This an odd and key anxiety trigger for me because it goes back the furthest into my childhood that I can really remember. When I was in 3rd grade I got the stomach flu like every kid does now and again. In the middle of the night I woke up and puked everywhere and then went back to bed like every kid does. However for some reason the experience haunted me for years. Maybe it was the details around the experience: waking up confused, still half dreaming, feeling nauseous obviously and unable to control what was happening. I don’t really know. But I do know I was deathly afraid of vomiting after that.
At that age in my life I didn’t identify with ‘anxiety’ per se, but I definitely experienced the symptoms I now identify with anxiety. I would avoid situations where I was scared I may become ill. It helped me to withdraw and that sometimes triggered social anxiety as well, something I hadn’t really experienced much of at that age in my life. If I slept over at a friends house I would be scared of going to bed wondering if I might wake up and need to puke in a strange unfamiliar house’s toilet. I became fearful of strange diseases, like appendicitis if I read somewhere that the one of the symptoms was vomiting.
This line of thinking went pretty far – for example it was absolutely incomprehensible to me that someone could be bulimic and vomit on purpose. I would always avoid roller coasters as a kid because I was scared it might trigger the feeling. My brothers called me a wuss and I felt like an outcast because of it. I now know it was the fear of the fear that I was avoiding, but it was debilitating in some regard, which is the point of addressing my feelings about it now.
Though I have come a long way in managing this trigger, it still lingers for me in combination situations such as flying (i.e. the thought of throwing up due to already being ill or bad turbulence heightens the anxiety of flying). This is in addition to the fact that I rarely puke. I have never gotten sick from food poisoning or after the experience above I have only thrown up on two occasions, a few times one day when I had the flu in 7th grade and once when I was super hungover when I was 25, some 6 years ago. Despite this, I still experience anxiety if I have indigestion from time to time and wonder if I am getting sick (and one of the physical symptoms of anxiety is to remove blood from the stomach creating more indigestion, which is one example of many of anxiety’s ‘self-fulfilling prophecies.’)
Anxiety Rating (out of 10): 7