#Fearless Family Writer
Hi I’m Kama and I’m emetophobic. From as far back as I can remember, Emetophobia has been part of my life. I recall from a young age having issues and yet I cannot pin point reasons why. To this day I could list off every episode someone around me has been sick or myself as if it were yesterday.
In my elementary years, I knew something was not right. I had issues with eating. I would constantly ask my mom if the things I’d eat would make me throw up. My grandmother would sit me down at the table before school and try to read me books in the hopes that I would eat, but I would pick apart my food and take the slightest of bites.
I have an Uncle with Down Syndrome and basically grew up in the house with him. I remember one time at a restaurant he was sick at our table. It was a horrible episode. I was shaking to my core. And another time at home, for him it was always so loud and violent. I would sit in the fetal position with my ears covered and my eyes shut tight, tucked away in another room.
Fortunately I don’t recall many occasions where I had gotten sick in my school years. For the most part, while I didn’t enjoy it at all, it didn’t kill me. But I wanted to avoid it with all I had in me.
Emetophobia was life as I knew it. I knew I didn’t like to be around sick people. They are a ticking time bomb in my eyes. For a while things seemed a bit quiet. I just went about my everyday living with that monkey on my back.
In my teen’s I had my first break up with a boy and that is when things began to boil over. I started to develop panic attacks and spent the next three years suffering from Agoraphobia. I was back to having trouble eating, in private, in public.
This nagging feeling of choking, gagging would start it off so I just shut down. I began to be unable to function with day to day living. Likely one of the worst times of my life. I was not living the way I wanted too. It was in control of me.
My mom took me to some different counselors but no one could put a name to it. They sorted out the panic attacks, OCD, and Agoraphobia, but never could touch on the dreaded V issue. To me that was the big one. The mothership if you will. They tried to medicate me, but I have never been one keen on medicine as they can cause sickness. They tried hypnotizing and they just felt like it wasted time.
Upon my senior year I was really struggling to live and suicide started to enter my mind. As miserable as I was, I couldn’t bring myself to it due to my faith. But I just could no longer live this way. I cried out to God to help me out of this pit.
As school life came to a close, a new relationship was blossoming with a classmate and he helped me to realize I needed to face my fears, not to run from them. I started driving on the freeways, panic free, I started eating out in public again and coming out of my bedroom for meals. I was doing the things that had been consumed by my phobia and it felt freeing.
While I felt like I had second chance at life, coping with my attacks and learning to handle them to the point where they were pretty much non-existent, I still couldn’t deny that dreaded fear was with me. I couldn’t rid of it.
Gradually things got better, and my panic attacks would only happen in high stress times, but I had control of them so it was nothing like it used to be. But I couldn’t shake the fear of sickness and all the head spins it put me through. I just accepted it was part of who I was. It was hard having friends not understanding and making fun of things I did. I closed myself off to only a select few.
In my 30’s, I married my husband Marty. I never envisioned having children for obvious reasons. But a potential of possibility opened my eyes seeing how good he was with children and lots of conversation that he had to be able to take care of sick children.
We had a son, and would you believe not one day did I have any morning sickness. (Thank you Jesus!) Course then there was the concern of a sick child. But I tried not to dwell on stuff like that and just focus on today. I knew I had a husband that would step in when needed so that was comforting.
It is painful for me knowing that I am a mother that cannot care for my sick child (or husband). It is not something that I am proud of. I’m a coward, but I cannot control the sensation to flee.
Thankfully these (nearly) 8 years my son hasn’t had a lot of episodes of being sick like that (Thank you again Jesus)-but when it’s presented its self, I run for cover. I find a safety zone until I deem it safe to return home. Which is then followed by taking that dreaded first breath inside the germ zone and then the cleaning begins.
It wasn’t until the last two year’s I finally did some hardcore research and found that there was actually a name for this burden. Emetophobia. It was like a huge sigh of relief to know it wasn’t something I’d made up in my head. It verified that I’ve been dealing with something real.
I fall into some of the common traits, a Germophobic. I refuse to touch doors, and esp. transfer that to my face. I watch those around me, are they showing signs of sickness, then I go into alert mode. I have ears like sonars, picking up random key words in distant conversations. It’s a mental battle that tires the soul. I rarely take medicines. Have trouble going to the Dentist. I don’t drink alcohol.
Thank you again to Kama for sharing her story.
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