Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm an Emetophobe

Yep, I suffer from an irrational fear of vomiting, or emetophobia. I freak out if someone around me gets sick, and I am terrified of getting sick myself. And by “freak out”, I mean trembling so much my teeth chatter and breaking into a cold sweat.

I'll do almost anything to prevent getting sick. I have seabands in my nightstand, Dramamine in my purse, and a box of ginger tea in my workbag. When I do feel nauseous, I'll sit on the bathroom floor with a cool washcloth on my forehead, wrapped in a blanket in attempt to stop the shaking, asking God to stop me from throwing up.

I'm also an obsessive hand washer, and get really nervous when I'm around anyone who has recently been sick (I don't want to catch the stomach flu!). However, I am lucky that I have no issues eating (some emetophobes avoid certain food or just eat less overall to avoid getting sick).

I've had this fear for as long as I can remember. When I was young I would promise God that I would not eat any sweets for three days if he would stop me from getting sick - and I would stick to my part of the bargain. I actually had a 13-year no puking streak that was ended by a bad grapefruit. At the time, I remember thinking "I was afraid of that all those years? That was not so bad!" But my fear slowly came back, and, when I got sick again a few years later, (from too much alcohol mixed with too much Advil), the experience was so horrible my phobia came back in full-force.

This is going to be an issue if I get morning sickness, and it is something I think about a lot. I'm also very nervous about how I am going to take care of my future children when they get sick. I am considering visiting a hypnotherapist to see if it helps - the main reason I haven't yet is free time (I don't have much of it).

So, this is my biggest worry about tomorrow's sinus surgery - getting sick during recovery. Logically, I know it's silly, but I guess that's why it's called a phobia - because it's illogical.

I am hopeful because I did not get sick after my last sinus surgery. But I kept asking for more and more anti-nausea medication, which then made me dizzy and unable to work for 10 days after the surgery. So I am going to try to be strong and not ask for so much medication, because I cannot afford to take more than two days off from work (I only have two sick days, plus, I have a lot of work to do).

My fingers and toes are crossed that I stay strong, don't throw up, and don't freak out! ;)


Carolyn said...

I think my older son has this. But I think it comes from the fact that he had a blockage at birth (that is how we found out about cf) and a couple of times through the years he has gotten blocked up which caused him to throw up which meant a trip to the hospital. Luckily he didn't have to have surgery but the one time when he was born and knock on wood he hasn't gotten blocked up since we moved here and Dr Fullmer adjusted his enzymes. So if he does get sick to his stomach he always panics thinking he is going to go to the hospital. :(

Cristy and Caleb said...

My brother used to get sick to his stomach alot with the blockages when he was a baby and toddler that always resulted in a hospital visit about every 6 to 9 months. Now that he is 23 and occasionally indulges in drinking, he gets nervous about getting sick also. Thankfully he hasn't had a blockage in years but, the memories are still there. Stay strong and brave and you will come out on top. Good luck.

Colleen said...

i hope your sinus surgery goes well! have fun picking the HUGE boogies out once they take the tampons out of your nose :) hehe

can't wait to read more!!

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