6 Things to Say to Someone Who Has a Vomit Phobia – Emetophobia
I’ve written about emetophobia a few times on the blog now. It’s not something I overly enjoy writing about as it can be slightly triggering. But I really want to help people become more aware of this phobia. It’s supposed to be super common, yet all through my life, health care professionals have never heard of it.
I recently saw a post on Instagram from Clemmie Telford, drawing attention to emet. And there were just so many comments from people in the same boat. It really is common and yet there’s so little help. What makes me really sad is reading about parents who are trying to deal with kids who have this. And it seems schools and doctors just aren’t equipped to help. I wrote in this post the ways in which schools, teachers, parents and doctors can work to help kids with emet.
Today I’m writing down a few things which you can say to someone who has a phobia of vomiting. I find people always say the wrong things – oh but no one likes being sick. But it’s just your body’s way of dealing with a bug or something it doesn’t like. OK thanks, yeah that’s super helpful.
So if you have a friend, child or someone you know has emet, here are a few things which I’d have loved to have heard as a kid.
Is there anything I can do to help?
Sometimes with emetophobia there isn’t a lot you can say or do that will ease a panic attack or disperse of panicky feelings. If you know someone feels triggered or is anxious, just asking them if you can do anything to help is useful.
I’m here for you if you want to talk.
Just knowing that someone will listen can help. I used to have a friend at school who’d listen to be waffle on for hours about my worries. She really helped me though.
If they are in a panic at that moment, ask them what they think may have triggered it. Often talking things through can be really helpful – at least I find.
I don’t understand this fully but I will listen without judging.
I have a phobia of vomiting. I’m not stupid. I know people don’t like being sick. And I know it’s natural. Everyone does it. Telling me these things doesn’t help me though.
You can leave if you want to.
Often emet panic attacks are triggered by being in a certain situation where the person feels out of control. If you are out and about, remind them that they are in control and they can leave if they want. Perhaps offer a lift home if you can.
I often feel anxious when shopping or at the supermarket. I literally walk around the store, telling myself I can just leave if I need to.
Try to help them breathe.
Remind them to take some deep breaths. I find the faster I breathe, the worse I feel. Hyperventilating is never fun.
You don’t have to eat that.
My emet is often triggered by eating. And by certain foods. One things that stresses me a lot is eating with people who don’t really know me. I feel pressured and I hate it. I especially don’t like people cooking for me if I’m not sure what I’ll be served. The thought of being unable to say “I don’t want to eat that” really stresses me. This was the start (and in my opinion the cause) of a lot of my emet issues as a child. Simply being forced to eat at school.
Do you have emetophobia? Or do you know someone else who has this? It’s not easy to live with but there are ways to cope. Have a read of my other emet posts and ask any questions, here or on social.