Ever since I was a little girl, I have suffered from something called emetophobia which has recently caused me to develop panic disorder and anxiety. I have always struggled to speak openly about this to people because I have always felt vey embarrassed and stupid.
‘Emetophobia is an intense phobia that causes overwhelming, intense anxiety due to vomiting. This specific phobia can also include subcategories of what causes the anxiety, including a fear of vomiting in public, a fear of seeing vomit, a fear of watching the action of vomiting or fear of being nauseated. Even the thought of someone possibly vomiting can cause the phobic person to engage in extreme behaviors to escape the perceived (and sometimes very real) threat of that particular situation, in which the phobic person will go through great lengths to avoid even potential situations that could even be perceived as “threatening.”‘
Although to some people, this fear sounds completely irrational and a little daft but emetophobia is one of the most common phobias, and effects more women than men. I have always hidden my phobia away from friends and family (as much as I can – without obviously freaking out if someone tells me they’ve recently had a tummy bug) and have always thought that if people are aware of it, they would either laugh at me or tell me I’m stupid. What I have just realised is that everyone, in their own way, is going through some sort of battle. Whether it be as extreme as my phobia, or less or more. I have recently become a lot more open about it since I have been to the doctors and been dignosed with generalised anxiety disorder, I have decided to actually do something about it.
Surprisingly, it does help when you tell people what you are feeling and why. I am still trying to help my parents understand the condition – I don’t know whether it is because mental health wasn’t really spoken about when they were younger, or it was avoided that they struggle to come to terms with it all.
Anxiety is also very common and not really spoken about. Since I have had a full time job, I have struggled and put a lot of pressure on myself to attend every single day, which has backfired quite drastically and ended up with me having numerous panic attacks and having a lot of time off work. I think everyone needs to be more aware of anxiety and the symptoms of a panic attack, as it can be so frightening for the person experiencing one. I’m not sure how others feel, but when I am having a panic attack, I feel that I need to escape the situation I am in, or the building I am in, and be alone to try and calm myself down. Sometimes I call or text my boyfriend and he also helps me calm down- being smothered or surrounded by people can actually make the situation so much worse, so it’s always best to give the person space (unless they ask otherwise)
If mental health was spoken about more, and people were not so afraid or embarrassed about it, I think it would make a lot of people’s lives easier. People can be so quick to judge somebody with mental health problems nowadays and could automatically put them into the category ‘crazy’ but there are so many different types of problems and severitys on the mental health spectrum, and a lot of people can recover from their problems with professional help. Mental health is not something to be afraid of or embarrassed by, it’s something to overcome and work with, makes a person who they are, a part of their unique personality.
I think we need to spread the awareness of mental health positively to achieve amazing things 🙂 have you been affected by mental health?
Lots of love, Laura x