Since I entered into this world of chronic, persistent nausea, I feel like I have become more pre-occupied with it. In general, most people hate nausea, and most people hate the end point of nausea. However, I would go so far as to say that I am afraid of nausea, and I most likely have a phobia of vomiting. I don’t know why, and I wish I could just stop it all. The nausea and the fear.
In the past few weeks, I feel like “sickness” has been everywhere. In addition to me feeling nauseous, people are getting sick with gastro, left and right – including poor little A. Now I am starting my rotation in the emergency department, so I predict there will be a large amount of sickness there, too.
In the last few months, I have noticed that I’ve been restricting what I eat to more bland and plain foods to avoid the possibility of indigestion, because I know that will make my nausea worse. I haven’t been eating as much because I feel that when I get over-full, I just get nauseous instead of just feeling full. Now I have a full out fear of contracting some kind of viral gastro illness, which will undoubtably lead to vomiting in my fragile state. This has gotten so bad that I have kind of become obsessed with washing my hands after I touch anything that could possibly be contaminated with andy type of infectious particle.
This is saying a lot, considering that I am usually one of those people who doesn’t enjoy washing my hands. I get really dry skin and I am very sensitive to commercial hand soaps, so even in public washrooms, I will only use water. Now I am washing my hands, with soap, constantly. I worry about putting my food down on my own counter, for fear that it will get contaminated. I’ve also been very put off by the idea of eating out, or eating food prepared by other people for fear that it might make me sick. I know this is not normal and probably bordering on obsessive worry.
I’m not worried about having any compulsions, like that something bad will happen if I’m not clean. I guess maybe the fear of getting sick would count. But if I’m not able to wash my hands, for example, it’s not the end of the world and I will go on with what I need to do at the time. I do know, however, that my anxiety probably makes this about 100x worse than it needs to be. My anxiety over being nauseous seems to bring on more anxiety induced nausea, and then the anxiety about getting sick feels makes it worse too.
I have been trying very hard to do more breathing exercises when I start feeling nauseous, as well as trying to distract myself. I am also trying to reduce my dependence on anti-emetic meds so I have been holding off before taking them and seeing if I can reduce my nausea by reducing my anxiety.
I know that my nausea started independently of the anxiety problem, but I am almost sure now that anxiety is making it worse… and I worry that it might be turning into something pathological.