Introducing Emetophobia – Mum Life with a Vomit Phobia
Hey there. How’s it going? Back into a routine with school? I’m kinda pleased the boy is back and we can bring some sort of normal back in to our lives. To be honest I feel like the whole summer has been a bit of a write-off. It hasn’t by any means, but it’s been blighted by pregnancy and emetophobia. Two things which really don’t go hand in hand.
So I’m doing something a little different on the blog…I’m actually going to share a bit more about me. I typically post “useful” posts, helpful write-ups, reviews, fun stuff. And although I enjoy that aspect of blogging, I don’t really feel like I’ve opened up about the real Emma. Trust me, the real Emma is not full of sensory play ideas and she doesn’t bounce off the walls full of happiness each day. To be honest I find most days a struggle and a constant battle between thinking “what’s the bloody point”, to the crushing guilt that then comes with having those thoughts. And a massive part of feeling like this – emetophobia.
Yep, emetophobia. A quick google search will tell you it is a fear of vomiting.
I started blogging about emetophobia and motherhood a few years ago after I’d had B. I used to keep countless diaries, journals and notes, documenting the many lows of living with emetophobia. This was back in the 80s and 90s. I decided to join the modern world in 2016 and write those thoughts as blog posts. Emetomum was born.
And then I realised how hard maintaining just one blog was. What an idiot to think I could run two!
It’s taken me two years to build up the courage to finally write something on this blog. I guess one reason for sharing with you my emetophobia stories is that I really hope it helps someone else out there living with this dreaded fear. I really want to share with other mums that yes, you can live with emet and still be a mum. It’s bloody tough sometimes but I want to share with you things that have helped, even in the moments where I felt nothing at all would.
What is Emetophobia?
In the simplest sense, emetophobia is a phobia of vomiting – being sick, puking, spewing – whatever you wanna call it. I personally can’t stand all the slang terms. I refer to emetophobia often as “emet”. If you continue with me on my emet blogging journey then you’ll see me use this word loads.
But No One Likes Being Sick!
Ah this one has been done ad nauseam. Excuse the slight pun there.
I’m sick of hearing this in response to telling people about emetophobia. Sorry, another shit pun.
You’re right, unless you’re an emetophile (let’s not even go there), then no, no one likes being sick. But emetophobia isn’t just a strong dislike of vomiting. It’s an all consuming way of life. It literally takes over. And it has done since about the age of 5 or 6.
No one likes being sick but for most people they vomit, they feel better and life goes on. For emetophobes that isn’t the case. Life is a constant battle of avoidance and fear. Pretty much everything I do and don’t do is somehow linked back to emetophobia.
But Vomiting is Normal
I’ve been so afraid of vomiting all my life. I find emetophobia for me is like a horse race. For a while life is good, anxiety is managed and things are relatively “normal”. And then something will happen to throw me of course. A bug, an incident, vomit in the street. Something will happen that puts up that huge fence to jump. When I look at my life, I see it as a racing track – green grass and them bam, fences. Fences being the times I’ve been sick or particular vomit-incidents that have caused a lot of anxiety.
Vomiting is normal.
Rationally I know that. But when faced with my worst nightmare, any rational thoughts are expelled faster from my brain than vomit from my mouth. I kind of go into a lock down. I can’t eat, I’m afraid to leave the house, I feel an awful sense of dread. I feel that life will never be the same again. And I honestly wish I were dead. I don’t want to feel like this by the way. I really want to experience that “normal” response to throwing up.
Go Get Some Therapy
Yep, been there, done that.
Since the age of 6 or so I’ve been in and out of various therapy and counselling. And honestly, I feel I’ve spent more time and money telling so-called therapists what emetophobia is and isn’t. I’ve found a happy medium that, for the most, works for me and the family. A mix of medication and CBT techniques I’ve learnt over the years. And keeping busy. A busy mind means that it isn’t consumed with irrational thoughts.
So what next?
Well, over the next x amount of months, I really want to share a peek into the life of an emetophobe. I want to give other mums (and dads!) who might be going through this some sort of hope. And I want to be honest.
Everyone is at different stages with emetophobia and I’ve known many people who haven’t been able to work or go to school, people been confined to home, people unable to properly eat. I’ve been there – my emet has been truly awful in the past. Right now it’s about finding a way to deal with, and live with it that means minimal impact on day-to-day life. Let’s see how we get on…more to come soon.