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Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

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Old 10-05-2007, 11:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Gold Coast, QLD australia
Posts: 2
miataj HB User
Unhappy Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

Hi all, I have been searching the net for days looking for what I think I am suffering from...'emetophobia'.
Let me explian my story.
I am a married 28 year old mother of 2 little ones (aged 2.5 and 4.5). I am in a happy relationship, my husband is FaNtAsTiC!!!!! Great daddy, perfect husband.
Anyway, I myself come from a broken home, alcaholic parents, abusive father etc.
My life was going great. I got married at 23 had my little girl. I struggled with a few issues but was coping ok. Untill my daughter got sick. She was about a month off turning 1 and shegot a tummy bug. She vomited in her cot and later on me. Poor little poppet, cant help it but I panicked!!!!!
I literally ran.
Anyway, over the past 4 years both my children have had tummy bugs which have involved loads of vomiting. Everytime it happens I have panic attacks, hard to breath, shake, cry, get hot and simply fall down and not cope. It is very bizzare, my husband cant understand 'why I cant just look after the kids when they are sick' he says, 'it's part of life, children vomit', yeah but I cant deal with it. So much so, that when my son was 12 months old I almost had a breakdown, all of us got a tummy bug and it lasted for over a week. I cracked. My doctor put me on meds for PND (which I also had) and I also saw a councellor.
None of it realy delt with the 'sickness' though as I have always dismissed it as 'me being 'irrational' or 'me not getting a grip' but no matter how much I try I just cannot handle the thought of vomiting, my children vomiting or my husband.
I feel like I am almost obsessed with it, I avoid anyone who I even 'think' might be sick, I am totaly fussy where we eat, I will even pick meat out of a meal 'in case' I get sick from eating it,(even if i have cooked it) I carry around anti-bacterial gel ebverywhere I go. I wouldnt say it's OCD but more of a fear of getting tummy bugs, vomiting etc. I am a mess when my children get sick and useless to all. I feel like running away, almost like i cant even be in the same house as them. My husband doesnt understand, and to be honest either do I....What sort of mother runs from there vomiting child, when they need you the most??? I feel pathetic. I want to be a mum who is there for her children, offer comfort and security, how can i if I cannot handle it?
My daughter has a tumy bug at the moment so that is why I am am asking for help. After reading some info I feel thatI have got emetophobia, does it sound like I do, because I am not 100% sure. I have booked into see my doctor on monday to talk to him about it as I rang him yesterday in tears over my poor daughter vomiting. It's not just a 'yucky feeling' of being sick it a total dread, panick and feeling of helplessness.
Has anyone else had a similuar feelings? I would truly love to hear how you cope with this.

Has anyone else

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Old 10-06-2007, 12:11 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Gold Coast, QLD australia
Posts: 2
miataj HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

Can I also just add that I have had this fear my whole life, it has just become FAR worse since having children as I am exposed to it alot more!

Old 10-07-2007, 06:27 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Dallas, Tx
Posts: 201
SteveGn HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

miataj, I'm wondering if your fear isn't actually more a fear of the very scary panic symptoms, instead of the actual vomiting, etc. It is common for people to place the fear in the wrong place. The vomiting and sickness may just be a trigger for the panic symptoms, and these horrible symptoms are what you may unknowingly be running from, which is perfectly understandable.

You might try looking at it that way, and then learn how to deal with the issue of the panic. By putting the focus on the panic issue, you will at least give yourself an accurate starting point, and this may help you to gradually desensitize yourself to the vomiting issues.

Next time try to put as much focus as possible on staying right there with your child and focusing on what needs to be done. Remember, the symptoms will not harm you, even though they are very scary. Tell yourself beforehand, when no one is sick, that you are staying put and seeing it through next time it happens. You might also try desensitizing yourself somewhat by visualizing a typical scary situation and seeing a positive outcome each time. Hope this helps. Keep us posted. Steve

Old 11-05-2007, 10:41 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Cyndra HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

I used to do this as well. My oldest had severe reflux as a baby and until they understood what she had and what we could do to help it.... I'd be vomited on severely on a daily (multiple times a day) basis. I got very afraid of being vomited on and would actually back up from the kids if they looked like they were going to be sick. I hated feeling so terrible when they needed me but I couldn't do it.

I moved past it by putting buckets in various easily accessed locations in the chance someone was going to be sick. Better chance of it getting into the bucket then on me trying to rush for a toilet.... and better for them to not be trying to get to me for comfort and have me running.

From there I'd make myself stand with whoever (except the hubby) was ill in the bathroom or just in the hall to tell them it's ok and just hold on to help them clean up and brush their teeth.

Now, I'm over the fear and running from it and it doesn't phase me anymore. It did take some time but it's fine now. Hope this helps.

Old 11-06-2007, 05:38 AM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: mi
Posts: 134
starissa HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

i too have this phobia and have as long as i know, i dont have children yet so not sure how im gonna handle that. Ive gotten better over the past few years with myself getting sick. I put in my head after you throw up you will feel so much better type thing. but i too avoid eating certain food, i dont drink alot(got drunk and threw up at bar once) i stay away from people who are sick and then get worried when someone i work with gets the bug. Its pretty funny how many people like us are out there. your not alone

Old 12-05-2007, 07:18 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Anytown, MI, USA
Posts: 2
Rene0625 HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

I have coped with anxiety disorder for many years and found out a lot my anxiety attacks were actually triggered by the fear of vomitting. When I searched online one day for 'fear of vomitting' I was shocked and surprised that it had a name and that I wasn't alone. When I searched under the phobia name I was really shocked that there are so many people out there who deal with this on a daily basis.
But even though I have found all this information, my phobia still hasn't been cured or anything. I have been on different meds and have seen a therapist or three, but I actually had one therapist who thought it was pretty much a joke. She actually said things like "What's the worst that could happen??" You never ask people who have phobias THAT question. She kind of laughed it off. I switched to a new therapist ASAP.
I'm not on a med right now, but have IBS and I explained to my gastro about my fears of v* and n*, so asked for an RX of phenergan to have on hand.
I'm not sure what I'm most afraid of. . .seeing someone get ill....or myself getting ill. Either way, when I get nervous or anxious and nauseous from my anxiety, I will sit outside. Yes, even in the freezing cold snow.

Old 02-15-2008, 08:25 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Wisconsin, United States
Posts: 1
Morgann11 HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

I am the same way! If anyone in my family is sick, or even if I'm beginning to feel ill (simple stomach pain or nausea) I will sit outside in the cold,...and being from the North, we know how cold it can get outside! Some of the things I do when I begin to feel naucious are embarrassing. I mean, I become someone I'm not! If someone v*'s in front of me, or especially if I do it myself, it takes me YEARS to get over it! There is so much to say about this topic, but not enough space or time for you to read it all! Thanks for listening!

Old 02-23-2008, 07:05 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: ma
Posts: 8
kab996 HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

You are definitely not alone! I could have wrote your post myself as I am the same way. Your right it gets much worse after kids. They do get sick and we do have to be around when its happening. I run and try to avoid it if possible and I feel terrorized when they do it. I cannot stand winter and go into depression all winter from fear or tummy bugs. I'm in the same boat! There are LOTS of us Emetophobes out there but not all of them admit it. It's a very embarassing phobia.

Old 03-13-2008, 01:38 PM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Posts: 4
Excaliba HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

Hi there,

You are definitely not alone ... as I just posted on another thread ... emetophobia was classed as the 5th most common phobia in the UK a while back.

And no, it is not uncommon to 'run away' from a vomiting child. I know of one lady who used to leave the house for a week any time her children got sick and left it to her husband to sort out! So don't you go feeling bad ...

There is hope - if you are fortunate enough to find a decent therapist (sorry Rene0625 to see you bumped into an inconsiderate/unprofessional therapist). There are even therapists you specialise in treating the condition. And as I also mentioned in the other thread ... I know of three emetophobics who all successfully 'elminated' (maybe that's not the right word to use!) the condition after a few sessions.

All the best ...


Old 03-14-2008, 10:34 AM   #10
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: pensacola, fl. ,u.s.
Posts: 1
jasonexpress HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

I have the same fear , it is embarrasing to admit but it has really had a negative effect on my life.I am 33 years old and havent vommitted since I was about 9 years old.When I feel sick to my stomach I have anxiety attacks ,I also suffer with O.C.D. I have built a prison for myself, I avoid anything that might possibly make me feel sick,I need surgery for a shoulder problem that I keep putting off in fear of anestesia making me sick. One day I will face my fear and get my life back.

Old 04-25-2008, 04:00 AM   #11
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: NZ
Posts: 140
mary63 HB Usermary63 HB User
Re: Being a mum with emetophobia...its so hard!

Yes yes yes- i feel for you!!!
I have had the vomiting fear since i was a child- and have had to RUN away in panic if someone is feeling sick...I remember being in a car ( trapped) with other kids when i was young- one of them felt sick- i was terrified. Another more recent time a lady headed towards me in the supermarket saying she was going to be sick- i was horrified and kept reliving the scene for days...
Going to the mother thing- i have managed to not run when my daughter has been sick- and there have been many times! but when she is sick i want to run away and feel like crying- feel so scared. Crazy eh? Lately i actually take some clonazepam when she is sick to try and calm me. I know that isn't the answer but i helps. COuld you see someone for some counselling? its not fair that you have to suffer so much- i know how it is... i have to say as children get older it gets better because they can manage the sickness with less help! For me somehow its the waiting for her to be sick that is the worst-I also have that fear of food poisoning and bugs and oh yes- car sickness!!!!... i certainly didn't know there were others out there like me! You are not at all a "bad" mum- please dont tell youself that- you are <probABLEY> a far better mum than some in all the other aspects of caring- and this will get better as your wee ones get older!.

Last edited by ms_mod; 04-25-2008 at 05:54 AM. Reason: Please always use whole words in your posts.

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