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Emetaphobia

(15 Posts)
greylines Sat 07-Oct-17 20:18:18

Hi everyone ,
Very new to this and not sure if anyone will be able to relate but I figured anything is worth a shot.

I have the worst fear of being sick / seeing sick / smelling sick , just anything to do with sick etc since I was younger . I could not tell you why, other than my Nan and Auntie have always had a hate against it so possibly picked it up from them .
For the past 10 years I would say it comes and goes , never FULLY goes away but manageable and then other weeks all I want to do is run away from myself (obviously not possible) .

I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and probably the most anxious I have ever been in my whole life about EVERYTHING !! But most of all that’s taking over everything is my fear of vomit . I literally feel like I have no control over it . I’m scared of so many things to do with it , what if I’m sick in pregnancy , what if I’m sick in labour , what about when my child is sick (inevitable) , am I going to be able to cope, the list goes on . I feel like I’m going insane .
I speak to friends / partner about it and how it doesn’t bother them and I’m literally in awe of them, wishing I could be like them .

Last year I finally went to the drs after my partner dragging me there as I was scratching myself and finding ways to cause pain to see if it would snap me out of my fear . They told me I suffer with anxiety and a panic disorder , they sent me for counselling and put me on an anxiety tablet . Counselling was a complete waste of time but I persevered and the medication took the edge off but nothing went away I was just able to sleep a little easier . I can’t take the medication now that I’m pregnant and before they said I could take another tablet during pregnancy I was half way through and had been off them for 2 months that it would be like starting again , also didn’t want any risk for my baby as all medication has a risk .

I guess what I’m asking is does anyone else feel at all similar to how I am and has anyone ever actually fully got over it ?
Is it something you can get over or do you just learn to manage?

The constant hours awake at night feeling alone and scared , going for drives in the middle of the night , avoiding public areas with children or friends with kids is becoming impossible to live with . I just want to feel normal and do normal things without this very irrational fear hanging over me , stopping me from doing things I enjoy .
I feel very guilty as my partner suffers as well as I won’t allow him in certain places or eat certain foods incase it makes him poorly and probably the most unsympathetic girlfriend when he is poorly as I won’t go anywhere near him and have been known to make him stay at his mums until he is better . He is very good with me and does everything he can to understand but he can’t take it away.

Very sorry for the long post but this is the first time I have ever wrote about this fear , I feel like I could write about my fear till I can’t write anymore but I’ve tried to narrow it down for you all so theres not too much to read .
I hope just one person can relate and thank you in advance to any advice given 😘

Tortycat Sat 07-Oct-17 20:24:00

Sorry to hear this. Good news is that its very treatable. Not with counselling though. Best evidenced treatment is cbt so i would ask gp for a referral. Check the therapist has experience in treating this condition.
Luckily baby sick is just milk so dont worry about that just yet! Good luck and well done for being brave enough to tackle it

Lovemusic33 Sat 07-Oct-17 20:38:26

I have the horrid phobia too, have tried various therapies with not much success. I got through 2 pregnancies and natural births without being sick. My dc's are now 11 and 13, I survived a few bugs. I am now a single mum so have to deal with it alone. It's not easy but my dc's are rarely ill, when they are I deal with it and then the fear kicks in of me catching it (that is my main fear). I rarely do catch it, I think since having the dd's I have caught a bug 2 or 3 times.

I have had CBT and hypnotherapy as well as counselling, TBH the best thing was a therapist telling me that 'I won't get rid of the phobia or the anxiety, I just need to learn to cope with it', since then I have stopped looking for a cure and have concentrated on dealing with it and using techniques to control my anxiety. I'm no longer scared to go out during the winter, I don't plan trips out around my phobia, if my kids get ill I deal with it the best I can, if I get ill I panick try and calm myself done using mindfulness techniques. I also get anti sickness tablets from my gp during the winter (gp is very understanding).

I would say the worst time for me was when the dc's started school and started bringing home the dreaded bugs, now they are getting older they get poorly less and can get to the loo (most of the time).

When I am at my worst I usually post on MN, just talking to people and keeping busy helps.

Stritzi Sat 07-Oct-17 21:18:28

I have this phobia too. It also started for me when I was a kid. I am doing much much better now a lot of my old habits and behaviours have gone ( e.g I can't remember the last time I checked the use by date on food ) l totally agree with a pp for me CBT and hypnotherapy worked great, it did take some time... or at least it took some time for me to notice the changes in myself.

These days i would say It is still there but I do cope , I was with a friend and her DS vomited ( it was travel sickness so not contagious ) and I managed to stay calm and keep the panic at bay until I got home

I used to scratch as well my arms and my neck, I don't do that anymore. Through the hypnotherapy I learnt to squeeze my thumbs instead ( like making a fist with my thumb inside ) I don't know if that will help but I found it useful. It kept my hands occupied so I didn't scratch but I also didn't feel restricted by it friends used to try hold my hands to prevent me from scratching but that just made me panic more.

DD is a baby still so not sure how i will cope when she starts school but reading your post Lovemusic33 makes me feel a bit more confident smile

greylines Sun 08-Oct-17 08:56:37

Thankyou guys for your replies and advice . It’s nice to know your not on your own with such an irrational fear 🙈

I have considered possibly going through CBT or the hypnotherapy route but wasn’t sure if the GP refers you or you have to go private .. also not sure if it works as have heard mixed reviews .

I think for myself there is a difference between night and day , I can be absolutely fine in the day but as soon as it goes dark i start going into some panic state and think this is the night I am going to be sick . Does anyone else find this ? I think that’s why I struggle a lot more in the winter as it goes dark a lot earlier , I always try to make sure I’m home before it goes dark so I can do my evening routine whilst it’s turning dark and I don’t see it . (So odd) !!

The thing I picked up on the most is that you can’t overcome this but you find ways of coping with it .... it would be nice to hear some ways people use to help distract them in there lowest times so that I’m not going out for long drives at night , or turning scratching myself ? I want to be able to try and get this under some form of control before my little one arrives so I can focus on her !
Thanks in advance again guys 😘

niceupthedance Sun 08-Oct-17 09:09:07

Hi, cbt didn't work for me but emdr has helped a lot with intrusive thoughts as you describe. I had to pay privately as it's not available on the NHS. You can find a therapist on the BACP website. Good luck.

greylines Sun 08-Oct-17 09:27:36

Thank you niceupthedance . Hope this doesn’t sound stupid but what is EMDR ? I’ve never heard of that before . I take it you’ve battled with this aswell ?

imjessie Sun 08-Oct-17 09:28:37

I actually don’t think it is an irrational fear . It’s perfectly normal to not want to be sick . It’s disgusting and really not nice to deal with .
I do think you need to realise that no one likes it and it’s not like for example a fear of dogs which some people just can’t understand because they love them .

Lovemusic33 Sun 08-Oct-17 09:34:10

It's much different from most phobias, if your scared of dogs then you avoid them, same with most things but it's hard to avoid being sick (if your ill your ill) so it's harder to deal with, a natural reaction to fear is 'flight', to run away from it, but if it's you that feels sick you can't run. My phobia has been so bad at times that I have felt that I would rather die than be sick (sounds crazy but I can't run from it, can't avoid it so my mind starts thinking of other ways out). It is a real fear not just a dislike of being sick, yes no one likes being sick but do they contemplate being dead rather than dealing with it? Do they curl up in a ball and shake with fear? Do they cry? And do they have panick attacks?

greylines Sun 08-Oct-17 09:49:22

Absolutely 100% agree Lovemusic33 , there are times at my lowest where I have considered crashing my car to stop the feeling . I totally understand that no one actually enjoys being sick or being around it and if they had the option of being ill or not I imagine they would choose to be fine but when you have a fear it is completely different to not liking being sick and being scared of being sick .
There is a therapist who will ask you if I gave you the option of throwing up now or taking this medication that will kill you which one would you choose , majority of Emetophobia sufferers will choose the tablet . & I can totally relate to anyone who would choose that option .

Writing this post I never expected everyone to understand how I was feeling and I was expecting some people to think that it is a very weird thing to be scared of but the help that can come from someone just saying that they feel similar makes such a difference ! Just be mindful we all have our own personal struggles that we deal with day to day !

niceupthedance Sun 08-Oct-17 11:30:31

Yes I have had this phobia since I was 4, I would also take the tablet 😖
I pass out if I am ever sick so it's very dangerous. I was offered a c section due to my phobia (and took it).
EMDR is identifying traumatic memories in relation to the phobia in this case and then reprocessing it so it's not scary any more. You can google it for more info.

Lovemusic33 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:22:03

greylines I always wonder what would happen if I ever had to have life saving treatment like chemo that could make me really sick, my first thoughts would be 'I would rather die', people that have to go through chemo are bloody amazing as I am unsure if I could do it.

My daughter now has my phobia and I feel guilty that it has rubbed off onto her. I have never really been able to comfort my kids when they are sick as my fear takes over about catching it, I can deal with the clean up (involves gloves and lots of bleach) but I can't cuddle and comfort them, I often banish them to their rooms with a bucket sad. When I hear of people having their sick child in bed with them I just think 'how can they do that, can't imagine anything worse than having a vomiting child in my bed', mine stay in their own beds, I cover everything in towels for a easy clean up and supply several buckets.

The fear is so real and does take over your life. I'm lucky that I can now control it a little in the way I'm not waiting for it to happen all the time, I still freak out when it does happen.

greylines Sun 08-Oct-17 17:52:04

Im the same Lovemusic33 , I’m worried that my fear will rub off on my LO . I almost resent my Nan and Auntie for being the way they were around me because now I am the way I am .

& often wonder the same thing , would I take the life saving treatment such as chemo as it does make you extremely sick . (Sounds very silly to someone who doesn’t have the fear) but very understandable to me .

I suppose the last few weeks of pregnancy are a very anxious time anyway , even for someone who doesn’t suffer with anxiety, as it is the unknown , especially on your first but I’m just over thinking so many things that it’s heightening my fear .
I spoke to my Midwife about the different pain killers and medication you can take and a lot of them she said the side affect is being sick . A lot of my friends have said they were sick when they had there baby as well so now I’m really scared that not only am I going to be in awful pain but I’m also going to be sick from it 🙈 it’s like a viscous circle , like you can’t escape from it .
Like you’ve said before , you can’t avoid being sick and it is inevitable that at some point I am going to be sick but I spend every day of my life worried and scared that today is the day.

Fairydust26 Sun 22-Oct-17 10:23:48

I totally understand where your coming from the fear of being sick has consumed my thoughts pretty much everyday since the whole family got a sickness bug at xmas. Then this morning the enevatable happened and eventhough it was unpleasant it wasn’t this big monster I’ve built up in my head and I just dealt with it which I’m pretty amazed at tbh. It’s that not being in control or the fear that I’ve got some serious illness that fuels this fear. It’s nice to see that I’m not alone in feeling like this and this thread could be a great comfort to fellow sufferers x. flowers

user1485778793 Sun 22-Oct-17 10:36:05

I have this phobia too. And spent months being scared of being sick in labour. I was induced and had antibiotics so was really scared all the drugs would make me sick.

I wasn't sick grin

Not sure about other people but I've found those who spend their lives trying to avoid it are less sick than most. I'm definitely one of them, it's like I've built an inability to throw up

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