While I missed the boat on Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada (May 6-12) May is Mental Health Awareness MONTH over here in the US. Jarrah’s bravery in opening up about her experience with Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder) inspired me to speak up about my emetophobia.
Emetophobia is a strong fear or aversion to vomit. I know, most people don’t like it. But for emetophobes like me, it’s a constant fear that warps into a daily struggle. Some don’t even type or say the word “vomit” out of superstition. Here is a pretty neat infographic on the subject. Wikipedia also has a nice summary:
Emetophobia (from the Greek εμετός, to vomit, and φόβος (phóbos), meaning “fear”) is an intense, irrational fear or anxiety pertaining to vomiting. This specific phobia can also include subcategories of what causes the anxiety, including a fear of vomiting in public, a fear of seeing vomit, a fear of watching the action of vomiting or fear of being nauseated. Emetophobia is clinically considered an “elusive predicament” because limited research has been done pertaining to it. The fear of vomiting receives little attention compared with other irrational fears.
This fear has also caused me to indirectly be afraid of several other things, like traveling by boat (never tried it, too scared!), roller coasters, crowds, hospitals, dental exams, new medications, new foods, drinking or being around drunk people, pregnancy or being around pregnant people, and little children, because they vomit like it’s their damn job. I will avoid all of these things things to varying degrees just because the possibility of feeling slightly nauseated or hearing someone talk about being ill exists.
This phobia has also caused me to fear a lot of other things because they are connected to a concern or incident specific to me, including cashews, McDonald’s, Vicodin, multi-vitamins, intense exercise, and even just being at the gym. Read more