What Is It Like Suffering From Emetophobia At University?
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What Is It Like Suffering From Emetophobia At University?

Victoria Causley October 15, 2022

If you don’t know what emetophobia is, then you’re lucky! But if you do, then you might be relieved to have found this article before you head to university. I know when I went, it was the one thing on my mind. Drunk nights, lots of new people and being away from home…I know the feeling. But don’t worry! This article will remind you why you don’t have anything to worry about. Coming from someone that has been there and done it!

What is Emetophobia?

So, if you don’t know what emetophobia is, here’s the official definition. Emetophobia is an extreme fear of vomiting, seeing vomit, watching other people vomit, or even feeling sick. And I know it’s not easy for sufferers of it to even read a sentence explaining what it is. This is because it can actually affect those that suffer from emetophobia in a variety of ways. This can include avoiding seeing sick on TV or in movies, avoiding hospitals or sick people, the inability to describe or hear words like ‘vomit’ and avoiding places where you’ve felt sick.

If you’re relating to any of this and you’re struggling with it at university or you’re planning on heading there, here are some tips to guide you through.

Tell everyone about your phobia

It’s not easy and, to be honest, I used to make light of my phobia just so people were aware of it. I told my housemates and it made them far more considerate. If they were ever sick, they would make sure that they used a bathroom away from my room. And they didn’t discuss associated things around me. They’re your friends and they will support you.

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

Don’t be afraid to remove yourself from uncomfortable situations

People often don’t understand emetophobia if they don’t have it. They can’t make comparisons between things like the fear of sharks and the fear of sick. But they are in the same category. A phobia is a phobia. If a conversation or situation is making you uncomfortable, then take yourself out of it.

You’ll be genuinely surprised by how common it really is

When I went to university, I found that two people in my halls actually suffered from emetophobia too. I had come from a little seaside town so had met barely anyone that suffered from it before.

Try to meditate to relax when in a situation of panic

However bad your phobia is, relaxing will always help. Try to take some deep breaths, distract yourself by watching Netflix or doing something you enjoy, and try to bring yourself back to reality. As scary as it might seem, it’s really not ever as bad as you expect. Try calming and meditation apps too.

Don’t let it rule your life

As easy as this is to say, don’t let it ruin your life. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and focus on other aspects of university. You’ll find that you become so distracted and comfortable with the people you live with. Your phobia won’t affect you any more than it does now, if not less.

So don’t let emetophobia get in the way of your university journey. You’ll grow from the experiences you go through, and your phobia doesn’t define you. Remember you’re never alone and enjoy university life.

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Victoria is a writer from Devon with a passion to raise awareness of period positivity and women's health. She has always enjoyed writing and studied History at Cardiff University, where she wrote her dissertation on the 'Attitudes towards Menstruation in the Early Modern Era' and received a Bachelors Honours Degree. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach, travelling and spending time with her family and friends.