Jul 25

Wed '12

Get over it already

Vomit. Puke. Barf. Throw up. Those are some words that scare the crap out of me. I suffer from Emetophobia, which is an extreme phobia of vomiting. I can’t say how long I have had this fear, but it’s been a long time. I haven’t thrown up in over 15 years and as more time goes by, my fear just gets worse.

This phobia has prevented me from doing so many things. I get major anxiety and fear when I have to fly. I thought it was because I was afraid of dying in a horrific plane crash. I am still scared of turbulence and flying, but it is not as severe as I had initially thought. More recently however, I have discovered I am more afraid to fly because I am afraid of being sick on the plane or having someone around me being sick. So many people have told me that they have never seen it happen, but I have witnessed it twice and almost 3 times (he made it to the bathroom). I suppose my desire to travel trumps the phobia as it has not fully prevented me from going places.

I have never before in my life been drunk. I’ve been tipsy, but I have never wanted to push myself too far for fear of throwing up. I don’t know my limit and I have never wanted to test it. Sure, I like to have a few drinks but not too much more. In a way, I do regret that I never got to experience the 18 and legal “party phase” of my life.

I don’t go out to bars or clubs, especially on busy nights, for fear of drunk people throwing up. I used to go out with my friends once in a while, but I have seen enough drinking and vomit in the last few years that I have stopped going altogether. Why should I put myself through the shaking, the anxiety, the thoughts about it running over and over in my head?

I went to Las Vegas in September for a wedding and I really did not enjoy myself. I should have. I mean I was a young woman with all my friends celebrating a wonderful occasion. But I walked around the place in fear. Everywhere I went I was looking out for vomit, but scared the whole time that I would actually see some. Or worse, someone in the act of vomiting. It was pathetic. I let it tarnish my whole trip and I probably will never visit the place again. It was too much of a party town.

In some ways I do not want to have kids. I’m scared. I am afraid of the morning sickness when I am pregnant. Then what about when I have a sick child at home and I am supposed to responsible for cleaning up after them. How will I be able to set a good example for my children if I am so scared?

Anyway, the real point of this post is to say that I know it is time to get over this stupid phobia already!!

We had some relatives in town last week and I told them about my phobia. It started with me telling them I do not eat leftovers for fear of getting food poisoning. It snowballed into a huge discussion and a real eye opening conversation for me. One of my cousins is a occupational therapist, so his job is to help people recover from certain events and get over their fears. I was so impressed with his rationalizations of the fears I have about vomiting. The best question he asked me was to think of the worst possible scenario to do with your phobia and then explain what is so bad about it. I always think of vomiting as this unspeakable, petrifying thing. But really, it is our bodies’ natural defense mechanism. I suppose I think everyone thinks of vomiting as the worst experience because that is what I think. To me, it is the most horrible thing that could happen. Most people probably don’t like it, but aren’t as scared of it as I am.

My cousin also asked me how I felt after the last time I threw up. The honest I answer I had for him was that I felt better. I had had some kind of flu and I remember getting better after I puked. SO after all this discussion, I have decided that it is time to start getting over my fear. I will start slow and work my way to recovery. I am hoping to skype with my cousin so that he can help me further.

In an effort to get some help and see what others have been doing, I’ve been looking at different emetophobia sites and forums for the past hour. From reading all the stories, all I am feeling right now is nauseousness. Is it a good thing? I don’t know. But maybe it’s a start. I need to face my fears before I can overcome them.

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2 Responses to “Get over it already”

  • Erica
    July 26, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Wow what an incredibly hindering fear! Good luck over coming this. I can’t say I have ever heard of someone being afraid of vomit before. HMM. Interesting. Keep us updated, natch.

  • Lissy
    July 29, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

    wow, that’s an interesting phobia. Throwing up isn’t exactly fun, but I’ve done it on purpose quite a few times because I felt so sick I knew it was the only way to feel better. I can’t burp either, so sometimes I make myself throw up to get rid of extra air in my stomach. Hope all the vomit stories you’ll get here help!

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