April 5, 2013

My friends have been great in understanding my emetophobia and haven’t judged me once.

I have always been emetophobic. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been. When I was younger, I didn’t understand what it was, no one did.

I remember when I was little my Mum was sick. I cried and hid away in my bedroom for the rest of the day. Dad was angry at me at the time for not being more considerate and caring but that is understandable.

None of us knew there was such thing as having a phobia of being ‘sick’. However, as I grew up, I knew there was a problem. I couldn’t watch any medical programmes on TV without having to cover up my eyes, I stayed away from people who said they were feeling poorly and I was constantly worried that I was going to be ill too. I don’t drink alcohol either. Friends joke around and call me “boring” at times but the thought of getting ill from alcohol petrifies me.

I am 20 now and I still live with emetophobia

I am 20 now and I still live with emetophobia. However things became extremely bad in 2011. I started University in Leicester and tried to enjoy my nights out but I just couldn’t. That year, my friends and I went to Spain. I was enjoying the holiday until a horrible boat ride. Everyone on the boat seemed to be suffering from sea sickness and absolutely everyone was throwing up. I couldn’t stand it.

I tried to stay brave – my friends know I have a phobia but I don’t think they understand how bad. I always try to stay brave around them so they don’t think I’m “weird” or being over the top. However, from that day my phobia seemed to get worse. Being “sick” was always on my mind, constantly.

It still is.

I became scared of travelling in case I became travel sick

A few months after the holiday, I knew I needed help. I couldn’t do anything anymore. When I got the train to University/home, I would panic. I became scared of travelling in case I became travel sick. It was in the car once where I had my first panic attack. I thought I was dying.

From that day on, my life took a turn for the worse. I stayed in my room pretty much 24/7, I didn’t eat anything for weeks, I felt constantly sick and felt like there was no way out. My family and my boyfriend at the time were great and understanding. They never got angry and supported me all the way. I could see how worried they were, I had lost so much weight and I looked so ill.

I was too embarrassed to talk about emetophobia

One day, I heard my friends were upset too because I never “made an effort” with them anymore. This hurt me a lot, because all I wanted was to be around them. I was just too scared and embarrassed at the time to tell them what was wrong – I didn’t want them to judge me. However looking back now, I wish I had. My friends have been great in understanding what I have been through and haven’t judged me once.

The thing that frustrated me the most was that it was all in my head. It angered me, and it still angers me today, that I have no control over my mind whatsoever.

At first I refused to take any medication to help me because the side effects were “vomiting”. I was convinced in my mind that if I took this I would be ill. However – things got so bad around Christmas 2011 that I had no choice. I also attended CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy). This helped a lot; my counsellor taught me relaxation techniques for when I had panic attacks. CBT helped me to control my anxiety in stressful situations. The techniques I learnt will be with me for life. However, when the counsellor tried to help me with my emetophobia, I wasn’t so brave. I was asked to watch videos of vomiting and I just couldn’t do it.

I'm ready to share my experiences and want to help

I chose to no longer have CBT but I have come along way since 2011. 2012 wasn’t easy but the techniques I have learnt, along with the medication I am on, has helped me to relax and get my life back to a normal routine. I am able to go out with my friends again and live a normal lifestyle.

I know I will have ups and downs with this in my lifetime, but I am now ready to share my experience. In 2013, I shall devote my time to helping other people living with anxiety, phobias or depression and will do all I can to promote mental health.

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You can LIVE with emet...

...well done on such a brave blog post about emetophobia. It is such a difficult phobia to live with and manage, but it is possible. I have had emet since I was 7 years old and spent a lot of my childhood missing out on school trips, sleepovers, meals out, trips to the cinema and holidays because of it. I suffered from panic attacks on a regular basis from a young age too, some of the most frightening experiences I ever had. But you're right, you can fight and manage the anxiety the phobia causes and live your life. I still worry about getting sick, I still avoid ill people, I can still recall every time and place I felt sick or was indeed sick. It is still my first thought in trying new foods. It is also a factor in holding me back in my recovery from anorexia. I guess I sort of 'forget' it is there because I have learnt techniques to calm myself down and coping strategies for panic attacks (not all of them health I admit!) Keep fighting and you have inspired me to be more open about my emetophobia too... x

emetophobia fucks your life up ...........sorry !

This has affected me from the age of about 6 and now I am 51......apart from many other mental health diagnoses look ( !!! ) emetophophobia is like a ball and chain which can never be unlocked.....I will not bore you with the intricacies , but suffice to say this affliction has led me to attempt suicide at least twice.I have been treated numerous times , without success. In fact ,the phobia is so severe that , if vomit was ever to enter my life in any shape or form.....it drives me to extreme behavior such as violence towards other people. I cannot bear to bear in the company of anybody who has admitted to vomiting ( yes , a bit like some sort of deviant activity !!!! ) In fact , I have ended relationships with some gorgeous men who cannot understand this ????? Throughout my life , my BPD has caused me to behave very irrationally and in conjunction with emetophobia is a recipe for complete car crash disaster .,...I cannot think of any positives about this subject..... My life has been completely ruined by a bodily function like taking a pee ,for example ! I have to be glib about this ,as I cannot offer any advice to anybody who have this affliction.....nobody would would term it to be " terminal " ...... It is ,however ,a death sentence. I hope I have not upset anybody ,but ,in my experience this will Never leave me alone. The medical profession have actually told me that after the amount of of medical interventions of all types......this won't get any better. Life ,however ,is what you make of it ......I will continue to live with this disability as best I can .


Hi there, really sorry to hear that you are finding things hard. We have some support links that you might find useful: http://bit.ly/SuPp0Rt Take care, Crystal at Time to Change


Like Charlie Hampden, I to have suffered with emetophobia since I was a child, it has ruled my life as to where I work etc, I am now 61 and to me it has got worse over the years, I won't even go and see friends without phoning them first to make sure they haven't had any 'illness' in the past 48/72 hours before I visit. My husband is very patient with me, we never eat out because I don't know if the kitchens are clean and the people cooking and serving could be carrying a tummy bug and so on!! I sound like a freak but I am not, I have always held down a responsible position but have always had my own office to work in, which I antibacterial wipe every day. Unless you are a sufferer of this awful phobia no one else understands.


Hi I've just read your post and this was how I've felt for most of my life I'm 30 years old and had emetophobia from around 5 years. I am replying to your post because it really jumped out at me I've just taken a private program called thrive please google it because it's changed my life significantly I honestly never thought I could get any better but I'm really thriving at the min although I haven't experienced vomit since doing the program but I do believe now that I have the skills to do my best to cope with vomit there wasn't one single day that I didnt think about it and use safety behaviours checking foods, avoiding poorly people, bleaching my hands, not drinking alcohol having panic attacks etc. You can buy the thrive emetophobia book and do the program yourself at home but I payed and had a therapist to work along with me I did travel 2 hours each week for this for 10 weeks but boy it was worth it my therapist was Paul lee and I can't thank him enough for helping me get part of my life back a normal life but you do have to work hard to achieve the best results but I will do anything to keep feeling this good I've not felt this good in years I enjoyed the program so much I am now reading the book again because I'm sure there's many point I missed also the author is rob Kelly and if you go on you tube he does a talk about the program that's how I found it and watching his video I sat crying thinking oh my this man knows exactly how I was feeling please take a look it has worked wonders for me


How can I get a private therapist for this program , am really Intrested and will do all hope to get this sorted . Can't live like this much longer

Hello, You are so brave to

Hello, You are so brave to write about this. I am 31 years old and since I was 4, I have suffered from emetophobia. It became worse at school. NO one did try to understand me and nobody knew back then that this was an actual phobia. Emetophobia invited its friends, and I suffered from depression and many other phobias. The best thing I did was confronting myself with those fears. Today, the emetophobia is gone- after more than 20 years! I lived to handle my other fears and the depression. Although I know, I'll never be completely free from them, I know how to live with them. I wish you all the best, I know that you too can live with it. Thank you so much for talking about this. I feel like reading my own story. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


How have you learnt these techniques and finally gotten rid? I NEED help, please x

I need some tips

Hello, I am Ryan Herron. Even though I am only 12 I have been suffering very deeply from emetophobia in school, it's really hard because I have skipped out of many fun activities, but i try to push myself into doing them. I have a required trip called "Deep portage" it's gonna have a 5 hour car-ride... and i'm scared about it because of this tragic event i call "Day 1"... but i won't talk about it. Anyways, that is in a few days and i am just trying to seek all the help i can get. Even though my dad will be there (he is chaperoning) I still feel REALLY anxious. Do you think i could get a few ideas? Thanks.


Thank you for your comment. We can appreciate how difficult anxiety can feel, and our thoughts are with you. It sounds like you have managed to find ways to cope with your emetophobia before, so perhaps you can find some confidence from that now too. You may also find it helpful to contact Childline to talk about your anxious feelings. You can call them on 0800 1111, or message them online if that feels more comfortable for you https://www.childline.org.uk/talk/Pages/Talk.aspx Best wishes to you for your trip and in general Best, Naomi and Crystal, Time to Change

Jusst Seeing how you were x

heya, your comment jumped out at me, considering we're probably about the same age now. I suffer from emetophobia and I understand where you're coming from. Therapists are useless and don't work, people just don't understand. School doesn't do anything to help and it just gets steadily worse. Since it's been 2 years since you have posted this, please tell me if you're any better because honestly i'd love to know. Thanks xo

Hi Steph :)

Hi Steph :) I am sorry you are suffering from emetophobia also. Since writing this post, I have had some more CBT and exposure therapy to help with my phobia. If I am 100% honest, it has not completely gone and I don't think it ever will - but I can honestly say that it has got so much better than it was! I no longer let it control me and I have now learned to understand that my fear is irrational and it can't harm me in any way. I do things now that I may not have done in the past. But still, there are some days where it gets bad again. I think it's just about learning techniques that work for you and finding a therapist that you can trust. I too had the attitude that therapy didn't work, but I changed my therapist a couple of times and then finally I found somebody who really helped me to explore this phobia. But you have to do a little work yourself as well - which is the really really tough part! I promise you it can better, and will :) all the best x

Have you tried or looked into

Have you tried or looked into EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or 'tapping'. There's lots of videos on youtube about it, and it's particularly effective for phobias. It seems that this stems from her mum being ill, and that memory has implanted in her cells. I use EFT for pain and anxiety, it really helps

Well done for speaking out!

A fellow emet here too! I'm 21 so I can understand how difficult it is at this age as I don't drink/go out either. I'm lucky to have a fantastic support network but unless you're an emet, no one really understands how much this phobia takes over you at times. I'm particularly struggling at the minute, but we must keep fighting. Well done you. :-) x

Thanks so much!

Hi Jessica, Thanks so much for posting this. I'm 30 and have had emetophobia since I was about 11. It's got steadily worse over the years, and just like you has affected my ability to go out (I'm also thin....I think people think I'm anorexic, but ironically I wish so much to be bigger). It's really brave of you to write about this because it's one of those more embarrassing phobias I think, but raising awareness of this, well, I just applaud you. Thank you so much. [Not revealing name due to stigma...!)


I've been scared of being sick since I was tiny. After 40+ years it's still the same. I can't stand people coughing, sneezing, burping etc as it makes me retch. It got so bad my hubby had to record all tv programmes to check for 'triggers'. I couldn't talk on the phone or have people round to the house. I didn't go out for months. I would hear something then retch for hours. 20 years of treaments both conventional and complementary have helped a bit, but still have my bad days/weeks. Food is always an issue (must be overcooked to prevent food posioning) as is travelling or holidays (well no travelling or holidays to be exact!) Panic attacks and anxiety cause problems too. Not easy on the family. It's a difficult one to treat but maybe one day there'll be something that helps. Other than that I'm fine!


I also suffer from emet and it has such a big impact on my life, so much so I feel it effects my abilities as a mother. I only have one child as the thought of having more than one means it increases the risk of being sick. I struggle to send him to school as the thought of him mixing with other children and picking up bugs worry me immensely. I don't enjoy going out to places as I'm scared of some one being sick or picking up a bug. It's such a struggle I've also had cbt but I can't say it has worked. I'm on medication to help with my anxiety which helps. I often can't see a way out of the black hole and I feel like such a bad mother. Ironically I never suffered from morning sickness! I just hope I don't pass my fear onto my little boy but he is already showing signs that my behaviour is effecting him. :0(

Hi. I too am in the same

Hi. I too am in the same boat. I have been a sufferer from an early age and has gotten worse over the years....I have one son and feel so incompetent at times as a parent due to this debilitating illness. Its affecting me in every aspect of life. Its become so unbearable. I'm borderline anorexic bc I cant eat. My brain keeps focusing on food and smells that make me feel ill. ...I feel like I am going to die at times. How are you coping nowadays? Sandi


It gets worse as I get older, at the age of 61 I always hoped I would grow out of it but it has just got worse. I've suffered this since the age of 5 years that I can remember but could of been even younger. Has totally ruled my life, even to the point I couldn't enjoy my grandchildren when they were young. If I could have one wish in life it would be to be cured of this. I get comfort in knowing I am not alone with this phobia and you should too.

I too have suffered this for

I too have suffered this for over 20 years. I think every year it grows a bigger fear because I go another year without being sick. I think the fear of the unknown is what debilitates me the most. I am petrified of my daughter catching a bug incase I get it. Then I try to rationalise but it's so hard ! Please tell me someone else gets this xx

Reply to Nicola - Emetophobia

Hi Nicola, I have suffered with this horrible phobia for approx. 50years (since I was a small child) and it definitely doesn't get any easier! I am always more terrified at this time of year because the winter vomiting virus is always so prevalent. I fear not only for myself but for anyone around me. My biggest fear (over and above myself getting ill) is that my husband might catch it. He works in the public sector as an optician and sees so many people and I'm always telling him to use the antibacterial gel etc. but I know just the fact that he has close contact with people could be enough for him to pick up the virus by them just breathing onto him. I find every day tasks challenging. I do go to work and have pushed myself to train to become a mobile beautician, which means I have to go into people houses. I always check first to make sure that there's been no illness but I do wonder sometimes whether people are always honest. Travelling is difficult if not under my own steam (so to speak). Public transport is frightening. I'm always on guard, watching to see if anyone seems ill or is ill. Being in a plane is very tricky. I try to block everything out with my earphones in and audiobooks on loud. My husband is very considerate and helps me greatly, but I understand this is a hard phobia to 'properly' understand. I have tried CBT and although it has helped with some of my OCD behaviours, it hasn't touched the actual phobia itself! I'm still terrified! I have also tried hypnotherapy but all I could think about was how much I was being charged and how I couldn't stand the womens voice.. I'm really not sure that anything would or could help.. Id be interested to hear more from you and whether you find anything has helped you at all?


Hi Angela, it is so nice to know that I am not battling this awful phobia alone. I am 30 years old and have suffered with the fear of being nausiated/vomiting for as long as I can remember. It's awful and takes over my life. Thankfully I have a very supportive partner who just accepts that I can't deal with anything to do with vomit and will always come to the rescue. I wish there was a cure as sometimes I feel as though I have hit rock bottom and just can't deal with the constant reminder of the fear of throwing up. I do feel that it has taken over my life. It is nice to read other people's stories and to feel that I am not alone. xx

It is such a relief to read

It is such a relief to read this. I too am a mother, and only have 1 child due to the increased risk of spreading bugs with 2. I send her to her dads at any given opportunity because I am so scared she is going to be ill. Bedtimes are just the most terrifying times :( I love her so much and hate feeling like j am letting her down xx


Thanks, Jessica, for discussing emetophobia. The thing that sets emetophobia apart from the other phobias is that it is so linked with our disgust mechanism - something that keeps us safe and healthy. Putting yourself in a position where you are around ill people or might make yourself ill is then counter-intuitive and so hard! But it sounds like you have a good grip on it; I hope things continue to go well for you.

Under control

Jessica, you have literally just described my life, word for word... at your age I was exactly the same and had stopped eating, struggled to travel etc. At 28 I still struggle with lots of things relating to my emetophobia but it is no where near as bad as it was when I was 18/19. I struggled at uni just like you and found it hard to tell my friends. At nearly 30 I still find it hard to talk about it, but you should be really proud of yourself. And, just like you, I have made it my little mission to talk more and more about it during 2013. I really hope you continue to do as well as you have been, and I have no doubt that you will! Thank you for your blog, it was very brave and honest. x

It can get easier

Thanks for your post, I read it and can identify with you and how far along you have come. I developed emetophobia when I was 17 after a stomach bug and like you my friends didn't understand why I stopped going out and eventually lost them as friends. I have been on a similar journey to you with counselling and two lots of CBT, the first like yours was looking at photos/films/videos etc.Which helped to some extent but was stressful. The second lot of CBT was more helpful, I was allowed to focus more on my thought patterns as I felt it was what I was thinking that made how I was feeling worse. It really helped me see where my thoughts where coming from and helped me identify them before they escalated into panic attacks. My mum also practised EFT (emotional freedom technique) which looks at how your emotions are linked to your fears and helped you go back to traumatic times (like your boat trip, or the time your mother was sick and helped you deal with the memories to make them less frightening).Like you, I am much better now, but when I hear of bugs going around I do get worried but it no longer traps me in my life and I can still carry on as normal which is a huge step forward.Good luck on your journey, sounds like you have come on leaps and bounds and I really wish people would talk about it more so other people would understand.Seems to be acceptable to be afraid of heights or spiders but this phobia is far more common than people think, just never spoken about.Katie


I've suffed from this since I nearly choked on my own vomit when I was about 3 years old. It made me have panic attacks whenever I felt sick. I too avoided ill people and had to cross the street if someone had been ill. I don't drink cos too scared in case I drink too much and make myself ill. No one likes being sick but it is like the end of the world for me. I have had therapy but the only thing that helped was having a breakdown. I was very anxious which led to me retching for hours every day for a few weeks. I couldn't eat and went down to a size 4 from 14. Ultimately my therapist helped me control the anxiety and the hypnotherapy also worked. I rarely panic now but am still very wary being in a situation were someone may be ill. I can cope with my pets being ill and small babies but not when it becomes "adult" sick. I am so glad you have written about this little known phobia as it seems such a stupid thing to be phobic about. My partner has been very understanding after seeing me panic once. I had told him about them but he just didn't know what to expect. He was very calm and in control which helped me to calm down. I am about to go on a cruise and worry that I may get seasick but I know I will cope because I'm not going to let it rule my life.

Great to read

This is very promising to read - makes me feel there is light at the end of a tunnel for me at such a difficult time.


Hi i have also had this as long as I can remember, i am on two lots of medication which helps. Hope you are coping better. Great blog x


Hi there my son has suffered frpm emit from.the age ov 11 he 20 now we had lots ov therapy untill he was 16. Them left on his own now my life and his is dreadfull i carnt help him in any way even though ive tried help help plz x


Uni is hard with this phobia :( but it does get easier! I still think about getting sick in any given situation, but I do deal with it better than I used to. Everyone needs to stay strong and remember you are not alone in this! :) xx


Hi, I am 37 years old and have suffered with this since I was 16. It is horrible, it controls your life. I have learned to 'deal' with my phobia, but I too won't drink, because I don't want to be sick. I don't eat foods that could 'poison' me or make me ill. I hate being around other people in situations where they are likely to be sick. It's awful! I was terrified when I was pregnant that I would suffer morning sickness, but was extremely fortunate that I didn't. I was scared to get pregnant in the first place, but it happened, and I just had to deal with it, and coped just fine. No one likes vomiting, but some people just don't seem to understand how bad it is for those of us who suffer from this phobia. If I see/hear/smell vomit I start panicking. CBT didn't work for me either, I also learned the relaxing techniques but couldn't handle the videos/noises either.


Hi, I have just been reading about your Emet phobia & see that you have had a baby & wonder how you coped? I'm 38 & have been sitting on the fence about having a baby for years my poor husband must be getting so fed up with me keep changing my mind. Any advise very much appreciated as I'm not getting any younger & I'm putting myself under more pressure as the years go by :(

First of all, well done for

First of all, well done for speaking out, seriously. It takes a lot of courage to address this phobia, so many times I've been told 'well nobody likes being sick'. I've been emetophobic since I can remember. It finally came to a breaking point last year when I broke down in my GP's office after she kept saying the word 'vomit' in a sentence. I've now been in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for several weeks after treating underlying anxiety issues. It isn't easy to address my any means, and even the mere thought of exposure therapy is enough to induce a fair bit of panic, but I promise it is worth it, those of you considering it. It challenges your initial beliefs and thought patterns relating to the act of vomiting (or others doing it if that is more your issue). I don't know how this road will turn out - ideally I'd like to be phobia free by the end of the year, but for now I'm taking it a day at a time because my phobia is so deeply entrenched it's hard to imagine ever fully beating it. I know the thought of watching videos etc is very frightening, but a good therapist will take it very slowly with you - you don't do anything you're not ready for and you choose the pace. All the best x

I know how you feel

Well done on being so brave and coming out and talking about this. I'm 20 too, and have suffered from emetophobia since the age of 9 when my brother was born with a stomach issue and was sick almost daily. I was terrified that I was going to lose my baby brother, and it affects my life in so many ways. I get scared of people coughing because I think they're going to vomit. I don't want to get pregnant because I'm scared of having morning sickness, and when I go out, I make sure not to get drunk because I'm frightened of getting sick. I hardly ever go on rollercoasters because of my fear and forget flying somewhere on holiday, too many people with airsickness! Things have improved a little over the last year or so, with my supportive fiancé who has helped me start to get over my fear, and I really hope to be over this hurdle soon. Much love, and I hope you get through your phobia. Not many people realise it exists, and we've all been the victims of a lot of stigma because of it. Stay strong x

Naming a phobia

I had never heard of emetophobia before but you have made me reflect on my own experiences. I do have an intense fear of being ill, think it probably goes back to being hospitalised with a broken leg in 1956 age 4. I don't consciously remember the actual experience but I can imagine the impact on a playful youngster to be strapped down in a strange bed, surrounded by strangers (my parents were allowed to see me once a week for 2 hours only - this was the 1950s) for 9 weeks! I think my real fear of being ill is that I will not be able to control my body's reactions - before that hospitalisation I was fully toilet trained, afterwards I wet the bed until I was 10! I still have a fear of wetting myself (made harder because I'm now also diabetic). For me this is even fear of catching a cold and not being able to breath. Whenever I hear someone 'blocked up' or even talking about it, I cringe inside. Interestingly I was diagnosed, at 45, with bi-polar affective disorder - and reporting on that hospitalisation brought up issues of abandonment, isolation, confinement, rejection: but until now I've not thought about not being in control of my own health as a factor, but it does make sense. It's a complex story - and I'm willing to share more as I've always discussed my bi-polar journey so I'm really interested in this new concept (for me) of emetophobia, as it adds a fresh dimension to my thoughts and experiences.

Thanks for your article

I didn't even know this was a real phobia, but I definitely have it too. I can't stay in the room when people mention the words 'sick' or 'vomit' etc. I get panic attacks, and avoid travel in case I get sick. I don't drink, eat anything remotely near its sell by date, I get paranoid about being near anyone who has a stomach bug. I understand so much of what you say. Thank you. x


I've been emetophobic since I was about 8 years old, I'm now 36 and have spent many of those years suffering in silence, until two years ago I decided enough was enough and I had to do something about it. Over the years it had prevented me doing some many things and so I decided to go for CBT. All though it didn't cure me, I have learnt to cope with it better, and it gets easier. But more people need to be aware of this so this is great that this story has been told -thank you!

I didn't even know there was

I didn't even know there was a specific name for this type of phobia until reading this. As far back as I remember I've had this fear of being sick, and I have no idea where it came from. Likewise, I have always avoided people who are ill, overcooked food, avoided eating altogether on occasions, and I won't go on boats or rollercoasters. I can't watch tv or films where there are people being sick, and when my friends have been ill drinking too much alcohol they know not to turn to me for help. It got really bad when I started uni, and the anxiety actually ended up making me feel sick constantly. With support from friends I was determined not to let it take over my life and since then my phobia has improved considerably. I still avoid a lot of things that could make me vomit, and on rare occasions I have had panic attacks so bad that they have made me physically be sick. Incidentally the more this happens, the less scared I become. I wish you all the luck for the future, thank you for making me realise I'm not completely alone with this. Sarah


I am 66 and can remember in detail every time I have been sick, felt sick or seen someone else throw up. Emetophobia is one of the top ten phobias so please will someone tell me if it is just me, or do the makers of television programmes deliberately show people puking on a monotonously regular basis? It seems that every time I switch on the television someone pukes. My flatmate cannot believe it. I walked in the front room tonight and within ten seconds someone threw up. Honestly. He thinks it's funny. I work in an environment where there are chances of the residents being sick - any time, any where. I work in the office and it is always the first thing I ask any new members of staff - can you deal with sick? My work colleagues know that I would leave them to choke rather than stay and help them. Sad aren't I? To anyone who has had to deal with this and who has undergone aversion therapy - God you're brave! Mine originates from when I was a child. If I told my mother I felt sick (she has the same thing) she would sit there with a pot under my nose with Dettol in the bottom until I threw up or felt better. I still cannot smell Dettol without a shudder! I take Colloidal Silver every night - it's anti viral and anti bacterial - keep a bottle of cider vinegar in the cupboard - wonderful for stomach bugs - and carry Nux Vom - homeopathic remedy for nausea. If I am prepared I worry less, and it's all in my head anyway isn't it? At my age I'm not going to grow out of it, so I wish all you youngsters the very best of luck for the future. Sue


yes I can empathise totally with your post. Unfortunately , I cannot offer any advice or help.......I am 51 and had this disabity ( amongst other mental dignoses) ..., Due to this ,I have tried to kill myself a few times ,as I cannot see a way forward. Its a bit like a plane crash.......you don't think it will ever happen to you ie. For me I never believe I will be sick.....I fi d it disgusting and would not tolerate myself ever vomiting.....if I had to vomit then I have the drugs in place to end my life as I would find that repugnant. sorry not any positives there....I believe this is the hand I have been dealt and I have to accept this . xx

Me too

I've suffered from this for as long as I can remember, 60+ years and like other people here I remember all episodes of sickness, other people being sick etc and couldn't look after my own children if they were ill. When I discovered that I would have to have chomotherapy recently I went into a flat spin of panic, but luckily the drugs prevented any sickness. The Macmillan centre at my hospitla offer alternative therapies, and thanks to them, I'm having hypnotherapy to try to overcome my emetophobia, and my attitude is definitely different. Hopefully it will allow me to live a less fearful life.

Thank you for making me feel more normal

I've just tripped across this blog and it appears I'm not the only one out there! I'm old enough to "know better" (40+) but have never come across anyone else with this issue. Never had a problem in being up front about it, and have been lucky as my friends and family are great. They know I'm wierd, so what's another twist? The fact that they just accept it, even if they don't "get" it, has been the reason I've learnt to manage it for the most part. I still hide in the garden if my hubbie gets sick. Travelling is still hell if public transport is involved. I still have to take Dramamine even though I'm not overly sure if I get motion sickness or not. (This way I know I won't, but I still don't trust anyone else around me!) I know I have a really weak gag reflex, and I went through 7 dentists until I found one who was open-minded enough to a) listen and b) accommodate my issues with anything in my mouth. I don't honestly believe I'll be "cured" (CBT didn't work for me either, but that's another nightmare), but I have managed to overcome most of the anxiety, most of the time. Keep your spirits and your strength up, and with support I'm sure you'll find the ways that help you to cope. It isn't easy, but it is possible ;)

It's so common

Well done you for being so brave and writing about this. I have also had this phobia since I was 9 years old, mine began when I had a bad stomach bug that my mum promised I wouldn't catch off my dad but I did. I'm 27 now and still live with it but I cope so much better. Like you I struggled through university, I got myself into debt because I moved into really expensive student flats that had ensuite bathrooms - the thought of sharing a bathroom with other students filled me with horror. I was too called 'boring' and lost a lot of friends, I have anxiety and panic attacks alongside it so there have been times in my life when I've been in a real mess. The thing is though, it's so common - look at all the commenters here saying they have it too. Did you know it's actually the 5th most common phobia in the UK? I hope that writing this has made you feel less alone and realise that so many of us have been through the same thing and that you have our understanding and sympathy. As I said before, I'm 27 now and I do still have to manage it but it doesn't control my life like it used to. I am now at the point where if I were to be sick at home I think I would be OK with it. I still struggle with the idea of being sick somewhere else and having to get home, or being sick when I have somewhere to be... but feeling like I just might cope with it in one scenario is a HUGE step and hopefully you will get there too. I was always terrified of getting pregnant because of the risk of vomiting - but now I'm actually really excited for when I can have a baby in the next few years and I even feel prepared to face the risk of nausea and vomiting. I really really hope you continue to keep it under control. I'm having psychotherapy at the moment which is much deeper and gets to the root of the problem (CBT didn't work for me either) and it's really helping me find out why I developed the phobia and cope with it better - I see a private therapist because it's not widely offered on the NHS so if it's something you could ever afford I definitely recommend it. Good luck x

Here as well!

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm 15, emetophobic since birth. Mother and grandmother are emetophobics as well. I'm proud to say I'm much better than I was last year.

I know how u feel

I am 15 and emetaphobia takes over my life. I fear every morning I will be sick that day and I hate having to get public transport into school. I panic and feel i am trapped if I do become sick. This feeling continues in school. Sitting in class I cannot relax and constantly have sweaty palms and am nervous I will be sick. I always convince myself I actually feel sick when I am not. I had to leave my exams lat year as I panicked I felt sick. I cannot afford to do this in the middle of my GCSEs!! I am off school a lot as I convince myself I feel sick. The only place I can relax is when I am at home. No one takes me seriously when I talk about it but now it is time for change. I am going to go to the doctors. This is taking over my life and is becoming unmanageable. Time to face up to emetaphobia!!!!!

Hi Mollie, I've just read

Hi Mollie, I've just read your post and had to reply to you. I hope you had success with the visit to the doctor. I'm 31 and suffered with emet since I was really young and like you found school terrifying, home was the only place I felt safe (ish because I could still have panic attacks at home). I was fobbed of with medication for years because no one understood my phobia. That didn't address the problem. CBT at age 26 was the biggest help. It gave me a life instead of a fearful existence and constant struggle. It didn't involve watching anything scary, just looking at my faulty thought patterns and helping me deal with anxiety. What has also helped me is feeling like I'm taking control of things that can help me. Building up my own 'toolkit' of strategies to help me cope - joining a yoga class, learning relaxation and breathing techniques, thought field therapy etc. Carry a bottle of water, packet of mints, iPod of relaxation music or scripts - things you know you can use if you start to feel anxious. I hope your gcse's went well and you are getting the help and support you need. Claire x

same here

I am 11 and i have emetophobia it is so hard and reading all your comments it looks like i probily will not get this cured, i am going for my first therapy session on tuesday i am really scared. I struggle but what helped a bit is if u name your phobia i named mine 'Kenny' make it really girly and not important so it dosnt look so big and scary :) I wish it could stop and my dad says i can stop it any day but i just can't :( the blog helped a bit but stay strong x -Amy

Hi Amy, thanks for commenting

Hi Amy, thanks for commenting on the blog. If you ever need to talk about your experiences, Childline are always available and you can talk to them about anything at all. You can call them on 0800 1111, email them on their website http://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Pages/Email.aspx or talk to them through message boards or online chats: http://www.childline.org.uk/talk/Pages/Talk.aspx


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