Once again, I feel like I’ve been slacking off on my writing. I guess it’s okay though, because the holidays are far more important, and I doubt any of you would be on Facebook and WordPress too much while you’re running around with family.
And who can blame you? Sometimes family can be stressful, but they are family, which means love it or hate it they will always be there.
Like most holidays with my family, it’s either going to go surprisingly well or have some little kinks that could possibly derail the entire trip. This time, I can say that while there were little kinks, it didn’t totally derail the trip – an even rarer occurrence than a peaceful trip.
Both of these kinks were, as you might have guessed it, emetophobia related. And, even more so, they were both personal victories.
The first was when I visited my grandmother for the night. Due to a head injury she hadn’t been feeling her best, both pain wise and nausea wise. Well, lo and behold, we sit down to eat dinner and she drops the bomb: “Man, I feel really sick to my stomach…”
Immediate panic sets in, but to my surprise my anxiety wasn’t as high as usual. It was just this uncontrollable flight feeling, and it felt almost like a learned response. I looked at my husband, he looked at me, grabbed my leg and said quietly, “You don’t have to stay here…”
I sat in place for about 30 seconds before I decided I needed to regain control of my emotions. There is no worse feeling than being in high panic mode, because any control you thought you had has immediately vanished. You are basically a hostage of your emotions.
I stepped out and spent about 2 minutes upstairs pacing back and forth, taking deep breaths and telling myself everything was fine. In my panic I actually left my phone by my plate, which I now see as a huge positive.
Why you ask? If I had taken it I would have texted my husband if it was okay to come back down, and there would have been a chance he would have replied with no. Instead, the power to walk back down the stairs and sit down at the table was completely in my hands.
So, after taking the 15 laboring steps down the stairs to the dining room table I noticed my grandmother who was scarfing down her food like nothing had happened.
As an emet and a normal human being, it was astonishing to me that someone who just complained she felt very sick and was visibly fighting off getting sick was eating a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
Regardless, after what seemed like ages my brother picked up on the tension and suggested that his fiancee and I go sort out Christmas gifts. I sat at that table, attempting not to panic for longer than I ever had before, and managed to bounce back with little to no problems following the gift opening.
For me though, the biggest victory in that moment was why I was anxious. I don’t think I was so much worried about her getting sick, as I was her getting sick all over the place in front of me. I knew, logically and rationally, her sickness was not contagious and was obviously due to her injury. For me, I was more concerned that she hadn’t gotten up and taken herself elsewhere to handle her sickly feelings.
Either way, I was extremely proud of how I handled a near miss, and didn’t stop talking about it the entire way back home. My husband was so tired of hearing it about it, but I didn’t care.
Then, that night my in-laws made kimbap, which is basically what I call Korean sushi, but it’s not. The only thing that makes it like sushi is that the delicious insides are wrapped in rice and seaweed.
A typical kimbap dish at my inlaws is made up of carrot, cucumber, spam, sausage, daikon (pickled radish) and imitation crab. Everything about that is fine, except the imitation crab.
Now, call me naive, but until Monday afternoon I had no idea what imitation crab was. I had always assumed that imitation crab meant no traces of seafood. Regardless, I didn’t want to take the chance so I made myself two, imitation crab free rolls and ate those contently… but I got brave. Decided I wanted to try the roll with imitation crab in it.
I did it, and I didn’t feel an ounce of anxiety – probably because I didn’t think there was anything to be concerned about. My husband even had soup filled to the brim with seafood and no panic ensured, despite my high anxiety levels from the night before.
Well, turns out imitation crab is just processed fish, and not only did I have one roll, but I had a dozen. That’s not an exaggeration. I had one roll, survived, learned the imitation crab secret and then went back for more.
To me, that’s a HUGE accomplishment, and while I don’t see it as something as monumental as eating an entire flounder dish on my own, I did do something I hadn’t done in years.
I ate seafood and came out alive.
All in all, my holiday season was pretty great. I didn’t panic but a tiny bit, and everyone in my family got along. Now, we’re three hours away from welcoming in 2016 and I know that it’s going to be a year unlike any other.
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.