If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that I’ve started a new chat for people who have experience with emetophobia. #ChatEmet takes place on Tuesdays at 7pm (GMT) and is a safe space for sufferers to share their story and discuss ‘Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive’ by Rob Kelly.

In the first chat we discussed our recent ‘wins’. A win is a breakthrough, no matter how small. It’s something you might have thought your emetophobia would never let you do. I would like to hear your wins – tell me what you’re proud of. Because you should feel ridiculously proud of yourself. Emetophobia is a terrible, debilitating phobia that had me starving myself and washing my hands until they cracked and bled. I want you to know that I understand and I’m so proud of you, even in those times when you think you’ve failed. Most importantly, I want you to know that you’re not alone. 

To get us started, here are some of my recent emetophobia wins. There will be a few OCD ones in there too, as for me the two issues overlap.

Eating chicken

Cooking chicken at home became a huge no-no for me and I would only eat it in restaurants on very rare occasions. I’m still a little bit nervous about eating it, but I’ve let friends cook it for me and am very partial to a cheeky Nando’s.

Washing my hands less

I still wash my hands more than the average bear but nowhere near to the extent I was before. Emetophobia Help was such a useful resource for me, especially for putting things into perspective when it came to norovirus.

Understanding the ways the virus can and can’t be transmitted, and that some of my safety behaviours were actually completely useless really helped me feel calmer. I quickly found it easier to ignore irrational thoughts.

Using the word ‘norovirus’

One of the strange things about emetophobia is how superstitious it can make you. Even though logically I knew it wasn’t possible, I had this strange belief that writing or saying the word norovirus would make me sick. I had little ‘knock on wood’ rituals and was very particular about the language I used when discussing anything to do with illness. Now though, when my brain tells me I’m being irrational, I listen to it. No more censoring myself!

I did the deed!

Yes, that’s right – I vomited. Three times in the last six months to be exact. And do you know what? I just got on with it. I stayed calm, cleaned up after myself and dealt with it how I think most people would. The first time it happened, that little bit of exposure helped me see that it’s actually not so bad, and gave me confidence in myself again. So when it happened again the next morning, I handled it just fine. SO. BLOODY. PROUD.