Coimetrophobia is the official term for a fear of cemeteries. This word doesn’t describe those who have a mere dislike of cemeteries, but rather those for whom cemeteries bring on an actual negative physical reaction. The symptoms of coimetrophobia may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- The inability to speak or think clearly
- A full-on anxiety attack!
Not your common side effects! So why does an inanimate place elicit such strong emotions? What can someone suffering do to accept this as simply a final resting place and understand that there is nothing to fear?
To be fair to those who suffer from this phobia, cemeteries have a bad reputation. Most of us are first exposed to cemeteries in the movies, where cemeteries serve as backdrops for terrifying scenes. Whether zombies are coming up from below the ground or ghosts are flying around headstones, we learned not to enter a graveyard alone!
In the modern era, cemeteries have been moved away from urban life, which means that most of us aren’t interacting with cemeteries on a daily basis—a reality that only serves to make cemeteries seem more foreign, strange, and scary. By distancing ourselves from cemeteries, we’re blocking ourselves from realizing that the image in our minds (zombies, ghosts, etc.) is has nothing to do with the reality of the cemetery. Therefore, this creepy image of the haunted cemetery remains in many minds and only perpetuates the irrational fear.
Now, that last part is important: this fear is irrational. Cemeteries will not hurt you! I learned early on, “You only fear that which you don’t know.” So, go and “know” cemeteries!
If taking a trip to a cemetery seems too daunting (or simply too weird) of a task, then start off easy: Google image “cemeteries.” (I tried this myself before suggesting it; there are actually some really beautiful images online!) Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the images, take the big leap and go to a cemetery. You can do it!
Once you’ve walked though the peaceful space, you will learn that there is nothing to fear. Cemeteries are tranquil and lush with all sorts of beautiful greenery. Take a few minutes and enjoy them and be thankful that you’ve overcome your fear.