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from emetophobia (fear of vomiting) to bulimia

My bulimia started only three months ago. It was in the morning when I first purged on purpose. I woke up, ate a huge amount of strawberry yoghurt, drank milk and then made myself throw up. I thought "I'm gonna die". My body was shaking. The food actually came up, and as it was out I was shaking and crying out loud for about an hour. I couldn't believe what I had just done. Since then, I throw up every day, several times a day. I didn't start vomiting because I wanted to be thin, I thought im okay, acceptable. I started vomiting because I was afraid of it, and this fear, which is called emetophobia, ruined my life. I suffered panic attacks, barely ate and washed my hands a hundred times a day because I was afraid to catch a bug or a virus. I wouldnt even go to public toilets because I was afraid to catch something. That was at the beginning two years ago. As time passed I learned to live with it and it got a little better. But still I was afraid and still I couldnt fully enjoy life. You have to understand that emetophobia, although it might sound strange at first, is a psychological problem as is bulimia, although of course bulimia causes more damage to the body. One night I told myself: you cant go on like this. You WILL throw up tomorrow, and you will do it until you are used to it and not afraid anymore. So I did it, and it was traumatising to me, I had panic attacks and back flashes of what I did afterwards, but I kept doing it and after a while of doing it it in fact got better and I kind of started to like it. It was my secret and I felt so strong because every time I puked I proved to myself that I overcame my fear. But today, as I was reading your stories, I understood that this road will lead me to nowhere, maybe to death. But I can't stop because I'm afraid that when I stop my emetophobia will come to life again. Sometimes I wish I could just die or hide somewhere. I dont know what makes me have such a sick, twisted view on vomiting. I just want this to end but I feel like it never will because when I'm not vomiting I'm like "oh god vomiting is the most terrible thing on earth" and when I do vomit I'm like "I'm so strong I'm doing now what I am most afraid of and I am still alive and I will keep doing it I'll never be afraid anymore". My therapist says it is actually shocking that I went from emetophobia to bulimia although she said this happens sometimes, also that bulimics become emetophobics, but she says that there must be something that happened in my life that I consider with vomiting and thats why I have this twisted view on it. Is there someone who has experienced something similar? going from fear to addiction?

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program