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Had a meltdown at work today

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I had to clean up sick on a bus today at work and I totally freaked out. It just triggered me, and I felt a mixture of anger and panic. I've been working with buses for a long time but just lately buses keep coming in with puke all over the floor - and this is during the day.
So I melted down, I just couldn't help myself. I slammed a door, cursed whoever was sick, and went into the office and wept. The boss got me a box of masks, and I put on four, just to be on the safe side. I nearly suffocated but it was worth it. I was still crying as I was cleaning it up. The tears wouldn't stop. But somehow I managed to clean it all up and make the floor clean and sparkling.
By the time it was cleaned up I felt calmer, although I was still a bit cheesed off, because of the anxiety of norovirus (I don't know what caused them to puke but my emetophobia tells me it's the worst case scenario which is norovirus).

I felt a bit embarrassed afterwards because the people in the office might have thought I was overreacting and being silly. But I have a phobia of sick and I don't get why people keep throwing up on local buses lately. It's horrible for the person who has to clean it all up. I don't mind cleaning up sick if it's only a little bit that can be easily mopped up with disinfectant, but this was all over the floor, everywhere, even splattered up the walls.

I felt like printing out a sign saying "please keep your lunch down if you can help it!" and putting one up in each bus. Yes I know vomiting is very involuntary (which is why I have such a phobia of vomiting myself) but even so, when you're the one clearing it up, your logic and compassion goes out the window and all you can do is cuss and be grossed out.
 

AuroraBorealis

Well-Known Member
I'm sorry, really. That sounds very, very unpleasant. Even without emetophobia, a lot of people would have been unhappy to clean that up. I hope your work environment is understanding and you can relax tonight.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
Yes they kind of ignored my cussing and ranting and slamming of doors, which is a good thing. They probably understood. I didn't like to ask others to clean it up for me, because it isn't their job and I'm sure they were glad they didn't have to. I would be glad too.

I get embarrassed though, because usually the question "why are you working as a cleaner then if you don't like puke?" comes up. There are several reasons though:-

1. I've been advised in the past not to turn down every job that has one thing I don't like and not to let my emetophobia rule my life

2. Generally having vomit on buses isn't as common as having vomit in a hospital, and has been an occurrence that hasn't happened often in all the time I have worked there

3. I don't mind if it's only a little bit of vomit that's quick and easy to mop up

4. Vomiting is usually the last thing a healthy, fully functioning adult's body wants to do especially when in public and during the day (I know you get drunk people more at night), so it shouldn't be as common as it seems to be recently

5. I like my job otherwise
 

AuroraBorealis

Well-Known Member
You don't need to explain to anyone why you work the job that you do (unless maybe to your boss, if they ask you). It's your decision. You just need to be able to work the job. The reasons are no one's business.
Yes they kind of ignored my cussing and ranting and slamming of doors, which is a good thing. They probably understood.
That sounds fairly decent of them.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
Staff member
V.I.P Member
I can hardly imagine a worse task than what you had to do today.

I’m sorry you had to deal with this very disgusting task and it really seems like the perfect time for a meltdown - I most likely would’ve had one as well. Hope you are able to move on from it without too much trouble. What a dreadful thing you had to do.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I used to work at a care home for elderly people, and when there was a stomach bug going around it became the worst job in the world. Residents would just puke all over themselves and the carpet, and you had to clean it up. When I was 27 and still working there, there was an outbreak of norovirus, and I did all I could to avoid catching it, such as wearing a mask, wearing gloves, washing my hands thoroughly every time I took my gloves off, disinfecting everything, and avoiding anyone who had the virus (luckily they put me on a wing where the virus wasn't so rife). And I felt less anxious because I was reassured that I was doing all the right things in order to not catch it myself.
But I DID catch it, and it was the first time I had physically thrown up in almost 20 years. So, because of that, I now fear that I will catch norovirus just by looking at vomit if it could be from someone with the virus.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
Maybe touch your nostrils with a smell you like. If you don't like cologne, maybe some vanilla flavoring near your nose. Sometimes l get emotionally upset, and it causes me to dry-heave. I feel like throwing up. Yuck, especially if l get really repulsed by something. Great you wrote out how this makes you feel. Maybe give yourself a small reward for handling the situation. Then you will associate a pleasant reward for getting thru it.I do this for things l absolutely hate doing like DMV, IRS office.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I wish I didn't have this fear of vomiting. I would have therapy, but other emetophobes I talk to on a forum say they didn't really find therapy had changed them.
Not only is my case irrational, but it's also rational too. I believe I have something called Retrograde Cricopharyngeus Dysfunction (R-CPD), which makes it mighty hard for anything to come out my throat from the stomach, including gas. So you can understand how vomiting is literally TERRIFYING for me and isn't just a fear that can be overcome. Although I apparently burped as a baby I was never sick after a feed even if I had colic or had too much milk (it is normal for all babies to bring their milk up sometimes). Instead I'd just choke, like I was going to bring up milk but it wouldn't quite come so easily like other babies.
I did vomit sometimes as a small child though, when I caught a stomach flu. But even with those I was never sick much, maybe a few times during the day or night, but it never lasted more than a few hours, even if I still had remaining other symptoms of stomach flu such as aching or a temperature.
I then didn't throw up for almost 20 years until I caught norovirus back in 2017. I get motion sickness and vertigo quite bad but have always managed to keep my lunch down during those times, and have only got as far as dry heaving (which was actually enough to help the nausea go away).
 

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