Hello readers, welcome back to another of my very strange mental health posts where I try to appropriately write about what goes on in my everyday life, and in my head. Today I’m going to write about my fear of vomiting, also known as, Emetophobia. My fear has been really taking a toll over me for the past few months, and recently, when I learned how to actually use this website, I was reading through the Emetophobia tag, and surprisingly, there are people who have written about it, and I can relate. So well. Reading those articles, has inspired me to get out of my shell today and write about my fear.
I can speak for most people who suffer from this fear, it’s life consuming, it’s nearly like your fight-or-flight response is constantly triggered and you can’t escape the exposure of getting sick. It’s literally impossible. That alone is enough to drive someone who has this fear, to completely isolate themselves, and become so sanitary that everything is constantly being scrubbed down, including their hands, until they bleed, peel, and become raw. It’s a mess. You become a mess. Don’t forget, that most emetophobics would rather die than to throw up ever again. It’s that real. The feelings are real. The fear itself, is real. People actually deal with it, and so do I. Every day.
Dealing with Emetophobia and anxiety is awful. It seems the older I’ve gotten, and the deeper I’ve gotten into my panic disorder/generalized anxiety disorder, the worse my Emetophobia has became. Growing up, it’s always been bad, where someone could just cough or burp, and in the blink of in eye, I’d be in another room, plugging my ears and pulling the whole “LA-LA-LA!!!!” thing just so I couldn’t hear anything. I’d constantly sanitize/wash my hands, there were times my hands would get so raw they would crack and bleed. It was pretty gross. But other than that, it didn’t really escalate. Not until I got older, not until this year.
I mean, I’d avoid eating in public, but for the most part it’s always just been anxiety itself, but this year when it started effecting my eating no matter where I was, whether I was at home or out at a restaurant, my eating was effected. Badly. It became the source of why I wouldn’t eat in public, or around anyone for that matter. I only eat in my room, on occasion I’ll eat in my living room, a lot of it is anxiety, just like everything else wrong with me, that normal people don’t do, but on my good days, I’ll try and eat meals with my family, because after all, exposure is good, healthy, and a step closer to “getting over it”. But how badly it’s effected my eating this year, I keep getting misdiagnosed with eating disorders. Apparently, that’s common for people who are Emetophobics, because they restrict eating, thinking that if they have an empty stomach, they won’t throw up, which is a huge thing for me, reading that other people actually do that, too, allowed me to feel less.. alone. Like, my feelings are actually valid, and it’s not just in my head. I know for sure, that I have no problems with my weight, besides the fact I really don’t like that I am losing so much weight just by not eating one meal. It makes a huge difference. It stresses me out, but at the same time, pushes me to get back on track with eating and stop restricting.
Any physical sensation in my body will trigger panic attacks. I could stub my toe, and immediately think the pain is going to make me throw up. Headaches, period cramps, pulled muscle, getting a shot, taking medication, you name it, everything that causes pain, or even taking a medication with just “nausea” as a side effect, it all triggers panic attacks and convinces me I’m going to throw up. I’ve refused so many medications because of this, and honestly, it’s preventing me from getting my birth control switched, which is causing SO much strain in my personal life right now, I’m scared that I have no option and that any one I switch to is going to make me sick because of the side effects. One even has a most common side effect of throwing up, and that was actually the next method I was going to try. I can’t even describe the anxiety I’ve been feeling because of the fact these other methods have side effects or pain dragged along with it. It’s incredibly frustrating!
My fear is SO strong, that I actually made my boyfriend wait a week before we could see each other again, because I was scared of being exposed, even when all he had was food poisoning. That alone, was enough to put my walls up. I felt so bad because, all we wanted to do was see each other, and I was refusing. Then, when I did finally see him (which was actually yesterday), my nerves were triggered so badly, especially when he gave me chips that he had bought while he was sick, I angrily went to bed. I felt and still feel in a way, that he does not respect my fear, or takes it lightly, like a joke, just like a lot of the people in my life. It feels as if, no one takes it seriously, because they don’t have to deal with it. Little do they know — or care for that matter –, that my feelings are valid, and they deserve to be respected, just like my anxiety.
I wish I had more people in my life that I could connect with, that truly understands this disgusting, life consuming, anxiety inducing, fear. Sometimes, you just need that, and need to express how you truly feel, or when the feelings are triggered. It feels good to let it all out. Shrinks just jump to the conclusion that you have an eating disorder, at least that’s all I’ve experienced and concluded. I chose to write about it, because when you write about it, you can vent it all out without being judged as you write, I can’t say that anyone reading this isn’t judging me, because for all I know, anyone could be laughing as they read, or they could leave a comment judging me, but in the moment, I can just let it out. I like to journal about it, too.
Emetophobia, it’s real. It’s a nightmare. It’s an everyday battle that I am so tired of dealing with, but still never give up trying to battle it, so I can take care of myself. Having this fear, it almost makes me feel like I cannot do what normal people do. I feel almost.. Less of a person because I deal with it, even if I know better than to believe that.
Shit, I ran out of Lysol wipes..