I am having a panic attack right now, as I write this. It’s about a 6.5/10 on the how-bad-is-it scale. I am having this panic attack because my stomach feels a bit wonky, and I also forgot to take my acid reflux medication today so my gag reflex is acting up.
A funny thing just happened, though. My husband, Jefferson, was about to go to bed. I can’t sleep while my stomach hurts, so I went to my office (where I am currently typing this blog post).
A few minutes ago, I got up to go the washroom and passed by my sleepy husband on the way. He knows to basically leave me be when my emetophobia acts up, but he also wants me to know he cares.
“Honey,” Jefferson said. “Let me know if you need anything, okay?”
“And if you feel bad…you know…mentally…”
“Don’t worry, it’s just a good old stomach-related panic attack.”
“Oh, good! Goodnight.”
I didn’t realize how odd that exchange was until I sat back down in my office chair. For most of my life, my panic attacks were directly related to my phobia of vomiting. Sometimes, they would happen because of my fear of illness and death. But lately, they have become something much more sinister.
My anxiety has become mixed up with depression. My panic attacks no longer come and go with stomach pain, but instead, I can’t really place their cause. I feel hopeless and scared and sad and like I will never recover. They last hours and hours, and exhaust me to the point where I can’t do anything else for the rest of the day.
But today, I had a good day. My anxiety and depression were controlled. I wrote my final summer school test, I cooked dinner, I did a devotional. I was okay today. Until my stomach started to hurt.
A panic attack rolled in. This time, a familiar feeling. An old feeling. A non-threatening feeling. My good old emetophobia once again messing up my evening. And for some reason, I was okay with that.
I mean, I probably shouldn’t be. But honestly, it was a relief to worry about something so…insignificant. My stomach-related panic attacks are predictable, and “curable” (if they get bad enough, there’s always Gravol!) They usually tire me out within half an hour and then I fall asleep.
I’ve had emetophobia since I was eight years old. It’s not that I’ve gotten used to it, but I’m just more…comfortable with this part of my anxiety. It probably sounds weird because obviously, I logically know it makes zero sense, I already admitted that vomiting is insignificant, and I am fully aware of the phobia. And yet, here I am, panicking about it.
Well actually, I’m starting to get to that sleepy stage. So I’m going to go. Goodnight.
P.S. No title art because I’m too tired to open up Photoshop right now.