Anxiety, trauma, depression, phobia, eating disorder
I don’t like to use alias to hide my identity. I will be one hundredth percent raw and honest for those who want a need to know how I really felt and dealt with most of my situations.
My name is Xochitl and I am a recently turned, 22 year-old female. All my life I was a cheerful and outgoing girl. There was never a day I was called or considered dull. People and friends called me a very loud and bold girl and those who were close to me knew I was one heck of a crazy person. Where there was me, there was commotion and fun-times. And I’m not begging to sound cool or popular because I wasn’t. I was only part of a clique that liked to categorize people by how often you travel or do the most things for fun. I stood in the middle of the chart.
Everyone seem to “know” me, or claimed to “know” me well enough to be asked “what’s wrong”. Most of those friends that I “could” confine with. Weren’t really the best of choices but at the time the closest living things I had that can respond back to me for feedback. My thoughts where an immediate “I can trust them. They’ll understand and be more mindful of me”.
The moment I first told one close person, I was waved off and told that I just needed to let it go and not think about it if it scared me that much. That is when it struck me that my very own personal fear was being viewed as weak and lame. Ever since then, I never once told a soul ever again.
You’re probably wondering what my fear and my nightmare is, well, it’s the idea of vomiting/throwing up/puking. Ever since young me experienced it for the first time, I hated it with a passion. The feeling of having no control over your very own body sucks and it’s horrible. The last time I ever threw up was also the second time I ever vomited in my life and it was back in 2010 making it 8 years to be exact. The memory still runs crispy clean and never fails to shake me up. In a bad way that is. There was two occasions where I almost vomited but I prevented it from happening by taking remedies.
The second time I almost did vomit was engraved in my memory. It wasn’t caused by overeating or sickness, it was caused by sudden change of atmosphere. And it was probably the worst ever as it led to more psychological events.
After the whole false alarm, it started plaguing my thoughts and one thing led to another.
Whenever I do throw up or close-call throw up, My appetite disappears for an entire week. I don’t eat anything and I don’t feel the hunger until the next week. But for some odd reason, this time it dragged along and I, skeptical at first, went along with it. I didn’t want to make my body uncomfortable by putting random food in it again.
Now let me explain to you what happens to me when I witness throw up or I end up vomiting. My whole body clenches tight-tight that every bendible part in my body ends up tucking itself and I end up crouching and folding my limbs, fingers, joints(?). A cold sweat breaks through my entire body and some certain parts feel prickly and heated (like my buttocks and my thighs). My hands and feet are solidly frozen and my fingers, seem to look like they have been shocked and couldn’t be put away. I start hyperventilating which causes my mind to go on a frenzy thinking I will throw up (or I can’t stop vomiting). I definitely start shaking massively and words won’t come out my mouth or I can’t move at all. 99.9% of the time all of this happens while in tears.
Anyways, I started eating slow and not enough which my mom thought was weird. I mean she’s always seen me turn "She-Hulk" on Thanksgiving nights— but didn’t really bother to poke at my oddness. Everyday it went from visiting the pantry to at an ungodly hour to eating just saltine crackers. My mind started to rewire and process that whatever I eat, I will end up puking it out. I hated it. So I opted to just limit my eating to Saltine crackers.
I’ve read before that saltine crackers help you stomach fluids ease about. And Ginger root (tea) is great for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, etc. so I put two and two together and came about with only eating the two items everyday. I got used to it.
As I said about it leading one thing to another, my food intake started affecting my body image. Loss of weight (I was very happy at first but slowly edge myself to concern), thin wrists, black eye circles, rashes, inflammation around throat area, yellowish skin, I had to do something and my best bet was to eat again.
This is were I couldn’t eat anything anymore without the feeling of gagging or nausea getting the best of me. For every bite I tried taking no matter what meal, snack, or appetizer, I couldn’t swallow it without getting flashbacks of throwing up or vomiting and I hated it, thus creating a fear for eating anything.
Believe when I said I lost significant weight (still am) at an alarming rate. Just within under two weeks I lost about 10 lbs! And since then kept losing weight so suddenly it started showing on my face. My limbs became boney and my back became more painful to tolerate. That’s right, my joints were starting to ache. My parents would often nag at me to eat and we all know nobody likes to be forced fed into anything. The feeling is uncomfortable. Very, uncomfortable.
There would be times where I would feel hunger and even crave things but once the food was set in front of me, oh my, the appetite I once had was gone. This happened a lot. I would look at mukbang videos and my stomach would growl or my hunger would get big but nothing else came out of it. I would crave it only to have it subside in a couple of minutes. And it went on like this for a couple of months.
My mind suddenly went for a darker moment in life. I started thinking the what if’s. What if I could never get better? What if my stomach doesn’t stomach anything anymore and rejects it? What if my stomach became sensitive? What if whatever I eat, I end up throwing it up? Will I ever be able to eat again? Can my mind stop making these images of me throwing up or vomiting?? All of this led to my newfound anxiety. And I suffered anxiety in a bad level for the first time on my own, after I triggered it. And me being very quiet about it didn’t help at all. Which was a bad decision in my life. Anxiety led to my depression. And all the thoughts and such became such a scary thinking thought that’s I just resulted in not eating anymore.
My mind seriously couldn’t process anything without it leading to unhappiness. My body will physically freeze and lock all joints and shake in place. It was horrible. Plaguing thoughts would circle all around me and there would be times where I would be in pain and all could think about is “I’d be fine right now if a bus ran me over.”
My mom couldn’t take anymore of this so she finally called it quits on me being very quiet about it (didn’t know and still doesn’t know what goes on in my mind) and settled to take me to the hospital. In the hospital, they did a lot of tests and questioning and concluded that I had hit depression and beginning stages of an eating disorder.
For two whole months, I didn’t eat anything besides crackers and ginger root tea.
I lost weight so bad, I looked like a skeleton.
My depression increases as did my anxiety and I found myself in useless situations. Oh, and a lot of emotional breakdowns.
Meals didn’t appeal to me at all and I’d reject every dinner/supper time and/or lunch dates with my friends.
My relationship with my best friends became strained. And that did nothing but feed my depression.
I know some might be expecting this story has a happy ending but it doesn’t. And it isn’t a bad ending either. As I’m typing this, I’m currently still in this situation and I want to change. I don’t want to give up to my depression or to my phobia emetophobia. I have really high hopes to get better and will work hard to get better, something you should definitely give a try if you have the same fear as me or any fear at all, really. I’m not giving up on happiness and you shouldn’t either!
I’m soon starting my first therapy session soon. I still have a while to go but better than nothing right? It is what it is. Appointments take up to two weeks to be made. But it’s worth the fight I will be in.
Just know you’re not alone in any of this. Whether it’s a fear you think is embarrassing or ridiculous, or a mental health issue you think it’s a burden, you are not alone and you can definitely get better. Everything becomes serious if it begins to harm you.
We will get through with this.