“Everyone, I think I’m scared of being sick.”
“What? nobody likes being sick! Don’t be silly.”
ARGHHHHHH CAN I JUST SCREAM FOR A FEW HOURS?! No, breathe.
I can’t sit here and criticise people for not understanding because on no level is that fair. I wouldn’t expect people to do the same to me because I couldn’t understand why they were scared of dogs, for example.
However, I think the idea of emetophobia having the label of an ‘irrational’ fear hardly encourages us to talk about it with our friends and family without coming across as completely insane. I mean, what is so scary about being sick? Well, for whatever reason, somewhere down the line we have developed this fear, and it is truly debilitating and petrifying.
You aren’t asking for special treatment, you are just asking people to provide support for what you are going through
In a way, I am actually a huge hypocrite for writing this. I am sitting here encouraging people to open up about emetophobia, and yet from the very beginning, I have kept my fear a secret from everyone. I told a very limited amount of people, and even then it was because I physically had to. Others found out through my strange behaviour…how embarrassing. But, I’m saying it now. I have emetophobia. Phewww, that feels better. Now it’s your turn. You aren’t asking for special treatment, or to be treated differently in any way, you are just asking people to recognise and provide support for what you are going through. Speaking out is really important. Tell the people around you and let them help you.
I have been more open than ever and I feel great
In the last year I have been more open than ever and I feel great. Not only am I helping other people with emetophobia, but my friends and family no longer question why I struggle in certain situations, and the level of support has been incredible. My close friends never judge or slate me for not being able to do certain things or behaving in a certain way. My family can joke about it and make light of the situation which provides me with so much comfort. And my boyfriend: he accepts it and recognises it isn’t a choice I have consciously made. He said that as long as I never stop trying, neither will he.
There are plenty of people out there waiting to tell you everything is OK
To those of you that have tried and failed to be open about emetophobia because the support has been lacking, understand it is hard for people to accept. However, give them your word you will continue trying as long as you have their support. If people can’t provide that, go and find someone that will. There are plenty of people out there waiting to give you a huge hug and to tell you everything is OK.
For me, on top of the amazing support I already have, I am lucky to have found you, my other emetophobia sufferers. Thank you for understanding why I feel the need to cut open the chicken before eating it, or taking a bottle of water and mints with me every time I go out. You are the best.