All in My Head This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 22, 2010
It's all in your head, Sarah. It's all in your head, I keep telling myself. I am coiled in a ball on the bathroom floor, gently rocking back and forth. Gradually, my accelerated breathing slows. Lightheadedness sets in, and I close my eyes to prevent them from aching. Bit by bit, I regain my conscious thoughts and the dizziness fades.

Feeling strong enough to gather myself off the floor, I look at the girl before me in the mirror. Her lips are white and remnants of tears streak her cheeks. Exhausted, I stagger out of the bathroom. Crawling under my once-warm sheets, I prop up three pillows; I don't like to lie down on a full stomach. Knowing I have school in the morning, I force myself to relax. I look at the luminescent numbers on the clock. 2:14 a.m.

I try to make my mind wander to topics like school or even boys, but all I can think about is the lump of food sitting in my stomach. With every toss and turn, I can feel the juices sloshing.

Only four dreadful minutes pass before I encounter the next wave of nausea. I don't want to throw up. I can see the gruesome scene of vomiting playing over and over in my head. Why can't I be scared of something else? Normal people are scared of spiders or clowns. What am I scared of? Throwing up.

I shouldn't have eaten before bed. I knew this would happen. I begin to panic; I can feel my chest tightening and my palms glazing with sweat. When I tell people I have a phobia of throwing up, I don't think they understand the full extent of it. They say, “Yeah, I hate throwing up too.” I don't just hate vomiting – I'm terrified of it.

On a daily basis, my thoughts seem always focused on throwing up. For example, in class, when I hear someone cough, burp, or even mention that they feel the least bit sick, I get paranoid that they are going to throw up. If I am watching a TV show or movie, I constantly worry that someone on the screen is going to throw up. I couldn't stay in the room while my classmates were dissecting a pig in biology because I was scared that someone might throw up, or that I might. I ended up having a panic attack and spending the rest of the period in the nurse's office. But I don't go to the nurse unless it is a dire emergency because I am scared someone might be there throwing up. I avoid school bathrooms because someone may have thrown up in them. I won't swallow big pills because I might choke and throw up.

I know my thoughts are irrational. When I am put into a situation where I begin to feel nauseous, I panic. I become irrational, I hyperventilate, I feel dizzy. I worry that I might pass out, but usually I can calm myself down. My mom used to tell me that it was all in my head. So, whenever I am freaking out, I tell myself it's all in my head because it's reassuring to know that I might not actually throw up.

Finally I begin to feel a little better, and relax against the pillows. I glance at the clock. 3:04 a.m. I turn onto my side and pull my covers up tightly. I can finally get some sleep.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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plebian_dreamer said...
Sept. 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm
My mom can't stand vomit, but I never really cared. I can't imagine fearing throw up (though no one really likes it). I'm sorry that you have this issue.
Hawkberry This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm
I am also an emitaphobic, and have been since third grade. My parents sent me to three anxiety psychiatrists, but I never had the courage to tell them what was scaring me so much. Reading this article was life changing because until now, I thought I was the only person on this earth to have this fear. I too see situations like long bus rides and anatomy classes as perfect opportunities for hell to break loose in my world of fears. I worry to death with the “what if's” and various si... (more »)
ThisLitIsBananas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm
This is almost like me...I get very paranoid about throwing up as well, though I don't have it as extreme as you do. 
_Snow_ said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm
wow I would hate that... I almost never throw up, so when I get the stomach flu I don't even bother going to the bathroom (although I do feel better if I'm kneeling by the toilet for some reason), but then one time this resulted in me throwing up all over my bed. oops. good luck in getting over this! (Assuming it's a true story) I got over my phobia of fire this year.
GibbleLibble said...
Nov. 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm
this describes mahh life-carly
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