The Answer to Existential Dread

Existential Dread is a common mental trap, but you don’t need to stay trapped.

Many people are plagued by the question, “What happens to me after I die?”. I still remember the first time it hit me. I was very young, maybe six or seven, and I asked my dad that very question. He gave me the absolute best advice he could, but it wasn’t enough. For nearly twenty years after, I did everything I could to avoid thinking about it. I refused to sit in any kind of silence and boredom became of this thought, my number one enemy. Because those thoughts crept into my mind the moment I had nothing better to chew on. Even sometimes when I did.

Then, I had the bright idea that the only way out was through. I spent a good two years in the worst depression I had ever experienced, convinced it would one day lead me out of the hell my own mind created. I studied all sorts of religious text, poured over related philosophy, and held conversations with every intellectual mind I could get my hands on. After all that, I was sure I would find my answer, and in a way, I did.

It was when I went back to Virginia (my home) and spoke with my brother, who has a Mensa level IQ and thinks unlike any human I have ever known. Then, I discovered the “fix”, something that, frankly, I should have guessed all along. He guided me down the path of answering the simplest questions about my dread. Questions like, “Why does it bother you so much?” and “What is the worst outcome you can think of and why?”. Eventually, I realized that what bothered me wasn’t really a concept of non-existence or not knowing. What bothered me was THINKING about the topic. The pain and anxiety and depression that spiral enacted upon my life.


When I realized the roots an epiphany struck me like a lightning bolt. For twenty years I thought I needed the answer to a question that was unanswerable, but what I actually needed was a distraction. I was pained by fearing it, when When I realized the roots, an epiphany struck me like a lightning bolt. For twenty years I thought I needed the answer to a question that was unanswerable, but what I actually needed was a distraction. I was pained by fearing it, when what I needed to do was to accept the worst and focus on the things I could control- Like living my own life. If death comes for us all in the end, there is no reason to face it before it is time. Our lives need the attention, and I, for one, will no longer waste mine in pursuit of the inevitable loss of my own; not when life offers so many wonderful distractions.


In the silence of the night
I am no longer me
No longer a man
But a collection of woes

I sit, in judgement
In fear
In pain
In silence

That which most take solace in
I cannot have
For all that waits for me
Is my decomposition

I must have life
Loud, brilliant, distracting
Perhaps a little conversation
petty, vain, sultry

Or at least some music
Any kind really
Even just vocals
A bird’s song?

Maybe just some noise?
To keep me alert, awake
Or a hum
Please God, a hum

Damian C. King or "Vicious Avarice" graduated with a BFA from VCU in 2010 and went on to become a prolific filmmaker in Hollywood over the past decade. Though he continues to produce features under his company Fantasy Forge Films, recently, he has reignited his passion for writing, focusing on poetry and fantasy novels. In January 2022, he published the children’s book “The Christmas Monster” which can be pre-ordered here ( He looks forward to contributing to Malorie’s Adventures and asks all to keep an eye out for his future books which always carry with them a fantastical whimsy born of the imagination.

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