5 letters long, yet has a control over me like no other word does.
I distinctly remember my 1st vomiting episode, you could probably say that is where the fear began.
I was 5 years old and heartbroken over the fact my sister was allowed to play outside with our neighbour and i wasn’t, inconsolabley crying while eating a chopped up apple and then a peach yogurt…
The next thing i remember is leaning over a sink in the middle of the night while my mum rubbed my back telling me to “let it all out”
I didn’t eat apples for almost 24 years after that, that fruit was associated in my mind as the cause of my sickness and brought back traumatic memories. The taste of an apple brought on a cold sweat and made my stomach turn, taking me back to that petrified 5 year girl i was 25 years ago.
In the past few years i have been able to eat apples again, but only the red…it was a green apple that i associate with my 1st experience, but i guess even the smallest of steps is a step in the right direction.
Infact- i can remember any vomitting episode i have ever had- more than i can remember my wedding day or the birth of my 2 children as upsetting as that is to admit.
I’ve avoided meat most my life incase i get food poisoning, I’ve never really drank to the point of being sick & if i over indulge i panic.
I wash my hands obsessively, if a sickness bug hits the house i dream about checking into a hotel by myself until the storm is over- id rather run away then nurse my children or husband and that’s a terrible thing to admit.
The grip of Emetophobia is a real thing, it effects every aspect of your life! The thought of having children, although it was something i had always wanted, was dampened by the fear of morning sickness or sickness during child birth.
I guess you could say the thought of being sick was worth the outcome as i went ahead and had 2 gorgeous babies and i did suffer with morning sickness- but being exposed to the fear did not cure me.
Leaning over the toliet in a panic as i wretched and wretched, mid panic attack. My body would suddenley drench itself in sweat and the panic of not being able to breath as i lost control of my body was hard to overcome. Dreading my next episode knowing it was likely around the corner. The anticipation of it all was sometimes too much to bare.
My son is coming up to 6 years old now,my daughter 6 months and i can see myself teaching my son bad habits, habits id never want him to suffer with like i do.
Recently our house has been hit by the Nora virus, i have been cleaning obsessively since. In my mind everywhere i look is contaminated. I havent eaten in 5 days and counting in fear of bringing up sick, id rather dry heave then actually vomit. Ive lost half a stone.
This picture below isn’t a hand of an elderly person- this is a hand of a 30 year old girls hand who obsessively washes and uses anti- bacterial lotions to make myself ‘clean’ to prevent myself or my family getting sick….
People i know try and make light of my phobia “Its only sick! Its a normal part of life!”
And then theirs the people who get irritated by it.
“Stop being so selfish and thinking of yourself!”
I suppose it is a selfish phobia as i can’t be the mother or wife i want to be when one of my family is unwell. It does make you obsess about yourself and wellbeing and you feel anxious which makes you snappy and unreasonable.
My Mum always use to tell me id be a nurse when i was older as i always had a burning desire to look after others, but this phobia has demolished any chance of that.
I know the FEAR is bigger than the actually event- ive been physically sick numerous times and survived, in fact, I’ve suprised myself at how i have dealt with the situation and yet something small can spark my phobia and like a game of snake and ladders, i fall down and start right at the beginning again.
Baby sick doesn’t bother me- its definatley associated more with adults/children when REAL food is involved. The noises, the smell, the contagious-ness. Yes, getting sick is apart of human life,yes, no body enjoys being sick, but its how i feed the information to my brian that is wired differently to people without the fear. My brain registers it as a trauma, a panic, fight or flight episode, i replay the memory over and over, each time feeding the fear,making it bigger and bigger and i don’t know how to stop it.
Im not sure its a fear i will ever overcome. It’s the unknowningness that feeds it, the lack of control that scares me, the anticipation of an vomiting episode that manipulates my mind and i wish more than anything i was rid of it so i could lead a normal life, a positive life.
I hope one day I can be the Mother and Wife my Husband and Children deserve & i can nurse them the way i should, but until then, until the day someone rewires my thinking- Emetophobia & Me is all its going to be.
Written by Sophie Edwards