The penultimate day of the A to Z Challenge and my Y today is why? Why emetophobia? I’ve asked myself this question so many times and I have yet to find an answer to it. Maybe some things are just meant to be and I just need to get over it? I’ve embarked on loads of different types of therapy in the past and none of them have really addressed the WHY. After listening to a podcast by Invisibilia (“The Secret History of Thoughts”), I realised that all my life I HAVE wanted to know the WHY. And often, therapies such as CBT tend not to focus on the why but instead look to change our negative thoughts, feelings and reactions to what we fear. The podcast spoke about three different approaches to therapy and how these approaches have changed over the years from Freudian, CBT and mindfulness. For me it became clear that I DO want to talk about my past and my childhood because I DO think this has a significant weighting on why I have emetophobia now. All my life I’ve been told CBT is the way to go, when in fact, I know my phobia is ridiculous and I don’t need to pay someone else to tell me that? CBT has helped in some ways but when I heard this podcast, it made me realise that maybe I’ve always been seeking the wrong type of therapy. I don’t know. Anyway, here are the reasons which I think have had an impact on my emetophobia.
• Primary school. Kids seemed to be sick ALL the time and I always seemed to witness it.
• Being forced to eat lunch at primary school. I remember dinner ladies making me sit in the hall until I’d cleared my plate. I believe this still impacts me now regarding my feelings towards food and being sick.
• Often I’d be the last child (I was between 4-10) sat in the dinner hall and others were kept in there if they felt sick.
• Dinner ladies would bring a bowl in for any kids who felt sick. I mean honestly, wtf? A bowl in the place kids are eating?
• The way my parents responded when my sister or I vomited. As children we were not sick often. When we were, it seemed to be a big event. A big deal.
• Jokes my Dad used to make about tomatoes and carrots. Even to this day I feel funny about eating carrot and I really hate anything chunky like soup.
• The way my Mum felt eating out. She would often feel panicky in restaurants and walk out. To note, my mum does not have emetophobia.
• My sister being sick. She was sick more than me and I could honestly tell you each incident. I remember this stuff in such detail too. The day she was sick down my mums blue dress at my nana and grandad’s. The day she puked during the school play rehearsal of Joseph and his bloody technicolour dream coat. The vomit incident after she went to France on a school trip and thought it would be a good idea to eat snails.
• Feeling alone and without help through much of secondary school. This is a hard one for me to write but I just didn’t want to be at school. I didn’t really feel anyone was there for me during those years. I felt like I was “supposed” to be growing up. But when I look back at diary entries, I was 13-16 and still only a kid really. I still needed a lot of support.
Anyway I won’t ramble on anymore and feel sorry for myself. But I do think a lot of my emetophobia started when I was at nursery and school. I remember vividly clinging on to my mum for dear life in the playground. I remember the teachers coming out and prising my fingers off her. I remember being forced to eat at school. I remember sitting alone in the hall. I truly never want my son to go through any of that.