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emetophobia as TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by fern, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. fern

    fern Well known member

    Thought I'd check in here as I peel back to a pretty big emotional layer in this healing process. I don't really have any specific questions, but any advice or thoughts or even just encouragement would be appreciated.

    I'm working on the connection between emetophobia and reflux/dyspepsia. I have indigestion quite often, and occasional nausea. I've always been afraid of vomiting, but the avoidance behaviors have gotten worse since having a kid and dreading her first stomach bug. Upper GI issues are a really good mental distraction because they tap right into the emetophobia, and I readily slip into avoidance behaviors and overthinking. I've noticed that this project takes up an almost embarrassing amount of my daily mental energy ever since the fear kind of "leveled up" after having a kid. Avoiding foods that might trigger indigestion and keeping mental lists of potential triggers. Avoiding eating out and avoiding food prepared by anyone other than me or my husband. Limiting my kid's activities so that she won't catch a bug and pass it on to me (and that's the thing that finally forced me to face this). None of this is strict avoidance, and I challenge myself sometimes. I ate out twice on vacation last week, and I take my kid to the library and playgrounds and things like that. But my brain is *on* in those situations.

    It is becoming clear to me that the issue I really need to address isn't the digestive discomfort, it's the phobia, which I'm sure is contributing to the digestive discomfort and the mental attention to the discomfort. This is a generational phobia in my family, passed down by grossed out parent after grossed out parent, and I really want to avoid passing it on to my kid.

    I'd love to hear from anyone who has dealt with emetophobia as TMS, and just hear some words of encouragement or advice as I shift my thinking away from removing the pain's power to removing the fear's power (which gives the pain power).

    It was tough to write this!
     
  2. savasana

    savasana Peer Supporter

    Hey there!

    I have this, too. It’s definitely waxed and waned over the years in intensity. I get anxious on planes boats and in cars due to the fear that I’ll get motion sick even though I don’t get motion sick or sea sick (except on rollercoasters).

    It’s definitley just another distraction that needs to be faced head on. In stomach flu season, November to April, I used to totally freak the heck out and wash my hands compulsively and now I just take common sense measures. So that’s one way to get over it slowly. Surprisingly, I was puked on once and it actually didn’t Really freak me out! The reality was not as bad as the fear.

    Hope that helps.
    K
     
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a precise and powerful aim for yourself, and is right on. I want to encourage you!! Simply having this aim, and your awareness of how/when you get caught in fear is a huge step. Then, by adding a sense of presence and reassurance with yourself, to yourself in your fear, I believe you will go far.
    Andy B
     
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  4. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    I feel you! I’ve had emetophobia for decades and do ANYTHING to avoid getting sick and throwing up, even thought when I have a bug, I have no control over it. Have you noticed a pattern with your gastrointestinal issues? I seem to get nauseated at least once a week, which is usually when I am not in pain, so the symptom imperative is working brilliantly here. Mine seems to occur on a Tuesday, which is really odd, because I can’t see a trigger. I go to work, usually end up taking a ginger chew or peppermint, maybe some pepto, and then I can get through my day, but it’s a pain. I keep trying to attribute it to something, but not sure what. My DH thinks it’s just a pattern I got into and it’s become a cycle, since I do the same thing with pain. It’s weird. Monday, I usually don’t have symptoms; Tuesday, it’s nausea; Wednesday, it’s right shoulder pain; Thursday, it’s usually left shoulder or rib pain, and Friday, it’s typically head or neck pain. Saturday and Sunday, it’s leg and knee soreness. I am going to my therapist tomorrow to work on my phobia and find out why I have it and what keeps triggering the symptoms. I do think our fear is definitely fueling it, because I think about throwing out all my “crutches” and it scares me to death! Yet, I know that to finally and completely heal, I have to do it. It’s time to take back our power, We CAN do this!!
     

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