Did the title pique your interest?
If you remember from this post when I shared 20 Things about myself, number 16 was all about my fear of people throwing up.
My friends and family are nodding their heads right now.
If you don’t know me well, you may wonder why I am utterly terrified of vomit. And to that, my answer is… I have no clue. (Helpful, huh?) It’s not like I’ve ever had some horrific childhood encounter or been super sick myself. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I have actually thrown up (*Knock on wood* I’m fine with that small number!!!)
Well, a week or two ago, I was reading through some blogs, as I usually do when I’m eating breakfast, and I came across the word “emetophobia” as one of the writer’s fears. Having never heard of that word, I googled it, and thus began one of the biggest “Aha!” moments I’ve had.
In simple terms, emetophobia is defined as: the fear of vomiting.
In longer terms, emetophobia is the fear of yourself vomiting, the fear of seeing vomit, fear of seeing others vomit, etc.
Just typing the word “vomit” that many times is making my heart race and my stomach start to feel queasy.
I quickly read through a list of symptoms, realizing that more of them applied to me than didn’t.
Basically, emetophobia means that you try to avoid any situations related to vomit and anything that could lead to someone vomiting. It’s not just that you don’t like vomit (because who does?). It’s more that you can’t deal with it. It terrifies you.
Check and check.
Later that night, I shared my news with Travis, who thought I was being a little too dramatic, as usual. I read him the list of symptoms, and while he was trying to dismiss the idea, even he had to agree that I fit many of them:
*Sidenote: This is just a few of the mild symptoms. There are probably three times as many extreme symptoms that I do not identify with. I’m not actually diagnosing myself. Read with a hint of satire.*
- You close your eyes during vomiting scenes on television or in movies.
- We had to stop watching Tosh.0 so much because of the many vomiting videos he showed.
- You smell and check food excessively, as you don’t want it to make you sick.
- And I make Travis reassure me that certain things will not give me food poisoning. Example A: the oysters from the grocery store.
- You fear others’ coughing, burping, touching their stomachs, looking pale, saying they don’t feel well.
- My friends and my students can attest for this. I am the first person to shun the “sickie” and I move as far away from them as possible.
- You take your temperature excessively or monitor your body for other signs of illness.
- I always check in with how I’m feeling and freak if I’m feeling nauseous. I realize that thinking about it so much is what probably causes me to feel sick. It’s a vicious cycle- haha.
- When encountering vomit, they will:
- Panic immediately (My heart starts racing)
- Start to feel nauseous themselves (Yes- it’s that vicious cycle I was talking about.)
- Try to run from the situation (I send ill students out of my classroom before they can even finish their sentence of “I feel sick.”)
- Refuse to remain in the same area as the sick person (I remember not going back in my house all day as a child when my dad and brother had the stomach flu.)
- If trapped, close their eyes and plug their ears sometimes for an entire night (I’m embarrassed to admit that I have done this when friends have been sick after partying. The thought of hearing it is just too much. Bleh.)
- (This one just made me laugh) Have anger, frustration and despair at not being understood, believed or supported – especially about the severity of the feelings of terror and horror.
- My friends always laugh at me that I can’t handle it, and I never understand why they are okay with it.
And this is the point where I say, I hope you are taking this with a grain of salt. While I do find similarities with it for myself, I am not an extreme case, many of whom require therapy, and it does not upset my normal daily life.
If you google emetophobia, there are many, many severe symptoms and behaviors that I do not identify with. Many people with emetophobia say they would rather die than vomit, have panic attacks from vomit, cannot live a normal life, and become superstitious with OCD tendencies to avoid vomit, etc.
That is not me.
I don’t spend every second of every day worrying about someone vomiting.
I just have more of a fear of vomit than the average person.
I hope you read this with a note of humor. I’m not a basket case. Just don’t be weirded out if I plug my ears the second someone says, “I’m going to be sick.” 🙂
Question of the Day: Anyone else have a fear of vomiting or am I the only strange one?