How I coped with being sick for the first time as an ex-emetophobia sufferer…

I’m sat in the garden as I write this with a cool cider, celebrating. But I’m not celebrating a birthday or an anniversary.

I am celebrating calmly being sick less than a week ago for the first time in over ten years. This may seem odd to some, but having been terrified of being sick for years – a phobia known as emetophobia, or vomit phobia – to the point I felt I’d rather die than have to face it, it’s a pretty big deal.

I did The Thrive Programme just over three years ago to overcome my emetophobia (one of the most common yet least acknowledged phobias in the world). Not only did the programme help me get rid of this phobia but it opened so many doors for me and it helped me create the confidence to deal with lots of challenging things in life. The training programme format has put me in control of my phobia and mental health in general.

People would often ask me: how do you know you are cured if you’ve not been sick since? If you’ve not had to face that fear, how do you know that you would be OK with it? In my response I would try to explain that in actual fact I realised being sick was never the real issue, it was my reaction to being sick; the fear I generated in anticipation, the inability to deal with feeling out of control and not believing that I could handle it. That was the real issue.

So, how did I cope when it came to it and I was up all night being sick? I dealt with it bloody well. Probably better that your average person, in all honesty. Experiencing it without anxiety was completely different. I wasn’t making an unpleasant situation worse for myself. I wasn’t shaking, crying or pacing with a racing heartbeat.

I took care of myself, as I was by myself and preferred it that way, so I could just ride it out. Each time taking my glass of water with me and a cold washcloth to the bathroom floor. That brings me to the next triumph. Actually using the toilet to be sick into rather than a bowl or bucket. I used to hate using the toilet as I felt it was so unhygienic to be sticking my head into when actually it’s the most convenient way to get rid of it after.

Did any of my old emetophobic thoughts creep in again? In complete honesty, yes they did. However, I did not let them stay for long due to the training and tools I’ve learnt to combat situations like this. A couple of days after that night, when I was starting to eat again and feel better, I felt my mind start to have some old habits creep back in. I was replaying being sick in my head over and over for no reason at all. It wasn’t causing me anxiety but it was unnecessary.

I don’t replay or brood over stubbing my toe or giving myself a paper cut over and over, so why do it with this too? After that it quickly stopped. Then I had a couple of unhelpful thoughts regarding being sick in public. So I took pen to paper and worked on these, all the while reminding myself how well I had done. Those thoughts never returned.

So there you have it. Now, when you ask have I ever been sick since doing Thrive I can say yes… yes I have and I dealt with it really well. The Thrive Programme really does give you the means to overcome emetophobia long term but it takes commitment to the techniques and to yourself to keep improving and living the life you always wanted. I’m living proof that you can overcome emetophobia for good.

The Thrive Programme and Cure Your Emetophobia & Thrive teaches people to achieve great mental health and overall happiness, leaving limiting beliefs and habits that negatively affect their ability to enjoy life and Thrive.

The programme is available as a book or one-to-one via a Thrive Consultant. If Katie’s story sounds familiar, either from your perspective or a friend’s, get in touch today. 

Katie now works as a Thrive Consultant, using her experience and training to help people with mental health challenges, such as emetophobia. 

Check out our specialist YouTube channel too for more inspiring emetophobia stories and information on help for emeto.