The photo, as well as many others I show clients to have them gradually desensitize to vomit, brings up an interesting topic which is the title of this week's blog. How much of our inability to cope with vomit is anxiety and how much is disgust?
With anxiety, therapists use a standard "SUD" scale of 0-10 which stands for "Subjective Units of Distress." We ask clients (constantly, to the point we're annoying) to "give us a number." But the emotion of disgust is one of those interesting emotions that, at least at higher levels, is tied to anxiety. It's why some people faint if they see somebody with horrible injuries: the anxiety goes too high and all the blood drains from their head. The way I like to describe it is this: "When disgust goes too high, it pulls anxiety up with it."
What does this mean for emetophobics? Well, is the glass half-full or half-empty for you? If you're the half-empty kind of person it means that you will have to learn how to cope with some pretty disgusting stuff in order to get better. Sorry. If you're the half-full sort of person you can look at it this way: the perk of desensitizing your anxiety to vomit is that you also desensitize to disgusting things! So like...you could become a nurse in the end or one of those TV CSI people who examines bones and severed heads and such. (Can you tell which sort of person I am? haha)
If you think you're the kind of person who gets disgusted easily or gets squeamish then it will be an important part of your recovery to desensitize to disgusting things in general. The more you can handle looking at awful things, the less your phobia will be triggered in your everyday life.