Living with Uncontrollable: Emetophobia
My journey with emetophobia and generalized anxiety disorder began at eight years old, and it’s been daunting, to say the least.
Emetophobia controls your entire life. It’s a life of not being around alcohol. It’s a life of not eating at restaurants over fears of food-borne illness. It’s a life of not wanting children due to their unpredictability of getting sick. It’s being afraid to spend time with people, especially during flu season. It’s being on edge watching TV waiting for the awfully graphic throw-up scenes.
Thankfully, with forms of therapy, these avoidance behaviors can be fixed. I can now be around people having a couple of casual drinks, I’ve been able to eat some of my “fear foods” and with the help of therapy, my phobia is getting better every week!
Things that have helped me overcome these avoidances:
- To feel more comfortable when watching shows and movies, there’s a website called doesthedogdie.com. You type in whatever movie or TV show you want to watch, it comes up with a list of a bunch of triggers, the “v-word” is even on there. People will comment under the trigger with a time stamp of if/when there is a throw-up scene.
- If you want to eat out but you’re afraid, there’s a website called iwaspoisoned.com that lists recent food poisonings in your area. This puts my mind at ease knowing wherever I’m going to eat hasn’t had any food poisonings. Also, check the FDA food recalls and outbreak lists.
- Breathing exercises are your best friend. Take a huge deep breath in through your nose with your diaphragm, hold it, and breathe out through your mouth really hard like you’re trying to blow out a candle across the room. Practice this when you aren’t anxious, so it actually works when you are.
- The ADAA website has information and resources for emetophobia and other anxiety disorders!
- Discuss different forms of therapy with a mental health professional. EMDR and hypnotherapy are great options to help.
- Some will say medication doesn’t help phobias but Cymbalta has been a lifesaver for me.
I wanted to share my story to let people know they aren’t alone. Emetophobia is a lot more common than you think. It’s fixable, and it’s okay to get help. I wish you all a happy and healthy life.
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