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Am I Going to Die or Just Having Panic Attacks?

17 April, 2024
Q Why do I always feel like I'm going to die? I don't know why but out of nowhere I started to feel like my time is nearing and I'm about to die, even when I try to distract myself with studies or going out, I couldn't do it, my mind is continuously reminding me that I'm going to die: Is it because I'm really going to die or am I having panic attacks?

Please help me, I'm having my final exams this November and I can't focus on my studies due to this.


Salam alaikom dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us. You say that you are feeling that you are going to die. Your mind is continuously reminding you that and you are wondering whether this will really happen or if you are having panic attacks.

Sister, these thoughts are most likely not some kind of presentiment about some event that will cause your death.

We people are not given the knowledge of our time of death. It is only Allah, the All-Knower, who is aware of the beginning and end of our lives. We cannot predict these events; they are out of our control.

However, it would be important to discover what fears could cause you to feel these sentiments. 

Is there anything you do not want to face? Or is it something that causes you too much stress and you’d rather not deal with it?

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You mentioned that your final exams will take place this November. Are these exams really worrying you? 

Furthermore, have you recently experienced the loss of a loved one or someone close to you? Or do you remember witnessing the death of someone?

Find the Root Causes

First it would be important to identify the root causes and some possible triggers.

Negative experiences and also fears about a future event you cannot predict and control can cause you overwhelming feelings that you find difficult to cope with. 

Mental health issues, like depression and anxiety also can contribute to your possible panic attacks. 

If there is anything you can relate to, I recommend one-on-one counseling, where after a proper assessment and diagnosis you will work on these fears with a professional.

You can try to find a counselor in your area or check out our life coaching services.

Monitor Yourself

You can also try to focus on what exactly is happening with you when you are having these feelings.

Are there any physical symptoms? Like, for example, heart palpitations, sweating, chills, nausea, stomach pain?

What about your feelings? What do you exactly feel? Fear, anxiety? Fear of losing control?

And what were your thoughts right before these feelings? Are they related to your feelings of worth and capability?

Try to collect these symptoms and write them down.

If you decide to turn to a counselor, you can help with this list during the assessment.

Possible Causes


This type of fear is quite common. To some extent, around 3–10% of people have some kind of anxiety towards death and dying. 

But if these thoughts reach an extent that interfere with your normal daily functioning and cause you other symptoms, like, for example, panic attacks, you might suffer from thanatophobia, or in other words, “death anxiety”.

This is a form of anxiety disorder. You can read more about it here.

You may develop this phobia after some traumatic event related to death, or the loss of someone, for example.

You do not mention this in your letter, but if you think that these reasons could be behind your fears, I again recommend further counseling related to your experiences.

Religious Beliefs

Also, fears of the unknown and of losing control are common as well. Dying is something that is out of our control. We do not know when and how it will happen. The only certainty is that it will happen.

Religion can also influence how we think about death and dying.

For us, Muslims can be a source of comfort in thinking about the Hereafter. Also, a source of stress as well, especially regarding punishment and hellfire.

Try to examine your faith in your hope and fear of Allah. Do you fear Allah more than you hope for His mercy and love?

If so, try to find balance by focusing on His ultimate love and forgiveness rather than his punishment.

Exam Stress

However, you mention that you are going to have your final exams soon. This makes me wonder whether your fears are in connection with this.

Stress is very common before and during exam times, and can cause you both physical and psychological symptoms.

The physical ones are similar to those of panic attacks: heart palpitations, nausea, dizziness, stomach or headache, sweating, etc.

And the psychological ones can manifest overwhelming feelings and fears that block you from proper cognitive functioning. This means you struggle to concentrate, focus, and, of course, learn.

Dear sister, if you think that your stress and fears are related to your studies, the following tips might ease you:

Confidence and Trust

First of all, focus on your connection with and trust in Allah

Everything is already written, including your exam outcomes, so there is no need to worry too much about it. Try to do your best and then put your trust in Allah.

Think about the names of Allah, and about His absolute power in all matters.

Here are some dua for exams, and for success in your expression.

Secondly, trust in yourself. Your worth and value do not depend on the outcome of these exams. 

It means that whatever results you have, you are still worthy of love and praise, especially for your efforts you have been making during your studies.

Consider this: what is the worst-case scenario? Is that really that bad? How can you solve it?

Get Prepared

Set realistic expectations according to your capabilities and do not compare yourself with others. No one is perfect.

Get ready to study and avoid certain things that can interfere with your concentration. Sleep well, eat well, find a quiet place and schedule your time where you will not get easily distracted. 

Respect these schedules, as it will help you feel more organized and less overwhelmed with your duties. Read more about exam-related stress and coping techniques here.

I hope these ideas can help you reduce your fears.

If you need further advice, you can turn to us here

Read more from Orsolya Ilham O.:


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic counseling, Islamic marriage counseling, and in the jurisprudence (fiqh) of counseling and psychology. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.