Welcome to Emetophobia

Emetophobia is pure hell.

Not to undermine any other phobia, because there’s no such thing as a fun phobia. They’re terrifying, irrational, suffocating. But the problem with emetophobia is that it’s a natural occurrence — the fear of vomiting. 

Vomiting isn’t as common as a cold, but for many people, can be expected at least once a year. Perhaps a nasty round of the stomach flu (which really is not a flu at all – it’s a virus, norovirus or norwalk virus, not to be confused with the influenza), food poisoning, or food that didn’t sit right. Nobody enjoys it, but typically, people don’t spend their days obsessing over the possibility of “it” happening. 

Emetophobia is, for a lot of people, constant. Obsessive compulsive. Rituals, superstitions, avoidance. Some have a more tame phobia, only aggravated when exposed. This used to be me. Terrified of others vomiting, but never thinking about it happening to myself as I’d never had a particularly traumatizing personal experience, nor did I vomit often as a child. 

Sometime around 2010, at age 12, I began to obsess over vomit. Panicking that my time would come, that I would either fall ill or vomit due to mysterious circumstances. It haunts me every day. There was a period after beginning Zoloft (sertraline, an anti-depressant used to treat anxiety and panic disorders), where I could function normally without the use of any medications (besides the Zoloft, of course) or precautions. I could live without fear. Earlier this year, my anxiety, followed by my phobia, returned. 

Emetophobia is, like I prefaced, hell. This is my way of coping; writing. Writing it all out, my feelings, rationalization, panic. It helps. 

For all of you suffering with emetophobia, anxiety, or anything terrible or debilitating – please know that my thoughts are with you, and we can, in fact, overcome this. 

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