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anyone up for a emetophobia support thread?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
There was a discussion a while back on the childhood years forum about this. It's so good to know i'm not the only one.....
How long have you suffered from emetophobia
What are your coping skills for living with it
How has it changed your life

(I hope this thread doesnt die)
post #2 of 52
Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
How long have you suffered from emetophobia
All my life.

Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
What are your coping skills for living with it
Well, I don't have any, really. When I feel sick, which is very rare (I have only thrown up twice in over 25 years) I usually try to talk myself through it, saying things like, "Its okay; I'll feel a lot better if I just let myself be sick; relax, its okay" but that doesn't really help much.

I think emetophobia is really a fear of loss of control, and maybe practicing being slightly "out of control" will help desensitize myself to it. I used to try to work on that; for example, I took up skydiving, which, once you are out of that airplane, you're pretty much out of control, as least for a little while. I was terrified, absolutely terrified, to jump out of the plane but somehow I did it. I think there's a place you go when you are so terrified out of your mind that you go past that to calmness, acceptance... or maybe its just numbness. I don't know. The two times I have thrown up in my life I think I got to that place. But I still am terrified. I suppose a method which would work would be to take an emetic until I got over the fear, but right now, I guess I don't see emetophobia as being so problematic or disruptive to my life that I am willing to do that.

Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
How has it changed your life
I avoid things that have even the slightest possibility of making me sick. I won't drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks in one day (and even then, that's really rare). I won't eat any food that's been sitting out when it should be refrigerated. I am reluctant to try new foods... like, I made goat milk yogurt for the first time but am too scared to eat it I also feel kind of panicked at the thought of someone else being sick, which is just silly, especially when they themselves aren't concerned about it.
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
Wow, I cant believe you tried sky diving....that is so incredible!!!! I wont even go on Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland for fear of getting sick ....
I've dealt with my "problem" since I was about 6. I just remember getting sick a lot as a kid. It's gotten worse as I've gotten older. In fact I remember when I was little many times praying that if God would spare me throwing up that night, He could let me get sick when I was like 25 because by that time, surely I would be "grown up" enough to handle it.....man, was I wrong. I'm still that scared little girl inside a 33 year old woman's body.
I dont have much coping skills except like you, I steer clear of anyone that has any sort of gastro-upset. I take my hand gel everywhere and when I'm at restaurants, I examine my forks and knives to make sure they are clean and test my food to make sure it's hot/cold.
I dont eat food that i'm unsure about and I HATE to cook with raw eggs or raw meat.....It's pretty bad but I take it one day at a time.
It's so nice to meet another person like me....
post #4 of 52
How long have you suffered from emetophobia
I remember being very young and having ways to try and prevent throwing up when I felt sick. But it didn't start to control my life until I was 18 maybe. Before that I only panicked if I actually felt ill (which was very rare). Now I worry about it all day, every day.
What are your coping skills for living with it
They change as I change. I have studied emetaphobia and vomiting a great deal to try and understand all of this. I always ask my husband tons of questions about throwing up. I often have him reasure me that it doesn't hurt, ect. I have all sorts of silly rituals for everyday or the times I feel crummy. I keep my hands clean and away from my face. I'm very careful about what I eat. There was a point where I just would not leave my house and/or eat anything. I dropped down to 90 pounds and was so sick. Having Zayla kind of forced me to let a lot of that go. I live a normalish life now, but I always worry.
How has it changed your life
It has made my social anxiety worse. It saved me from a terrible alcohol addiction. It's affected certain jobs badly. I'm afraid of travel, I'm afraid to eat out, I'm afraid to kiss my child on the lips. There have been times where suicide sounded better than being so darn afraid all of the time. It's been a roller coaster ride. I go from doing very good, to being scared to leave my house. It sucks, but I do feel like I'm getting better everyday. Easy for me to say though when I haven't been sick since 2000. I haven't been sick from a natural cause since 1994. I'm scared to find out if something like a tummy bug will cure me, or just make me even worse.

(I hope this thread doesnt die)
I'll stick around if you like, even if it's just you and me we can keep talking if you need to.
post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Melaya

There was a point where I just would not leave my house and/or eat anything. I dropped down to 90 pounds and was so sick. Having Zayla kind of forced me to let a lot of that go. I live a normalish life now, but I always worry.
THIS HAPPENED TO ME TOO!! It was kind of an all encompassing illness. I had been diagnosed with anorexia, depression and ocd. I had other health problems at the time (colitis being one of them). There were high stress events leading up to this one period of my life but I'll never forget it. I had been at Disneyland on Valentines day (day before my birthday, a couple weeks after dh and i were married in 1993). I wound up getting bad stomach cramps and had to run to the bathroom...I had diarrhea really bad ....we left right away having to stop at a Mc Donalds on the way home (all the while freaking out about the germ exposure)
From the moment we got home, I stopped eating and lived soley on saltine crackers and water for three months. I got down to 90 lbs and couldnt leave the house. My parents finally forced me to see a dr. who diagnosed me with anorexia and malnutrition. I was almost too weak to walk....The one thing that really helped me through was my desperate longing for a baby. I was able to slowly slowly slowly eat tiny amounts of food...I saw a nutrionalist and that helped some. It was a very dark time in my life and I do much better now as far as being able to haVe friends and go out without having a panic attack over food
I have done better since I've had children but every night (literally every night) when they go to bed, I fear someone waking up puking (which has happened often ) Oh, I could write a book... Again, it's so nice to meet other people like me
post #6 of 52
I've lucked out so far, Zayla very rarely even spit up as a baby. She's only actually thrown up once, and that was from the croup. I'll probably be in a lot of trouble when she starts preschool this September. I never worry about others getting sick around me, unless I think it's something contagious. If they're just drunk or something, it doesn't bother me. If it's a flu though or an unknown cause, I freak out. That's actually another definition of emetaphobia. Emetaphobia means to either be afraid of throwing up, or to be afraid of seeing others throw up. Not sure how I'm actually going to handle being a nurse this year.

lived soley on saltine crackers and water
That's exactly what I ate for my year and a half of starvation. I'd also sip sprite when feeling "nauseas".
post #7 of 52
Hi, I am totally new here. My very good friend belongs to Mothering and she told me about this thread. I have emetophobia. I was never diagnosed formally, but I know I have it. She sent me the link for this thread because my son just finished up with a stomach bug and both my DH and I got it too. Luckily, I didn't throw up but my DH did.

I have suffered from this for as long as I can remember. The incident that triggered it was when I was 5. I ate a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies and puked. From then on, I was terrified of it. To this day I don't know why that incident caused me to fear vomiting. The only thing I can come up with is that I don't remember feeling sick - the puking just sort of happened very quickly without warning. I had one other vomiting incident when I was 11 and that was because I made myself so scared I was going to vomit that I did. It was awful. I haven't thrown up since and I just turned 30.

My coping skills are that I steer clear of anyone who is sick and that I know is or is potentially contagious. It doesn't bother me too much if the person is sick from drinking too much because I know I can't catch it, but I still don't like to be around it. I won't go near anyone who has had the stomach flu for at least two weeks. I use hand sanitizer and I wash my hands constantly. When my son was sick last week, I cried because I was so scared I was going to catch it, and I did, boo hoo. That was the first time my son was sick like that. He spit up a lot as a baby, but that doesn't bother me at all. My four month old has not gotten it so far and I hope he doesn't.

I also won't eat foods that I know have been sitting out. But, oddly, I do like to eat sushi and I will chance it every now and then. I also won't drink too much for fear of having a wicked hangover. I have had several bad hangovers but I didn't allow myself to throw up. How I managed that, I don't know.

I think the scariest thing about it so far is knowing that I have to deal with it since having children. I know my children will get sick like that and there is nothing I can do about it, but it is the part of parenting I fear the most. This whole winter I have been waiting for my son to get sick, just knowing it would happen sooner or later. I forget what poster said it, but I also go to bed some nights fearing that my son will wake me in the middle of the night puking. I think I may have gotten a little bit better about dealing with it since I've been older, but I still freak out. I used to have panic attacks and cry. Now I just cry. I suppose if I really thought I was going to puke and that nothing would stop it, I probably would have a panic attack.

I'm so glad to see you guys post about this, as I don't talk about it a lot with many people, not even my family, because I think they think I'm really weird. When I was younger and my sister would get sick, I would go around the house and wipe everything with bleach and I would hold my breath when I had to be around her. It was a terrible way to live. Even now, with my son having his first throw up incident, I was really depressed and felt like I was living on egg shells waiting for myself to get sick. It's an awful way to live. It's nice to know I'm not alone.
post #8 of 52
Thread Starter 
HJ, Welcome!!!! I'm so glad you found us!! I agree it's a terrible way to live. I have four children and we've dealt with the stomach flu so many times.....My son even wound up in the hospital last year with Rota virus. I thought for sure I was going to get it. I avoided eating at the hospital, didnt touch ANYTHING...and washed my hands constantly. I also used hand gel the whole time and made sure I was super careful around my son not to get any of his vomit or anything on me. it was terrible
Anytime my kids get sick, I have a whole routine....I get out the bleach, I throw away their bedding (if they puke on it), I use lots of anti-bacterial products that I HATE. I'm really trying to switch to tea tree oil and lavender for disinfecting but it's so hard when bleach SMELLS so clean

Melaya....it's so awesome you're going to be a nurse! I have thought about going into the medical profession but honestly, the puking really holds me back. Even though I've gotten somewhat better with my kids, I still have a problem with "Unknown puking causes" with other people

maybe we can offer each other ways of making steps towards more normal living? What has helped? What has made things worse? I know for me, there are days than are worse than others....I think there has to be some internal triggers, but Im not sure what they are.....some days I live in more fear than others.....
post #9 of 52
mykds - I didn't know that lavender and tea tree oil were considered antiseptic cleaners. I know lavender's power of relaxing and tea tree oil's power of cleansing irritated skin, but didn't know it worked for that too. Interesting. I think I would have a hard time switching over too.

I am like you. Some days are better than others. There are times when I feel like, "okay, I can handle this. I'm not going to die. It's going to be okay." Then other days, like when my son was sick, I was terrified.

My sister was hospitalized for rota virus when she was three. I remember standing in the hospital parking lot and waving to my mom standing at the window of the room. I remember being so happy that she (my sister) was in the hospital and not home with me - and I was only six!

Melaya, I don't know how you can be a nurse - but more power to you! I thought about the medical field but can't do it because of the vomiting. One of my secret childhood careers was to be a doctor, but there is no way I could handle it. Unfortunate for me because I'd make a lot more money than being a teacher! Funny me being a teacher, I guess too, because I am around sick students all winter long! But they are older students so I guess I'm not as concerned. I could never be an elementary school teacher, partly for that reason. I do tell my students all the time that if they even think they might be sick, they should just leave and go to the bathroom, don't even tell me, just leave. I don't want to deal with it!

Anyway, another coping mechanism I use is talking to my good friend about it - the one who refered me here. She is very good at handling vomiting incidents so she always gives me good advice. In fact, I called her the day I was sick! But you are right, mykds, some days I live in more fear than others. And so sorry you had to deal with DS in the hospital.
post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Just wondering how everyone is doing? I'm having a good week so far...

HJ, yep...you can use tto and lavender for cleaning. A good solution that works for me is 1 part vinegar to 1 part water with about 20 drops of tto or lavender or even lemon oil and mix in a spray bottle......Vinegar is a natural disinfectant as well
post #11 of 52

We've been going through a rough weekend. I'll be back to chat and continue the conversation, probably Monday.
post #12 of 52

Okay, here's what's helping me

I quit avoiding vomiting. Crazy, hmm? But in the last 3 years I've had to throw up three times (only done so once in the 15 years prior to that).

Well, with two kids needing me there was no time to "not let myself," lounge around and hold it back (in retrospect keeping me feeling ill much longer).

The first time I threw up DD was 6 weeks old. I KNEW I had to be fast as she nursed every couple hours all night (at a minimum). And it wasn't so bad.

The next time I had the two kids to myself caring for my elderly parents after some surgery. Again... no time let the kids wake up, just barf and be done as fast as I could.

Third time... very brave. This fall I felt the yukkies coming on for a couple hours and as soon as I felt really bad (you know, the cold sweat etc) I literally MADE myself throw up as soon as I could get home.

Dreading and delaying it has been so much worse than just getting it over with. I know... people always say that, but it took me over 35 years to actually accept it!

We can talk about the lack of control aspect behind the whole phobia any time too... boy is that a big part of it. That and not wanting to "inconvenience/expose" others, show weakness, be dependent, deal with unpleasantness. You name it.

Okay, gotta go to bed now!
post #13 of 52
Hi! I'm glad to see this. I was really interested in the thread in Parenting Issues awhile back, because I never knew this was a real phobia and that other people had this problem.

I think mine is a little different, maybe I'm just luckier. I'm not so much scared of throwing up myself as I am of other people puking and seeing or hearing that. Just the knowledge that someone else had done that.
I do hate throwing up, and don't do it very often and go through a whole routine of panic and trying to cope and avoid when I feel sick, but when I don't feel sick, I don't think about it very often and don't avoid certain foods or situations.

But I totally panic and freak when anyone around me says they feel sick, or I can tell they've had way too much to drink, or anyone in my house gets the stomach flu, and on wild rides at amusment parks, and being around anyone I know who gets carsickness.

I've been like this for about 15 years, it started when I was 7 and my sister had the stomach flu and threw up when we were eating dinner together. Growing up with my siblings, anytime they got sick I would hide in the closet and plug my ears and scream or sing loudly and not come out for hours.

I just threw up about 4 weeks ago, my sister (who lives with me now) had the flu again and I had a horrible morning of terror and trying to figure out how dd and I could get out of the house because my sister shares a room with dd and I was too scared to go in there and get clean clothes for her in case my sister was going to be sick.
The next day, I started feeling really strange and had a nauseous stomach but convinced myself that it was just from anxiety because of my sister's illness, but that night I threw up at the grocery store while dh and dd were in the car.
It came on so fast and I only really felt truly sick for about 15 minutes before it happened so I didn't have time to do anything or get too scared.
I should have been throwing up the rest of the night like everyone else, but I was so scared and just layed in bed and did deep breathing and relaxation and sipped water and read a book to avoid thinking about it. And I made it! My sister threw up 9 times but I only did once.

Also, I just got out of the hospital from having an appendectomy and I did have a lot of panic that I would throw up from some of the heavy meds I was on or the anesthesia, to the point that I was so loudly vocal about my fears that the nurses were giving me Pepcid, Benadryl and Compazine anytime I was medicated. (I had a lot of strong IV antbx that are known for causing some of the same vomiting as chemo)

But the night I came out of the hospital, my DH came down with a stomach bug he must have caught from hanging around the hospital the whole time I was in there, so I had to deal with that and I just didn't sleep in my bedroom and took a sleeping pill and slept with the radio turned up loud so I wouldn't hear him getting up to puke.

But I don't really do anything special as far as trying to avoid germs or unsafe foods. I should, because I don't want my dd to be a kid that pukes all the time because I can't handle it. She hasn't really had anything yet and she is 14 months.

When I went to get more pepcid after I got out of the hospital, I saw that they sell some anti-emetics, but one of them is a liquid and the other is a chewable which I have a little bit of a problem with those (cherry flavor yuck!). But if I came down with something again, I might try them. Before the stomach virus last month, I hadn't thrown up in 6 years since I was 15 and got drunk, and before that I was probably 8 or 9. I can't believe the people who haven't vomited in 20 or 30 years, it must be so much harder for them.

I avoided morning sickness, if I had it bad, I might not get pg again. My mom told me that she had horrible morning sickness in the first 2 trimesters and vomited several times in Transition. If she told me that before I delivered, I don't know what I would have done. Freaked probabaly.

My family and friends laugh and tease me about my fears, and some of my DH's friends will torture me and chase me and make gagging and yakking noises, sometimes until I cry. They just don't get that it is serious and terrifying to me.
post #14 of 52
I wanted to add that another example of how it is for me. If I even hear about somebody being sick, I'm very nervous about being around them, even after they are over it and even if I never was near them while they were sick.
When I was in high school, my boyfriend threw up in the morning before school but came to school halfway through the day because he wasn't sick anymore. I really loved him and we had been dating for 2 years, but when he told me he had puked, I would kiss him or hold hands or have any contact with him for almost two weeks. It was just so repulsive to me and anytime I was with him, I was thinking about him vomiting. I got over it though, but I still remember that incident.
post #15 of 52
Sorry to post again, but for some reason my "Subscribe" feature was turned off. This should work now.
post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
TM, you're my hero. This sounds totally sick and twisted but at one point I wish I could have been a bulimic because at least then I could throw up and not care about it. If I didnt have that fear, I would do so much more in my life .....Someday I hope to be where you're at....not fearing it anymore....

Pinks...I'm a lot like you too....and I had surgery last year for my galllbadder and I was FREAKING OUT the night before....I had never had anesthesia....I told them I was allergic to Morphine so they wouldnt give me any. I was terrified of it making me sick. When I got out of surgery and they took me to my room, they offered me ....oh shoot...I cant think of the name of it.....they give it to women in labor sometimes.....anyway...I refused because i was so afraid it would make me sick. I could take the pain but not the nauseau! My surgery was at 9, I left recovery at 10 30 and my next dose of pain meds was at 6pm that night when I took a tylenol with codeine by mouth....It was a hard day but better than if I would have gotten sick

gotta run....kids are too quiet
post #17 of 52
I think you mean Stadol. I had that when I had my crappy hospital birth and it was like getting drunk in about two minutes. The nurse said it is pretty much the same as Demerol but without the nausea. It is good stuff.

I'm allergic to codeine, makes me...you guessed it, vomit!

And I'm also allergic to Penicillin, so I'm kind of a pain in the butt in the hospital. They have to come up with all these crazy antibiotics to give me and then they have to give me a bunch of other stuff so I won't puke.
post #18 of 52
Is this thread still going? If so, count me in! I am definitely an emetophobe and have been, to some degree, since I had a stomach bug at age 8 and sat up in bed and thought I was going to die. Really thought that I was dying. (Instead, I threw up.)

The toughest thing for me is the nights. That "waiting for the puke in the night" thing that several of you have mentioned. Oddly, if I knew the vomiting incident isn't contagious, it doesn't bother me. I am not put off by other people throwing up as long as it's not contagious. Get drunk, get carsick, get sick from medication--just don't come near me if you've got viral gastroenteritis! I don't want to catch anything that involves vomiting.

I'd love to know if anyone has found relief from this phobia. I think about it every day--some days more than others--and I dread cold-and-flu season because of the possibility of catching something like this. I'm hesitant to travel. (You will never catch me going on a cruise after the outbreaks of Norwalk-type viruses that seemed to hit all the major cruise lines a few years ago.) Right now, there is a high-fever, multiple-vomiting-episode bug going around our community, so every night I'm on high alert with my girls. "Everybody feeling good tonight?" I'll ask as a matter of course before they go to bed. Somehow, if it hits during daylight hours, I feel like there's more ability for me to control the germ spread.

I need ideas for how to conquer the fear.
post #19 of 52
Hey, can I join in?

I'm emetophobic, but I'm more afraid of others vomiting than vomiting myself. Don't get me wrong; I still really hate to vomit and will have to be VERY bad off before I will do it. Usually, I can't even if I want to. But other people vomiting around me will give me a panic attack.

This used to be true of tv shows, movies, radio, any kind of noise imitation, but that's improved a lot over the years, I think just from frequent exposure. But in person ... if I even have an inkling someone in the house is being sick in private really makes me fearful. I'm kind of worried for the first time a stomach bug hits the kids in our house ... which, amazingly, hasn't happened yet!
post #20 of 52

Maybe emetophobes have guardian angels???

Just read the last post about none of her kids having a stomach bug yet and you know what??? Neither have mine!!! My oldest coughs til he gags due to mucus, (still!) but in almost 6 years with two kids, no tummy bugs yet for them.

Must be a special guardian angel protecting us. NOW I think I could handle it some, but three years ago??? No way!

Yay extended nursing (why I personally think my kids have never puked).
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