Today is the first day of my revised Dear Diary segment, where I start your week off with a little inspiration! I’m excited, because there isn’t much about Mondays that make us happy – so why not try to put a little positivity back into the world?
This week I chose a quote by Margaret Thatcher. Especially this week, this quote spoke to me because recently I’ve been struggling with some negative thoughts about the progress (or non-progress) of my phobia. This quote served as a serious reminder that I’m still fighting everyday, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Many of you know I’ve been going to see a counselor for three years, and despite all the wonderful strides forward I have made I still occasionally find myself struggling with the same stuff. It gets me kind of deflated – like I should be able to handle this better, or the battle I’m facing shouldn’t come up because I’ve already conquered it once before.
But that just isn’t true.
In fact, as my husband likes to constantly remind me that throwing up is literally my biggest fear. It’s the one thing in life that really, truly terrifies me; so why get so down on myself when I panicked for 20 minutes instead of 25?
Something actually happened to me about a week ago that sparked the above conversation. I was laying in bed, feeling fine when I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was going to get sick – right then, right now. That feeling happened twice and I started to panic. I told my husband after the panic subsided I actually felt my eyes widen in fear when I felt that feeling – which gives you a pretty vivid image of what this phobia can do to people.
I left the room, took a walk and distanced myself as far from my husband as I could – another quirk I have. I paced, I took deep breaths, and I spent ten minutes telling myself it was going to be okay before my husband came out to check on me.
In the end, I didn’t get sick, and I managed to calm down and convince myself to leave the upstairs hallway in my home in record time. The next day I felt myself falling back into anxious habits: watching the clock, worrying about food intake, and almost conjuring up that nasty feeling I had the night before multiple times.
When I spoke to my husband about it that evening, he looked at me and said, “Why are you being so negative about this? You did an amazing job. I know you panicked, but who could blame you? This is scary for you, and all things considered you handled it like a champ.”
The reason I was upset about it was because it felt like I had taken a step back. I felt like I had handled similar situations better than I had this one, and ever since coming to Idaho I felt like my anxiety had taken a turn for the worse. I felt like I was back stepping and that was disappointing, but the fact is I hadn’t. I was still making positive strides, but in that moment it felt like I hadn’t done well enough.
That just simply wasn’t true.
This nighttime nausea and panic isn’t something new to me. I’ve fought this battle before, countless times, and each time I’ve noticed small improvements. This is something that I will continue to fight until I forget that it was ever something I had to fight for in the first place.
Because sometimes to win a war you have to fight a battle multiple times. Everyday with emetophobia is a battle, but overcoming it means you’ve won the ultimate victory. Don’t let the same struggles, the same thoughts, the same panic, the same anything make you feel like you aren’t making progress because you are.
Each time you successfully handle a situation, it gets just a little easier, and when the same situation comes up again, you’ll know how to handle it. I guess sometimes we all just need to be reminded of that, as it’s easy to forget that progress can be made, no matter how small, and no matter how many times you have to do it.
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.