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Does anyone else have horrible dating anxiety with emetophobia?


throoawao
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So, I had emetophobia (fear of vomiting) since my freshman year of high school. I remember seeing a girl vomit in front of a bunch of kids and couldn't bear the embarrassment she must have felt. 
Then, upon having my first crush, every time I'd see him I'd get nervous around him, and one time it was so bad that I ran to the toilet and vomited my breakfast. That definitely was a stressful moment for me. 
I thought my emetophobia has gone around guys I like, because all throughout high school, after that incident, I didn't feel bounded by my fears, and went on dates perfectly normally, I thought it was a one time thing. But then, freshman year of college rolled around, I went to have breakfast with a guy I was dating at the time and ran to the bathroom and vomited my fruit salad up.. yes, i know disgusting. 

this only happens around guys I have a crush on and am especially nervous around, because I guess I was nervous about that girl who vomited in school, that I couldn't imagine having the same situation with a guy I really liked!

Then after that guy, I pretty much managed to emetophobia again, and I wasn't bothered by it for a few years until my next guy I was really into, and this one ended up being my boyfriend, but on the days he'd come over, I was so nervous that I'd vomit before seeing him. It was so brutal.

Now, I'm newly single, I went on my first date after my breakup, and nearly vomited in my car before seeing him, but didn't! 

I am realizing I am kind of avoiding dating because of my emetaphobia, and it's brutal. I hate being controlled by my fears 😞 

does anyone else have this, or can share some advice about how to overcome this? I tried ginger chews, mint gum, cold water, but I still get so scared before a date its horrible, it's all I can think about now when thinking of going on another date... especially with the pandemic, seeing people has gotten so limited...

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I had a girl with similar issue. Hers manifested around exam time. No matter how hard me and even her friends tried to support, no matter how much she was ready for exam, she started to panick and vomited before exam. Every exam she had. That is something that goes from the head. And its not going to go until you realize that its just dates and that you need to relax. And, that is likely to persist like that unless you treat it. That means therapy. 

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Didn't know it is called emetophobia, so thanks I learned a new word today.

In return I have two examples of how vomiting in the presence of important people is not the end of the world. 

First is when I went on mission with my new boss  and we were sittign next to each other on the flight. The last 30 minutes before landing the airplane endured severe turbulance, shaking, violently moving up and down, it was unbearable for my stomach; and especially after an oppulent dinner I ate at home before the flight, guess what: I filled two paper bags stomach content, right in front of my new boss (first mission together) and there was no hiding possible as we were strapped tight due to turbulence and he was sat next to me. According to you, I should have died with embarassement. Well I didn't 🙂

The morning after the incident, and fortunately happy landing, we had very important meeting with local stakeholders, so my focus was totally on what was going on at the meeting, and the vomiting incident did not even for a second cross my mind. We pulled off a great outcome with my boss from that meeting. I am pretty certain that this is what he remembers as outcome from the mission, not the unpleasant landing the previous evening. We were joking about the rough landing some weeks later, and if you can look at something unpleasant with humour, it does take the edge off from the embarassement/anxiety.

Secondly, when my son came of drinking age, he sure was abusing alcohol with his friends, as he didn't know his limits. He has seen vomitting/and help clean all his friends after too much to drink. And do you think that he stopped being friends with his buddies only because he saw them vomit in his presence? He was joking that all he learned was stay away when the throwing up starts.

So, just go easy on yourself, accept that your body reacts to worry this way, but it is not the end of the world.   

Edited by East4
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Given the degree to which this can impact your social and dating life, I'd pursue two things: treatment by a doctor with a prescription to help to quell stomach upset. Regardless of whether I'd ever need to reach for it, it would be a psychological safety net to know that I have it at the ready.

I'd also get a referral to a good therapist who has specialized experience in this area. 

People have no problem hiring a plumber, a mechanic, a tax expert to handle areas of their lives in which they don't own expertise. So why would this be any different? It makes no sense to try to live such important areas of your life 'around' such a condition, when you can address the condition itself, instead.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

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8 hours ago, throoawao said:

I tried ginger chews, mint gum, cold water, but I still get so scared before a date its horrible.

Have you seen a physician about this? Was it diagnosed by a physician/psychiatrist? 

See a physician for a proper diagnosis. Nausea and vomiting have many many causes including anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and other physical causes.

No one finds vomiting or others vomiting pleasant. But you need a correct diagnosis in order to treat whatever it is that is causing this.

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I had emetophobia for about 35 years starting at age 7 and it's been manageable the last 10 plus.  I didn't even know it was called that till I was in my 30s.  But for me it was a fear of vomiting and I'd only done it twice in my life since age 8 months old - once at age 4, once at age 11.  Here's what helps a lot in the moment: 4-7-8 breathing Weil method.  Google it and watch the video because his method is really important to its effectiveness.  

No I never got therapy for it and back then it was really misunderstood -when I told people and professionals about it anecdotally the responses were unhelpful and sort of clueless.

I'm really sorry about this.  Also maybe meet for non-food first -would that help?

Edited by Batya33
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Like Batya, I used to have really bad emetophobia. I did not tackle it in therapy (although I do feel this is a good option if it is impacting your life this much) but I did use online resources to help me. There are a number of emetophobe-friendly sites that support people with this and even help you with gentle desensitization and such.

If you decide to see a therapist, try to find out that says that they have experience with phobias and if you can call them before you see them, ask them if they have treated patients with emetophobia. 

Best of luck.

Maybe keep your dates to coffee dates or non-food dates to start.

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Thanks a lot for all your responses. Those suggesting therapy, yes I certainly considered it and may pursue it if it truly gets out of hand.

However, those who suggested online communities that provide support, I think I'll try that as the next resort. I think that desensitization is the best way to combat this, constantly being shown that it is not a scary or crazy thing to happen, and will eventually just become a feeling that comes and goes. I was able to do this before when I would mediate, do yoga, be active, and be have work/school. I think that with the constant sitting at home because of my current lifestyle, I fell into the traps of my fears. 

And actually, those mentioning the physician, may not have had emetophobia experiences before. I'd go to my doctor all the time because of this issue, and the diagnosis from him and other doctors was the same, nausea due to food poisoning or stomach flu. And many kids who are constantly at the nurse's office during school because of a 'stomach ache', are most likely emetophobic -- fear and adrenaline have a funny way of acting on your digestive system. Physicians are hardly ever equipped to handle this issue that actually really comes from your head and not at all your digestive system, prescribing anti-nausea medication would be a great safety net, I agree, I have considered that too.

& thanks @Batya33 about the methods, I will certainly look it up. Also, yes, I think it's a great idea to go for non-food dates first.

Thanks everyone so-so much, I appreciate all the comments and gentle support.
with love,

Throo

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8 hours ago, throoawao said:

And many kids who are constantly at the nurse's office during school because of a 'stomach ache', are most likely emetophobic -- fear and adrenaline have a funny way of acting on your digestive system.

I was a teacher and my son is 12 and I have tons of experience with kids. No.  Not true.  My son once had a stomach ache on Halloween at school because he had strep throat -it's a symptom.  Or in a young kid who has "stomach pain" it could be a UTI.  I had a stomach ache when I was emetophobic because I had food poisoning. I did have the phobia but it was the stomachache that triggered the fear -and yes the fear/stress made my stomach worse but it didn't cause the stomach ache.

Or the child could be on antibiotics or have eaten too fast.  Emetophobia is relatively rare -and of course on somewhat of a range/spectrum.  

I'd be very careful before generalizing in this way especially if you ever have kids.  Stomach aches can be signs of so many things and too quick a diagnosis can overlook.  I've done my very best to "normalize" throwing up for my son - ironically he rarely does.  My husband is completely normal about it so that's good and many years ago I was able to tolerate when another person feels sick -but my husband often takes the lead if my son does.  I don't want him to have this fear. 

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8 hours ago, throoawao said:

Those suggesting therapy, yes I certainly considered it and may pursue it if it truly gets out of hand.

Yes. You need an appropriate work up for your intense anxiety. If you are so nervous about going on dates that you get nausea and vomiting it's already out of hand.

You are completely wrong about your so called phobia. It exits in less than .01% of the population. You seem to have unaddressed possible anxiety, OCD, depression and perhaps other issues.  Get an appropriate evaluation.

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15 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Yes. You need an appropriate work up for your intense anxiety. If you are so nervous about going on dates that you get nausea and vomiting it's already out of hand.

You are completely wrong about your so called phobia. It exits in less than .01% of the population. You seem to have unaddressed possible anxiety, OCD, depression and perhaps other issues.  Get an appropriate evaluation.

Hey Wiseman2, who are you to be telling me what I have or don't have? You're judging through posts in a forum that I have been using to alleviate a lot of negativity, thus why my posts may be radiating negativity. This is a forum for people to express how they feel, and more often than not, the bad about what they feel and get advice on what to do next. This forum was my escape to give and receive advice from people going through similar situations. I feel quite disturbed in your forceful advice and your assumptions about my mental health. I have never had depression episodes, or "other issues" that you are pushing onto me, and actually, my mental health is most totally my business. My post about emetaphobia asked about what others do to resolve theirs, and Wiseman2, if I feel that therapy and a medical evaluation is something that I most truly need, I will make sure to get it outside of your advice.

Thank you for your understanding.

With love,

Throo

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15 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I was a teacher and my son is 12 and I have tons of experience with kids. No.  Not true.  My son once had a stomach ache on Halloween at school because he had strep throat -it's a symptom.  Or in a young kid who has "stomach pain" it could be a UTI.  I had a stomach ache when I was emetophobic because I had food poisoning. I did have the phobia but it was the stomachache that triggered the fear -and yes the fear/stress made my stomach worse but it didn't cause the stomach ache.

Or the child could be on antibiotics or have eaten too fast.  Emetophobia is relatively rare -and of course on somewhat of a range/spectrum.  

I'd be very careful before generalizing in this way especially if you ever have kids.  Stomach aches can be signs of so many things and too quick a diagnosis can overlook.  I've done my very best to "normalize" throwing up for my son - ironically he rarely does.  My husband is completely normal about it so that's good and many years ago I was able to tolerate when another person feels sick -but my husband often takes the lead if my son does.  I don't want him to have this fear. 

Oh, Ok, thanks for letting me know Batya. I was judging from my experience, and actually what I said was what a school nurse once told me.
I'm not fearful of others vomiting, cleaning vomit, or having people even vomit on me, it's mostly just the fear of the potential embarrassment that I think stemmed from seeing others in those situations.

And yes, I most certainly would never project my fears onto future kids. 

With love,
Throo

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There is definitely hope. I work in the healthcare field now - I still don't like vomit but it doesn't freak me the heck out like it used to. I do desensitization (guided) through those emetophobi sites that I told you about. A quick google search brings them up. Very, very helpful for me.

I'll be honest, morning sickness was one of my many reasons for not having kids but since working on this phobia, I can honestly say it's not something that comes to mind anymore. I still won't have kids but it has nothing to do with morning sickness.

I also underwent weight loss surgery and YES, that involved quite a bit of throwing up for a while and it sucked, but I wasn't freaked out because I had gotten better beforehand.

I do caution you against relying too much on anti-nausea pills. I always keep a small script of Zofran (anti-nausea pills, rx only) in my pill box but I rarely use them nowadays. Before I got better with my phobia, I'd be popping those babies 2-3x a day. Not something you want to overuse, can have cardiac consequences (QTc prolongation).

You can do this!

I disagree with Wiseman - having an odd phobia by itself does not mean having OCD/depression/or a whole laundry list of mental illnesses. Having a phobia itself can be a problem, absolutely, but it doesn't mean that you have a ton of other problems. 

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On 12/6/2021 at 12:01 AM, throoawao said:

 I feel that therapy and a medical evaluation is something that I most truly need, I will make sure to get it outside of your advice.

Lol. That was my advice. To consult your healthcare providers about it.

Basically, my advice was to rule out other causes to be on the safe side.

No one can diagnose things online or from googling. That's why my ACTUAL advice (not your defensive misinterpretation) was to know for sure what you are dealing with to best help yourself.

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