Rachel’s Emetophobia Recovery Story

Hi my name is Rachel and I overcame Emetophobia


Hi everyone, my name is Rachel and I am from Maidstone in Kent. I suffered with anxiety and low mood from the age of 12 (I am now 20 years old)

I struggled with Emetephobia and a strong fear of being alone. This prevented me from sleeping in my own bed, I slept next to my mum from the age of twelve up until I went to the four day recovery retreat (when I was 19!). I was also unable to go out to restaurants for dinner, go to public such as the cinema or even go out to nightclubs with my friends.

I always used to check expiry dates on food packages and also struggled with eating chicken and other food that –  in my mind – had a higher risk of making me ill.  The anxiety ruined my time at school as I really struggled to cope with all of the germs that were around and the risk of me potentially getting ill. I think when you have what seems to be such a strange phobia, it manifests itself into every aspect of your life.

The symptoms I experienced were intense panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, low mood and depression caused by the guilt the anxiety gave me, hot and cold sweats, clammy hands, upset stomach, headaches, heart palpitations, chest pains, feeling that something terrible was going to happen, I felt hopeless and constantly scared and on edge. No matter what I did, nothing helped or could make these feelings stop!

Family life was terribly affected by my anxiety. It was always the elephant in the room.

My parents did not sleep in the same bed for at least 6/7 years. This took a massive toll on their marriage and relationship. It almost took over their lives as much as it held me as a prisoner.

My sister did not get the support she needed during a difficult time in her life when being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as my parents were doing everything in their power and in their strength to make life a bit more bearable for me, to help me get through this confusing and difficult time.

They were my support and they were my safeplace. There were so many arguments and nights where id be screaming at them to help me with all the rubbish going through my head. They often broke down and cried in front of me because they felt as though they were helpless and all they wanted was to see me happy and healthy again.

I believe my anxiety stemmed from a number of events that surrounded family members being ill. My grandmother passed away from cancer, my dad was shortly diagnosed after that with an incurable form of cancer, my mother then became ill with chronic kidney disease and an autoimmune condition similar to Lupas and then my sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I then got a stomach bug after never being sick in my life and that then led to this endless spiral of anxiety.

I was sent to numerous CBT therapists, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health services, private therapists, Psychotherapists, Dieticians, Doctors, Rapid Eye movement therapists, Exposure Therapists, Trauma therapists (you name them, I’ve seen them!) and believe it or not, none of them got rid of my anxiety.

It was incredibly disheartening and it made me reluctant to try new methods or to even want to open up to new people to see if they could even help me.

By the end of the last form of therapy I had, I was in a terrible place. I said to myself that I would give one more thing one more go, and if it didn’t work that that was it and it would be better for me and my family if I wasn’t here anymore. In addition to the numerous methods of therapy I was put on all sorts of anti-anxiety tablets and anti-depressants. They made everything a lot worse and put a mask over the problem, leaving me walking around like a zombie half of the time!

After my family watched me go into a very deep and dark depression, they became desperate, looking at every avenue they could go down to get me help. My dad was actually the one to come across The Linden Method and what they had to offer. I’m pretty sure he was on the phone to them that same day. He found out about the Four day recovery retreat and he showed me the website and the videos and we agreed to book it. Like I said, I had nothing to lose anymore! I remember watching the videos on the website nearly every day, and reading the recovery stories of those that went.


I was beyond nervous. I did not know what to expect, I didn’t know who I was going to meet and I was petrified that I would look weird or out of place and I didn’t know whether I’d look insane compared to these other people. When I arrived, it was scary. Obviously, loved ones are invited to attend the retreat as well, which is very important for them as well as the sufferer. However, as a first step to recovery, I told my dad to stay at home and leave me at the retreat on my own – which was terrifying because I had to stay in a room on my own, and thought that I would have to face my anxiety on my own. I was never ever on my own. The staff were wonderful and the people I met were even better.

“I suffered with anxiety and low mood from the age of 12”

Some of us had similar reasons for our anxiety and others were there for different reasons but we all understood how we were all feeling, and ultimately it made us very very close! It was very interesting and different to anything I had ever experienced and I had a moment where the penny dropped and knew what I needed to do in order to change my life. For that I am very very thankful and appreciative to the Linden Method team

It took a little while and a lot of lifestyle changes to implement the method, but over a few months, I started to notice a massive difference in myself, my family and my life. It was as if I was living a different life. I started to go out more, to nightclubs and places where I’d see people being sick – and I was absolutely fine! I started to go out to restaurants more often, and to public places.

I felt comfortable being around little children that could be carrying germs, at the retreat, me and another girl with emetephobia –Lucy – stopped looking at expiry dates, we ate the food we were given without freaking out. I have stopped checking to see if my chicken is fully cooked, I am able to do so many different things that have previously been restricted because of the Emetephobia.

I am currently in full time work and I am thinking of going travelling in the next few years to different places across the world. This was a dream that I thought id never be able to reach and I am extremely excited for it!

I have decided to become an ambassador for The Linden Method because I want to reach out to people that are in the position that I was in last year.

I want to show people that recovery is possible when you use the correct tools. The team at The Linden Method are wonderful, Beth and Charles are wonderful people, as are Jenny, Jackie, Ros and all the staff at the hotel. Everyone understands what you are going through and everyone wants to help you.

Hi, my name is Beth, I am director of Linden Tree Education.

You will receive unlimited, qualified support from amazing Recovery Specialists when you start the courses.

If you wish to receive guidance or support, please contact the support team through the TLM  Members Portal

If you wish to book a course, please contact beth@thelindencentre.org Beth is director of Linden Recovery and course director of the Anxiety Recovery Retreat programmes.

Beth Linden. Director.
Linden Tree Edu.