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Old 01-08-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
lukenick1
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Emetophobia (fear of vomiting) Support

Anyone living in fear of being sick?? If you are a vomit phobe this is the place to be. Share your stories and concerns here.

I'll start.....I am a 38 yr old Mom of 2 and I am phobic of vomiting. I cannot handling someone else doing it or myself. I live in constant fear of catching the stomach bug and try to stay home all winter when it is at its worst. I make my kids wash their hands as soon as they come in my house from anywhere they have been, and have taught them never to put their hands in their mouths EVER! I have also taught them to use caution in public bathrooms and never flush the toilet with their hand. They use their foot and then use a paper towel to touch sink faucets and door handles when leaving the bathroom. I rarely let the kids have a playdate at my house in the winter and forgot sleepovers! Anyone else as OCD or worse than me??? There is more to my story..........
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:21 PM   #2
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I'm in!!!!!!!!!

I'm glad you started this thread. I've been living with a form of Emet for years that is not the norm, and no one understands it. My family is sick of me constantly worrying about them vomiting, and I get made fun of all of the time for the habits I've formed because of this phobia/OCD. Once you started that other thread about movies that show people vomiting, I could see a bunch of other "emets" coming on to comment. Hopefully they will find their way over here.

I'm a 39-yr old mom of 2 boys, ages 10 & 13. My sons are big pukers. They catch every stomach bug and worse than that, the older one gets motion sick, car sick & has moderate reflux that causes him to vomit about an hour after he falls asleep, if he's eaten too close to bed, or has eaten too much junk. The younger one gets migraines that make him vomit. So I am quite used to vomit. It happens every month here. I'm fine seeing them vomit (I can eat while they do it, hold their heads, etc) and I'm fine cleaning it up (well to the extent that anyone can, I certainly don't enjoy it). I'm have no emet issues about myself vomiting.

My strange form of emet is that I have severe anxiety that my kids are going to vomit. I have no idea if it stems from them doing it so frequently or not. I'm worried when they're home, when they're at school & especially if they're at a friend's house. I try to avoid sleepovers at all costs. If they do go to a slepover I'm so anxious that I barely sleep - I'm just waiting for the phone to ring that they threw up. I am mega anxious on a plane, a long car ride or a Disney bus - so anxious that I carry zip lock bags in my purse & have them within reach at all times in case I need to act fast. Isn't that nuts? I don't know anyone else that does that, and I get made fun of all the time about it. I will say though that the ziplock bags have saved a nasty accident many times from one of them being sick. I also have ziplock bags in the seats of the vehicles in case they need them.

I'm not sure if mine is more a phobia or OCD. OCD does run in my family. I watch all these OCD shows & just feel so bad for the people suffering. Sometimes their form of OCD seems so absurd - then I realize mine seems absurd to most as well. OCD is real, it's stuck in our brains, and it just won't go away. A good word for it is "consuming." My thoughts are just consumed with the fear of my kids throwing up for a good part of the day (and all of the night).
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TaraPA View Post
I'm in!!!!!!!!!

I'm glad you started this thread. I've been living with a form of Emet for years that is not the norm, and no one understands it. My family is sick of me constantly worrying about them vomiting, and I get made fun of all of the time for the habits I've formed because of this phobia/OCD. Once you started that other thread about movies that show people vomiting, I could see a bunch of other "emets" coming on to comment. Hopefully they will find their way over here.

I'm a 39-yr old mom of 2 boys, ages 10 & 13. My sons are big pukers. They catch every stomach bug and worse than that, the older one gets motion sick, car sick & has moderate reflux that causes him to vomit about an hour after he falls asleep, if he's eaten too close to bed, or has eaten too much junk. The younger one gets migraines that make him vomit. So I am quite used to vomit. It happens every month here. I'm fine seeing them vomit (I can eat while they do it, hold their heads, etc) and I'm fine cleaning it up (well to the extent that anyone can, I certainly don't enjoy it). I'm have no emet issues about myself vomiting.

My strange form of emet is that I have severe anxiety that my kids are going to vomit. I have no idea if it stems from them doing it so frequently or not. I'm worried when they're home, when they're at school & especially if they're at a friend's house. I try to avoid sleepovers at all costs. If they do go to a slepover I'm so anxious that I barely sleep - I'm just waiting for the phone to ring that they threw up. I am mega anxious on a plane, a long car ride or a Disney bus - so anxious that I carry zip lock bags in my purse & have them within reach at all times in case I need to act fast. Isn't that nuts? I don't know anyone else that does that, and I get made fun of all the time about it. I will say though that the ziplock bags have saved a nasty accident many times from one of them being sick. I also have ziplock bags in the seats of the vehicles in case they need them.

I'm not sure if mine is more a phobia or OCD. OCD does run in my family. I watch all these OCD shows & just feel so bad for the people suffering. Sometimes their form of OCD seems so absurd - then I realize mine seems absurd to most as well. OCD is real, it's stuck in our brains, and it just won't go away. A good word for it is "consuming." My thoughts are just consumed with the fear of my kids throwing up for a good part of the day (and all of the night).
Tara...I dont think you have emetophobia at all. I think what you suffer from is the fear of public embarassment. Sounds like you worry about the humiliation that goes with it if it happens anywhere other than the bathroom toilet. Do I make sense? There is no way on this earth I could ever be in the same room with anyone vomiting. I would just FREAK out! I tend to have the flight response and its completely out of my control. The terror I feel when someone vomits is compared to being hung upside down over the edge of a sky scraper. Kind of crazy huh?? If I have to throw up, I will take anti nausea meds and pace my house praying til it goes away. I will NOT let it happen. The whole act just completely grosses me out to the point of fear. I wish I could handle someone else doing it, would make my life a lot more free.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:45 PM   #4
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Hi guys,

I'm along for the ride. I'm emetophobic too. It sucks. Life sucks living like this.

I'm currently doing my own version of exposure therapy-if it is on tv or a movie I will force myself to watch it, sometimes even rewind the scene and watch a couple times to force my mind to know that it is "ok" If we are in public and my husband sees any he will reroute my attention, I feel like everytime we go to wdw (we are local) the first thing I spot is puke or a puker. UGGGH.

I've come a long way, I used to not be able to even go to the movies but now I'm like ehh whatever. If his old dog (she was 15 and on her way to passing) gagged I would flip out, after she passed and we got married we got our own dogs-one of which is a puker. It doesn't bother me at all with them, I guess because they are my "babies" she even puked on my head once, my first thought was damn in now i have to shower, and i didn't want to go to bed with wet hair-no freaking out, crying or anxiety attacks I just hit the shower-I've even gotten up in the middle of dinner to clean up after her with no issues. This is BIG for me.

I still always wear headphones in a public bathroom in case anyone is yakking in there, and I got through wet ones at warp speed. I'm terrified of the stomach flu.

I haven't had kids yet-I'm still too scared of morning sickness yet, and I am still terrified of puking myself. I want to be done with this horrible crippling condition, I'm sick of having my life controlled.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:54 PM   #5
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Hi guys,

I'm along for the ride. I'm emetophobic too. It sucks. Life sucks living like this.

I'm currently doing my own version of exposure therapy-if it is on tv or a movie I will force myself to watch it, sometimes even rewind the scene and watch a couple times to force my mind to know that it is "ok" If we are in public and my husband sees any he will reroute my attention, I feel like everytime we go to wdw (we are local) the first thing I spot is puke or a puker. UGGGH.

I've come a long way, I used to not be able to even go to the movies but now I'm like ehh whatever. If his old dog (she was 15 and on her way to passing) gagged I would flip out, after she passed and we got married we got our own dogs-one of which is a puker. It doesn't bother me at all with them, I guess because they are my "babies" she even puked on my head once, my first thought was damn in now i have to shower, and i didn't want to go to bed with wet hair-no freaking out, crying or anxiety attacks I just hit the shower-I've even gotten up in the middle of dinner to clean up after her with no issues. This is BIG for me.

I still always wear headphones in a public bathroom in case anyone is yakking in there, and I got through wet ones at warp speed. I'm terrified of the stomach flu.

I haven't had kids yet-I'm still too scared of morning sickness yet, and I am still terrified of puking myself. I want to be done with this horrible crippling condition, I'm sick of having my life controlled.
Welcome!!!! You are definitely not alone! I was also ok with my dog being sick. Guess because it's not human it was safe for me . I took antidepressants 2 years ago and I do think it helped with my panic. I remember seeing someone vomit on TV without warning and I didn't get that panic feeling inside, it was more like....eeew gross and changed the channel. Since I am not taking them i do notice that acute panic with rapid heart rate and butterly sick feeling in my stomach when I see it. I stopped taking the med because it made me soooo exhausted all the time, I was like a Zombie.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:56 PM   #6
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lukenick1 -hmmmm you may be on to something there because I'm also not convinced I have emet - not the traditional emet anyway. Whatever I have is definitely related to vomit thought - I have zero fears of my kids getting hurt or sick in any way other than vomiting. I can't say it's totally "in public" related because I worry every night. Every....single....night. And during the day too - but as it gets closer to bedtime I'm watching them like a hawk - if they seem pale or they're not acting right I'm starting to panic that they're going to throw up. I know, it seems unreasonable, but it's stuck in my head.

I would do anything to make it go away. You can't understand the anxiety (well - maybe YOU can!) - it's so real that it causes me to do odd things because of it - for example, I make excuses to go check on the kids 10 times before I go to sleep, just to see if they seem "ok." This drives DH nuts. I also make sure the TV volume is super low after they go to bed, so I can hear if anyone throws up or calls for me. If DS13 is at a sleepover I make excuses to call or text him at night, just to hear that he's ok & hasn't thrown up. I make excuses to have towels over their pillows when they sleep so clean-up will be easier. Here's the habit that gets the most ridicule from friends & family - I make sure they have a bowl (just a medium Tupperware bowl) and their garbage cans right by their beds. The bowl I actually put above their pillow. Just in case. The bowl has saved me 3 times already from having to strip a bed in the middle of the night full of vomit. There's not much worse than that. So I continue to keep the bowls there even when they're feeling fine. I'm giving my kids a complex, I know it, but if that bowl isn't there when I tuck them in, I can't sleep. That must seem bizarre to people. But to me, it's real. So maybe I have a phobia of cleaning up vomit that makes me do these odd things? I've cleaned it up hundreds of times though, and it doesn't phase me.

But I think you're right, if it's Emet I have, it's not the normal emet. There's some other phobia, or like I said before, OCD or anxiety, that is there too. It just plain sucks!
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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lukenick1 -hmmmm you may be on to something there because I'm also not convinced I have emet - not the traditional emet anyway. Whatever I have is definitely related to vomit thought - I have zero fears of my kids getting hurt or sick in any way other than vomiting. I can't say it's totally "in public" related because I worry every night. Every....single....night. And during the day too - but as it gets closer to bedtime I'm watching them like a hawk - if they seem pale or they're not acting right I'm starting to panic that they're going to throw up. I know, it seems unreasonable, but it's stuck in my head.

I would do anything to make it go away. You can't understand the anxiety (well - maybe YOU can!) - it's so real that it causes me to do odd things because of it - for example, I make excuses to go check on the kids 10 times before I go to sleep, just to see if they seem "ok." This drives DH nuts. I also make sure the TV volume is super low after they go to bed, so I can hear if anyone throws up or calls for me. If DS13 is at a sleepover I make excuses to call or text him at night, just to hear that he's ok & hasn't thrown up. I make excuses to have towels over their pillows when they sleep so clean-up will be easier. Here's the habit that gets the most ridicule from friends & family - I make sure they have a bowl (just a medium Tupperware bowl) and their garbage cans right by their beds. The bowl I actually put above their pillow. Just in case. The bowl has saved me 3 times already from having to strip a bed in the middle of the night full of vomit. There's not much worse than that. So I continue to keep the bowls there even when they're feeling fine. I'm giving my kids a complex, I know it, but if that bowl isn't there when I tuck them in, I can't sleep. That must seem bizarre to people. But to me, it's real. So maybe I have a phobia of cleaning up vomit that makes me do these odd things? I've cleaned it up hundreds of times though, and it doesn't phase me.

But I think you're right, if it's Emet I have, it's not the normal emet. There's some other phobia, or like I said before, OCD or anxiety, that is there too. It just plain sucks!
There is NO sleeping in this house without a clear path to both bathrooms, the front door, a liner in the big trash can, the sink clear and cans with liners by the bedside. I don't think its freaky, just prepared, I mean really, who wants to get up and clean up puke when a trashcan could have left it all avoided.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:07 PM   #8
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lukenick1 -hmmmm you may be on to something there because I'm also not convinced I have emet - not the traditional emet anyway. Whatever I have is definitely related to vomit thought - I have zero fears of my kids getting hurt or sick in any way other than vomiting. I can't say it's totally "in public" related because I worry every night. Every....single....night. And during the day too - but as it gets closer to bedtime I'm watching them like a hawk - if they seem pale or they're not acting right I'm starting to panic that they're going to throw up. I know, it seems unreasonable, but it's stuck in my head.

I would do anything to make it go away. You can't understand the anxiety (well - maybe YOU can!) - it's so real that it causes me to do odd things because of it - for example, I make excuses to go check on the kids 10 times before I go to sleep, just to see if they seem "ok." This drives DH nuts. I also make sure the TV volume is super low after they go to bed, so I can hear if anyone throws up or calls for me. If DS13 is at a sleepover I make excuses to call or text him at night, just to hear that he's ok & hasn't thrown up. I make excuses to have towels over their pillows when they sleep so clean-up will be easier. Here's the habit that gets the most ridicule from friends & family - I make sure they have a bowl (just a medium Tupperware bowl) and their garbage cans right by their beds. The bowl I actually put above their pillow. Just in case. The bowl has saved me 3 times already from having to strip a bed in the middle of the night full of vomit. There's not much worse than that. So I continue to keep the bowls there even when they're feeling fine. I'm giving my kids a complex, I know it, but if that bowl isn't there when I tuck them in, I can't sleep. That must seem bizarre to people. But to me, it's real. So maybe I have a phobia of cleaning up vomit that makes me do these odd things? I've cleaned it up hundreds of times though, and it doesn't phase me.

But I think you're right, if it's Emet I have, it's not the normal emet. There's some other phobia, or like I said before, OCD or anxiety, that is there too. It just plain sucks!
Yes maybe its the anticipation of the mess that worries you or maybe even that they may choke on it? From what your telling me, maybe you feel more in control of the situation when your are there with them. With you not being in the same room, or when they are out of the house you are not in control of the situation. Make sense?? Are you a control freak??? I know I am
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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Am I control freak....

I am the BIGGEST control freak! And I have zero control over them vomiting...it's just not right!! I should be able to control that!
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:24 PM   #10
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I also wouldn't mind if they made it racier!The germs would just skeeve me out!
 
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Quote:
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There is NO sleeping in this house without a clear path to both bathrooms, the front door, a liner in the big trash can, the sink clear and cans with liners by the bedside. I don't think its freaky, just prepared, I mean really, who wants to get up and clean up puke when a trashcan could have left it all avoided.
Hmmm ok so it's not just me that likes to be prepared - I like to be a step ahead of a puker!

Another odd thing I do is that I make sure both the washer & dryer are empty before I go to bed - in case I have to wash bedding during the night.

I agree - why take the chance of a mess when it can be avoided? We go to our family's cabin a few times a year. There are anywhere from 10-20 other family members there, and we all share the same room to sleep. It's the whole 2nd floor of the cabin, with beds all over the place. This causes me SO MUCH stress & anxiety that I've either not planned to go, or have left early because I can't take it. I DO take the bowl - and get ridiculed every time about it - but seriously - with the history of puking my kids have - would they want to have to deal with it in a room where they are sleeping??? DS13 did throw up in bed there once when he was 3 - so to me it's very very real. I don't sleep while we're there unless I nap during the day - I just can't get settled at night because of the anxiety - waiting for one of them to vomit. Waiting....waiting....waiting.....it's so CONSUMING!!!
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:09 PM   #11
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I think I used to have emetophobia, but it was a side effect of panic disorder. When I was little and would get the stomach flu I would ask my mom if I was dying. When I got to be a tween I was bullied in school. Naturally I was nervous to go to school. When I get nervous I feel sick, so I felt sick all the time, and I was terrified I would throw up. It got to the point that I slept propped up on pillows with one of those pans from the hospital on my chest. I never ate because I always felt sick when I ate, so I dropped down to a scary weight and was misdiagnosed as anorexic. My mom saw a show on Oprah about panic disorders and realized that was what I had. She took me to a new doctor and I was put on medication and I started getting better. I ate more, stopped sleeping with the pan, and stopped worrying about getting sick. Now when I get the flu or a headache that makes me throw up, I no longer panic. I get sick and get it over with. The only thing that still makes me nervous is the idea of getting sick at my boyfriend's house or his car. I don't freak out when other people get sick either.

I know how paralyzing the fear of vomiting can be. I'm glad I've learned to control it. I wish you all the best.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:30 PM   #12
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High anxiety night (again)...DS13 was at a wrestlng tournament all day & DH said he looked awful, wasn't trying, looked worn out. He lost 4 out of his 5 matches which isn't like him, well at least it's not like him to go out there & act like he's not trying. DS did tell me his throat hurt before he left this morning around 6:30am. Well til they got home tonight at 6 he's sick as a dog - very sore throat, body aches, headache & fever. Now ok, it's probably just a bad cold which would NOT include vomiting, but I'm a nervous wreck now for the night. He took some tylenol & had some chicken noodle soup & went to bed shivering around 7 & has been sound asleep since then, but I keep checking on him, listening for him to throw up, etc. I made sure his door is open all the way & that his bathroom light is on - this drives DH nuts too - when I leave the bathroom light on. His room is pitch black (he wants it that way) so I feel he needs to have some light to see if he needs to throw up, where the bowl/garbage can or bathroom is. That seems reasonable to me, especially tonight on a night when he's already sick, but DH will have a cow. Argh I HATE this anxiety, I hate it. I have 12 people coming tomorrow at 5pm for our work Holiday party - I need a good night's sleep (and a kid that's not throwing up!)
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:56 AM   #13
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Hello ladies! I have a milder form of anxiety when it comes to vomiting. I remember when I was a kid, I would get anxious about something, which in turn led to nausea, which then led to me feeling very anxious about throwing up. This happened almost nightly! Luckily, when I started junior high, those feelings started to fade, and now I dont suffer from that anymore.

However, the actual act of vomiting itself is something I still get nervous about. My flight or flight insticnt is usually fine-tuned to FLIGHT if I hear or see someone vomiting. I have been known to run out of the room, run out of the house, and stand OUTSIDE in the driveway if someone throws up at home. This doesn't always happen...I can listen to it if it's happening across the house but it makes me nervous and a bit panicky. I dont get as upset over myself vomiting as much as I do over someone else. I used to cry, panic, ect, but over time I've worked on accepting the act itself. It has been years and years since I've last gotten sick.

It affects my daily life in different ways. I cannot STAND to be around someone who has the stomach flu. I get anxious if I hear someone is nauseous, especially in the car. I avoid parties because Im afraid someone will throw up. (strangely, I do not avoid bars ). I have acknowledged the fact that if I ever do decide to have kids, it will be difficult for me due to the fact that they get sick alot.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by TaraPA View Post
High anxiety night (again)...DS13 was at a wrestlng tournament all day & DH said he looked awful, wasn't trying, looked worn out. He lost 4 out of his 5 matches which isn't like him, well at least it's not like him to go out there & act like he's not trying. DS did tell me his throat hurt before he left this morning around 6:30am. Well til they got home tonight at 6 he's sick as a dog - very sore throat, body aches, headache & fever. Now ok, it's probably just a bad cold which would NOT include vomiting, but I'm a nervous wreck now for the night. He took some tylenol & had some chicken noodle soup & went to bed shivering around 7 & has been sound asleep since then, but I keep checking on him, listening for him to throw up, etc. I made sure his door is open all the way & that his bathroom light is on - this drives DH nuts too - when I leave the bathroom light on. His room is pitch black (he wants it that way) so I feel he needs to have some light to see if he needs to throw up, where the bowl/garbage can or bathroom is. That seems reasonable to me, especially tonight on a night when he's already sick, but DH will have a cow. Argh I HATE this anxiety, I hate it. I have 12 people coming tomorrow at 5pm for our work Holiday party - I need a good night's sleep (and a kid that's not throwing up!)
TaraPA, sorry you are going thru this. I cannot imagine it affecting my sleep like that. Sounds like your son may have the flu or strep throat which will not include vomiting. I have a question.....does your son have a gastroenterologist?? Have they ever talked to you about a procedure called Nissan Fundoplication?? If your son suffers from that much reflux, it is definitely not healthy for his esophageal lining and the acid could cause serious damage.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:11 AM   #15
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Welcome Elmo!!!!

Its so comforting to hear others versions of emets. I am just like you...I flight if someone throws up, just my initial reaction that i cannot control. I avoid eating out for the fear that someone came to work with a stomach bug and if they dont wash their hands they will contaminate my food. My husband and I own a pizza restaurant and me being a qualified food operator I learned way too much about food handling and food born illness. My life would be much more free without this disorder. I avoid so many things in life for this fear.
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