I usually love this time of year. After the clocks go back, the nights draw in fairly quickly and it’s dark by the time most people go home from work. It means Christmas is coming, which I love. Cold weather means awesome jumpers, scarves and snuggling under a duvet while watching a film.
But, for the first few weeks of ‘winter time’ is pure hell for me. The ‘winter sickness bug’ (or Norovirus) does the rounds every year, without fail and I swear it gets more aggressive with each passing winter. Now, I know that most people will argue ‘well nobody likes being sick’, but it’s a fairly different ball game for me; I’m emetophobic. As you can imagine, this is a phobia relating to nausea and sickness. As Norovirus sets in for the winter and it attacks people at random (seemingly), I become a nervous wreck. Admittedly I usually settle down by the time we’re wrapping Christmas presents, but the next six weeks are going to be somewhat tense. It also means that I’ll be exposing people to my phobic behaviours. Some of these include (but not limited to): disinfecting my desk at work before I sit down, washing my hands before and after using the toilet (and intermittently through the day), opening doors with my elbows, or with tissue over my hands, refusing to get on public transport, panicking whenever my digestive system makes any kind of noise (I have IBS, this happens a lot) and my personal LEAST favourite, if someone so much as HINTS that they feel sick, I get up and leave the room. Doesn’t matter what’s going on in that room, I’m gone.
As I said, it does settle down, but it’s one of the most horrific phobias, because so many people are dismissive of it. I had a breakthrough recently when talking about side effects of painkillers with my GP and she said the v-word several times in a sentence, and I almost screamed “stop saying vo…!”, then promptly burst into tears. I was referred to CBT on the spot. Frustratingly, we’ve been working on my General Anxiety Disorder since I began sessions, before we approach the phobia. I had sincerely hoped to be well on my way to recovery by the time Noro season was upon us. Natch.
Until then, weird behaviours it is!