i’m petrified of puke

dear heather,

I have this fear of puke. Pretty stupid, but I hate it. This fear is ruining my life. I don’t like to go on boat rides, plane rides, car rides with people I don’t know too well, go to the bathroom in public places, etc.–just because somebody could get sick. I don’t know what it is, but nobody really understands and they think less of me for it. I want to be a mom when I get older, but I’m afraid to because if my kids got sick, I couldn’t deal with it. Please help me–I just want my life to be normal.

Fear can be a pretty useful emotion–it can keep you extra alert and can potentially keep you out of harm’s way. On some level, your fear of puke is this type of useful emotion. Generally speaking, puke is a sign of illness, and it is a fairly natural urge to want get away from and avoid illness. Also, there are no two ways about it–puke is gross!A little fear goes a long way, though, and it doesn’t take much for a helpful fear to turn into something that holds you back. Your fear seems as if it could be leaving you nearly paralyzed. One might even go so far as to classify it as a phobia at this point–an extreme, irrational fear. Luckily, most fears can be overcome, and by recognizing the ways in which your fear of vomit is controlling your behavior, you’ve taken a step in the right direction. You might want to try confronting your fear of puke by going on a boat ride here or there. The more you do it, the more likely will you be able to recognize that these activities do not automatically mean that someone will be getting ill, or that puke itself is gross, but can be tolerated (in case someone does get sick). This type of activity could possibly be very difficult, but it is worth a try.

If your fear continues to keep you away from your “normal” life, the next good step you might consider would be to talk about your problem with a parent or trusted adult, and possibly visiting a counselor or therapist of some sort. Together, you might be able to figure out the roots of your fear, as well as ways in which you can go about your life without constantly worrying that someone might puke.

Finally, it is important to remember that fear is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what you are afraid of. Though what scares one person may not scare another, most everyone is scared of SOMETHING–be it the dark, clowns, flying, etc.

take care,
heather


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