Does Your Child have a Vomit Phobia? 5 Signs to Look out For.
I’ve had emetophobia for as long as I remember. If you’re not sure what that is, read this post: Introducing Emetophobia – Mum Life with a Vomit Phobia.
I am now nearing my 40s and my earliest memories of being afraid of vomit are around 3 or 4 years old. When I think about that, it makes me sad that at such a young age I was so scared. And even to this day. I cannot figure out why I felt so afraid at a young age.
I’m writing this post to note down things which may be useful for parents to help them understand emetophobia and be aware of the signs. A lot of the time my issues were completely misdiagnosed, with doctors thinking I was anorexic. Below is a list of the things I remember going through and feeling as a child.
I Hated School
I really hated school. Especially primary school. Between the age of 4 and 10, I would pretty much cry every morning and cling to my mum and dad. I remember the teachers having to unpick my fingers from my parents. Many times my parents were called back to the school because I was so afraid of being sick or someone else being sick. I think my problems at school were made worse by being forced to eat at lunchtime by militant dinner ladies. I also remember kids being sick a lot at school.
I Always Felt Sick or Had Tummy Ache
I was so aware of my body and how it felt. I was non-stop thinking about being sick that I often ended up giving myself tummy ache or feeling sick. Of course, it was completely anxiety. If your child continues to complain about stomach issues and feeling sick, it could be an indicator of emetophobia related anxiety. Or they may want to get out of going to school. We are currently having this with B!
I Had Problems With Food
As a child I believed that if I didn’t eat, nothing could come back up. I still semi-use this strategy today even though I know it is complete bullshit. Of course you can be sick even with nothing in your stomach. And in fact it is often worse. When you are a child though, to some extent, ignorance is bliss. I really believed I wouldn’t be sick if I was hungry. So for me, the sensible thing to do was to not eat.
If your child is having problems with food, some things that helped me were eating smaller meals, little and often. And very bland food – toast, digestive biscuits and potato were all good.
I Didn’t Want to Leave my Mum
Because of emetophobia, I was a very anxious child in social settings. I didn’t enjoy birthday parties or any type of school gathering/play/assembly. I remember my mum picking me up from a friend’s house all of ten minutes after dropping me off. She wasn’t best pleased. I’m sure I would have been fine if she’d stayed but the minute she left, I just wanted to go home.
I Hated Anything That “Might Make Me Sick”
I really, REALLY hated anything that typically, other kids love. By this I mean fairground rides, swinging upside down, eating loads of cake, running about – generally being a carefree kid!
Emetophobia is a horrid condition because it impacts all aspects of life. And it’s difficult to treat in my opinion. Exposure therapy is tricky to do, and you simply can’t run away and escape your body. Do you have emet or suspect your child does? Are there any other signs you think they are showing emet traits? Feel free to comment here or message me on social. Happy to answer questions.