I’m not sure how long I’ve had emetophobia, a fear of vomiting or being sick, but I remember the first time I had a panic attack because of sick I was around 10. Since then, every time someone has been sick in the same room as me, I have had a panic attack. I also get triggered by thoughts, sounds, and smells. Sometimes I can’t watch TV or films if they show throwing up, too.
Having anxiety is one thing, but being anxious about how other people will react to my anxiety is a whole other monster.
I was about 12 years old when I had my first panic attack. I remember waking up early in the morning with an uneasy feeling, my stomach churning and my heart racing. I got up and paced around my room, going to the window to get some fresh air because I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.
I am a 38-year-old male, I would and have always been described as one of the lads. I love footy, enjoy a beer and a boisterous lifestyle and I have been diagnosed with depression.
I found it very difficult to admit to myself that I was struggling but I knew something was wrong. My stupid male pride and assumption that I was less of a man for struggling with my mental health lead me to conceal my depression from myself and others.
You could ask me one simple question, but my anxiety will turn that into 20 questions within seconds. “Are you okay?” becomes “Why are they asking me that?”, “Do I not look okay?”, “Have I done something?”, “Am I in trouble?”.
That’s the best way I describe it to people. I worry about everything, even to the point I worry about worrying.
A lot of people just say “don’t worry” or “you’ve got nothing to worry about”. I then feel stupid…and then worry about feeling stupid.