Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Emetophobics Unite

(35 Posts)
vomistheworst Mon 24-Nov-14 10:07:05

Who else is really struggling this year? I'm a bloody mess every single autumn and winter (and not so great the rest of the year, lets be honest), but this year is horrendous. We had the stomach bug a month or so ago, so I thought I could relax a bit, having got it out of the way, but now some of the families who had the bug at the same time as us have come down with ANOTHER sickness bug. I cannot take it. I'm a total and utter mess, anxious all the time, obsessively washing my hands and worrying about my son being ill. It is the most miserable way to live. CBT is doing nothing for it.

Thegianttap Tue 25-Nov-14 09:19:40

It's rotten, isn't it? I hate this time of year. It feels as if this cloud is looming. So far we've been lucky. DS3 was sick all over me last week but that was the result of a chest virus (too much gunk on his chest) but I still went into panic mode for three days just in case. And facebook is littered with local people's status about sickness bugs. I want to enjoy the run up to Christmas sad

vomistheworst Tue 25-Nov-14 09:54:45

It's ruined Christmas for me. Before I had my son, I didn't worry anywhere near as much about it in the run up to Christmas, and autumn and Christmas were my favourite times of the year. then I had a child and it soon became apparent that I was going to spend every autumn/Christmas wielding the sick bucket or waiting for the bug to get us. I HATE it.

marne2 Wed 26-Nov-14 09:10:03

Just gave dd a lecture about washing her hands as she's working with a younger class at school today that have been effected by a bug, she then told me that someone in her class was sick in the toilets on Monday, her mother sent her back to school yesterday and she was ill again and had to go home. Why can't people stick to the 48 hour rule? angry, I am now anxious that dd will catch it, sadly dd has this phobia too so if she gets it we will both be a mess.

Dancergirl Wed 26-Nov-14 09:27:19

Another emet here sad

Totally understand the anxiety. My issue at the moment is this - dd is due to go on a playdate on Friday with a friend from school. Mum has texted me to say she is planning on taking them to soft play after school. I know dd would really enjoy that with her friend but I'm worrying so much about picking up a sickness bug in there.

Do I let her go? Or tell the mum about my phobia and sound like a paranoid idiot?

vomistheworst Wed 26-Nov-14 11:29:26

Do not start me on the idiots who don't follow the 48 hour rule. It's pure selfishness.

I wouldn't let my son go to soft play at this time of year, but then I hate soft play anyway, he's not a massive fan of it, and I am a true mental case with this phobia and you may not be as bad as me ;-)

Dancergirl Wed 26-Nov-14 11:43:55

Oh no, I just don't know. We are supposed to go and see Paddington over the weekend, I don't want her ill for that!

Do you think it makes a difference if the soft play is quieter than normal? They finish school at 1pm on Fridays and the mum was planning to take them then. I imagine it would be pretty quiet until the other schools finish at 3.30pm. Do you think it will be ok?

marne2 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:20:15

I would make an excuse Dancegirl, I'm pleased my dd's are getting to old for soft play. We have been asked to go to a Christmas fair thing at the weekend, I really don't want to go, I hate taking the dd's anywhere where they might pick up something, I got anxious taking dd to the cinema a few weekends ago ( I did take her and luckily it was quite so we didn't have to sit next to anyone ).

Dancergirl Wed 26-Nov-14 14:15:24

What can I say? Dd really loves this little girl and has been looking forward to going to her house all week. The mum has only just told me about the soft play plans and I texted to say ok and tried not to convey my anxiety in case she thinks I'm nuts

GoingToBedfordshire Wed 26-Nov-14 14:22:14

I have struggled with this a lot over the last few years after we had one awful winter with many sickness bugs.

Someone else on here recommended a self help book, Thrive. I have been working through it over the last two months and it has helped considerably.

I stopped using Facebook a couple of years ago. One of the main reasons was because the sick status updates just fuelled my anxiety.

Really feel for you, it is awful.

Dancergirl Wed 26-Nov-14 14:45:26

It's really helped going? Maybe I'll get it.

I've had all sorts of therapy over the years including hypnotherapy. I'm in no way better. I've convinced myself that I don't actually WANT to lose the fear because it's stopping me from v-ing (I haven't actually been sick since age 9 and I am 42 now, terrified of it happening one day).

GoingToBedfordshire Wed 26-Nov-14 16:11:17

It is helping, yes. I had 6 sessions of CBT a couple of years ago and that didn't help.

I had my gallbladder out last year and v-ed a lot in the months preceding, so some exposure therapy did me good I think. But I still really struggle before anyone actually gets ill. For me, it's the uncertainty about when we will get ill and the exhausting process of doing everything I can to minimise the risk.

As it is only a few quid on the Kindle, I thought it was worth a try.

marne2 Wed 26-Nov-14 17:10:28

I'm the same, have had CBT, hypnotherapy and exposure therapy ( don't attempt exposure it made me worse ). My dd's rarely get sick but I still feel extra anxious thinking we can't avoid the bugs forever sad.

I have made many excuses to avoid parties during the winter and have often bribed the dd's with more exciting things ( including a trip to toys r us to buy toys ).

Dancergirl Wed 26-Nov-14 17:31:11

marne I had what I would describe as exposure therapy about 6 years ago. I saw a counsellor at my GPs surgery who told me to drink a cup of saltwater really quickly to make me sick. I couldn't do it. If it was that easy I wouldn't be there angry

marne2 Wed 26-Nov-14 17:41:38

He obviously didn't have a clue about this phobia, I would rather die than down a glass of salt water sad. It has to be one of the worst phobias as you can avoid most things, you can run away from a spider or a snake, you can avoid planes and even needles but you can't avoid getting sick ( though we try are best too ).

GoingToBedfordshire Wed 26-Nov-14 18:22:39

WTF kind of exposure therapy is THAT?

I v-ed a lot through having pancreatitis caused by gallstones. I certainly wouldn't recommend it!

The anxiety is so deep seated that a period of being sick didn't cure me by any means. However, it does help me to think "I have coped in the past being sick and I can cope if I am sick again." Being in hospital was extremely stressful, the thought of catching noro was worse than the pancreatitis.

The thrive book works a lot on those sort of affirmations which I am finding helpful. I am nowhere near relaxed about vomit, but I am going in the right direction.

Campaspe Wed 26-Nov-14 19:00:38

Hello, I am another emet here. Like you all, I am finding things challenging at the moment. I too have just purchased the "Thrive" book and am really going to try to tackle these thoughts. I've only read the first few pages, but will keep you updated...

Dancergirl Thu 27-Nov-14 15:11:28

Oh god, the mum has told me its not even the soft play i was thinking of. Its a really manky one, i haven't been there for years. Don't know what to do sad

vomistheworst Thu 27-Nov-14 16:40:44

I bought the Thrive book this time last year. I started working through it, felt amazing for just over a week and like I was really going to conquer it, but then I couldn't do one of the steps for a few days, and it all fell apart and led to the worst relapse I've ever had. I keep trying to get the courage to try it again, but I'm scared as it left me in a dark place. I really do think that the Thrive book is the best chance any of us have of getting over it though - it makes a lot of sense.

CBT is currently doing absolutely nothing for me and I've had about 8 or 9 sessions. I was wondering about hypnotherapy, but nobody seems to have had success with that either. My existence is so miserable, especially at this time of year. I feel like I can't do it any more.

marne2 Thu 27-Nov-14 16:53:25

Dancegirl,maybe be brave and let him go sad, we are going to the Christmas fair, I don't want to go but can't think of a good enough excuse that wouldn't make me sound crazy. I'm scared to let the dd's touch anything or eat anything when we are out. The news has scared me even more, apparently there is a e-coli outbreak near by ( a rare form which is causing serious illness ) so I want to keep the dd's in even more.

Campaspe Thu 27-Nov-14 22:02:57

I've only worked my way through the first chapter, but I'm determined to persevere and make a serious effort to overcome this. So far, it's been about the beliefs we hold, and how these get reinforced. I can identify with the stuff about needing to be in control as well; apparently, this is a common trait of us emets.

TheFairyCaravan Thu 27-Nov-14 22:14:26

I'm an emetophobe too.

DS2(17) had the Norovirus 2 weeks ago. He woke me up at 6:50 on the Monday morning because he had projectile vomited all over the bathroom. He couldn't help it and offered to clear it up, but he was so ill I couldn't let him do it.

He was sick about 9 times through the day, but in a bowl which he emptied and I cleaned. When he was sick in the night DH "conveniently" didn't hear.

I was really proud of how I dealt with it. I didn't really panic because I knew I had no choice but to do it. DH was uncontactable in the day and DS1 doesn't live here anymore. I used so much bleach that the house has only just stopped smelling!

I was convinced I was going to get it so didn't eat and only drank ginger tea. Fortunately Neither DH or I did.

I've had CBT in the past it was useless. They were going to show me a video of people being sick but I left the room in tears before they pressed play. DS1 had cyclical vomiting syndrome, he'd be sick 40 times a day for a week, even that didn't make any difference. I could deal with it because I knew I wouldn't catch it. I wish I could get rid of this horrid phobia.

GoingToBedfordshire Fri 28-Nov-14 20:08:18

That is amazing though Fairy Caravan, that you helped your son despite the phobia. You should be immensely proud of yourself and it gives others like me hope too. I am exactly the same in that I can cope OK with non-catching vomit, but it is the highly contagious bugs which worry me so much.

Did you find that once you were in the situation of coping with your son being ill, you felt relief? I find it is the anxiety about the possibility of illness that gets to me. Once someone in the house in has a bug, I steel myself to deal with it. It makes planning ahead so difficult as I am then worried about sickness spoiling our plans and worry about cancelling!

BackAche21 Fri 28-Nov-14 22:18:59

I am not emet, but last week my DD, aged 6, had a very extreme reaction after DS, 3, v-ed. For about the next 5 days she couldn't look at him or be in the same room at all, she violently refused to even walk to school with him. Nor could she tell me what the problem was, but I traced it back to the v episode. The last week has been really traumatic for all of us and felt very damaging to family life as we were not sure to begin with if she was just bring rude/misbehaving or what the problem was. We tried being strict as she didn't reply when we asked her what the problem was. Holding firm on boundaries totally backfired as she got more fearful and entrenched - she missed 3 meals when we said she couldn't eat on her own in her bedroom. (Not consecutive meals missed - we did give her meals when her brother was out of the house).

This is in the context of DP being off work for 3 weeks with a chest infection that sounds revolting when he coughs and brings up phlegm, worries between us (I mean me and DP) that his fuzzy lung X-ray was actually lung cancer (repeat X-ray found that it wasn't) and underlying sibling rivalry stuff, and DD generally liking control.

Things have improved over the last 48 hrs after we decided to just dance to her tune and let her eat meals separately, sleep separately etc but I would welcome any advice about how to help DD through this do that her fears don't take deeper root.

Delphine31 Fri 28-Nov-14 22:31:32

Re the question about soft play, I don't know if this is at all helpful to suggest as you are probably all already using it, but I use Boots' anti-viral handfoam. Where as the usual gels apparently don't kill the norovirus bug, this handfoam (found in the first aid section rather than with the handwash) apparently does kill norovirus.

I'm emetophobic and was quite anxious when I had to start immunosuppressant therapy for a medical condition as it means I'm more prone to picking the bugs up now. The anti-viral foam helps me have more confidence about things like touching shopping trolleys, door-open buttons on trains. I even managed to go to a soft-play birthday party with a toddler friend of mine and survived without too much paranoia.

I still hand-wash carefully and frequently, but the foam makes me feel less anxious.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: