It can be hard to explain what it's like to be an emetophobe (someone with an irrational fear of vomiting). After all, no one likes to vomit (well, maybe a small, specialised group). Trying to communicate that it's not just that you dislike it, but that you actively are terrified of it and would do pretty much anything to avoid it and that it can dominate your life and your thoughts - which is annoying when it's the last thing you actually want to think about - is a bit tricky.
Last year, I went through a course of CBT to address my emetophobia. I not entirely cured - but I am much better than I was. I gained some perspective, and made more progress than I ever could have imagined in terms of exposure to the thing that terrifies me (I won't go into details about what exposure entails, except to say that no, I didn't have to make myself ill, and if you are interested, contact me and I'll tell you all about it!).
This time of year is always tricky for emetophobes like me. Winter can become synonymous with norovirus. This year, ironically considering it's my first after therapy, seems to be a bumper year - the media is going crazy detailing the extent of the outbreak - and I have to admit, it really does freak me out, and I can feel the old terror grasping hold each day.*
Thankfully, I am not alone. Or rather, I'm not thankful - it would be nice if no one was freaked out by it. But I am weirdly reassured, because, once again, Charlie Brooker, awesome writer and fellow emetophobe, has written something which entirely communicates what it is to be phobic during an outbreak. I read along, nodding my head and giggling at just how ridiculous but also how accurate his description is.
So, if you are curious, you can read along here. If you are not curious, you should still read along, because he is incredibly funny, and hey you might also find it amusing to discover what crazy strategies we employ in order to cope. Enjoy.
*Writing this blog is actually a form of exposure for me. One of the ways the fear manifests for me is that even though I worry pretty consistently about vomiting, I am terrified that if I externalise these thoughts, somehow that will make it happen. So up yours vomiting - here are my thoughts for all to see!