I believe that fear is just an aspect of life. We all have our own doubts, insecurities, worries, and fear. Fear is an important emotion to feel, especially when there are situations that are dangerous which would kick-start the fight, flee, or freeze defenses. However, fear and anxiety can become unhealthy depending on the cause.
I can definitely say for myself that I have some phobias or things that I have anxiety about which are not things that would or should normally kickstart the survival instincts within us. I never even knew I had this particular fear until I heard a narration about a Nightmare Fuel story on Youtube. Emetophobia was loosely mentioned within the story. I was curious to see what it meant so I pulled it up on Google. The fear to vomit, vomiting, or seeing others vomit.
I have had this fear for years without knowing what this meant until a few months ago. I do not agree with labels at all whatsoever. But in this situation it helped me find a name and a face to this fear so I can conquer it. Anyway, I believe this fear is linked up to something that I haven’t faced from my childhood until now. I watched my parents, especially my mom get sick all the time when I was growing up. It seemed oddly normal, which I knew deep down that it wasn’t (especially seeing my mom fighting cancer on and off during my late teens). I know a lot of it had to do with lifestyle, stress, and a few other factors. But, I was constantly so afraid that I was going to ‘catch’ something that I couldn’t even control. I had always feared that if I got sick then something bad was going to happen, but I can’t say what for certain. I also remember whenever I got sick and had to go home from school, I felt so guilty. I was afraid that it would cause problems between my parents, which is something that I never wanted.
Whenever I was around someone who was going to throw up or had thrown up, I would freak out and try to get away from them as fast as possible. It didn’t matter if it was at school, hanging out with my friends, or out and about, I just wanted to get away. I never really knew why and felt so bad whenever I did try getting away from it all.
I guess I could say besides facing Emetophobia, I had also been fighting OCD and Germophobia. I was afraid of getting sick, period. Nevermind getting the fly or throwing up. Any form of illness made me quiver in fear. When I was first beginning to go to community college, I constantly bought all kinds of things to keep things at my childhood home clean and free of germs. Disinfectant wipes, sprays, hand sanitizer, you name it. I used to disinfect everything. Door knobs, edges of cabinets, light switches, my phone, my computer, my backpack, my own clothes, and even myself. I used disinfectant cleaner on myself, which I knew was bad for me, but back then I didn’t care. Every time I washed my hands, I would use disinfectant soap and wash with scalding hot water. My hands would be red for minutes. If I felt ‘warm’ I would take my temperature. If I ever had a stomach ache, I would take antacids right away and do anything in my power to make it stop. If I saw that the thermometer had been used recently, or any talk of someone in the house being sick, I panicked. I would keep myself in my room all day and keep away from all people. I hated the way I felt. I wanted it to stop, but I couldn’t. I even freaked out about cooking anything because I wanted to make sure everything was cooked and cleaned properly.
Somewhere down the line, the fear started to settle down. I stopped disinfecting everything and wasn’t afraid to cook or clean so much. It seemed as though all of my hard work with my therapist and psychiatrist paid off. I was still a bit OCD about some things, but it wasn’t so bad. Now that I am living on my own, the fear seems to be non-existent over time. However, sometimes it still hits me like a brick. When I first started working retail, I used to fear getting sick. I used to fear having to call in if I needed to or if I let any of my managers know if I was unwell. My fear seemed to take a weird turn for now I am finding myself doing rituals that are far different from what I used to do.
Now I am anal about making sure everything that could be locked, needs to be locked. I keep everything set for the day before work or school. If things weren’t ready like how they should be in my mind, I would get over stressed or angry. Oddly I still sometimes freak out about cooking and whether everything is done how it should be or not. I still sometimes disinfect stuff from time to time, but not nearly as much as I used to do. When I don’t sleep at night, I make sure all of my alarms and scheduled reminders are on the dot. I have a bad habit of checking my phone either for the time, checking the schedules and alarms, or making sure I had enough battery power for it to wake me up in the morning. I still keep trying to rationalize why I am doing this, thinking that its all psychosomatic. But, I’ve realized that maybe there are deeper roots to this problem that I have no idea about.
I know damn well that I will get through this and beat it. And for those that struggle with OCD, Germophobia, and or Emetophobia should know that you can get through it too. I also want whomever is reading this know that I can fully empathize with you and that you ARE NOT alone.
Much love and light to everyone this evening,
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