I Am #Fearless, In The News, Mental Illness
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In The News: Buzzfeed Explores Emetophobia

I am so, so excited to be writing about this right now. I don’t think you even can understand how much this makes me excited. My entire life has amounted to me making this blog and this particular segment, just so I could bring the amazing news that I am bringing you right now.

On Monday morning one of my dearest and closest friends shot me a message that basically said I don’t know if this is all accurate, but it made me think of you. Attached was a link to a Buzzfeed article about 22 Things You Need To Know About Emetophobia.

I’ll admit, at first glance I was like ugh Buzzfeed, no. I can’t tell you how many times community bloggers on BuzzFeed have their articles show up and I’m like “yeah but… ugh but if you only… oh what’s the use.”

I clicked on it anyways, because not only am I always curious to see what other people have to say about emetophobia, but I was was especially excited that one of my friends saw it, thought of me, read it and then sent it to me.

So, I click on this post and bam, first off I was excited because it was written by a BuzzFeed staff member. Not only that, but BuzzFeed UK, which is even better. Why? Well, it turns out that the UK the anxiety research facility there really, widely recognizes emetophobia. It’s amazing, and if you remember from several of my posts where I was trying to help find an amazing mother-to-be with emetophobia for a documentary series, they were prodded by Anxiety UK.

Now, I start reading, and initially I just read the big ticket items. All 22 things they mention are a seriously great way to sum up emetophobia to someone who doesn’t have it. On the same page, it also calls out the people who basically put down our phobia because “no one likes to puke.”

The BuzzFeed article is amazing, not only for the great way it summarizes emetophobia, but because a place like BuzzFeed wrote about it. People are starting to become more aware of emetophobia; they are starting to share the word and the knowledge they have on it. This means not only will people who don’t have the phobia learn about it from an outside source, but perhaps people who didn’t even know they had emetophobia will now see it and realize they aren’t alone.

I just wanted to take the time to not only thank BuzzFeed personally, but on the behalf of the entire emetophobia community, for taking the time to shine a light on such a great cause. There are dozens of comments about people sharing their story, and it’s such a great sight because there are people, from all walks of emetophobia, saying how grateful they are for this post.

If you haven’t seen the article yet, I’ve linked it several times, and I’ll even through out again right here. In the spirit of this article though, I think I’m going to post the five best points from the BuzzFeed article.

  1. Even a joke about throwing up can send someone into a spiraling panic. I love this, because I think it’s easy to assume that only real puke causes panic. That is unfortunately not true for a many emets, and it used to be something I dealt with a lot. Emets don’t like the thought of someone getting sick, so making pretend puke noises or suddenly acting like you might get sick for a good laugh is pure terror for an emet. They may not be able to distinguish the difference between a joke and the real thing before crippling panic sets in, and by then it’s too late.
  2. Emetophobia can feel totally inescapable: sufferers are essentially afraid of their own bodies. I think this is a really big part of emetophobia, and it’s something I plan on writing about in the future. Emets are extremely aware of their bodies, and any abnormalities can send them into a tizzy. This can be as simple as a small pain in their side that leaves as quickly as they left. Let’s describe it this way: think of your body as an open box, and emetophobia as the nail gun that just locked you in it. You can’t get out, and to make matters worse, with every symptom and every panic attack, it’s like crippling anxiety is taking a shovel and putting a small scoop of dirt on top of that sealed box.
  3. They rarely leave the house without their safety kit which often includes: antacids, peppermints, airsickness bags and headphones (to cancel out the sound of anyone else being ill). I think this one is important, because some emets do actually carry all of these items with them just in case. Another popular item is an anti-emetic and hand sanitizer/travel packs of Clorox wipes. I never had a safety kit, but I did almost always have at least two mini bottles of hand sanitzer with me at all times, and in times of severe panic I always knew the location of my iPod and headphones. True story, one time I had my music so loud in my ears during a loved one having a stomach bug, my mom heard it upstairs in the bonus room and behind two closed doors. It’s a surprise I’m not deaf, honestly.
  4. Emetophobia can make it difficult to socialise. Holy crap, yes. This struggle is very real, and it cost me a lot of friends throughout college. I very rarely went out places with friends, wouldn’t attend parties, and would never (or at least, very rarely) let someone else drive me places. I would very rarely accept invitations out to eat, and that made the times that I did go out awkward because I wouldn’t eat much and I’d get weird stares. Eventually, all but a few of my friends were weeded out, and this aids to this sense of loneliness that emets feel day to day. The friends that are left though are amazingly understanding, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
  5. People who live with emetophobia don’t have to live with the condition forever. Of all the points that this article made, this one is by far the biggest. I could go on for pages about how with proper treatment by a counselor someone can and usually do get over this. There are ways to manage this and eventually eradicate the anxiety and panic that comes with emetophobia, it just takes the courage to admit you need and want help. Sometimes, that’s the hardest part.

That was actually much harder than I’d thought it’d be, narrowing down to only five of the best points made in that article. I could have easily given my two cents on all 22, but I figure I’ll save it for another time.

So now the important question: what was your favorite point made by the article? Were there any that surprised you, helped you understand a quirk of a friend or yourself, or maybe you just found plain interesting? Let me know 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 contact@hashtagfearless.com. 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  FacebookTwitterPinterest 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.

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