Explaining Emetophobia

I’ve had emetophobia- a phobia of vomiting- for as long as I can remember to varying degrees, and in my opinion it’s the scariest phobia there is as I’m essentially terrified of my own body being able to torture me- and unlike other phobias there’s no way to run away and escape… well actually, there is one, and many of us have suicidal thoughts triggered by this phobia.

Many of us are filled with self-hatred, for example, when someone else is seriously ill and we are consumed by our phobia (I can remember when my brother who had meningitis when I was 12, and my tears and panic attacks had a catalyst of this phobia as much as fear of losing my brother (fortunately he made a full recovery!).

Because of this guilt, many of us self injure, which is also used as a coping mechanism for anxiety (we’d use alcohol or narcotics as a coping mechanism for our anxiety, but there’s the risk of vomiting…)

Exposure doesn’t always, work and can in fact make us feel vilified in having this phobia as we are reminded how awful it is. Vomiting is bad enough for anyone, but imagine coping with panic attacks while you’re ill already. I’ve tried hypnotherapy, CBT and exposure (both incidental and deliberate- the latter was an act of self harm as I felt angry at myself and guilty for having this phobia). Nothing’s worked and I don’t hold out much hope of being cured (I also have a combination of medical conditions meaning vomiting can trigger a gastric bleeding and a bleeding disorder meaning I lose a lot of blood- plus my husband is type 1 diabetic meaning being infected with a stomach bug could put him into a low blood sugar coma and potentially kill him- which I guess means my perhaps once irrational phobia of vomiting now isn’t entirely irrational!)

Despite not expecting a cure I’m trying not to let the anxiety rule and ruin my life. I’m very lucky in that I’ve never wanted children anyway so this is a non-issue, but I am determined to travel, something I’ve always wanted to do, but had never gone abroad until I was 31 due to my phobia making me to scared to.

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