What is Emetophobia?

Today I have decided to have a little chat on here about Emetophobia. For those of you who don’t know Emetophobia is a phobia of sick and is one of the most common phobias in the world. Emetophobia is were most of my anxiety stems from. When I am feeling anxious about something, or can’t do something because of my anxiety it almost always goes back to not wanting to be sick. For a while this was very severe. I wouldn’t want to leave the house in case I was sick. I couldn’t be in any kind of transport in case I was sick. Sometimes it meant the only thing I could do was lie in my bed in the dark watching youtube videos.

When I was in therapy a few years ago my therapist told me a story about emetophobia that strangely made me feel so much better. He told me about a woman his friend saw for Emetophobia. She told him the story of when she was driving with her car full of friends and family. Someone in the back seat was travel sick and was about to be sick. She was so close to jumping out of the car, hurting herself and everyone she loved. He told me Emetophobia is one of the most intense phobias there is and it really takes over your whole mind. Luckily she pulled over in time but I have always remembered that story, and I remember thinking at the time I would do the same. I would literally rather of died than been sick. This is the difference between a phobia and a fear.

Being scared of something is totally normal. Most people have several fears which means they will try and avoid their fear and will feel uncomfortable when exposed to the fear. Having a phobia makes you irrational. It makes you do things you wouldn’t usually and believe things that make no sense.

Part of the reason I’m writing this is it took years for my Emetophobia to be diagnosed. For years i was told I was claustrophobic, I had generalised anxiety, or I just suffered from panic attacks. The more aware people are about Emetophobia the more people can be diagnosed and helped. A big part of what helped me realise my sick phobia was when I would talk about flying. I have never been scared of the safety of planes, the people on planes, or stress of flying. I was only ever concerned about being sick. What if i got on the plane and was sick and couldn’t get off? The more I talked about different fears I had the more I realised the only thing I was scared of was being sick.

Something interesting I have discovered over the years is that a lot of people that suffer with Emetophobia, don’t actually have a phobia of sick. Sounds crazy, but it is mainly about being out of control. Even though so many Emetophobics go to extreme lengths to try not to be sick there isn’t much we can do to avoid being sick when it happens. Which makes it so scary.

The worst thing for me about having Emetophobia is how it affects most aspects of your life. It may make you scared of transport because someone could get sick. It could make you scared of parties because someone might drink to much and get sick. Just everything seems to be have fear cloud hovering over it at all times.

I know more than anyone how extreme and debilitating Emtophobia is, but i also know you can get better from it. It isn’t something you can never recover from and its something you have to take step by step to get better from. Keep facing your fears.


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