A Letter to My Six Year Old Self: My Battle with Emetophobia

Famous Emetophobes

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Matt LauerCameron DiazDenise RichardsHowie MandelThe face of FEAR!
Matt Lauer
Matt Lauer
Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz
Denise Richards
Denise Richards
Howie Mandel
Howie Mandel
The face of FEAR!
The face of FEAR! | Source

What is Emetophobia?

Emetophobia is the chronic and persistent fear of vomiting or throwing up, despite the reassurance by others that there is no danger.

There are currently over twenty-nine million websites dedicated to this fear and is is commonly recognized as the fifth most common fear.

Emetophobia can be triggered by a single traumatic event, such as a long bout of stomach flu, accidentally vomiting in public, or having to witness someone else vomit (as in my case). This fear can be triggered at any time and at any age and is not specific to a gender or demographic. Interestingly, most people with emetophobia rarely, if ever, vomit. Some sufferers, including this author, report that they have not thrown up since childhood, yet they constantly worry that it might happen


source: wikipedia.org, emetophobia.com

David Samson, treating emetophobia
David Samson, treating emetophobia | Source

Dear Six-Year-Old-Justin,

I still remember that day twenty five years ago when you were in first grade. You had just returned from recess and your fellow classmates were all in the bathroom, getting ready to return to class. You finished early and made your way back to your desk. You laid your little towhead down and closed your eyes, tired from a hard day of playing and learning. You hated first grade. Mr. Wing had this long, orange table in the back of the classroom. Throughout the day, students from all age levels would come in with pink slips from their teachers or the principal. You would read the note and point at the desk. They would lay their head down for an interminable period of time, on that desk. We’d all watch the humiliation and shame, like the stocks in colonial America only we were not allowed to throw fruit. You’d always worry that one day you’d be sent to that desk. You could feel the burn in your feet from standing, the Plantar Fascitis that won’t be diagnosed for another twenty years already wreaking havoc on your young, tender soles.

But the worst is yet to come, or at least, you will perceive it as such. Brace yourself. It’s not the worst. Traumatic, certainly. But, not the worst. When your grandmother passes away of a sudden heart attack in ten years, that will be worse. When your favorite dog, a sheltie named Cocoa, whom you won’t get for another two years, dies in fifteen years, that will be worse. You’re going to marry the wrong woman in seventeen years and get divorced in twenty, creating disarray and turmoil that me, your thirty-one year self, is still dealing with even though he is now married to an amazing woman. That will be worse. Your favorite uncle Dale is going to pass away from cancer in twenty four years, that will be worse.

What’s about to happen is going to be bad and traumatic. It’s going to lead to a series of irrational fears. I want you to know this is a real legitimate fear. There will someday be twenty nine million websites dedicated to this fear. You don’t yet know what websites are but someday, you won’t be able to stay away from them. The entire world will be hooked. I highly invest you buy some stocks in companies in like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace (though, with MySpace, sell early. It’s going to peak around 2008 and then fizzle and die like a bad fart).You’re going to turn into a night owl as a way to conquer this fear, as the event you fear is more likely to occur at night then it is during the light of day. This fear is the fifth most common fear in the world, though it’s rarely diagnosed because it’s cloaked with fears like the fear of heights (which you also have. I can’t help you there. Still working on that), claustrophobia, the fear of flying, agoraphobia, etc. The fear you’re about to develop is normal, even if it is irrational. People like Matt Lauer, Cameron Diaz, Howie Mandel and Denise Richards—people whom are famous now—share this fear. You’re not alone. Take heart.

In the classroom, you emerged from your sleepy haze to see Ben walk in the room. Ben looks sick. He has a long horse face, round glasses and a crew cut mullet. Mullets will go out of style in a few years, though some folks will refuse to get rid of them, even as their hair begins to recede. He’s wearing a beige sweater and grey slacks. He was always a fine dresser and a total brainiac. He’s probably living on a yacht somewhere with a beautiful woman, and a back account bulging with interest. But those days are a ways away. Right now, let’s focus on that day that you remember with such vividity. That day that’s going to cross your mind fairly regularly, even twenty five years after. Aside from Mr. Wing’s orange desk and male patterned baldness, is the only thing you’ll remember from first grade.

You looked back at Ben and you smiled. This was normal for you. You were a very friendly kid and you weren’t jaded yet. That didn’t start to happen until you change schools two years later and became a constant victim of taunting and ridicule. There, at Clackamas Elementary, you were popular and well liked, even if you did get teased occasionally for befriending “Elizabeth the Retard” and Michelle Tonwshend who, next year on the school bus home, is going to plant her ugly lips on yours on the school bus on the way home. Don’t sweat it. No one is going to see it happen and you’ll never see her again after second grade. Let her have her moment.

Ben didn’t smile back. He just laid his head on his desk, his face contorted in an ugly sneer. You were not yet concerned until, suddenly, he burst from his desk, placed his hands on his stomach and groaned his way to the classroom door. He didn’t make it and a jet of grey, chunky vomit erupted from his mouth and splattered on the checkered tile. Your froze, unsure how to act and huddled deep in your desk, terrified by the retches, abhorred by the odor. You covered your ears tightly with your hands . You tried to hide your face but instead saw a girl named Julie in her blue dress get caught off guard, nearly walk into the vile bile and jump back, screaming and crying. Centuries of time went by before Mr. Wing returned and began to pat Ben on the back and run his fingers through his hair as he finished his awful affair. He began to cry and Mr. Wing gently walked him down the hall and out of sight. You could hear the sobs of your classmates, but you were still alone in the room. His vomit had splattered across the doorway, forming a grotesque fence that no student, least of all you, would dare cross.

You developed emetophobia. It’s most common in women (many emetophobic women will abstain from motherhood in order to avoid the morning sickness of pregnancy) but don’t let that make you feel like less of a man. You take great measures to avoid vomiting. No one likes it, but you, and other emetophobics, hate it. It scares you. The helplessness, the sounds, the smells; you would rather be sick for months then experience even the momentary displeasure of vomiting. This is irrational, but very real.

You keep your fridge stocked with ginger ale, tortillas and bread, because these soothe the nausea. Pepto Bismol will become your constant companion. Vitamin C and Multi-Vitamins will flood your system, creating very expensive urine. Your immune system is top notch, I must admit. You will actually not even vomit for twelve years, and the only reason that that streak ended was because you unwisely mixed marijuana with whiskey. I would caution you to avoid that mixture, but, you’ll remember, you survived that. It didn’t kill you. You’re afraid of cancer, not because of the mortality rate, but because of the symptoms of nausea and frequent vomiting. This fear at times takes over your life.

You avoid the sick. Last Christmas, your best friend Travis, and his wife were visiting from California. They developed a flu that Travis (you know him already, but you’ll get to know him even more. You’ll be the best man in his wedding, he’ll be the best man in your first wedding, and an avid supporter in your second) referred to as “Montezuma’s Revenge.” You avoided seeing them for fear that you would catch this bug and find your face over a toilet bowl. They come up once a year and you avoided seeing them until the last possible day because you were worried you might get sick.

You will develop a fear of staircases and stair wells, for fear that someone may vomit over the edge and splatter you with it. This fear seemed irrational until last night when you saw vomit over the railing of your apartment complex, in the hallway where you walk up the stairs to your apartment with your dogs. You shudder at the thought that you could have been there and witnessed the vile act. You nearly gagged when you thought that you could have been splattered with it, and, again when you nearly stepped in it and caught of a whiff of its acrimonious odor.

No one likes being sick and it’s wise to avoid it at all costs. It’s bad for your teeth, it’s hard on your muscles and it’s an unpleasant, helpless experience; but it’s also an unfortunate part of life. You know it makes you feel better and you know it’s only a temporary thing. I’m not suggesting you go out and vomit. I just want you to not be so scared of it. If it happens, it happens. Keep drinking your ginger ale and eating your tortillas. Keep working to be healthy and keep asking God every night that you won't wake up and need to rush to the bathroom.

I’m sorry you were by yourself when that happened. I’m sorry there was no one to explain to you that vomiting is a perfectly natural thing and is just one of the ways your body purges illness and poison from its body. It may very well one day save your life.

So, avoid it if you can, but don’t fear it. You may never vomit again after the Marijuana and whiskey incident. I hope you won’t, you hope you won’t. But, if you do, just know that you have a loving and supportive wife who will take care of you. Don’t be embarrassed. Everyone does it. It may be disgusting and humiliating, but that passes.

Don’t be afraid anymore. I beg of you,

Love,

Your adult self.

PS: Don’t waste your money on Spiderman 3 or Patch Adams . Those movies sucked.

PPS: Your first two tattoos were stupid. You should have gotten nautical stars instead.

Other phobias you may Not Know about

The fear of Halloween? Yes. Samhainophobia.

My poetry collection

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY)IS A POET, SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHY AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION, DIGGING TO CHINA, WAS RELEASED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND THROUGH YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW FICTION (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW, BURNINGWORD, SEE SPOT RUN AND THE BELLWETHER REVIEW. HE CURRENTLY SERVES AS MANAGING EDITOR OF EPOETRY MAGAZINE AND THE BRIDGE ONLINE NEWSPAPER.

HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOSTWRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.

PLEASE VISIT HIS PROFILE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION. THANKS!

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Comments 78 comments

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 18 months ago from California

This is so touching--beautifully written and so very human--


Lori 2 years ago

Emetophobia CBT research study in San Diego, Ca. Go to Vphobia.com for more information.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 2 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

It is a lot more common than people think. Identifying the source is helpful. HAve you considered journaling about it and seeing if you can jog up some memories?


Hackslap profile image

Hackslap 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I have emetophobia.. I hate it when I feel like throwing up and do everything possible to avoid it ..I can't hear anyone retching let alone see anybody else throwing up...don't know where the issue stems from... but I certainly have it..


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 2 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

CAT, THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENT. EMETOPHOBIA IS AN IRRATIONAL FEAR BECAUSE VOMITING RARELY HURTS YOU AND ACTUALLY HELPS YOU TO FEEL BETTER. BUT, THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT ANY LESS TRAUMATIC FOR WE EMETOPHOBES. I STILL HATE FLYING AN DAVOIDING IT ALL COSTS, YET, I FIND MYSELF STRANGELY INTRUGUED BY VOMITING... MAYBE THIS IS MY FORM OF IMMERSION THERAPY? ANY WAY, THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY. SOMETIMES KNOWING THE SOURCE MAKES IT EASIER... DIDN'T MEAN TO YELL. PUBLIC COMPUTER ANDACCIDENTALLY HIT CAPS LOCK.


Cat 3 years ago

Thank you for the post. I have gone back through my 30 years, remembering every time (less than 6) time I've vomited and cannot figure out what it is that bothers me. Of course I don't like it. No one does. Though, it'd be nice to be one of those people who can just get it over with if they're not feeling well. Anyhow, maybe I've been perusing my history for the wrong memories. As I read your story, I remember being walked down the hallway of my kindergarten. I don't remember where I was going, but I remember a tall girl with short, curly read hair. I remember what she was wearing. She was being led down the hall and she didn't look good. The memory is a bit of a flash after that, but she vomited in the hallway, rather violently, which is most vomiting anyway, in my opinion. It doesn't hurt me to think of this moment right now, but my emetophobia developed somewhere in my past. Through self hypnosis I had calmed myself some over the last few years and have even gotten sick (although, I did fight tooth and nail for 5 hours to not vomit and finally just gave in). On a recent night trip to Europe from the states, however, I started feeling queazy on a very bumpy flight (that served Indian cuisine). I already felt sick and panicky and then I heard a dreadful noise 2 rows back. A man had vomited all over the floor. It took hydroxazine to calm me down and sleep the rest of the flight. I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy my European trip, however, I started dreading the flight home 4 days before we left and drugged myself to fly home. (FYI: The return flight was lovely, not bumpy, and during daylight...but still 10. 5 hours). I don't know why I type all of this here...I just hope that maybe we could brainstorm and think of methods to rid ourselves of this fear associated with a distant memory...


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks do much for the kind words. I'm always pleased when my work touches people. Thanks for stopping by!


Emetophobic 3 years ago

This brought tears to my eyes. Not because it was a very sad account but because everything after "I’m sorry you were by yourself when that happened" was something I've wanted to hear for a long time instead of "just get over it", which I have grown to HATE and is so thoughtlessly suggested by all of these non-emetophobics. Seeing sympathy and understanding, rather than bitterness and hopelessness in the face of the fear, really made me feel much better about having this phobia and realizing it's not entirely my fault. Instead of trying to face and challenge the fear head-on from every directly as suggested by so many people with no clue, I love what you have to say instead: " avoid it if you can, but don’t fear it". Thank you so much for sharing this heartfelt letter.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks a lot, Phobichelp


phobichelp profile image

phobichelp 3 years ago

Great article and fantastic writing. The connection with vomiting to an anxious or humiliating incident can be a real trigger. This might help

http://phobiatreatement.org


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Nick, I'm sorry to heat how this phobia has affected you and I truly hope that this HUB will help you heal. I strongly advise you to write that letter to yourself. It can't hurt and you deserve to live your life! Blessings to you!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Pamela, that's terrific story about your little granddaughter. Sounds like she's very wise and mature. I think one of the reasons I have never wanted children is because they have a tendency to get sick a lot, and bring sicknesses home with them. That's about the last thing I want. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Mrshoki.. I think most of us hate it... it's a most unpleasant experience to be sure. Thanks for reading!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Hey Tim... thanks for sharing your story. It's nice to see you again and I hope life is treating you well. I'll need to drop by your page and see what you've been up too.

Take care, my friend!


Nick 3 years ago

Thank you. Now I must sit down and write such a letter to my nine-year-old self. This awful thing has ruined my life for so long and has caused me a lot of unnecessary suffering. Maybe if I can do that I won't feel so afraid any more. Nice to know I am not alone but nobody I know has the slightest clue of the misery this has caused me.

51, and still that scared nine-year-old boy inside!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Like Andrea333 above, I think this was a great gift to your self. I have read how powerful it can be to address oneself and one's memories of something traumatic and try to understand it from everyone's point of view instead of just the six-year-old self or whatever age one was when the traumatic event occurred.

By the way, I have several grandchildren who just get sick once in a while and be as brave as possible for their ages but still cry and bemoan the fact while the fever and nausea is there. However, I have one little granddaughter, just turned four, who is positively amazing about being sick. It's happened at least three times in the past two years that she has gotten a stomach flu or bug of some kind and is so sick she cannot play. She just sits there and watches a movie, half asleep, with a bowl beside her. When she has to vomit, she does so, wipes herself with a cloth and goes on watching the movie until one of us grown-ups swoops in to clean her properly. Then she'll say, "I feel better now that I vomited." Her mom and I are so amazed at how brave she is -- takes it so in stride. This is a good example of how we sort of adapt to our circumstances. She has seen her brother and sister and mom and dad be sick a few times. She knows they live through it and are laughing and playing again the same day.

Voting up, useful and interesting.


mrshoki profile image

mrshoki 3 years ago from New Zealand

Great hub!! I have never heard of this phobia before and thought the way you presented it in your hub made for great reading!! I luckily do not suffer from this but I still hate vomitting!!


tsmog profile image

tsmog 3 years ago from Escondido, CA

Hello PDXK. Yeah, I'm still around and hoping to get into the flow again. Work stuff and other stuff too. Thank you so much for sharing this. I was not aware. Until this year I would not have been able to relate, now I can. Long story.

I guess foods are particular with choice as you said with breads. I can emphasize with the thought of Cancer and Chemotherapy. I have a fear of that as well yet closer to rational. When that occurs, not knowing if odd or not, my blood glucose drops like a rock in a pond. It becomes to the point of darned scary.

Again, thanks for sharing and being courageous doing so. Remember to smile and have fun, fun, fun . . .

tim


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks a lot, Thunder. I appreciate that.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Carla, thanks for stopping by and sharing your hub and your story. I'll stop by soon and have a read. Thanks for stopping by.


Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 3 years ago from Canada

Wonderfully written hub, entertaining and educating. Like many people, I had never heard of this phobia. It sounds as though you are getting a handle on it. Thanks for sharing your story in such an engaging way.


carlajbehr profile image

carlajbehr 3 years ago from NW PA

Justin, thank you so much for publishing this. I knew when I started Hubpages, this was also a topic I wanted to address. See my hub, Emetophobia - Fear of Vomit: The Fifth Most Common Fear in the World. This is my daughter's story and like you, she started at a very young age which made grade school and high school hellish. Once again, thank you for bravely sharing - this was an interesting and informative hug. Voting up!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks a lot Form. It's a common fear but, at the same time, not well known :-)


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 3 years ago from Los Angeles

We all have phobias, but yours has a medical side effect. Thanks for sharing this problem that I have never heard about before.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much, Agility. One of my goals is to bring this very real fear to the public forefront so it can be more widely accepted and treated.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for reading, Btrbell. I am aware of Chrohns Disease. From what I understand, it's very painful. I'm sorry you have to experience that. Thanks for commenting!


agilitymach profile image

agilitymach 3 years ago

What a great idea for a hub. Funny and educational all wrapped up in one. I had not heard of this particular fear, and I loved how you presented the information on how it began and how it affects your adult self. Great idea and great writing too!!!


btrbell profile image

btrbell 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

This was a great hub. I was mesmerized! I also have emotophobia but I never knew what it was called. It didn't stop me have babies but I did everything I could not to have morning sickness and I didn't. The funny thing about my situation is that I have Crohn's Disease! If you are not familiar, it iaffects the entire digestive system. Thank you for sharing thiss and in such an engaging way!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much for your kind words, Mandy. I think I have a lot more of these letters to write, but this is a start, certainly. If only we all had affordable and real time machines to enable us to not make any mistakes :-)


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Jim, Patch Adams was pay, but I should have waited to rent it instead of spending money at the theatre :-)


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Minnetonka. Since writing this, I've noticed my fear subsiding. These letters can be a big help and a nice cathartic release. I should have done it many years ago! Thanks for reading and for your words of encouragement.


Mandy M S profile image

Mandy M S 4 years ago

I love this hub. I wrote a letter to my 13 year old self about 5 years ago, just privately, after reading some of my sad middle school journals. After reading your hub I want to write a letter to my even younger self. I love that we can look back on the "us" of childhood and get beyond the emotions of the time and see ourselves for what we truly were and see how that shaped us and helped us become who we currently are.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I thougut Patch Adams was a pretty good movie, came back to comment again after I saw Frank's. But, then I am a Robin Williams fan.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

PDX-what a heart-warming letter to your younger self. I really appreciate you educating us on this phobia. I totally understand how it began for you after what you witnessed in that poor boy at school. Just remember my friend, we all have something we struggle with-whether it's vomit, small places, heights, fear of intimacy, etc...I know I have my share. My primary issue is definitely anxiety/panic attacks but I have learned strategies to help me. I thank you so much for sharing your personal story.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Glad I could help, Carlon!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Frank, that girl sounds like a genius. Maybe she's running ebay now or something :-)

It's amazing how much these types of letters help.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

ImKarn, that is kind of funny. and ironic. I'm glad you didn't succeed though. That shit's nasty


Carlon Michelle profile image

Carlon Michelle 4 years ago from USA

A nice humorous way to find out about my irrational fear. To think a name has been placed on it, research done on it, and therapy created.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

I too did not know what emetophobia was and I owe myself a long detail letter as well.. the girl I paid five dollars to to show me her underwear.. she brought it in a shoe box the next day.. Im pretty share that was a waste of money.. oh and Patch-Adams did suck LOL great hub my friend


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

well, i learned something today! Thank you PDX! Interestingly, i come from a background of competitive gymnastics. i left home at 14 and lived in a dorm in eugene oregon to train 6 hours a day. the first thing the other girls tried to teach me when i arrived was HOW to make myself throw up! It's all in one's experience, eh? This story was amazingly told - loved how unique your deliver was! i do not suffer from this phobia - clearly - even though i was never....successful at self-production..lol


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Cyndi. I'm glad you stopped by as well :-)


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks, Vellur. I't new to a lot of people. I want to raise awareness :-)


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cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Funny how we develop these irrational fears. I am so afraid of creepy-crawlies that I spastically and involuntarily convulse whatever limb, body part or even hair that some creepy crawly creature happens to touch. I've injured my poor husband when I involuntarily flicked my arm into his tummy, trying to get a creepy-crawlie off of me. So, though I don't have emetophobia, I have other irrational fears. I can understand on the irrational fear part so well. I think my fears developed when I sat on a red anthill when I was four, then my cousin got stung by so many bumblebees on her head that it looked like she had fuzzy curlers. After that, I just couldn't deal. Great story here. Glad I stopped by!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

This is new to me, you must have found it real difficult. Thanks for sharing.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Sue,

thanks. I can clean up dog vomit and poop just fine... but I couldn't do it with a child. I think one of the reasons I've never wanted kids is because kids puke a lot and I can't imagine dealing with that, or letting them make me sick.

Thanks, Sue!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Till. I wanted to make it engaging. I'd like to think this could help anyone suffering from any phobia... not just emetophobia.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Amy, an event like that would horrify me. It makes me sick just to think about it!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Sage. Experience as they say, is the best teacher. it's more effective to share an experience then to share simple textbook knowledge, imho.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

msviolets. Let me know what your research finds. I know they have an immersion therapy, but I have no interest in that. this letter was therapy enough!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Jim, try the letter... it'll help. I promise!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thansk so much Aubrey. i really appreciate that comment.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks HL. I wanted to make this semi lighthearted. Dragging everyone down by making this all sad and stuff, that wouldn't be effective.

I have never heard of Chiraptophobia... I imagine that wouldn't be fun. at all. I'm glad you are getting better and you should certainly consider a letter. Very therapeutic.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Tammy. i think everybody has phobias, whether they want to admit to them or not :-)


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Nell. There's many facets to this phobia, and my case is pretty isolated and mile by comparison. Some folks are crippled by it... but it's good to raise awareness of it!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Kimmie, thank you so much. That's very kind. It's always nice to hear from you.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

starmom, I did not know that. i'll have to add her to the list.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thansk Christy. I'm glad you were touched and glued :-)


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Blissful. letters are a great way to get out a lot of feelings, from anger to frustration to fear. I've been using them a lot lately.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much Suzie. nice to see you. Thanks for the comment and the share!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks, Andrea. Empathy is more of a curse than a blessing, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. it's what's made me who I am today, and I like who I am :-)


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Victoria thanks so much for writing and your comment and sharing this hub. So much of my writing I do for me and my own edification, but, I wanted to write something here that could also help others, and I think it has. Thanks for reading!


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Justin,

Beautifully written.

I have never heard of emetophobia before.

My sister is freaked out by vomit but if her dog is sick , she cleans it up and it doesn't bother her.

I am glad you wrote that letter to your six year old self. How scared he must have been.

Sharing

Take care :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

What a great idea, a letter to your six year old self, the perfect venue for this hub. You started it out so nicely and made it so interesting. I wanted to read more about your six year old self. Your future predictions were both hearbreaking and thought-provoking. Your talent shines through in this hub as in all of your hubs.

As the comments before me stated, this is a very useful hub for people who may be suffering from the same phobia as well as very interesting to those who are not.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I remember Denise Richards admission to this phobia on Dave Letterman several years ago. I figured that this might be classified as a phobia, but it was the first time I'd heard someone give it a name. I think the violence and dehumanizing, uncontrollable nature of vomiting makes it dreaded by the majority. You'd probably be surprised, PDX, at the number of people who might be classified with this rather common phobia. Just because people don't talk openly about it, doesn't mean it's rare. I would imagine it runs hand in hand, overlapping with some other control issues. Very well-written, detailed account of a disturbing event that most of us don't easily forget. In fact, when I was a child in parochial school, I witnessed an alter boy vomit next to the priest he was assisting during mass. It set off a chain reaction in the church of some children getting sick and a boy in the pew behind me, predisposed to fainting, passing out.


Sage in a Cage profile image

Sage in a Cage 4 years ago

Nice hub. I'm so glad you chose to wrote about your experience as all too often articles are written on such topics by individuals who have no experience of the phobia themselves. I love how you wrote it in the form of a letter to your younger self.


msviolets profile image

msviolets 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this story! My daughter has been having some mysterious issues; and I think knowing that emetophobia is a real condition might help with therapy. Off to do more research...


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I also did not know about emetophobia or that a lot of people suffer from it. This was a compassionate and, I hope therapeutic letter to that little boy you were. I probably owe my younger self a few letters like this. My wife even suggested a letter along this line to deal with something that has bothered me since my twenties. Very well done!


CrazedNovelist profile image

CrazedNovelist 4 years ago from Hampton, GA

Very interesting writing! :) I especially love the funny parts about what movies to buy and what companies to invest in. Only Biff from Back To The Future had that kind of knowledge lol! Giving advice to yourself is so ironic isn't it? Just things you've known all along, but neglected to realize. Then you're "I've got to go back in time and tell him!" I was reeled in from the get-go. You have a great aura with this article. Great work. Look forward to seeing you around!

-Aubrey


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HLKeeley 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Before I start raving, suggestion is to read over and find some little mistakes. They are just little spelling mistakes I stumbled over. Other than that I loved this!

I love the comedy incorporated into this, especially about Myspace. I never heard of this before. I do not like puking, but I am not afraid of it. There are so many fears, but acknowledging that you have a problem is amazing.

I have Chiraptophobia as defined by one therapist. Haphephobia defined by another. Basically, I have the fear of being touched. It is not fun. It is stemmed from being self-conscious about myself and other events. I am being treated. I can now hug someone and people can hug me, although I am very uncomfortable. I am working on this fear. I should write a letter to my younger self, but it will turn into a novel. :)

Great hub. Voted up and sharing


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

This would be a difficult phobia to have PDX. I don't like vomiting, but I don't have a fear of it. As you have read in my hub I have my own phobia. I understand how difficult it can be especially when there is no escape from it. Well written and very interesting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I was completely glued to the story too as Victoria said, I didn't know where it was going, but when you got to the explanation of what it is, I suddenly thought, hang on I know someone with this fear too, but I had no idea what it was called. I think its like anything else in the fact that if you are exposed to it at such a young age and it was so violent then it makes perfect sense, what a horrible thing to have to try to keep away from, and avoid yourself, thanks for sharing, nell


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

I can only say what I have always known about you! You are such a great writer, honest, down to earth, and I think you are such a gifted young man. Thank you for opening up about this.

Hugs my dear

Sunnie


Starmom41 4 years ago

Joan Baez wrote in her autobiography that she's always had this problem.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I have shivers after having read this hub. Thank-you for sharing the story of your family and about this condition, which I had not read about before. Your letter is so moving and like Victoria I was glued to it.


BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

That is a most interesting. Voted up. Using a letter is a powerful creative.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

What a well written article and I congratulate you for sharing such a personal story on a fear I was not aware of. I share Andrea333's comment on you being given a true gift in writing, and writing on this will touch so many. Congrats Justin, I have voted and shared on this excellent hub:)


Andrea333 profile image

Andrea333 4 years ago

PDX, What a gift to your six-year-old self. I'm so glad for his sake, and many others out there, you addressed the issue - brought it to light, explained it, offered healing and hope. I'm tremendously proud of you. As I read it, I thought to myself, "this is the best thing Justin has ever written". You've been given a gift to write, Justin and you've also been given a gift (and probably at times, what feels like a curse) of empathy. It would seem that both gifts emerged here and the results are powerful. Your empathy for you inner "Towheaded" child moved to write to him; your empathy for others gave you the courage to share.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Wow, you kept me glued to your story. I have never heard of this, but we do all have our own fears, I think. How brave of you to share this. This IS a very powerful hub in its content and how well it's written. I know you won't mind that I share this.

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    PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W. Price (PDXKaraokeGuy)742 Followers
    230 Articles

    Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award- nominated author based out of Portland, Oregon.



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