“You can never cross the ocean
until you have the courage to leave the shore.”
Dear Wonderful Person with Emetophobia,
There is nothing that hurts me more than seeing someone struggle. Whether that’s mentally, physically, emotionally or something else entirely, I don’t want people to feel bad. I want them to achieve their fullest potential because I know they can.
I wish everyone could be happy, brimming with ungodly optimism and living life to the fullest without fear of anything or anyone getting in their way.
That’s why life with emetophobia is so damn hard.
It’s a phobia that attacks you from all angles. It makes you paranoid, anxious, depressed, lonely, scared, obsessive compulsive, and so much more. It exhausts you mentally and emotionally; it isolates you not only from everything you want to do but also everyone you want to be with.
Simply put, emetophobia is the freaking worst.
There is not one day that goes by that I don’t scroll through the support groups of people with emetophobia and my heart doesn’t ache for you. I want to run to each and every one of you, grab a hold of your shoulders and tell you everything is going to be okay.
I want to look at you and tell you that if I can do this, you can do this too. You just have to believe you can, and you have to have the courage to take that first step.
I may not be completely over this, but I want nothing more than to share my knowledge with all of you, and to help you realize you can get through this. You don’t have to make huge, leaping bounds. In fact, that’s probably the exact opposite of how recovery works.
The first time I went to counseling, some three years ago the I spilled my elaborate emetophobia history. After an hour of babbling, my therapist looked me dead in the eye and asked:
Do you want to get better?
I know what you’re thinking: YES. YES YES YES. Please, make me better. I’m done with this life, I’m tired of living in fear, constantly, about everyone and everything.
But hold on a moment, do you know what it means to get better? Sure, you know that it’ll mean not living every day in fear. It’ll mean actually getting to enjoy company, life and the people you hold closest, but do you really know what it really means?
To me, it doesn’t matter how you decide to treat your emetophobia. You can seek counseling, go on medication, try self help books or do something more holistic. What does matter though, is knowing it’s not going to be easy.
Your journey of overcoming emetophobia means you’re going to probably cry, a lot. You are going to do things that make you uncomfortable, and will probably make you panic for days on end. Chances are you’ll make three steps in the right direction and fall two steps back, and there is a very good chance you’ll question if it’s worth it.
It is. It really is, but there is something you need to know:
Only you can overcome your phobia.
As I’ve started reading the Cure Your Emetophobia & Thrive book, I’ve learned that the reason this phobia exists is because of us. We give it power by letting our minds run wild. Which means if we can give it power, we can take it away.
That’s right: you control your destiny.
I can’t say this enough. You, and only you, can beat this phobia. You can go to a counselor once a week for a year, or finish an entire self help book, twice.
However, none of those techniques will work unless you want to get better.
You are the only person holding you back.
You can’t go into counseling expecting it to fix you if you don’t put in the work. This phobia is not something that goes away over night. It takes time, patience, courage and determination. It takes knowing you’re going to go in and get uncomfortable – and that you are going to have to be the one to make those steps. You’re going to have to make yourself feel panic, you’re going to confront things that will make you scared, but you can conquer them.
You have to be willing to get back up after you’ve been pushed down. You have to be willing to take the good with the bad, and make yourself do something even when you don’t want too.
Emetophobia is not a quick fix. It has its gross, strangling hands in so many aspects of your life, and that means it’s harder to overcome, but it is possible to make this better.
I just wish I could touch my finger to your forehead and bam, you’re cured. You have the knowledge that I do, you have the ability to cope and rationalize with irrational thoughts. You have the ability to differentiate from normal behaviors and irrational reactions.
So I challenge you to do something about it this year. Do something that will help you get better. Reach out for help, see a counselor, buy a self help book, try holistic medicine – do something.
If you aren’t happy with where you are, only you can change it. Only you have the power to make a difference in your life. It doesn’t matter how many times you say you’re sick of this life, if you don’t take action nothing will ever change.
In that same breath, know that if you want to change, but aren’t willing to take the steps to change, you will never get over this. It doesn’t matter how many counselors you see, self help books you read and medicines you take – it just won’t matter.
The best method for overcoming this phobia is you pushing yourself because you know, deep down, it’s worth it.
So I’m going to ask you again: do you want to get better?
Someone Who Believes In You
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.