This should have been the first post I wrote. It’s the reason we’re all here, it’s the reason I started this blog, so it should have been the easiest to write, right? Well… not exactly. In fact, I’ve been dreading writing this article for months because I knew that it would be the most difficult post for me to conjure up. Why? Because emetophobia is so damn complicated – excuse my French.
The simple definition of emetophobia is the irrational (and intense) fear of throwing up, but it’s not that simple. There are so many tiny parts that go in to this phobia that if you wanted me to write out exactly what emetophobia was, I’d need a book and a lot of time to write it.
Emetophobia is such an invasive phobia. Unlike the fear of flying or heights that you don’t necessarily have to encounter on a day to day basis, emetophobics have the lucky (this is sarcasm, of course) pleasure of actually being their phobia. Most emetophobics are scared of themselves throwing up and that’s a tough predicament to be in. Most people throw up for one of two reasons: either you ate something that doesn’t agree with you or you caught a virus. Catching a virus means that you came in contact with someone who was sick and you were the unlucky recipient of that virus. And when you go through your day always worrying that lurking on that door knob or your car handle is the virus that will cripple you or a loved one, it means just waking up in the morning can activate your phobia.
And with this phobia comes a handful of other fears. Speaking of flying, many emetophobics don’t use public transportation, fly, go on cruises (I could write an entire post just on cruises), or anything of the sort. Agoraphobia, the fear of public places, can also arise because they are scared of not being able to escape if they feel sick, see someone else getting sick or running in to germs that could make them sick. Pregnancy and motherhood is a fear. Cibophobia, the fear of food and foodborne illness, can be a form of anxiety and means they don’t eat out often or avoid certain foods all together, and even be mistaken for anorexic (perhaps I’ll delve into my own personal struggle with my family thinking I was anorexic at a future time). This list could go one for pages… but I’ll spare you the time.
During my search of a great resource for this article, I stumbled upon the Emetophobia Fact Sheet and basically leapt with joy. While not an all encompassing article, it comes pretty darn close. It’s sometimes hard to find a resource that has so much of the phobia lumped into one place, and this one does it. If you ever want to get a glimpse into the mind of an emetophobic, just give the linked article a read.
I wish I had the ability to just define this phobia in a way that everyone would understand, but like any psychological diagnosis, no two cases are the same but we all experience the same general symptoms. Honestly, I don’t know if I even answered any of your questions about what emetophobia is, but I know that if I couldn’t, that fact sheet sure can.
Well, that’s all folks. Stay tuned for some new and great stuff! And as always, if you have questions or something to share, drop it in the comments below.
Have a great week!
PS: I love this graphic, and I always think it’s a great way to explain anxieties and phobias.
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Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.