Anxiety Support
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Phobias and anxiety

I'm turning 21 next month and I've been suffering from emetophobia (fear of vomit/vomiting) for as long as I can remember. As a child, it wasn't such a huge issue but the older I get and the more I learn about illnesses, the worst my phobia gets. It's been particularly bad for the past 2/3 years after a particularly stressful time in my life.

I feel sick every single day. I struggle eating (especially certain foods) so I've lost a couple of stone. I struggle sleeping, I struggle with pretty much everything. I hate crowds, I hate outside, I hate eating out, I hate touching door handles, etc etc etc. It really holds me back in life - socially, professionally, academically, and more.

The phobia in turn causes extreme anxiety. I feel like a huge let down because I'm scared of leaving my house to see friends or family just in case i'm sick, they're sick or someone is sick and I just hate having to pretend that I'm okay all the time. But I don't want people to think I'm lying, or seeking attention, and I don't want them to just get sick of me complaining that "i'm scared and I don't feel well."

I'm scared of buses and trains and just any public place where people could be sick. Slowly but surely I'm becoming isolated from the people I care about. When the anxiety sets in, I feel more sick and struggle to breathe so it's a horrible vicious circle.

I feel so helpless, as if life is never going to improve. I want to be as normal as my other 21 year old friends who can go out partying and drinking but of course - drinking and alcohol terrifies me. I'm scared I'll never be able to have a baby because of morning sickness but also everyone knows that babies throw up all the time. I just want one day where I don't have to feel ill.

My parents don't care and aren't really interested anyway. I was abused as a child and they're alcoholics. So again, the fact they consume huge amounts of alcohol is really scary to me. I have a great boyfriend though and he helps in the ways he can but it would be so great to know other people who are struggling and people who truly understand what it's like. So my question really is, can anyone relate to this?

8 Replies

Hi I've just joined and pretty much asked the same question I too feel sick daily and have a phobia of been sick :( it was nice to read your post as I now know I'm not alone I too avoid people who are ill and can't even sort my kids out when they are sick it really is a struggle isn't it for something which is gone in a couple of minutes but I dread it every day and it get me down I'm sorry got no advice but I hope it makes you feel better knowing your not alone :)


It does help just knowing that there are people that can understand. :)

I hate knowing that life won't get any better for me and that it will always be a struggle. I'm not suicidal but I do question whether my life is even worth it at times because it's not a good life really.

I do hope that one day that things improve. I haven't been sick from an illness for 10 years. I hope that when it happens again (hopefully it never will!) that I get over my phobia. I'm dreading the day my boyfriend gets sick because I'm not sure I'll ever feel safe around him again!


I`m exactly the same, Iv`e always had a fear of vomiting, but it wasn`t as bad when I was younger. If I was sick as a child I would wonder what I`d done to deserve such a horrible experience, like I was being punished for something that I`d done wrong. Nowadays it`s mostly about a fear of losing control, & of course the gross out factor, & looking foolish & vulnerable in front of others, in fact getting sick in public is my worst fear, & I`d honestly rather die than have that happen to me. It must have been a nightmare living with alcoholic parents, & it sounds as if they may have had a hand in the development of your phobia.


Same here! I'm terrified of being sick in front of somebody, I hate leaving my house in case it happens and I for some reason can't get home or to somewhere I consider "safe". I think that comes from when our phobia is combined with social anxiety!

Yeah I agree that my parents have played a role. We're a textbook dysfunctional family - one narcissistic parent, one child-like parent both with addictions and a lack of sensitivity or empathy! Their hygiene disgusts me, which I definitely think contributes the OCD-side of this phobia - handwashing etc!


Omg really thought I was alone feeling sick and being scared of been sick I too can't go in public places I feel extreme nausea and pinch myself to try put it out my mind really does feel good to know they are other people like me :)


Nope not alone! :) Hopefully we'll both get through it!


Another emetophobe here... have had it for as long as I can remember. But there are times of high stress when the phobia is greater and gets out of hand and other times when it's not so bad. In other words, you're not necessarily obsessing over it. Obviously anxiety and depression contribute a lot. Antidepressants seem to help and offer some relief. Oh my...just noticed I'm writing in a post from four years ago...


Me too! it fills me with dread absolute panic as soon as I find out some stomach bug going around and if anyone at home feels sick or is physically sick I could actually move out an stay somewhere safe ! how bad is that !


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