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Emetophobia, I’m losing it

I’m freaking out here. The stomach bug is going through my kids class, she told me she sat in the spot the kid puked on and I’m just beside myself with worry that she’s going to get it, then if she gets it, I’ll get it. I’m in tears I’m so freaked out, I don’t know who to talk to about it 😔

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Hello Anxiousmamabear,

Though I'm not a parent, I do have emetophobia, so I do understand the intensity of the fear and the panic that goes with it.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to manage your anxiety, while doing everything you have to do as a parent, but you will get through this. Is there someone who can help with the care of your daughter, while you go through this? And remember, even if she does come down with the stomach bug, that doesn't mean you will get it, too. Your adult immune system is a lot stronger than hers, and there are plenty of precautions you can take to avoid getting sick.

Feel free to message me if you're feeling overwhelmed; I may not respond right away, but I will reply when I am able. Take care, I hope you and your daughter stay well.

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Thank you for responding, the panic is definitely palpable. My husband is watching her right now so I can decompress in the bath.

He just doesn’t understand why I am in this state that I’m in. It’s hard to put into words why it frightens me so much. I don’t even know why I am so afraid of it. I’m so afraid to the point I’m wanting to take her out for the rest of the week.

Even when winter comes, we rarely go anywhere public cause of my fear.

I just wish I knew what I could do to stop these overwhelming illogical feelings. Do you have any ideas of what I could do?

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Have you tried therapy and/or medications?

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I’ve done both to no avail, hence why I am desperate. I need relief, I hate living this way

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How long have you lived with emetophobia?

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Years, probably 17 at least

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I've lived a long time with it, too, close to forty years. Since it began when I was a child, I learned early to cope by acknowledging the irrational fear and accepting it, but not trying to fight it. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but it gave me a measure of control to let myself have what I came to call "phobia attacks" (emetophobia-induced panic attacks) -- it's weird because I'm not entirely in control during those moments, but it feels like I'm in control.

I realize you're not looking to live with this phobia, but, rather to be rid of it, altogether. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help in that way. But if you need to vent, I'm here to listen.

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Sometimes for us with Emetaphobia its just nice knowing we are not the only ones with it.

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I know what you mean. I remember when I discovered the International Emetophobia Society online many years ago and started talking to the members on the forums there -- it was such a comfort to be speaking the same language, to be understood without having to explain.

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Been there sweety. Have you tried explaining it to your husband? I talk to people about it because it makes me feel better. And I never expect them to understand but have learned most people do because everyone has been afraid at some point in their life.

When my child has gotten sick with her CVS..I lock myself in the bedroom for days. Dont eat for days. Ive gotten a little better but the anxiety is still there.

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He just doesn’t get it, he thinks I’m irrational. Hence why I am here, I have no one to talk to 😔

Thankful I found this place, thank you all

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Don't give up on him. He might get it some day. Least I pray he does. Sometimes it is hard to comprehend why this is something that can be so scary. I think about that a lot. But I am glad you have this group too.

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Try not to stress, stress breaks down the ability for your body to fight off things it normally can handle. Hoping all will be well.

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I have been right there where you are! And still going through. Emetophobia is so hard to cope with sometimes because you cannot just walk away from it. Doing this is part of life. Even though I know this, I suffer so much with the anxiety of it all. I have a 7 year old daughter who I homeschool because I did not want her in public school for 2 reasons the first one being stomach viruses. The second being my fear of her being bullied because I was severely. The Ironic thing here is my child sufferes from CVS aka Cyclic Vomitting Syndrome. It causes her to...well you know. She has episodes that will last for awhile followed by good health like nothing ever happened. So many different things can start an episode from fear/anxiety, excitement good or bad, stress, foods, abdominal migraines and other things. Never thought I would have a child and definitely never thought I would have one that has this. She is starting to suffer from Emetaphobia too some. And anxiety.

Do you have things you do to help keep you calm?

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Oh wow, I’m sorry 😔 Yes it is difficult to cope with, I had a hard time sending her to preschool because of it. I almost kept her home as well.

I try to read, color and take baths but can never shut my mind off long enough to make them work for me 😕

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I tend to have trouble with reading because my mind wanders too easily when I am anxious. But I like to listen to music, not loud but gentle. And I bury myself sometimes in prayer and that helps. Deep breathing exercises help sometimes too. Sometimes I get nauseated and I have learned that smelling pure lemon oil helps with that.

Its hard enough living with Emetaphobia but being a Mom with it, really stinks.

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Oh my goodness!!!! I couldn't believe when I read your post!! I am almost 49 years old and have had a paralyzing fear of vomiting since about the age of 5. Just the other day our new neighbor said their family had the stomach bug and my husband told the poor girl "you have no idea what you said and how my wife will be." He got sick the other night and had to use the downstairs bathroom so I wouldn't hear him. I can't get sick myself I take anti emetics when I feel even slightly nauseous. When I was young I would say to my mom "if I eat this will it make me you know what" I couldn't even say throw up. I soooooo feel with you.

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I also take antiemetics, but for gastroparesis. I feel the same way as you, even if I read someone has it on Facebook or something it is instant anxiety. I wish we could shut our brains off to it, right now I’m literally just waiting for my daughter to start. I’ve put a bowl in her room and have gloves and sanitizer ready. I’m in a constant state of waiting. I finally broke down and emailed a therapist, currently trying to get an appointment but it may not be for a month or so and I’ll have to be anxious until then 😔

I’m glad to know that I am not the only one that suffers, as terrible as that sounds. I always feel like I’m alone in this.

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I am actually a Social Worker and believe it or not was working at a hospital until recently. I would run to my office if someone even mentioned being sick and word of the stomach bug sent me and still does into anxiety and panic attacks. Many, many years ago father took me to an anxiety specialist but when she mentioned exposure therapy I quit. If I can shed a little humor(believe me, I know it's not funny, but sometimes I have to find humor) Both my parents passed away, but my mom passed first. My dad was very sick and he told me to get him a bucket. I got the bucket, basically threw it at him, I ran across the street to a neighbor that was a nurse. When we both went to my dad he said " I love my daughter, but she gave me the recycling bucket with holes in it to get sick!"

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Hell no to exposure therapy, no way in hell, never never never.

And that is kind of hilarious, your poor dad 😂

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