Part-Time Living – The Emetophobia Story

So last week I said I was going to stop mitigating, and I broke that vow immediately. Shocker. But I sat around this week and thought, do I really need to post stuff about this? It’s not really affecting my life that much. I mean, except for the one night when I had a limited-symptom attack, it’s been a completely normal week. (I had the LSA because I had a dry throat and I was coughing. Coughing can make you vomit, don’t you know? Fortunately, coughing is something your body stops doing when it is experiencing an adrenaline rush, as I’ve learned from several similar experiences. So don’t worry – if you’re running for your life, you won’t also be having a coughing fit. Isn’t biology wonderful? This is the longest parenthetical note ever.)

Anyway. This week I’ve decided to talk about missed experiences, in an attempt to remind myself why we’re here in the first place. Let’s start here:


It’s not about the cookie dough, really. It’s about what the cookie dough represents. Eating raw cookie dough is something that literally everyone I know does. They even know why they shouldn’t be doing it, but they do it anyway. “I probably won’t get salmonella,” they say.

I probably wouldn’t get salmonella either. But what I would get is anxiety, for about 48 hours straight. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything other than my stomach until the danger zone had passed, and in all likelihood, the nerves would just make me nauseous.

So don’t eat cookie dough, you say. I agree, and I don’t. But it’s more than just cookie dough; it’s anything that I’ve told myself could possibly make me sick: Fast food. Dairy products. Meat. Fish. Eggs. Produce. Peanut butter. Caffeine. Alcohol. The first 4 items of that list has been removed from my diet, as of right now. I haven’t had an egg in weeks, but I like to think that I still would. The last few are necessities, obviously, because let’s face it, I have to eat something.

It’s not really the cookie dough, you see. It’s the ability to not have to spend my entire life terrified of my own digestive system. Because as of right now eating is a necessity.


Spoiler: The boats represent life.

Not actually. But until a couple of years ago, I had never been on open ocean. Then we went on a cruise. I’ll never know whether what I felt was motion sickness, or anxiety that the boat would give me motion sickness. But the first couple of hours on the cruise ship were hell. There was no way to escape, no way to control it, and I knew I was going to be there for the next 10 days. The most frustrating thing, of course, was that I was experiencing one of the most luxurious things ever, and it was all I could do to make myself breathe.

Then I took motion sickness medication, and it went away. So the entire trip wasn’t ruined, which is nice. But I hate taking unnecessary medication (it can make you vomit) and it still bothers me that I might not have needed anything at all.

It’s not just boats, either, just like it’s not just cookie dough. It’s also planes, cars, buses. I go on those things because I have to. But if it’s a plane, I’m tense the entire time, and turbulence just about makes my heart stop (I’m trapped in a giant metal can and surrounded by people who might vomit and there’s nowhere for me to go because I have to keep my seatbelt on because of the turbulence). If it’s a car, I’d rather drive – then I’m in control. And buses… Well, I like to avoid them, but they’re a necessary evil in school, so I just try to face forward.


If I could know one thing about myself, from some kind of omnipotent force that knows everything, I would want to know whether or not I want kids.

I don’t want kids. I don’t like being around them, I don’t want to have one of my own, and I certainly don’t want to be pregnant. But the truth is that I don’t like being around kids because they get sick way easier, and they are always exposed to each others’ germs. I don’t want my own because if they get sick, they’re going to be relying on me to be there for them, and I’m scared that I won’t be able to do it. And the pregnancy thing… morning sickness. Obviously.

If I got over my phobia, for real, would biology kick in and give me baby fever?


Dramamine, which is how I survived the first couple of days of my cruise. Then I got a long-term solution. But I enjoyed the dramamine, because it kind of felt like I had no gag reflex. If I could have that feeling constantly, I would. Is it possible to surgically remove your gag reflex? Because I think that would be easier than CBT.


Gaggy: The word I used to describe Throat Nausea, but not specific to that situation. It’s the feeling you get when your uvula is up to something. It usually means you’re going to get a head cold, but also signals the end of the world, so pay very close attention to gagginess.

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