I’m not going to lie, this first full week at work has been tough. There have been days where I’ve been nothing but positive and I’ve been able to ward off any negative, emetophobic thoughts, but there have been days when it’s gotten the better of me and it’s been hard and frustrating.
Everyday my anxiety is on a high, worrying about the next time I’ll be s* or when my partner will get s* for the dread of catching it.
My mind is in constant overdrive, analysing every single way my body is feeling. Is my stomach rumbling because I’m hungry? Do I have a stomachache because I ate too much? Am I feeling s* because I’m anxious, or am I anxious because I’m feeling s*?
Even though I might feel completely fine, irrational thoughts are constantly running through my head, battling against any rational thoughts that I force myself to think in an attempt to combat the anxiety.
The last time I was s* is engraved in my head, like a weird, horrible anniversairy. If I manage to make it another year without being s*, I’m convinced it will happen on the same day. I can remember what I was wearing, what I’d eaten that day and the exact time it happened.
Over analysing everything around me, all the time. How many contaminated people have touched this? Is my food cooked properly?
Picking apart every food that emet has me class as high risk to try to reassure myself that it’s cooked.
Holidays are supposed to be a time for relaxing and for your brain to switch off from the madness of every day life. Not mine. If anything, it’s probably that bit worse as I’m not in the comfort of my own home.
Observing friends, family and work colleagues to see if anyone looks s*. Are they usually that pale? God forbid one of them says they feel unwell – “What’s wrong?” “Is it a cold?” “What exactly do you mean?”
Being afraid of socialising with friends for fear of them drinking too much and being s*.
Imagining scenarios constantly and always fearing that these will come true.
Always washing my hands before I eat or even touch my face. Washing down work surfaces, desks, phones, laptops. You name it, I’ll clean it.
To some, this phobia might seem stupid or people might think I’m ‘overreacting’. “Get over it, no one likes it.” To those people I say screw you. There is a massive difference between not liking something and having a phobia. Emetophobia is horrible. It affects every aspect of my life – what I eat, what I wear, where I go, what I do…
It’s affecting how I think about the future. I’m engaged to the most amazing, supportive, caring man. I would love to be able to build a family with him in the future but the thought of having children absolutely petrifies me. I don’t know how I’d cope with the morning s* and worst of all, if our children were to get s* I don’t know if I could care for them without wrapping myself in a protective bubble.
I hate this phobia and what it’s doing to me, but I know things can only get better – hopefully when I start my CBT again.