Do you avoid public places? Or do you avoid eating leftover foods? Do you have certain rituals or routines the help you deal with the nausea, anxiety or general fear of throwing up?
If you do, you are not alone.
Emetophobia is the fear of throwing up. 3.1 to 8.8% of children may experience emetophobia to a certain degree, and most learn how to cope with their anxiety and fears into their adult life. That means two things.
One, what you are going through is fairly common.
Two, there is hope that what you are struggling with can get better.
If you want to get on track with learning how to cope better with your anxiety,
here are 4 tips for dealing with the fear of throwing up.
1. Embrace your fears as irrational
There is a battle inside of your mind. Part of you is convinced that if you walk into that public restroom you will get the flu and throw up 36-48 hours later. While this is just one example, there are hundreds of scenarios that you will face with this thought process. The first step is to understand that your mind highly exaggerates the danger of normal activities. This highly exaggerated thought process feels real in the moment, but to any outsider or even after the moment has passed it is quite clear that the thought process is irrational.
2. Lean into discomfort
The tough part about overcoming the fear of anything, is that in order to unlearn your fear you must face it. That is right. If you know about Alex Honnold, the free solo rock climber of El Capitan, he has spend thousands of hours hanging off of the rocks with his life in danger. With all of his experience, he has learned to lean into the discomfort of hanging off rocks and his fear of climbing has dissipated into nothing over the years.
With that being said, If you never get to facing your fears, you will never train your brain into believing that normal behaviors are safe (remember, going to the public restroom, and eating leftovers?). You will spend hundreds to thousands of hours training your brain, every time you avoid your fear grows and every time you lean in successfully your fear dissipates.
3. Keep a journal
It is easy to forget how to keep score in life when you are facing your fears. Keep a journal about the times you completed something that felt very difficult or scary. Take notes on how you felt in the moment and afterwards. Nauseous? Anxious? A knot in your throat or stomach? After a few days look back into your journal and make notes if you actually threw up. This helps to build evidence and help you to understand that the fears are irrational, and you can trust yourself to do the difficult things.
4. Get educated on Emetophobia
More education, means more power. There are plenty of youtube videos, podcasts, and websites that highlight key information and personal insights on emetophobia. Get educated. In the future, you might able to provide key insights on your journey with emetophobia and help others overcome their fears.
Two podcast episodes that I have found helpful in my understanding of emetophobia are the Parenting Survival Podcast episode 035: Emetophobia: When Kids Fear Throwing Up and