What It Feels Like: Emetophobia

October 8, 2017

As many of you will be aware, the 10th October is World Mental Health Day. In order to mark the day I have decided to create a blog series to publish in the run up to World Mental Health Day with the help of contributors with lived experience. The series will run over 6 days, covering a variety of mental health problems. The aim of the series is to remove some of the 'clinical' feel behind the descriptions of mental health problems and humanise it by describing how it feels to those experiencing a mental health problem. Check back to see the next part of the series; Trichotillomania. 




Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting or seeing others being sick. Those who experience emetophobia may also fear being out of control while they are being sick or fear being sick in public, which can trigger avoidance behaviours (AnxietyUK). 



"Emetophobia feels like a tremendously difficult illness to deal with, on a daily basis, as there are so many triggers for it, including from 3 others phobias from which I suffer. Some activities which seem completely easy to anyone, are beyond my capacity to handle. The other phobias that feed into it are hemophobia (=fear of blood) ; Scato (of fecal matter) ; and carno (of cadavers/corpses). It gets triggered every time I do my shopping in supermarkets and malls, and also plainly in the streets seeing what people don’t pick up after their dogs, or quite frankly, at home, in the restroom. I cannot sort laundry or wash dishes first thing on the morning, nor directly after a meal. I cannot watch certain shows or movies, due to bloody, gory aspects, nor toilet jokes and quite a few other things that I cannot see due to these phobias. They are so interwoven and easily triggered, that my daily life is highly impacted, and I currently have very few coping tools such as running to the window to breathe fresh air, or listening to music when I wash dishes, or usually, getting triggered and facing sides effects of anxiety and avoidance”. - Lulu blue 









"I will do anything I possibly can to avoid vomiting or the slightest potential of doing so. I barely ate for a long time, I avoided certain people... for me the fear is loss of control. Not knowing how long the vomiting would go on for or how it would make my body feel. Avoiding sickness would be my ultimate goal. Even if it caused other health problems." - Sophie Hawker
















"To the nurse who laughed at my emetophobia, you have no idea how it is constantly there, how rubbish it makes me feel, how I can't even mention it. And no idea of what's going on in my mind. I CAN'T think about it. I have to run from it and protect myself. Everything triggers it." - What Is Normal







"It was a couple of years that I suffered really badly, but it comes up now and then. I am scared, terrified in fact. The only way I knew how to cope was simply by avoidance. I didn't each because I was terrified, I thought this would limit the risk. I wouldn't go out with friends to anywhere that contained alcohol or drunk people. I lived in a state of avoidance, avoiding any possible trigger. I was isolated, and incredibly debilitated by fear." - Anon







Hopefully reading the personal experiences has helped to provide a more human understanding of what Emetophobia is, what it means to those who experience it and how it feels.


Sending positive vibes, 

Jodie x 













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