12. Life situations – Kids

In this last exposure step, it is important to face anything in life that has been avoided. For example, certain restaurants (or all of them) might be avoided because they are associated with getting sick. It is important to go to that restaurant and eat. Everything can be broken into smaller increments and this is no exception. If someone is checking whether food is cooked properly and the fear is excessive, stop checking. If school, spending the night, field trips, dental and medical appointments, etc., are avoided then move toward resuming all those activities. If car rides, roller coasters, boats, getting hot, etc., are avoided then it is important to do those things. The goal is to live life as if you didn’t have the phobia. Even if you still have anxiety, do it anyway. Make a list of any remaining areas of life that are still avoided because of the phobia and intentionally go do those things.

This is also a great time to do some random exposures. By this we mean to search for things online yourself. Go to YouTube, type in vomit, and watch whatever videos show up from the search. This is like real life where things are unexpected. The site http://www.ratemyvomit.com/ is full of images and videos. However, it is uncensored and you should get your parents’ approval before looking at the site.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Go back to this page and this handout of safety behaviors and see if any aspect of this phobia is still impacting your choices and actions.

Often people get tired of the process of facing their fear. It is hard work. However, if you don’t want it to come back, you need to challenge every part of it. In my yard, we cut down a crepe myrtle tree and had the stump ground out. We thought that was the end of it. We discovered there were still roots. Every spring, the roots send up shoots and try to regrow the tree. Anxiety can work like that. Make sure you get all the parts of it.

Take back your life! Anything that emetophobia has taken away because you want to avoid it, take it back!