Welcome back! Or welcome, if you’re new! If this is the first blog post of mine that you’re encountering, I’m glad you’re here! And I encourage you to read from my first post on! This post will need a little context...
I had a big breakthrough with my emetophobia over the weekend, because I think I caught some stomach virus! I actually threw up! I know it sounds crazy to people who don’t suffer from emetophobia, but I never thought I’d actually say that. Again, obviously that’s not realistic or normal, but for me it was! So let me break down the story for you...buckle up cause it’s gonna be a looooong one!
(ALSO IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE TMI, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL WARNING!)
Backtrack to Thursday of last week when I was babysitting. The mom had told me that the baby had thrown up the day before, but it seemed to have been because of something she might be allergic to, rather than due to illness. Now keep in mind, this woman is so sweet and kind to me, but she doesn’t know about my emetophobia! So she’s telling me this story as if it’s no big deal (because to most people it’s not) and I’m trying to stay calm about it but I’m low key stressing. I manage to talk myself off the ledge of panic and convince myself that the baby was obviously not sick! Fast forward a couple hours later, the mom comes downstairs and starts telling me that she doesn’t feel well, and that she thinks she might have to throw up. Again, she doesn’t know how triggering this is, and she’s totally cool about it. At this point i’m in sheer horror but am still trying to keep cool on the outside. She continues to tell me how sick she’s feeling and goes upstairs to the bathroom and starts throwing up!! Now I have involuntary tears falling from my eyes, my hands are shaking, my heart is pounding, I’m a mess on the inside. I even started playing some music on my phone so I wouldn’t hear the noises. I then text my boyfriend to begin damage control...I tell him everything that’s going on, that I’m in a panic, and to call my mom for instructions on how to help me through this once I get home (it really does take a village). The mom is now texting me from upstairs telling me that she did puke but is feeling better now. At this point i’m just counting down the seconds until I can escape what felt like a deathly germ trap at the time. Shortly after this all happened, her husband came home and I was good to go home. Oh boy, I broke down as soon as I walked out the door, and when I entered the door my boyfriend was there and ready for the plan. I threw the clothes in the wash, washed my hands, and lysol wiped my phone. Then I got into bed and talked to my mom in the phone.
I calmed down after a few minutes of pure panic at home, and started to reason with myself and remind myself that it probably wasn’t anything contagious. That night and following day were stressful because of the anticipation of possibly getting sick. That’s the worst part of this whole thing...the anticipation, the not knowing. Anyway, I was feeling fine and not at all sick the following days.
On Saturday, I was babysitting again, but somewhere else. I remember feeling super tired and just off that day, but not at all sick. I ate like normal and felt fine! After the kids were asleep (around 9) I started feeling not so great. This issue here is that I couldn’t distinguish between feeling anxious or sick. I had a rough day on Thursday and thought it was still affecting me anxiety wise. I was feeling kind of nauseous on and off for a couple hours, and was chatting with my mom at the same time. I was telling her how I was feeling and she continued to tell me it’s just anxiety (which it usually is) Eventually at 11:30ish I went to use the bathroom and then got a huge wave of nausea and anxiety and texted my mom. She then facetimed me and I remember really loosing control at that point. I kind of new it was about to happen...I was so anxious that I was feeling like I was about to pass out, and then it happened...I threw up. On facetime with my parents LOL. While it was happening, I actually said out loud to my mom on the phone “ok it’s not that bad” and I remember being so relieved at that point.
It lasted like a minute and then I washed up and sipped on some water while my mom drove over to meet me at the house I was babysitting at. She disinfected the bathroom (she’s an angel) and then sat on the couch to chill out with me. The mom came home about an hour later and I told her what happened in case I was contagious. I also threw up a little again in her bathroom right before I left...I felt so bad but she didn’t care lol. When I got back to my parents house, I had one more “episode” of feeling like I was passing out, and then throwing up, but that was the last of it. AND I SURVIVED!!!!
The rest of the night and following day I had some stomach cramping and had to keep getting up to use the bathroom. On Sunday I was fatigued and a little achey and had a low fever, but I rested and got lots of fluids and woke up feeling a lot better on Monday!
Now if you know me, you know that this is quite literally my biggest fear and is the worst thing I could imagine (although unreasonable). And it happened and I survived. I keep thinking back to that moment of myself saying “it’s really not that bad” WHILE it was happening!! Right after it happened, I was okay and I was calm, but I noticed that my hands had seized up and I couldn’t really control or use them for about 10 minutes after, yet another physiological anxiety response.
The second and third time I threw up, I wasn’t even really anxious because I knew now that it really wasn’t that bad! It’s crazy, because I would start to get anxious and then I would remind myself that I said it wasn’t that bad, and then I was okay! It’s like my first response is to be anxious because it’s all i’ve ever known, and then my secondary response is to calm down and remind myself that it wasn’t that bad!
Now I’m hesitant to say i’m “cured” because I personally don’t believe that phobias can exactly be cured. I have learned over the years that my phobia originates from OCD tendencies/thoughts, and a desire for control. So although I can say I definitely feel like this was a breakthrough and a big jump in my phobia, there’s still work to do! For as long as I can remember, my brain has been programmed (involuntarily) to panic when someone might be sick, when I feel nauseous, and so much more. So it will take some work to undo that programming in my brain, but this weekend I made HUGE progress, and I’m really proud of it!
If you’ve read this all, thank you SO much! I really appreciate it because this was a really important post for me!
I hope you’ll come back and continue to follow along!
I'm Maddi and Im a full time student (studying Child and Youth Work), Here I have my blog and my shop, I hope you enjoy!