My Experience: Living With Emetophobia

This is a super hard post for me to write so I’m sorry if it doesn’t really have too much structure to it. Even typing the words are making me anxious. If you don’t know what Emetophobia is it’s basically an extreme fear of vomiting/being sick. Even seeing the words on the screen make my skin crawl. This is the first time I’ve ever spoken about this issue but I just want other people to know if they’re suffering then they’re not alone. I used to think that I was being silly until I started to talk to other people who struggle the same as me. I think it’s about time I share my experience with you all.

People who suffer with Emetophobia don’t always have a clear trigger as to why they are so afraid. I know the exact trigger to mine. It all happened around 3/4 years ago after Boxing Day. We’d been to a family party and what we didn’t know is that they’d all had a stomach bug a couple of days beforehand. They were obviously still infectious because I caught it the day after. It was the worst experience ever and the feeling of vomiting and losing control entirely freaked me out and it still says with me today. I never really realised it had affected me that much until a few months after and it still affects me terribly to day.

I know my Emetophobia is linked to my anxiety. Even someone talking about themselves feeling unwell sets alarm bells off in my head. I can get myself so worked up about it I’ll end up having a panic attack. It sometimes feel so debilitating and embarrassing to talk about. 

Everyone has fears I know they do but my Emetophobia affects my life everyday. It makes things people take for granted everyday so difficult. I have to carry hand sanitiser with me everywhere… I know a lot of people will just say that’s just hygienic but I can’t get out of the house without a bottle. I have the constant fear inside my head that I’m going to catch a virus off someone. I can’t be in metres of anyone that coughs or sneezes just in the fear they might get me ill. 

I always avoid making long journeys especially in the car and if I do go on one I have to stop at least twice depending on how long the trip is. I’ve never been brilliant at travelling but I always feel trapped in a car and need the option to get out into the fresh air. I constantly worry that I’m going to get travel sick meaning I don’t really go as many places as I’ve wanted to.

I struggle to go and eat in restaurants or at other people’s houses. This is one of the main things that probably upsets and affects me most. I’m fussy about the types of foods I eat and where my food is placed in the fridge and the cupboards. I can’t have my food close to anything I don’t like in the fear it might make me sick. Also the fear of food poisoning is a huge one too. A lot of my friends don’t know I used to avoid going to their houses around lunch or dinner time. Or if I did go I’d sit and swear that I’d already eaten or I wasn’t hungry even if I hadn’t and I was starving. I promise I wasn’t being rude it’s just I really can’t do it. I get so caught up in where the foods been kept to the cleanliness of kitchens that I can’t do it. It all comes back the fear that I’m going to get ill. It’s the same with restaurants I’m still uncomfortable but I’m ok eating in restaurants I’ve been to before but I downright refuse to go to one I haven’t. I can’t got out for meals with friends or go on my works Christmas meals or whatever… that really gets to me.

Although I’m a lot better than I used to be I’m still skeptical about trying new foods. I know if I eat the same foods over and over again or the same meals that the chances of me getting ill from them are somewhat decreased. It sounds stupid but I can’t get past the thoughts. I always have to check with someone that my foods cooked and if there’s no one there I more than likely not eat anything. It’s got to the point where I’m only really living on one meal a day most days.

I can’t go out to clubs or drink alcohol. I sometimes think that my friends think I’m boring for not wanting to go out or drinking alcohol… I’m not I’m just scared. I can’t drink alcohol because I’m sacred that it’s going to make me sick that night or the next morning… So I just don’t. At the same time I can’t go out at night to pubs or clubs though. I’m constantly wary that someone who is drunk around me is going to be sick. I can’t use the bathrooms in clubs because I know people have been sick in them. 

Even though I’m not at the stage in my life where I would consider this but one thing I hate is that I’m scared to have children. I know that I couldn’t cope because I’d be constantly terrified of morning sickness. I want children so bad and I wish I didn’t have such an extreme fear which could stop me from doing so. 

It’s so frustrating that I can’t enjoy some of the things I used too. I used to love theme parks and roller coasters but now if anyone asks me I’ve “always hated them”. I haven’t I just can’t go on them in case they make me feel sick or someone around me is and I freak out. I don’t get to enjoy some parts of my life that I used to anymore and it is really hard. Essentially I’m afraid of my own body.

There’s been times where my emetophobia has been so bad that the anxiety has actually made me feel sick. It’s a big cycle that I find really hard to get out of. One experience I had the other week was at a train station a girl vomited right in front of me. Instead if just walking away like a normal person I ran. I ran as fast as I could until I was outside because I felt smothered with germs and I couldn’t breathe. I know people were staring at me and this is why I’ve never really spoken about it I find it embarrassing sometimes. There’a nothing worse than someone turning around and saying “well no one likes being sick do they?”. It feels like the biggest insult ever. It feels like I’m being belittled and I’m being told all of this is just overreacting and I feel 10x worse. 

However I do feel somewhat refreshed being able to share all of this with you. It kind of felt like therapy writing this all down. Maybe that’s what I need to get over it… Honestly I don’t know. I’m trying so hard to get over this on my own but maybe at some point I need to let someone help me. I want to get over this so bad I really do! 

Please if you’re living with emetophobia and have experienced or are still experiencing things that I am, feel free to speak to me about. Trust me I know how damn difficult it is but maybe if we talk to each other we’ll be strong enough to beat this.

This has been quite a long and personal post but I hope maybe this has helped explain a few things or maybe it’ll tigger someone else to get help. I don’t know but I just don’t want anyone to think that they are alone because you’re not.

Thank you for reading,

2 thoughts on “My Experience: Living With Emetophobia

  1. Wow this post is very close to home for me. I had a similar experience in the summer and have found myself becoming scared to eat in public incase I vomit.Good on you for writing this lovely xTerri

  2. I've never heard of anyone except myself that has emetophobia. Mine started when I was 8 and it was worst when I was around 8-11. Now I have learned to deal with it for most parts but it still haunts me in my everyday life, if someone tells me their stomach hurts I instantly get anxious. I went to pscychologist to help me deal with it and that really helped. Hope you'll overcome your phobia! ps.I just came across your blog and it's great!Stella xx

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