Scared to Death: Exploring Death Anxiety and the Wounded Healer
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The following manuscript is an autoethnographic study in which the author explores her struggles with death anxiety throughout her life. In order to gain a deeper understanding of her experiences, the author connects her personal narrative to scholarly data on death anxiety, bereavement, cancer diagnosis and recovery, and “wounded healers.” The author offers a detailed account of her personal experiences with death including the death of her grandfather as a child, her own thyroid cancer diagnosis as a young adult, and how her diagnosis interacted with her fears of death post-recovery. Within the manuscript, the author seeks to comprehend how her fears of death, cancer diagnosis, and recovery will influence her work as a therapist. By offering her personal narrative, the researcher’s aim is to be a companion to others who endure similar struggles with death anxiety or an illness and to help others gain a more in-depth understanding of what it feels like to live through death anxiety and a cancer diagnosis. Through the writing process, the author has begun to examine her experiences from a new lens and has learned to embrace her vulnerabilities.