A huge thanks to those who openly share their mental illnesses. You saved my daughter.

We didn’t know that our teen daughter had an actual mental illness. We merely knew that she felt extra nervous sometimes — and it was getting worse.

She didn’t get excited nervous, like you’d feeling before you go on a roller coaster, or uncertain nervous, like when you’re facing a big decision. Hers was the debilitating various kinds of nervous, the kind that takes over your whole body and brain. The kind where instead of fighting or flight, you freeze, and nothing anyone tells seems to help.

It took us awhile to name it “anxiety” and even longer to discover that our bright, sweet girl was experiencing emetophobia, a specific anxiety ailment revolving around a anxiety of throwing up.

I can associate

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You may never have heard of emetophobia — I hadn’t. It’s a largely unknown but not uncommon anxiety ailment. And it is treatable, but it requires a specific various kinds of treatment.

The only reason we figured any of this out is because of people who were willing to openly share their stories about their own fights. Hearing and reading about other people’s experiences probably saved our daughter’s life.

Getting a correct diagnosis was key — and if it weren’t for other people being open about their mental health issues, I don’t know that we would have gotten one.

The first two therapists we took our daughter to treated her for generalized anxiety. I don’t know if they didn’t ask the right questions or if they weren’t familiar enough to place the signs of emetophobia or if our daughter just wasn’t forthcoming about her true anxieties. All I know is that the therapy techniques they used barely made a dent in her anxiety.

It wasn’t until I started noticing a pattern to our daughter’s nervous behaviors that I realized we’d missed something crucial.