January 16, 2015

“Everyone, I think I’m scared of being sick.” Jo Blog

“What? nobody likes being sick! Don’t be silly.”

“Oh, ok.”


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.

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I've had emetophobia for 28

I've had emetophobia for 28 years and it's a hideous fear to have. People don't realise how debilitating it can be. It's stopped me from working, socialising and having relationships. Every day is taken up with this fear. I know you're right Jo when you say we should tell people and let them help. I wish I could be as open as you've been. I've only ever had ridicule and abuse for having this fear, which has put me off telling anyone else. Good luck with it though.

I know it is hard

I know it is difficult. And unfortunately not everyone will understand. But the people who care about you and matter in your life will always do their best to understand. As I found with myself, the chances are they already have some idea already...we aren't as good as hiding it as we may think! It is truly debilitating but you are still here and that's what counts. Praise yourself for every positive thing you do. Emetophobia will not win!

Do I have it too?

Im not sure if I have emetophobia or not. Many Years ago when I was in Primary school, one of the Girls in my class threw up in her hands, (whilst we were doing P.E.) several times, well obviously it spilled over onto the floor(just writing this I feel bleurgh). The stench was very overpowering, & I had to leg it out of the hall otherwise I would have said shove over Im going to join you. Ever since that I have not been able to be around anyone who is sick. I even had to shove a Paramedic out of the way as my Wife was sick on the Ambulance, & I had to get off quick in case I was sick myself. Once they had cleared up & the smell had become less, then I got back on the Ambulance & carried on the journey. Do I have emetophobia or not?


Hi Kevin, emetophobia affects many people in many different ways. There is some information on it here: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/about-anxiety/anxiety-disorder-and-stress/emetophobia-vomit-phobia You may like to seek advice from a medical professional. Best, Crystal at Time to Change


I too have emetophobia and have done for a good 15 years. I have had cbt, and other counselling which takes the edge off but can't seem to ever completely shift it! On the plus side I have had 2 children (5 and 1) as I wasn't going to let this fear stop me having a family, and although I do find it very tough when the older one has had a bug and it brings out more anxiety in me but somehow with the massive help of my husband and parents I get through it. This phobia stops me and my family doing certain things socially and it controls my life most days...just wish there was a cure but in the meantime I just live with it as best as I can and it definitely helps me being open and honest with family and friends about it (even if some don't understand they can at least be compassionate and not judge me).

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