Why does emetophobia exist?
It’s a puzzling question that I think every emet has probably taken to asking themselves at least once. Of course, it may not come in such an existential way. It might take the form a little more like…
Why do I have this phobia?
What did I do to deserve this?
If you talk to an emetophobia sufferer they will tell you two things definitively: they want to be rid of it and they wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. And, I think that for many emets if they can figure out the why’s and the how’s, they will be one step closer to understanding how to overcome this.
But what if I told you that the reason we have this phobia may be less complicated than a triggering event involving getting sick, or a traumatic event that resulted in a lack of control. It might sound impossible, but there is just one reason why this phobia exists, beyond any other events that cause it.
Emetophobia exists because we let it.
Think about that for a second. I’m sure you’re probably thinking to yourself, “That truly is impossible, there’s no way I would let this phobia exist! If I could rid myself of it, I would in a heart beat!” But believe it or not, the only thing letting this phobia continue to grow, to interfere and exist is you and your own thoughts.
As you begin to learn how to cope, and harness your internal locus of control, you begin to see just how much power and how much life you were giving to this phobia. It might be shocking to realize just how frequently we kept it on life support, nurturing it with negative beliefs and incidents that reinforce our OCD like behaviors.
What feeds this phobia is when we personify it. So many times I read about how someone says, “This phobia never lets me do anything” or “I can’t do *this thing* because of the phobia.”
I’m guilty of this, because as I started recovering I saw this phobia as a separate from my own being. It had control over my life, it was something that made me who I was. I had given the phobia it’s own personality, temperament and traits.
I picture it kind of like a small child that is shackled to our ankles. Constantly there and constantly fluctuating between good, bad and ugly. Sometimes it was better and behaved well, other times it screamed, cried and was pulling hard on the shackles, rubbing us raw and causing us severe exhaustion, frustration and distress.
We think that because we are shackled to this phobia, that we have to discover the key, or that someone with a silly sense of humor has it hidden where we’ll never find it. But in reality, the key doesn’t even exist, because the shackles were never locked at all.
While it might be harder for some than others, there is nothing locking us in to this phobia. The only person that prolongs the shackles is… us. The only person that gives this phobia life, that lets it control how we act, that lets it interfere with our happy moments, is us.
This phobia is tough. It tears us down and wears on us, but at any given point we can make it stop. We just have to find the courage to stand up to that voice that makes us feel small. You can remove the shackles if you just have the courage to try and wiggle the lock.
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.