Hey guys welcome to this special 4 part all about Emetophobia, the Fear of Being Sick. Now I should say from the outset that this condition affects people in many different ways, and this post can’t tackle this issue in the detail it really needs, that is far better done face to face with someone like myself who is a professional therapist. However through these 4 specific posts I thought I would give it my best shot and so feel free to post below and let me know your thoughts:)
Emetophobia causes the sufferer to feel paranoid about being sick in public, or even seeing someone be sick. This leads to sufferers taking excessive action and avoiding certain places, or not eating certain foods for fear that it might cause them to be sick. It also can cause various levels of anxiety depending on how bad the situation is. Some people might be fearful of getting ill, and the two conditions are very much interlinked in some ways. The fear of being ill and contracting some kind of illness can also cause that particular individual to take excessive action. Everytime winter comes they fear that they are going to get ill, or they have to continually check that they are okay and get re-assurance from those close to them or from Doctors.
Dr Larina Kase mentions that Emetophobia is the 6th biggest fear around. The fact remains there are many sufferers out there who find the concept of being sick or seeing someone be sick a terrifying experience. Often it seems that traditional methods of therapy don’t always benefit the client or yield the results they expected. So is there something we can do to help reduce this seemingly irrational fear?? Well, I passionately believe there is. I am a big fan of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I firmly believe that for a fear to exist there must have been a series of events that occurred for it to be there in the first place. This fear of being sick in my opinion is a learned experience. You have learnt to react in this way, and to make things worse you have some kind of story or reasons why you have these feelings and thoughts.
Now this is encouraging in my opinion, if you learnt to react in some way, then surely you can unlearn can’t you?? It stands to reason doesn’t it?? So lets look at this first exercise you can do..
1) Take a sheet of paper and write down all the thoughts you have about being sick. Write down all your fears, all the reasons how it occurrs when it occurrs and just keep writing those beliefs you have. It might be you have to check that your okay the whole time, it might be that a certain place or situation terrifies you in that you believe it will make you feel sick. Just write it all out. When you do this process you are actually offloading all the mental agitation that is stored in your mind.
2) Now write the opposite positive belief next to that negative belief you have. For example lets say you wrote down: ‘If I’m sick people will think I’m disgusting’ so just write the opposite more positve belief such as ‘If I’m sick people will ask if I’m okay, and help me get better’. Just put a positive spin on it, and feel how it would feel if that new belief were real. This is a super clever way to re-wire your mind into accepting a better quality belief and thought process.
3) When you have done that, ask yourself this question: ‘What is the worst thing that can happen to me if I’m sick in public, or if I see someone being sick’. Whatever gets stirred up just write that down on a sheet of paper. After you have written this all down, just see if it really is that big of an issue. In the scheme of things, is this a life threatening condition you have. Chances are it probably isn’t, and if your not sure, have you been to the doctors and consulted a professional on their thoughts about the condition you have. What did they say?? If they told you, you are okay and that you are physically fit, then there is nothing to worry about, right. I know alot of Emetophobia sufferers need that re-assurance from the doctor, but then they also don’t believe the doctor when they say everything is okay. Don’t worry about that yet, we’ll tackle that in part 2 of this series..
4) Now we have explored the negative part, let’s hop along to the positive part. That part of you that could be free from this belief. I’m willing to guess, that there has been a time in your life when you have been fit and well. Even people who are ill the whole time, have days when they are well don’t they?? So imagine, just for this moment if you were totally free from this condition. Think about and write down all the things you would do under the following headings.
- What would you feel like?
- What would you do?
- What new beliefs and thoughts would you have?
- What would you think about the condition you had?
So on this question your looking from a healthy mindset, and almost getting the notion that it was not really a big a deal as what you thought at the time. There have been times in your life when you have overcome big and seemingly impossible problems, and at the time it was big and scary, yet when you broke through those thoughts and feelings, it just didn’t seem to matter so much anymore. Pretty clever stuff hey!!
5) Now what I want you to do is get an intension for every day. Intensions are like mini goals that we have. When we train our mind to think and act differently we are more likely to make change in our lives. However there is a catch to this. Our minds are protective mechanisms that want to protect us, and it will resist any change we do, so we must make a strong and determined decision to move forwards. I encourage you to really make that comittment with yourself, don’t stop, don’t be intimidated by your thoughts. These are just beliefs you have stored in your mind, mistakenly believing that they are protecting you and serving you well, when in fact they are not. These thoughts haven’t harmed you in anyway so far, so why would they harm you now, they can’t and they wont!!
7) An intension should be worded in a positive way. Something at first that is simple and easy to achieve. For example why not have an intension that every day you are going to feel happy in spite of what is happening. Now remember, you must be okay with that negative picture. Just ask yourself, ‘Could I be okay with me having this fear of being sick’ Why not. Who said you couldn’t be okay with it, and that is as easy as just watching those old beliefs play in your mind, and just watching those concerns just float away. This is a really fast way to get okay with your fear. Could I just be okay with what I feel and how I feel?? Could I be okay with all this fear I have?? Why not, life is a decision, what do you decide to do?? Whose thoughts are they?? Who do these beliefs belong too? They belong to you, don’t they..
Oh and here’s a cool video for you as well. I like this person’s explanation of treating Emetophobia.
In part 2 I’m going to show you a bran new process that I’ve not talked about before, and is something I use with my exclusive private clientele, want to know more, then tune in for the next blog post.