Mental Health

A Battle with Emetophobia: My Personal Story

This post was originally written as a guest post for JohnRdToVol

Trigger warning: this post contains talk of anorexia and being sick. Please don’t read if either of these things could upset you!

A Battle with Emetophobia: My Personal Story

No one likes being sick, I mean its hardly a pleasant experience. But for most people thats all it is, something they don’t like but thats just an unavoidable fact of life.

Not so for people who suffer from Emetophobia. You might be wondering just what the hell it even is though: Emetophobia is quite a wide ranging condition but basically put it’s the fear of being sick and/or the fear of seeing someone being sick.

Even though I’ve suffered with it for most of my life (without even realising it!) I never knew it was an actual phobia. According to Anxiety UK 6-7% of women suffer with this condition, in contrast to only 1.7-3.1% of men that do.

I once had someone tell me that “you’re just being melodramatic, no one likes being sick but its not a real phobia, it doesn’t effect your life”.

Well actually, yes it does!

A Battle with Emetophobia: My Personal Story

I became severally anorexic because I caught the Novo bug that was floating around a few years ago and my brain, in its infinite wisdom, thought that starving myself would stop me being sick. No, what stopped me being sick was the anti sickness tablets I was popping like smarties. All starving myself did was nearly put me in hospital. If you want to read the whole story of what happened and some of the long term side effects I’ve ended up with, I wrote this post on My Anorexia Story.

Oh and having kids? Yeah that one isn’t going to happen for me because the thought of having to cope with morning sickness terrifies me. Even just typing that made my hands clam up! I know for a fact I would starve myself again before I let myself be sick, which would seriously harm the baby. Plus what kind of mother would I be if my kids got sick, I couldn’t go near them.

Not wouldn’t, couldn’t.

My mum got sick on New Years Day and because my room is next to the bathroom I heard her being sick, so I went to my bedroom door to asked her if she was okay and if I could get her anything. Even stood 10 foot away I was shaking from head to foot and I physically couldn’t get any closer. I tired to make myself move and my body wouldn’t respond. I love my mum more than anyone in the world and if I couldn’t go to her (no matter how much it broke my heart to stay away) then I can’t imagine it being any different with a child.

A Battle with Emetophobia: My Personal Story

I also can’t eat new things or in places I don’t know because I’m terrified the food will making me sick. This isn’t just restaurants and pubs, I panic when I eat at my boyfriend or best friends house! I have to buy or take my own food with me more often than not and then explain to them that it’s nothing against them, its just my phobia. Luckily they don’t get offended but its a constant worry for me that they will, especially when meeting new people for the first time.

If theres any kind of sickness bug going round I will become a hermit and refuse to leave the house unless I desperately have to. If I do have to go outside I’ll obsessively use hand sanitiser if I’ve touched things like handrails and door handles. I went through a whole bottle in less than a week once…

I’ve always been scared of being sick but amusingly I can count on one hand the number of times its ever actually happened. I don’t remember ever even having a traumatic experience to cause the fear, its just something I’ve always had. Even as a 3/4 year old I was exactly the same and its just got worse the older I get.

Having a name for the fear and realised that its actually fairly common has helped come to terms with it and I’ve even improved a little in the last year but I don’t think its ever going to go away completely.

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  1. R.Quirls

    June 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Wow I did not know that was illness neither but I have come across people that react in the same manner. I always thought that was a form of hypochrindia.

  2. Jade Marie

    June 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Nope not at all, it’s the same as any other phobia. Might seem daft or an overreaction to someone who doesn’t have it but to the person who does it’s utterly terrifying

  3. Asakemi

    June 17, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I’m glad you’re finding ways to cope. That’s very important. Don’t let this limit you, girl 🙂

  4. Jade Marie

    June 17, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Thank you lovely! 🙂 I try my best not to let it limit me any more than I can help 🙂

  5. gymbagsandjetlags

    July 27, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I had no idea that this was a thing! Thank you for sharing; it’s good for people to know illnesses/phobias like this are out there to better understand others. You got this girl <3

    🍉 Pia

  6. Jade Marie

    July 27, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I hear that so often! I technically only found out my phobia had a name and was real from reading another bloggers post on it- until then I thought I was just being weird!
    I’m glad you enjoyed the post and hopefully it’s useful to raise awareness ☺️

    Thank you lovely! 💛

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