Sunday, 15 January 2017

Living With Emetophobia


I wrote a post touching on this subject a while ago, which I kept lighthearted, partly because I was embarrassed to write about it and probably partly because I wasn't ready to write about it properly. Well, here goes, here's me writing about it properly...

I suffer from emetophobia, which is a fear of vomit or being sick. Some people are afraid of actually  being sick and some are afraid of vomit itself - for me, it's both, although there are varying degrees of panic - e.g. someone being drunk sick isn't as bad for me as someone being ill sick because there's no chance in the drunk case that it could be something I could catch and be sick with myself.

It's funny because I've always classed myself as emetophobic, but it's only in the past year or so from reading other blogs and researching it that it's kind of dawned on my that it's a real thing, I've actually got it and there are heaps of other people who do too. It's not just me being weird, which is what I'd always thought.

I'm not really sure where the phobia comes from. During my research I read something interesting that said it usually comes from a memory you've repressed, which would explain why I'm not 100% sure where it started. I do remember not being emetophobic when I was about five years old so it's not something that's always been there.

Anyway, enough of the boring details - what I really want to talk about is how it effects my everyday life. After reading other people's experiences of emetophobia I count myself very lucky that my phobia doesn't seem as severe as most people's. Generally the only thing that really affects me everyday is the fact that I'm constantly looking where I'm walking in case I need to avoid any vomit on the street (and if I do I also hold my breath until I'm past). I've also started holding my breath as much as I can in hospitals and in the doctor's surgery. I think also the possibility that someone might be sick somewhere nearby is always with me and is something that I'm constantly thinking about - how big the risk is in a certain place for example and I'm also always listening out for people saying they feel ill so I could get away if needed.

The main thing I'm worried about is someone being sick near me and me not being able to get away from it and also therefore possibly catching something and being sick myself. I don't particularly like flying for that reason - I'm worried someone will be sick on the plane and there will be nowhere for me to go. Sometimes I feel horrendously selfish - about a year ago I was in a car with a friend who was suffering with really bad morning sickness and obviously felt horribly ill and I snapped at her and told her that she wasn't allowed to be sick in the car with me there. I'm aware I couldn't have caught morning sickness, but being in a confined space with someone being sick would have been something I couldn't handle.

I'm lucky not to have any particularly obsessive symptoms when it comes to my own hygiene apart from the obvious things like avoiding sick people, but I don't constantly wash my hands and I'll happily eat food from the reduced section - I actually see it as building up my immune system, meaning I'm less likely to get ill if I do eat something a bit dodgy. I'm also not put off the idea of having children, which is something I know does affect a lot of emetophobic people, but I just haven't thought about it too much and if I do get morning sickness or my child is sick I will just have to deal with it and I'm determined to try as hard as possible not to pass my phobia onto them.

If someone is sick around me or even just mentions that they feel sick that's when the fear really sets in. It's a feeling that most people are probably familiar with - that horrible twisting feeling in your stomach and your heart suddenly beating twice as fast. As well as avoiding the person I need to avoid anywhere they've been - I can't use a toilet someone has been sick in, touch anything they've recently touched or if it's on the floor I won't step on that part of the floor for a good few months afterwards.

It's something I'm really hoping I'll be able to get over - I myself haven't been sick since I was eight years old, which I'm sure hasn't helped my phobia at all. It's something I quite like bragging about, but while I was researching emetophobia apparently it's usually the case that you won't have been sick for a long time and rather than it being because you're superhuman (as I thought obvs) it's actually just because you take more precautions that others to avoid being sick. I think I'm basically hoping that when I have children I'll get over it because I'll have to, whether it happens naturally because I'm exposed to it or whether I need to get some sort of therapy to enable me to actually look after my children when they're ill!

Do you suffer with any phobias? I'd love to read any posts anyone has on emetophobia so please link them down below if you do!

Amy x
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49 comments

  1. I'm very similar. I hate being sick and other people being sick. If someone is going to be sick around me, or if they say they feel sick and gip I panic so much and run the opposite direction. I have no idea what I would do as a mum as I could never clean up sick or be there while my child is sick I don't think. I'd just RUN RUN. I also hold my breath haha. When I'm ill I hate being sick so much I'll just lay as still as possible in an attempt to keep it down. I'd rather feel like that than be sick, even though being sick for me is very traumatic, I do feel better after. I think my fear stems from having migraines when I was younger that made me sick and I always felt that being sick for me was physically harder and lasted longer than it does for anyone else.

    Ok thats enough sick talk now, have a nice weekend :D

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    1. Wow I had no idea you were exactly the same! It's nice to actually know someone who is! I always think I'd be an awful mum because I wouldn't be able to look after my children when they're ill but fingers crossed it'll actually help me to get over it! xx

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  2. Thanks so much for writing this post, Amy! I found it really educational. I don't suffer from this phobia myself but understanding how it effects people is really important. I think you do have a healthy attitude with building up your immune system etc. without engaging in obsessive behaviour! Keep fighting, I'm sure that one day you will battle through and make it out the other side!

    Abbey 😘 www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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    1. Thanks so much Abbey, I'm glad you think I have a healthy attitude and I'm glad you found it educational :) xx

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  3. This post is really interesting! I didn't really know what it was before reading this. Really educating, thank you!

    Katie | silverglowx.com

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    1. I'm so glad, apparently it's the 5th most common phobia but not many people know about it so it's great to raise awareness xx

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  4. Babe I never knew there was actually a name for it! I had this on my life I would get very anxious and shaky when vomiting, I could never be left alone when puking up because I cry and panick.. All stopped when I became pregs 7 months ago and morning sickness started so istarted throwing up minimum 7 times a day lol and I had to fucking get over myself and get used to it lol now I don't even care anymore. It became a daily ritual :D Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Happy New Year to you and your family!! Dominica from www.its-dominica.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I didn't know until recently that it was actually a thing, I just thought I was weird! I'm so happy to learn that you managed to get over it when you were pregnant - I'm hoping the exact same thing will happen to me! xx

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  5. Everyone hates being sick but it must be so debilitating to have a phobia like this, it's horrible for you how it effects your every day life. I hope you manage to find a solution to this one day x

    Sick Chick Chic

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    1. Thanks so much Josie, I hope so too! It's a difficult one to explain because as you say everyone hates it! xx

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  6. I honestly never knew this was a thing! I hate being that person so thank you for educating me and brining up the awareness on this :)!

    Style Sunrise☀

    :)
    x

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    1. Ah I'm so glad you found this post educational - I'm all for raising awareness of this :) xx

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  7. Really interesting post!
    I never knew this was a real thing, I think my husband might have it. I've told him to read this and he can relate to so many factors.

    Tania
    www.taniaalexandraribeiro.com

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    1. Oh wow, I'm sorry if your husband has it because it is horrible, but hopefully it's reassuring for him to know it's not just him! xx

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  8. I used to have a major phobia of dogs, I was terrified!! However in the last year I have gotten over it, I was introduced to a few dogs and feel I that I am okay!!!
    It's a slightly different phobia but if I can get over it so can you!!
    Just keep trying and pushing through and you'll make it, it took me like 16 years so you can do it!!!
    Thanks for sharing xoxo

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    1. Thanks so much Emma - I hope so! I think it is about exposure etc so I just need to force myself into situations I'm not comfortable with - it's just doing that in the first place that's difficult! I'm glad you got over your phobia of dogs xx

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  9. You have absolutely nothing to feel embarrassed about and it's completely understandable. I feel like I understand it a lot more now you've told me about your feelings/experiences. Good to share.

    Violet
    www.iamnoshrinkingviolet.co.uk

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    1. Thanks so much Violet, the reaction to this post has certainly made me less embarrassed! xx

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  10. I've actually never heard of such a phobia but now I've read your post, I definitely see how people could be affected by it. I'm glad that you have a healthy attitude to emetophobia though; you accept that you have it but don't let it define you or what you're about. I'd definitely say avoid going into the city centre on a Saturday or Sunday morning though; you'd never go into town again! Thank you for educating me about what emetophobia means to you and your version of your story.

    Sian x
    http://theenglisheverygirl.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I'm glad it educated you! Yes, I avoid old town like the plague on weekends! xx

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  11. This post is great and educational. Thanks for sharing.

    Steph xx

    Steph’s World | Lifestyle Blog | www.stephsworld.com

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    1. Thanks Steph, I'm glad you found it educating xx

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  12. This was so interesting to read! I don't have a phobia of sick but I don't like it and it makes me gag. Someone was sick on me once when they were drunk and ever since drunk people make me nervous. When I had my son sick didn't bother me but as he got older I really get paranoid about people being unwell around him, but I am sure thats normal parenting worries. xxxxxx

    lucylovesbeautyxo.com

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    1. I'm sure I'd be exactly the same if I was a parent! That's awful, I'm not surprised drunk people make you nervous - I would completely freak out if that was me! xx

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  13. I'm completely unaware of Emetophobia so it was really interesting to read this. Thank you for sharing Amy!! Lots of love, Debra-Bow xxx

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    1. I'm glad it's raising awareness! Loved your first YouTube video by the way! xx

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  14. Bless you! I've not really heard of this before so it was really nice to read and learn about it through your post! Thanks for sharing lovely.

    Lxoxo
    www.lovelibby.co.uk

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    1. I'm so glad this post seems to be raising awareness as apparently it's the 5th most common phobia but not many people seem to know about it! xx

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  15. This is a really education post, I know someone who I work with has this phobia and that was the first time I'd had come across it, thankyou for sharing! X

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    1. It's always nice to hear of other people who have it - not nice because they have it but nice to know I'm not alone! xx

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  16. Great post Amy, I had heard about this before and I can relate to it too, it was really interesting because although I do not suffer from the phobia I do feel the same in a more mild form.

    Have a great day!

    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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    1. That's interesting - nice to know I'm not alone although I'm glad it's milder for you! xx

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  17. Bem interessante o seu post Emy.
    Eu não fazia ideia que existia essa fobia e gostei de ter conhecimento e saber a real de quem passa por isso.
    Obrigada por compartilhar conosco.

    Dany
    Blog Breshopping da Dany
    Conheça também o Breshopping da Dany KIDS

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad it's raising awareness for you and others :) xx

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  18. I had no idea such a phobia exists! Thank you for making us aware by sharing this post and your daily struggles with it. I have a phobia of dogs and height, so I can relate with that twisting feeling in stomach.

    xx
    Makeup, Style and Sugar
    https://simpliannie.wordpress.com/

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    1. I'm really glad it's raising awareness! Sorry you have to deal with those phobias, a phobia of dogs must be really hard! xx

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  19. Thank you for sharing this post, it is great that you are raising awareness and educating others. I do not suffer with emtophobia but I can imagine that it must be difficult. I don't have a specific phobia but I often struggle with feeling anxious so I can relate to the feeling you described. I understand that it must make flying really hard - could it help to stick to business flights? I've never experienced such a situation on a business flight because everyone is so used to spending their lives on a plane xx

    113thingstosay.com

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    1. I think it's an anxiety like feeling I experience so I'm sure you know exactly how I feel! Yeah that's an idea I'd not thought of actually - I don't know whether to look into it or to just force myself into situations like normal flights that I'm not 100% comfortable with in an attempt to make myself better! Xx

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  20. What a great way to raise awareness, Amy! I'e never heard of this phobia before, but it must be very difficult to deal with. Sending you warm hugs all the way from America xx

    Blessings,
    Edye | Gracefulcoffee.com

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    1. Aw thank you Edye. I'm so glad I'm managing to raise awareness! Xx

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    1. Thank you I'm glad you found it informative! Xx

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  22. I didn't know about emetophobia, but we all have fears or, sometimes, phobias. You didn't mention, but do you also feel like this by reading something like "I catch a cold", or anything like that? Well, no one likes to step or see vomit, I am sure, so you are not alone. But you are right, you need to try to overcome it when you have children, because anything like a fever may make you feel bad. As I said, I know people with other fears, and some tried hypnosis and that helped a lot. Really a lot. Maybe you consider that? Cause it could help when you have children. It was good to know about it, I thank you for that, cause I had no idea about it. It was also brave to write about yourself so honestly! Hope you have a great week!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. No I don't experience anything like it with colds or other illnesses. I've heard really good things about hypnotherapy to deal with phobias so it would probably be a useful thing for me to look into! Xx

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  23. I've had this for years and just recently discovered what it really was. When I was younger I would get panic attacks, and every time someone would be sick I'd diasppear for hours. Funny thing is, I'm 32 now, previously a paramedic and I have 2 kids. I avoid sickness like the plague. I have developed the OCD cleaning ritual that I do daily when my kids are in school and not as bad on the weekend. If one of the kids is sick, I mask up and glove up like I'm going into a hazmat situation. My kids are pretty used to it, I usually can't be in the bathroom while they are sick. But thankfully and knocking on wood, they or anyone else in my home haven't been sick with the stomach flu in years. As a medic, if someone was throwing up, had a stomach ache or any possibility of them getting sick, I was the one who drove lol my partner and I had an understanding. Currently im fighting off a panic attack just worrying that sometime will get sick. It sucks. I hate it. I'm too old for this crap. I'm looking forward to the day when it goes away.

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    1. Wow, I've always written off being a paramedic for that exact reason so kudos to you for being one! That must have been a pretty stressful job for someone with emetophobia, but I'm glad your partner was so understanding. To be honest I think that's what I'd be like with kids, I'm glad you haven't had to deal with it for a while! xx

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  24. So I don't think any of my comments have gone through to your blog, basically because Blogger hates me 😩 Lol. But I had actually read this post before because I think I follow your FB page. I really appreciated it because this is a condition I knew nothing about. I never knew the struggles.

    Shawn Bethea
    Blogger | IBD Advocate
    Web: MoreSpoons.com
    Twitter | Instagram: @ShawnBethea_

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    1. Oh no! I'll double check my spam folder just in case they went in there! xx

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  25. Hate to be sickk too, nothing to do is boring
    Hope you get well soon and continue posting.. bisous
    Come and visit my blog
    https://gallech.blogspot.pe/

    ReplyDelete

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