acutely aware that I was the age at which my mother died, and that I have an increased risk for pancreatic cancer (for a variety of reasons). Pancreatic cancer, as compared to many other cancers, has very low survival rates, and medical research has accomplished little in terms of improving efforts at early detection and treatment. I seem to have adopted a set of beliefs that include: I am living on borrowed time. I am going to get pancreatic cancer (or another type of cancer for which I may be at high risk, but would not know for sure without genetic testing). I am going to die soon. My 11-year-old son is going to lose his mother, as I lost mine. I think the thought that connects this to the procrastination is something along the lines of — I’m going to die anyway, why bother, my life is over, etc. I can see the irrationality of it, the drama in it, and how it is absolutely not serving me. I’ve come up with thoughts that seem somewhat helpful. I would be grateful for any others and any feedback about this whole thing.
C: My mother died at age 52 of pancreatic cancer. I am 55.
T: Since I am going to die soon, why bother doing things.
F: Resigned
A: Procrastinate, buffer, avoid both tasks that need doing and fun things as well.
R: It is like I am already dead.

C: My mother died at age 52 of pancreatic cancer. I am 55.
T: [These thoughts seem somewhat helpful: I am alive; My life is what I choose to make of it; I want to model living a great life for my son]
F: Excited
A: Work hard, play hard
R: I am living life to the fullest