I have majorly regressed with my emetophobia.
And while it is both frustrating, it is also encouraging (I will explain that one in a bit). This post is not just about my emetophobia though, it’s also about my dog.
I am regressing. My dog is regressing. We’re all regressing!
So, my dog is 9 months old now and his hit the “teenage” stage very, very hard. Some issues we thought he would grow out of (and it seemed he was growing out of) have actually gotten a lot worse. So much worse that in a panic, my husband and I hired a personal behaviourist to assess the situation.
Now, I won’t rant about dog behaviour because most of you probably don’t care. But the issue was, basically, our dog was afraid of everything but also easily excited. When he couldn’t get to something he wanted (i.e. another dog), he would redirect his excitement onto US in the form of acting like a lunatic on walks (jumping up, nipping, running in crazy circles around our feet). This is “high arousal” and all the articles I read online were basically like, “If you don’t get this under control now, YOUR DOG WILL ESCALATE INTO AN AGGRESSIVE MONSTER AND KILL YOU IN YOUR SLEEP.”
Like most things in my life, I definitely blew it out of proportion because the behaviourist said all his issues are manageable and not as severe as I thought.Want to know something ‘funny?’ My dog has anxiety issues just like me! Yes, he is fearful of pretty much everything. We already knew he was fearful (he is a rescued street dog from Puerto Rico so it’s no surprise he has some issues), but I didn’t realize just how many triggers my poor little pup has.
So now, not only do I have to work on my anxiety, but I have to work on my dog’s anxiety. I actually enjoy training him. I like focusing on other people’s (or…dog’s…in this case) problems.
Anyway, as my puppy regressed, so did I. Not at all related, but they did happen around the same time. My emetophobia has been pretty bad since the “incident” in October, but for some reason, over the holiday season, it got so much worse. For almost a week straight I couldn’t eat even a small amount of food after it got dark without enduring long and intense panic attacks. I lost 5 lbs in just a few days. I honestly felt like I was 8 years old again. It was as bad as it had been during my childhood. And it hasn’t been THAT bad since I was about 20 or 21.
Why is this encouraging? Well, it’s encouraging because as quickly as I regressed, I snapped out of it. Instead of turing those odd few weeks into a year-long struggle, I was able to get over it within the month. This has never happened before.
Usually when I regress that badly, it takes minimum a few months to recover. But this time, I worked through the anxiety. I ate regular amounts of safe food before dark. And then, I ate small amounts of safe foods after regular dinner time (dinner time is my biggest emetophobia trigger).
Last night, I was able to go out to a restaurant and eat dinner AT dinner time with only small amounts of anxiety! That is HUGE for me. Usually when my emetophobia regresses, I can’t eat out for months. Just two weeks ago I couldn’t eat dinner at home, and yesterday, I was mostly okay eating dinner out!
I will probably never have full control over this, but this gives me so much hope that I actually have much more control than I thought.