Dear Lindsay darling,
First, you are not alone in thinking this way. I do, too, and so does just about everyone else from time to time, even if we don't talk about it. I definitely do think about death every day, and here are my thoughts on how to make this your greatest teacher and motivator.
I understand how you feel. My awareness of my death has been both a source of great anxiety and agony for me, and my greatest and most powerful motivation to really live. It's ok to experience both. I don't believe anyone can fully overcome the fear of death; it's the one universal human fear.
It sounds like you have been in a reactive state in your relationship with death, like the thoughts come to you and you get freaked out, adrenaline rises, etc (I have totally been there!). Have you tried proactively thinking of your death when you are in a calm state of mind? It might sound crazy, but you could even imagine that it would be the last time you'd see your family -- think about how tightly you would hug them, how present you would be with them, how you would laugh louder and tell them how you feel. Then, do exactly that when you do see them.
The thing is, whether we worry about it or not, us, our family, friends, anyone, can die at any time. This is what changed everything for me: I realized I was spending my life worrying about death, of which I have no control over, when I could be worrying about living a meaningful life before I die. We have only a finite quantity of energy and time in life, and I actively choose every day to spend my time and energy living alive rather than worrying about dying.
I still have moments of death anxiety. In those moments, I try to do something grounding to remind myself that death is a part of life and that it will happen outside of my control: focus on my breath, look up at the sky, hug someone, feel the energy of all the life currently happening around me, or smile, shake my head and laugh at the craziness of it all.
You might die tomorrow, or next week, or in thirty years -- but what you have is right now. Be alive, Lindsay. It’s all here for you!
All my best and Happy Today,