Emetophobia Help with Anna Christie

S4E5 Katie found recovery through a residential program

November 21, 2023 Anna Christie Season 4 Episode 5
Emetophobia Help with Anna Christie
S4E5 Katie found recovery through a residential program
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

I apologize for the audio quality of this podcast, but I thought the content was superior and it deserves to be heard. 

SEASON 4 of Emetophobia Help TRIGGER WARNING: Words such as "vomit,” “throw up” and "sick" may be used. 

Host: Anna Christie, Psychotherapist and Emetophobia Specialist

Intro Music: YouTube Audio Library, "Far Away (Sting)" by MK2, Used with Permission.

Anna’s Website  - INFO for emetophobics: www.emetophobiahelp.org

10 Emetophobia CLASSES with Anna: info at www.emetophobiahelp.org

Facebook Group: Emetophobia NO PANIC

ANNA & DAVID’S BOOK: Emetophobia: Understanding and Treating Fear of Vomiting in Children and Adults: Russ, David, Dr., Christie, Anna S., 

EMETOPHOBIA RESEARCH CHARITY: www.emetaction.org

FOR KIDS:
 "Turnaround Anxiety Program" with Emetophobia supplement (McCarthy/Russ) and 

 Emetophobia! The Ultimate Kids' Guide eBook : Russ. PhD, David

Support the show

Anna and David’s NEW Resource Website: www.emetophobia.net

Speaker 1:

Hi and welcome to A Metaphobia Help. I'm Anna Christie recovered, a Metaphobic and licensed psychotherapist specializing in a Metaphobia. These podcasts have a trigger warning of words associated with a Metaphobia. If you enjoy these podcasts or you find them helpful, you can buy me a coffee. Just scroll down in the notes, click on the link and for a couple of bucks you can support the podcast. So season four here we go. Dramaticị pupup of cockpit. You are you listening from down under? If so, I have a set of a metaphobia classes, 10 classes that I'm conducting, beginning in January, on a Wednesday afternoon here in Vancouver at four o'clock, which I believe is nine o'clock in the morning in Sydney, australia, it is also 7pm Eastern. If anyone is interested in these classes, the information is on my website at a metaphobiahelporg. So I'm here today with Katie and where are you calling from, katie?

Speaker 2:

I'm in Bozeman Montana. I'm in Bozeman Montana oh, montana, beautiful.

Speaker 1:

I have only seen it once, but it's what I did see was just lovely country there. So are you in the city or are out in the beautiful, some beautiful mountain area with horses?

Speaker 2:

in the city, but I wish I was in the beautiful mountain area with horses.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I can imagine. Anyway, let's, let's have you, let's begin by having you, if you don't mind telling us your story of your metaphobia from the time when it started. And from the time it started, what was it like?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I didn't really have any kind of like traumatic event or anything. It was just always kind of like a low lying thing in my mind and I wouldn't tell anyone because I would feel really ashamed. And I remember like the last time I threw up, which was over 10 years ago, I like was actively throwing up and being like wait, like is this really what I've been scared of this whole time, and that's like a moment. I think about often because, like when I didn't tell people about the fear, it didn't like become real. So it was actually less scary for me when I kept it to myself. But I think about that often, of the moment when I was actively doing the thing I was afraid of and being like this is not bad. And I remember, after throwing up, like laughing and being like happy and being like proud of myself for like doing this thing, I had been really scared up and realizing it wasn't a big deal. But then that was about ten years ago and then the phobia got worse during COVID because of all the talk of germs and contamination and Contamination. Ocd was something I had struggled with before. So when everybody's talking about it, that made it right that just made it a lot worse, and it got to a point where I Needed to get help, like I I needed to get better and like it was affecting my life in a way that hadn't before. So I tried some different things and Eventually decided to go to a residential program for 30 days, which ultimately Just helped me so much.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and just remind me again what, when do you think it started? Like, how old were you when you thought think it started?

Speaker 2:

I was young, I don't exactly remember, I was in elementary school, and I just remember, like always being afraid of it and I don't know why.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, well, that that's true for a lot of people. We don't know what causes it exactly, or, you know, we don't have any history of trauma or anything that that people can necessarily remember. Did you have a pretty good Childhood growing up, or what was it like for you? I?

Speaker 2:

Think it was fine. Um, like I wasn't ever like in trouble for throwing up, like my parents would like take care of us and everything. So I was just more scared of like how it feels to be out of control. I think is what it came down to. I just like kind of just felt like I always needed control over everything, and that's an issue I'm still like working through, but that definitely had to do with my metaphobia.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that's. That's pretty common for most people with a metaphobia and Most people with eating disorders as well. They want sometimes they just can't control any part of their lives. So they could, but they can control what they eat. You know so. And then for people with a metaphobia, it's more like Well, you can't control anything. You know any. Any uncontrolled Thing could just happen out of the blue at any time, and then that becomes really scary. Yeah, so you didn't like to talk about your metaphobia. You, at one time you were saying yeah, I thought, thought you made it worse.

Speaker 2:

Well, I just felt like embarrassed about it so I just like wouldn't talk about it or I would never like say the real reason I was scared or having anxiety. There was one point in time growing up where I just like could not Sleep, like I would wake up in the middle of the night and just like have anxiety attacks and my mom would have to sit with me and we'd sit outside and I would sip water and like it'd be like why is this happening? And I'm just like I don't know. But I did know and it's because, like I was scared, I was gonna throw up in the middle of the night. I just like was just embarrassed by it and didn't want to talk about it and didn't really even know the word for it until, like, I started doing some research about, like, how to heal it.

Speaker 1:

And then you found did you find any communities online that were helpful at the beginning?

Speaker 2:

At the beginning of things. I think the communities I found online were more detrimental than helpful. I was a frequent visitor of the, a metaphobia subreddit which a lot goes down there that's really not great for recovering.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've been there sometimes, but I don't go there as often as I probably should. But yeah, once second I've. There's a kitten in trouble here, hang on.

Speaker 2:

Oh no.

Speaker 1:

As in in trouble from in trouble from me yelling at it for going into a dresser drawer and going pawing through my tops that I just put in there folded nicely. Anyway okay, sorry, back to you. I'll edit that out, don't worry. I should write down the time kitten back in 643. So before you went into the residential program, was there any other kind of help that you got for your metaphobia, or did you try to do any self help, or did you ever go to a therapist?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I went to several therapists for both depression and anxiety, ocd and metaphobia things Okay, and nobody ever really knew what it was. They could treat the depression and medication certainly helps a lot, but it wasn't until like I started residential and was paired with a therapist who has worked with people who have a metaphobia that I feel like I was able to make a lot of progress, but I also made a lot of progress on my own before I went to residential, through reading the free yourself from a metaphobia book and reading the metaphobia manual and listening to your podcast and just like being very intentional about being in a recovery kind of mindset.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's great. That's so good for me to hear. I'm so glad that there are books out on the market now and well, there's this podcast. A couple of other podcasts have popped up, actually as well, and the more information that's out there, the better. To be honest, because I think what you describe of your therapist not knowing anything about it is the most common thing that happens to people who try to get help. For a metaphobia and did you find that reading the books, for example, or reading and listening to podcasts, did you find that it was that was difficult for you to really make progress on your own?

Speaker 2:

I felt like I was making progress, if I like, stuck to the work of like doing exposure and stuff. But like just reading the book and just listening to the podcast was not helpful unless I was doing something else with it. Like there were like many things I did like in the exposure hierarchy, but I feel like going to like this residential program where, like time was set aside solely for what's the word Exposure. I think that helped a lot.

Speaker 1:

That was yeah, alright, so we're just going to take a quick little break here, just a little break halfway through to let you know about resources that you can find. First of all, I teach a set of 10 classes for people with emetophobia and you can find information about those on my website at emetophobiahelporg. I also have a Facebook group called Emetophobia no Panic and you can look that up on Facebook. If you're listening as a therapist, there is a free website for you at emetophobianet. It has all the resources you need for free to treat emetophobia. Dr David Russ, child psychologist, and I recently published a book called Emetophobia Understanding and Treating Fear of Vomiting in Children and Adults, and it's available at all online booksellers. And now back to our podcast. So tell us about this residential program. Where was it and how did you come to take you know? Were you able to just go there or how did it work?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it's in Chicago. It was really hard to find a residential program that was not for, like addiction, co-occurring mental health issues, and it was also really hard to find one that was in my insurance.

Speaker 1:

But there was one in.

Speaker 2:

Chicago that had an opening, and so it was a really scary decision to be like. I'm gonna like share a room with someone I don't know, I'm gonna be in like a communal bathroom and I'm gonna eat food. I don't know where it came from, like all the common emetophobia worries. But like I knew, like I just had to do it because I was also struggling a lot with depression and I was at a time in my life where, like I wasn't in school and I wasn't working, so like I had the time to go away for 30 days and like looking at their like scheduling, like there were some residential programs that were more focused on like trauma and stuff like that, and I was just I just felt really lucky to find this one that was focused on like OCD and exposure response prevention therapy. It was just a really good thing for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that sounds like so. Can you tell us, because I'm sure people listening want to know what do you do there, like get up in the morning? Can you kind of walk us through a day in the life of the 30?

Speaker 2:

days, yes, so you get up, get ready for the day and then you have breakfast and then you'll have the like at the first class, like there are many different classes about different topics. There was like a shame resilience class. There was a like self image class. There were many classes on different things where you would get like handouts and like learn about that specific topic. But the thing I found most helpful was, I believe, on Tuesdays and Thursdays maybe it was Wednesdays and Fridays there was like a block set aside for ERP or behavioral activation, which for behavioral activation is if you're like depressed and like just activating your behavior, as it sounds. but then the ERP is you know the exposure, response and prevention. So you would have a therapy session once or twice a week and then you would discuss what you would do in that time in your therapy session. It was just time set aside to like I would watch videos of people throwing up like really gross videos on YouTube that just like aren't. Like I watched like comp compilations, compilations I don't know how to say that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah right, I don't know either. Compilations, I say I always say, but I don't think that's the right pronunciation either. I don't know A bunch of them altogether, like a, like a collage, except in video. Yeah, yeah, those are. Those are tough to take, aren't they? Because they're the kind of one thing run right after another. I don't have any. The only thing I have that's a compilation, is laughing at myself trying to say the same word is is one called I don't know 20 children's concerts gone long or something like that, and, and half of them are just funny and the other half are some kid throwing up, which I suppose some people find funny. But so were you watching these videos and so on by yourself or with a therapist?

Speaker 2:

I would do it by myself, but you could ask for like support before, during, after, but I preferred to just like put my headphones on and watch it on my iPad. So big screen, just people, just like throwing up. There was one video that's just disgusting, that like I still remember, but I watched it several times over the course of my treatment and I mean it's like I feel like I could watch it now and be okay, because I like desensitize myself a lot.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

But as what?

Speaker 1:

can you give us a brief description without the gory description of what the video was? I'm hoping it wasn't one on. That's on my on my website Go ahead, I don't remember where.

Speaker 2:

I think I might have just found it by searching YouTube. It was like two teenage boys riding a bunch of riding that spinny ride at like a fair.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah. And like eating and then seeing who throws up first, oh geez. Yeah, I'm sure it is. I'm sure it is, and that's the reason why, even though I don't have a phobia anymore, I don't go over to the rides part of the Pacific National Exhibition that we have here and walk underneath them, you know.

Speaker 2:

I might walk past.

Speaker 1:

That's just dangerous, yeah, but yeah, yes, and we'll say dangerous because you could. You know, something deadly could fall on your head, like a piece of metal or something, or you know.

Speaker 2:

I don't know if it's, but.

Speaker 1:

But nobody wants to get thrown out on. You know not when you're out for the day trying to have a good time. So those people aren't here, so were you. Did you have any exercises or things that you had to do in your residential program that were harder than looking at those videos?

Speaker 2:

There was a lot of like unintentional exposure, Because I was in downtown Chicago and we would frequently like go for walks around the city and I think I counted once there was like seven piles of vomit in one walk. Wow holy.

Speaker 1:

I haven't seen vomit on a sidewalk for about 30 years, but I live in the suburbs.

Speaker 2:

It was everywhere. I mean it was not to scare people away from going to Chicago.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, you didn't have to do any interoceptive exercises like pretending to vomit or spinning around or any of that.

Speaker 2:

My therapist talked about doing it, but we just like never really did. I would watch videos and then, like, eat a snack right after, or I would watch videos and eat a snack while I'm watching the videos.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. Good, and you found that at. Sorry, I know we're cutting in and out. We've got some issues with with connection today, but you found overall that the program was helpful for you. Like, what percentage of recovered would you say you are at this point?

Speaker 2:

I mean, I don't even say that I have a metophobia anymore. I say, like I used to have a metophobia, oh, that's great, because it's just not something I really think about anymore.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Well, I'm going to wrap up just because of our connection problems. But, katie, I think that you know I'm so glad you came today and we managed to get your whole story out, because a lot of people are afraid to go into these residential programs and some people especially for OCD or if you have depression alongside of your anxiety or if you need your medication regulated alongside of doing things. You know they're the absolute best and there are a number of them all over America. There's there's a good one in Toronto at Sunnybrook Hospital. There's one in, you know, in London, england. You would want to contact Dr David Veal. They have residential programs and there are a number of Rogers residential programs if you are a child, like a teenager, that are really really good. So thank you so much for being with us today and telling your story.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, can I just say one thing about recovery? Yes, please, yeah, for me I thought I could, I thought you'd be able to feel yourself like actively recovering with each step you take, but for me it was more like a switch of like, doing things that one day I could never have done before, like I remember going down a really bumpy road and being like I never would have done this three months ago. So for me, recovery is just like a switch of like. I can do these things like I never thought I would do.

Speaker 1:

Great yeah, that's, that's amazing, I'm so glad. All right, katie, thank you so much.

Overcoming Metaphobia and Seeking Help
Phobia Treatment
Residential Programs for OCD and Anxiety