Do you fear something? Like really fear it? As in you live your life trying to avoid it? Spiders, snakes, death, public speaking….vomit? Yeah, I live with the last one. As far as I know, I’ve always had this. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessing over who was sick, would I get it, when I last ate, should I be hungry, or if someone around me was looking a little…green. It’s all consuming and awful but really, I never put it into words.
Then, a former coworker sent me this podcast from “Stuff you should know” called “How vomit phobia works.”
I could have done that podcast. That’s my life.
I do all of the things it describes in the podcast, plus more. I only eat when my stomach is growling. I run when someone says they are sick. I wash my hands hard. I don’t use lotion regularly because the moisture might hold in the germs. I carry grocery bags around just in case. I didn’t want to get pregnant because of morning sickness. I can tell you every time I’ve thrown up. I am weird about food going bad or being undercooked. I plan my exits in case I, or someone else, gets sick. I always have a backup plan.
It takes OVER MY LIFE.
This time of year is really the worst. I feel like people around me are sick all the time and the risk of catching something that involves vomiting seems greatly higher. My kids are in school so basically we live in a germ dish. I want to avoid leaving the house for any reason. I want to hibernate until spring comes and the temperatures are warmer. I want to stay inside until the daylight lasts more than 12 hours. When these sorts of thoughts start surrounding me, I get very depressed. I truly do feel tired all the time. I’m sad. I’m cranky. I’m out of sorts.
Is it a cycle? Do I walk myself from anxiety and depression and back again?
Next week I’m starting with a new therapist. He focuses on some types of therapy that have been very successful in treating emetophobia and underlying anxiety. On the phone, he was also quick to address my depression, citing as a different issue.
But I have hope, finally.
Yesterday I felt downright giddy. Could this help me? If I treat the emetophobia, will the anxiety go away? If the anxiety goes away, what about the depression? Will those cloud that I’ve carried over my head for years finally be lifted? Could I finally be free from the clutches of my own brain?
It’s funny because as I thought of the word hope, I thought of my kids’ theme verse for school this year.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
The hope that I feel over this treatment, is so great. It’s almost so immense that I’m scared I’m hyping myself up for nothing. But think about the hope that God provides.
I have the hope (and the knowledge) that one day I’m going to be free from the grip for anxiety and depression. My life with be made perfect. I will not have to worry about any of this. It will all be amazing and glorious.
So while Monday might not be the day that all is made perfect, or even better, there is hope. I often forget how good hope can feel. I forget that it can pull me out of a dark place and make me feel good again. The hope we have in God is something that I should remember, and feel, everyday. I don’t often stop and think about that hope specifically, but this instance definitely reminded me what that hope should feel like.
So pray for me, if you do. Pray this new therapy can provide me relief and, hopefully, an earthly cure.