Fear of vomiting in public

Hi, about 6 months ago i sitting in class when a wave of nausea came over me, i began too panic and quickly left. I thought nothing of it and put it down to a bug or something but the next time i was in class i started to panic again this time for no reason. Long story short these panic attacks became so bad i left school. When i left school all my panic attacks and anxiety stopped and i felt my old self again. Recently however this fear of being sick in public has came back with a vengence, i can no longer go out with friends, shopping or anything that involves no easy escape route, i even feel slightly nervous when leaving the house for a walk or something. I feel that nauseated sometimes i have to go to the nearest place to be sick but never am! I know its now time to try and treat this rather than run from it but i dont know where to start due to how disabling it is, it seems impossible:(

2 Replies

  • Hi Dboy7, here are a few things you can do:

    1. Identify the fear

    Ask yourself what you are really afraid of? The mess? The miserable children? Feeling terrible yourself? Isolating which part of the illness makes the fear seem smaller. One of the things I fear is the huge amount of effort I feel I have to spend keeping the house spotless when the kids are sick. Knowing I have to pull out the paper towels, empty trashcans, set up one ‘violated’ sink to rinse things in, keep other kids away from the sickie, washing doorknobs and toilet handles makes me hate the sickness more than, say, a head cold, where I do none of these things. Identifying this piece of the fear puzzle helped me decide to not go overboard if someone gets ill. Surprisingly, we are no sicker than when I was going to Herculean efforts to keep the house germ-free.

    2. Toy with the worst case scenario

    Okay, so you hate throwing up. You hate your kids throwing up. But what’s the worst that can happen? Let’s say it’s the eve of a long-awaited trip and the kids get sick. What’s the worst that could happen? You would have to reschedule. Say it’s Christmas Eve. Celebrate a couple of days later. What if you are up all night for a week? Take naps. Plus, our bodies have a way of fitting sleep in, even if it’s interrupted sleep. What if your house is a mess? Give yourself two weeks to recover and pull things back together. What if your child vomits in the car? Keep a plastic cup in the cup holder for times they get ‘that’ look. Whatever your worst case scenario is, play it out to its worst conclusion and figure out how to deal with it. Most likely, the fear diminishes when brought to its logical end.

    3. Accept the inevitability

    We will get sick. Repeat that. It WILL happen. Fighting it is like trying to keep the sun from coming up in the morning. So, if you know it’s going to happen…

    4. Plan

    Prepare an emergency kit with everything you need when the flu hits and put it in your linen closet. Ginger ale, paper towels, saltine crackers, small buckets, whatever. Being prepared has a way of minimizing the trauma.

    5. Turn your focus from panicking to comforting

    Sick kids need their mamas. From what I’ve read, some moms (including myself) panic so badly that they can’t offer consolation to their sick children. Some won’t even go near them when they are sick. But they need us terribly when they feel bad. By focusing more on their comfort than our fears, our fears lose some of their heft. Make beds cozy. Turn on a good movie. Hum a cheerful song. Who knows? Comforting them may comfort you, too.

    6. Recognize ‘control’ is the culprit

    One thing I’ve noticed about each and every emetrophobiac is that they are control freaks. The relaxed Type-B’s in my house don’t mind the sickness a tenth as much as the Type-A’s. Vomiting is the antithesis of control. It’s one thing we cannot will away (although, believe me, I try). Think about it. Controllers have greater fear of flying for the same reason-they aren’t in control. Babies get sick and roll with the punches. Controllers get sick and try to think through and figure out the next twenty-four hours blow by blow (no pun intended). “Okay, so this part should last only eight hours, then I’ll move on to the sweats and body aches. After that will be the desperate thirst followed by joint pain. Then…” We make it so big, it’s no wonder we dread it like the Plague. While there are some easy ways to avoid getting sick (hand washing being preventative measure #1), controlling every aspect of our children’s (and our) lives to avoid it isn’t worth it. Sooner or later, that house of cards crashes down. Do what you can and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

    7. Be thankful

    I’m being serious. What does sickness have to offer you? Time to rest. Time to read. The opportunity to get your house good and clean. Time to bond with your babies. Time to learn servanthood. Time to lie on the couch together and just be. Time off from other obligations. That great ‘morning after’ feeling when the sun shines brighter and food tastes oh-so-good. So don’t begrudge it. Embrace, change your attitude, and watch your phobia slink back into the shadows where he belongs.

    8. It gets better

    For you mamas with young children who may not know this yet, most children get sick less with age. Their immune systems build up and stomach stuff comes around less and less as the years go on. I didn’t know that when I was younger. I thought we’d have four bouts a year, every year. it rarely hits these days. So, hang in there, okay?

    Hope some of these suggestions help.

  • Thanks really helped:) :)