Athazagoraphobia is a rarely discussed phobia. It means the fear of forgetting or the fear of being forgotten or ignored. Thus, Athazagoraphobia is of two types or has dual components: it might be seen in dementia patients in their early stages (or patients suffering from other medical conditions where memory loss occurs) where they fear forgetting their own identity and other things.
Alternatively, it may be seen in spouses or caregivers of Alzheimer’s/dementia patients where the individuals believe their loved ones will forget them eventually, (or that they would be forgotten after the loved one has passed). It may even be triggered in the childhood where one has been left alone or been ignored for long periods of time.
It is a surprising fact that this phobia, while rarely reported, is actually quite a common phobia.
Causes of Athazagoraphobia
As stated before, the fear of being forgotten can arise in childhood if the individual has been left alone or has been ignored for a long time. Many sufferers of this phobia report feeling “inconsequential or unsubstantial” due to the feelings they undergo when left alone.
Medical reasons, particularly dementia and Alzheimers’ etc can also trigger the fear of forgetting things. Often, family members of people with conditions like amnesia or memory loss fear being forgotten by the patient.
Thus, the disorder has two distinct components: fear of being forgotten and the fear of forgetting. In general, doctors believe that a combination of medical/genetic issues and negative traumatic past incidents are the likely causes of Athazagoraphobia.
Symptoms of fear of being forgotten phobia
People with the fear of being forgotten phobia tend to have low self esteem and self confidence. Often, such people are inherently introverted, depressed or tend to lack the ability to interact normally in society. They are, by nature, shy and passive. At the same time, it is difficult for the person as s/he undergoes deep turmoil thinking repeatedly of “simply fading into oblivion”.
Then there are patients who have weak memory which worsens with age. They are also afraid of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases because their own parent/s has suffered from such conditions. Such patients tend to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on medications that claim to improve memory.
Like in any other phobia, Athazagoraphobia can also set in panic attacks in the individual. S/he will likely display the following symptoms when thoughts of being forgotten arise in their minds:
- Breathlessness or shallow rapid breathing
- Feeling like being choked, dying
- Sweating profusely
- Inability to form coherent sentences
The symptoms vary from case to case depending on the type of Athazagoraphobia as well as its intensity. Some patients are severely depressed or angry all the time due to this phobia. Often they tend to be isolated rather than face being ignored. They also try to do everything possible to ensure they are not forgotten-burying mementos in the soil, tying knots around fingers or around trees and so on.
Overcoming the fear of being forgotten
Many Athazagoraphobic individuals take medications, believing these can cure them of this condition. However, medicines and drugs are unreliable in that; they are not completely devoid of side effects and need to be taken for longer periods to see continued results.
Some medical practitioners believe in prescribing natural/homeopathic remedies to boost the patient’s memory. Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, omega-3 fatty acid supplements etc are some proven medicines that can arrest memory loss and improve general cognitive brain function.
Patients must also focus on eating a diet rich in walnuts, salmon, fruits and vegetables as well as exercising regularly to keep depression at bay and delay age related memory loss. Caregivers and family of the sufferer should also support and encourage the patient to talk about his/her fear.
Other therapies like Hypnotherapy, neuro-lingusitic programming and psychotherapy are proven to be highly effective in treating Athazagoraphobia as well. These therapies get to the root cause of the phobia and also help re-program the brain to overcome it once and for all.
Sometimes I feel this way, too. I feel everyone doesn’t care if I’m alive and doing well and if my family really cares so much about me. I have loved being far away from home since I was a child, and it has made me feel like most people forget me and only come back to me when they need my help. It hurt me so badly, and most times, it is usually labor or financial reasons that make them come back to me to remember me, but genuine love is not there. I want to be far from everyone, even the man I love, except God, because I feel no man deserves my love. I have been hurt so bad by people, and I tell no one. When those thoughts come back to how I have been treated, I get depressed, and it usually happens at night. When I get a little depressed, I will feel like walking on a dark road all alone with my thoughts, and people don’t tend to believe me when I tell them I feel bad. They see me as a playful and talkative person, so it’s hurting me inside.
Oftentimes, I feel like some people I meet will eventually forget about me either when I die or leave without a choice for a long time. I constantly compare myself to the millions of people around me and realize that I’m not as special as I thought I was, so I continue life thinking that way. But out of the many people I know, there are a few of the vast majority that I fear will forget about me and move on to leave me in the dust, to force me to live alone like my nightmares pretend to foresee. One of them ended up being true and has scarred me for life. Since then, I fear if they ever even remembered me from the long while I have been away. Maybe I deserve to be forgotten. I’m not too sure.
anna sistrunk says
I have this fear because I am scared that my boyfriend and best friend will forget about me.
I’m going through the same thing. I’m so scared that my friends will forget me because that happened a lot to me. I’m also constantly getting ignored, and nobody listens to me. I don’t know what to do because when I try to talk with somebody about that, they don’t care or take it seriously. Some of my friends already forgot about me like they forgot to invite me and didn’t even realize. And they’re not just some friends. They’re my best friends and the only ones who know how I feel.
Same, I know it sucks and I’m sorry you have to go through this too.
Cut them off once, then see. Just remember everyone is temporary and chill.
anna sistrunk says
I know how you feel, except nobody really knows about mine.
jazmin says says
I have been through a lot and in a lot of pain (which I’m still going through as I live in a toxic household. My brother has graduated from high school recently and is going to flagstaff for college and he’s all I have because we go through the same thing. We talk to each other about everything. He leaves in august this year but I’m afraid he’s gonna forget me and he’s gonna just not come back for me. I really don’t know how to cope with this because I’m overthinking about how he’s going to forget me.
I am not necessarily scared of forgetting or my parents forget me, I’m more scared for my legacy. I have always had this fear that in the future, no one would remember me, that all of my major milestones wouldn’t matter at all in the near future. I fear for my family line, I fear oblivion, I fear for my friends, and yet, I still function. I try to make my mark but being forgotten is inevitable. Sometimes it’s easier to impact a few greatly than the whole world lightly.
Me and my family (mum, dad, sister, and me) migrated to New Zealand when I was two years of age from Egypt. I am now 14 years of age and my parents have spoken with me in Arabic so I understand and can speak it fully. We have been back to Egypt to visit our family twice and I have always been scared that since I am the only boy in our family, the family name will stay with my children and I am scared they will forget who they are, their religion and where they come from if I stay in New Zealand. I do not want to start a new family tree here. What if down the line someone might have only girls and the family name will end there. I cry about it sometimes because it is the scariest thing to me that they will forget who they are and all the things I have cherished in my home country and that they will not bother caring about it anymore. I am truly scared and anxious about this, any tips that might help would be much appreciated.
I think I might have this, but I’m not totally sure. Whenever I think my mom/dad had forgotten to pick me up from somewhere, I start feeling sick and tight in my throat and it feels like I’m under water. Then I start tearing up and I have to hold back the tears even though I know they might just be late. But when they find me walking around searching for them (it’s usually because of traffic), I get in the car and I instantly burst into tears because of how seriously afraid I get. This has happened multiple times.
I heard of this just recently from Dr. Phil on Jimmy Kimmel. I never knew it was considered a phobia and had a name. I do remember as a child, with 4 other siblings, being left at the house by myself at times. I spoke to my mother recently about this, she had taken my older sister and her friends to the rolling skating rink, and she said, “your father had to have been there probably sleeping.” I do remember standing in the living room, after watching them leave, and the house (as far as i could tell) was empty.
Hi. Along time ago when i was young i had a bad panic attack walking home. I got to a corner of a street i am always on and forgot which direction to go. I’m so afraid of driving as an adult because what if i loose direction. Does anyone else deal with anything like this? Please help.
Hi, I have not experienced this maybe as intense as you are experiencing it. As a child I developed a fear of being forgotten (still alive and kicking today), but a way I learned to cope when going to places with my family is I would find something along the drive and make it my “checkpoint.” I did this on any route and if we went on that drive again I would see what I chose and repeat in my head “this is my checkpoint if I get lost and need to find my way home and see this (building or sign or whatever it may be). I’m going in the right direction.” Have you ever tried something like this?
I have a friend who moved schools. Is it Athazagoraphobia if I’m seriously worried about them finding a new life and forgetting about me, it scares me a lot to think that I could be erased from their life just like that.
I know this feeling and it’s ok to worry, i did too about my BFF who clearly started to forget me. If you really don’t want him/her to forget you, make sure they can’t and if they ghost you, you can do what i did but i don’t recommend it.
When I was younger I would be forgotten, like I wasn’t the most important. I mean we did have 5 other siblings. One of us was meant to be forgotten. But that has now become a deep fear to the point that I have isolated myself to no longer feel the pain of being ignored or forgotten anymore, and it’s causing a problem for me to associate with others.
I also have 5 siblings and I have been forgotten multiple times and it scares me a lot and I’m only 16. Also are you okay, I mean besides the not being able to associate with others?
John doe says
I also and still have the fear of being forgotten or ignored. There is a lot I can say but one thing i will say is that its been a really deep rooted fear inside me.
I have had this fear and I thought I did and when I was reading this and I have done these and have had nausea and fast breathing and tiring tape to a tree
From my childhood i had a fear that my parents and my relatives were not taking care of me as much as my cousins or my brother, so i was always trying to improve myself to them so they would take care for me as well, and this feeling was making me feel sad.
I also have a fear of forgetting things like: someone giving me a task, forgetting what i wanted to say, forgetting so many things that happened in my past etc.
I wanted to know if there is any cure for this or any treatment?
Any help from your side is highly appreciated.
I also would like to know, im afraid of forgetting conversations and little things that happen throughout the day. Even scared of forgetting sounds i heard
I don’t fear being forgotten.
I fear being ignored .
Ignored by the person I love…
As in: I say something and desperately try for them to react but they ignore me completely.
Is this the same thing?
Or is there a different name for this?
A Helpful Soul says
That is pretty much the same thing, at least I believe so, that’s how I feel but I also fear being forgotten.
I feel the same way as I have had many dreams in the past where I would be in a situation of desperate need for help (kidnapping, choking, etc) and if I tried to yell for help or in the case of choking: wave my arms around. When my parents saw me doing that in the dream, they would just completely ignore me and let me choke or kidnap or whatever. That made me feel sad for the fact I felt like everyone just ignored me.
Im studying this in ela
Anonymous teen says
I have a fear of forgetting something myself, like a task or birthday, etc. Is there a name for this?
Jannah Vincent Loves Pandas says
i just dont wanna die alone.. i feel if i do, people will forget me. is that the same?
people will not forget you
No, it is not the same. I believe you are looking for Autophobia
Zeus PrimeTM says
Same. I fear If I lose access to an account like FB, PSN etc. Or if I die alone. I’m afraid I’ll be forgotten. Joker in Batman: Arkham Knight has the same fear. He doesn’t want to be forgotten.
I sana verma is suffering from the same. I also have fear of losing my love. I think our marriage is impossible. Even though he is very serious for me. But situations and circumstances. I’m planning to get away from him but I can’t go far away from him. Don’t know what to do or what not to do.. totally depressed. To be very true I really want to marry him.
Same here.. i dont know what to do.. feel like dying
i feel you girl friend -_-
mohapi mazibuko says
I am a teenager who lives alone, my family members live far from me and they do not bother just to make even a phone call. I only see them during school holidays, and when I’m with them they do not pay attention to me and my basics, what should I do?
Christopher Pacheco says
Talk to them about how you feel alone a lot & that hearing their voice every once in awhile would greatly help. My Little Sister has this problem & I wasn’t aware until she told me, now I call every so often just so she knows she is loved, missed, & thought of. Doesn’t have to be everyday, that makes it feel obligated & a call everyday can be kinda obnoxious.. but a call every once in awhile, once a week, reassures your family misses & cares about how your life is going. Perhaps plan family dinners as well, you go there or they come to you. Great time to be together & c’mon.. who doesn’t love food?
Hey i feel you im an only child with little friends and i dont want to lose them im sooo scared on my own.
Bhaskar paul says
Love yourself and the world will love you
Yes, Its absolutely true!!!
the realist says
I don’t know in which kind of fantasy world you live in but let me tell you something: The world is a cruel place where only the best find a place. If you’re not what society wants you to be you will not live an oh so happy life. To be accepted you need to be one of the best and you become that when you work hard and follow a path that will give you the best possible living conditions not by “loving the world” as you put it. You can love this world as much is you want it wont love you back at any point.
I love you for saying that.
Matthew Sanchez says
That’s really tough to deal with . If you tell him you want more attention or that you feel lonely, it may repel them even more.
I can vouch for that.
Chantil Lucas-Meek says
That is incredibly sad to me. I have teenagers of my own that I miss more than anything and am afraid of being forgotten and left behind. I am sorry that your family doesn’t realize what a treasure they have in you. You seem like a deep, intelligent, and compassionate person. They are missing out on a very important phase of your life.