I coined the term Now I Know Syndrome (NIKS) because I think it needed to be named. This is a universal struggle, not just something that plagues emets and anxiety sufferers. You’ve probably, at some point in your life, been in a situation that has been amplified by finding something out that you didn’t before.
For example, you like someone and everything is great, but you find out that they have a weird personality quirk that you can’t understand. Now that you know this fact, it changes your perception of that person and ultimately it spirals you out of control… and by out of control I mean you probably decide you can’t see that person anymore.
When asked about why you broke up, you say that you found something out about their personality that you couldn’t get over. That person responds, yeah but everything was fine before wasn’t it? And you’ll say, yeah, but now I know about it and I can’t get over that.
NIKS at it’s finest.
But, let’s get back to business for a second. Emetophobia really is amplified by NIKS. It’s something that I’ve fallen victim to as well.
Case and point: the norovirus.
For about 19 years I was blissfully unaware of this super bug. I didn’t know it existed, despite looking back and realizing I had seen it’s effects first hand on multiple, terrifying occasions.
The moment I knew it existed, I had so much anxiety about it, stressed so heavily, and my phobia got worse. It was this new threat, at least to me, and now that I knew about it, it made it seem so much worse.
But the fact of the matter is? It was always there.
It hadn’t gone anywhere for 19 years, and it hadn’t magically shown up one day just to torture me; it just became something I now knew about.
That mindset was hard to accept. It was realizing that just because I knew it was happening didn’t mean I was anymore likely to catch it. In fact, my chances have stayed the same over the years.
The only thing that’s changed is that I’m now far more aware of the threat than I was before.
Essentially, my NIKS theory states that, at some point in your life you were unaware of something that you see as scary or insurmountable now. Whether that’s the existence of it entirely (as in my case), or the amount of people who get sick from it each year, at some point in your life you were unaware of the full gravity of the situation.
And social media is by far the worst platform for NIKS because of the people who inhabit it. There are two kinds of people on Facebook that emets hate: the over sharer and the overly vague.
We don’t want to know you’re puking, but damn it, if you’re too vague about your illness we’ll assume you’re puking anyways.
Perhaps it’s just best not to say anything at all. Or maybe, it shouldn’t matter.
That’s hard to say, especially coming from me, because right now all my teaching friends are sharing their horror stories about their kids getting sick in class… And my friends with kids are dreading sleepless, puke filled nights with their feverish toddlers.
However, something said on the internet can’t get you. Just because someone in your area feels sick doesn’t mean that you will catch it, and you most definitely won’t catch it from social media.
They say knowledge is power, but maybe there is two parts to that. Sure, having knowledge gives you power, but knowledge can also mean power over you.
Don’t let the knowledge of something change who you are. Don’t give something that seems so negative the power to control your life. After all, just because you know it doesn’t mean your chances have changed – it’s just you’re more aware.
And with awareness comes the ability to be prepared. So take the awareness and remember that NIKS doesn’t have to be debilitating, you can use it to your advantage.
Have any of you ever had a NIKS moment? If so, leave it in the comments below!
Until next time, Internet!
If you would like to email me, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
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.