an emetophobia thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America. As I’m Canadian I can only reflect back to our Thanksgiving which was in early October. It’s not as big of a holiday here. Family don’t fly home for it – we save that for Christmas, and we don’t have a history involving pilgrims or our First Nations people. It’s scheduled at the time of the traditional harvest. But interestingly, we have the same food! The turkey, the pumpkin pie, the green bean casserole, even sweet potato puree with those little marshmallows toasted around it. And of course, we also give thanks. At our house we do the go-around-the-table-stating-what-you’re-thankful-for thing. With three children, three of their spouses and seven grandkids it takes a bit longer now. Every once in a while someone says something not so typical and we go “oh…ahhh.”

Today I’m thinking of my beautiful clients, present and past. I thank God that because of them I have meaning in my life, and a great passion, and with my husband’s illness and Covid and him being retirement age, I have an income which pays our bills. I am also able to live out my calling, which, corny as it sounds, is “to help people.” I will never forget the feeling of having emetophobia when I was young, and not only could I not get help for myself but how helpless it felt that there just wasn’t anyone who could help anybody with it. In 1983 I was privileged to be part of Dr. Claire Phillipps’ original emetophobia study and group treatment program. She published her findings around 1985, one of the first in the world to publish about emetophobia (we didn’t even know the word “emetophobia” at the time). When I started working as a therapist in 2010, treating exclusively emetophobia on Skype (another word nobody knew at the time), I could find only about ten research articles on the phobia, and just one other psychotherapist who was treating it – Dr. David Veale in London, UK. He is a psychiatrist and has now become an emetophobia researcher force to be reckoned with. Many of the studies published today (still only about 60) have his name in the group at the top. I thank God for him. Perhaps if he is a religious man, he might thank God for me as he points people and therapists to this website all the time.

Enough about me, though. How about the people still suffering with emetophobia? We’re told not to gather this year, no thanks to Covid-19, and if your family decided to honour that guideline, then perhaps as an emetophobic you’re pretty happy. All those people, especially the germy little kids, amIrite? And the food! Heavy, greasy gravy, sweet desserts never mind the sheer volume of it. I’m sure there are people with emetophobia reading this who are nodding their heads and heaving a sigh of relief (dare I say, thanksgiving?) that it’s not happening.

Yes, it’s 2020, the year of the global helldemic. Sickness, death, isolation, job loss, George Floyd (and so many others), conspiracy theories, economic disaster, civil unrest in the streets, Trump losing/winning/stealing/being robbed of the election. But there’s the vaccine! Unless you’re suspicious of vaccines, that is indeed something to be thankful for. Kamala Harris – someone who represents something, that about half the country is thankful for. As someone with emetophobia, can you even think on these things, or does the phobia grip the very life out of you, day after day after day?

The poet and all-around amazing human being, Maya Angelou, once said “[in a time of crisis] first, thank God.” I remember hearing her say it on Oprah early in 1996. I nodded and smiled and thought it was so wise and wonderful. At our church we met in small groups every week and we decided to start each group time with this phrase “First, thank God…” Then I got cancer. It was diagnosed on a Thursday and I was leading a small group that night. I didn’t think of it until I was driving there. I could not think of a single thing at the time to be thankful for. I had young children; I was only 37.

At the group I cried as I stumbled through the opening. A young woman, new to the faith, timidly offered up “I’m thankful you live in Canada.” Yes, of course. We have some of the best cancer treatment in the world here, and it’s all free. This opened a pandora’s box of thanksgivings. My family. My children. My job. My faith. Today I can certainly offer up thanksgiving that I’m still alive and healthy 24 years later.

If you are so inclined, what can you thank God for today? Allow me to make it a bit more challenging: apart from your partner, your children, your family, your health care, your job (house, car). What are you thankful for apart from these things? Think on it long and hard. After all, you’ve got lots of time that would normally be spent arguing with your drunk uncle who’s either 1) a Trump supporter, or 2) a flaming liberal snowflake.

I’m Afraid to Get Better

I’ve had many clients over the years gingerly tell me that at least part of them is afraid to get over the emetophobia. I know their reasoning before I even ask. “You’re afraid that if you get better, you won’t be so careful, and you’ll end up getting sick.” 

“Yes.”

Most of them understand that this doesn’t make sense, but many do not. Either way, they’ve been embarrassed to tell me. I blame a lot of it on other therapists who have been judgmental of them in the past when they’ve come in for emetophobia treatment. In fact, many therapists who don’t understand emetophobia or how to treat it have told their clients that they just don’t want to get better. They usually conclude this when they can’t think of what to do with these clients that to help them. 

Sometimes the refrain is picked up by parents who are also at their wits’ end about what to do with an emetophobic child who doesn’t want to eat, drink, go to school or go to therapy. They conclude that the child/teenager doesn’t want to get better or is afraid to get better so they’re not “trying.” 

I do get it. I remember at least thinking that I might be afraid to get better when I had emetophobia. Yet I desperately wanted to get better. I knew it wasn’t logical – after all, if you get better that means you’re not afraid anymore, so whether you’re “careful” or not, it really doesn’t matter if you get sick because you’re not afraid of it anyway. That may have been too confusing a sentence. Sorry! Think of it this way: a person has a severe phobia of puppies. Especially those fluffy, bouncy, slobbery Golden Retriever puppies. Ya, these guys:

Yes, there are many people terrified of them. They have panic attacks just like you, and they do everything they can to avoid going anywhere where they might see one, and they never watch Disney movies and close their eyes during most TV commercials. If one of these phobics accidentally stumbled on this page they’d be crying right now from seeing that picture. Don’t even say in your head that you think it’s ridiculous!!!! These things aren’t logical, as you well know. 

Okay, so now imagine that someone who has a phobia of puppies comes to me for treatment. On intake, they whisper gingerly that they’re afraid to get over the phobia because if they do, they might end up not caring any more and then they’ll just go get a puppy some day. 

Did that make you scratch your head? But it’s the same thing, right? EVERYONE with a phobia is afraid to get better in case they stop being “careful” to avoid what they fear. What if someone gets over their spider phobia and just throws caution to the wind and starts gardening? What if someone with a clown phobia gets better and just starts going to kids’ birthday parties? You’re getting the idea, right? And yes, I know that if you’d rather be afraid of puppies or clowns or even spiders for that matter right about now.

So first of all, the obvious: if you don’t have emetophobia you won’t care if you get sick, or risk getting sick because you won’t be afraid of vomiting anyway. But secondly, and I speak from experience here, you’re not going to just let all hell break loose and start licking the bottom of your shoes or your fingers after shaking hands with sick people or whatever. I’m no longer afraid of vomiting but I sure as heck don’t like it. I might risk eating something that seems wonderful if I’m not sure about it or who cooked it, but I don’t want Norovirus – I had it ten years ago and it wasn’t very nice: the worst part for me was the fever, chills, exhaustion and body aches. So even though I don’t fear vomiting any more, I still wash my hands before I eat and I don’t put my fingers in my mouth or nose unless I’ve just washed my hands thoroughly for 20 seconds and not left my living room.

Get better, ok? Don’t be afraid of it! Getting better is awesome.

Safety Behaviours

Do Safety Behaviours Work?

Along with avoidance of the feared stimulus (nausea, someone else saying they feel or were sick, seeing something associated with vomiting), a safety behaviour is something that you actively do to avoid vomiting at all costs. Some examples of typical safety behaviours are:

  • Sucking on mints
  • Taking ginger (candies, tablets, tea)
  • Drinking ginger ale or another fizzy drink
  • Sipping water
  • Chewing gum
  • Sniffing peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils
  • Taking an OTC stomach medication such as Gravol (Dramamine), Pepto Bismal, Divol, Tums,
  • Taking a prescription anti-emetic such as Ondansetron (Zophran)
  • Taking a prescribed “Rescue Medication” tranquilizer such as Xanax, Ativan
  • Taking prescribed stomach medications such as Omeprazole
  • Carrying a plastic bag in your purse or pocket at all times
  • Carrying a “safety kit” with any of the above items with you at all times
  • Wearing a face mask before Covid-19
  • Washing hands, changing clothes, showering
  • Opening doors or pressing buttons with your sleeve
  • Checking “best by” dates on food
  • Drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, taking illegal drugs
  • Asking someone for reassurance, when you know what they’ll say every time
  • Practicing large muscle relaxation and/or slow breathing not to calm down, but so you won’t vomit
  • Needing to be with or talk to a “support” person when anxious/nauseous.

How many of these can you relate to? Are they helpful or do they work? Well, what if I told you that they most certainly don’t work and that you should really try to slowly give every one of them up? I imagine that might make you very anxious. Without working with a therapist, it might be difficult to give these up on your own. It is the same with avoidance behaviours – stopping them is really difficult without some sort of professional help. Nevertheless, there are determined people out there who are reading this right now who can do it if they try!

So, do safety behaviours work? The answer is yes and no. Yes, they make you feel better in the moment. They calm you down. Some of them most certainly prevent vomiting although the odds of you vomiting without them are pretty slim anyway. But no, they don’t work to lessen your anxiety and in fact most of them will make your anxiety worse over time. So the more you use these behaviours the worse your phobia will get. Let’s look at why that is.

Engaging a safety behaviour presupposes the wrong thing: that the problem is vomiting. I’m sure it will surprise many of you to hear that vomiting is not the problem. Vomiting is normal, natural and neutral. It isn’t dangerous or harmful. It can’t hurt you, so there’s no need to avoid it or fear it. (I know that’s not what you actually think right now; I’m just pointing out the logic.) The problem is anxiety. Your anxiety around vomiting is what’s not normal. It’s way out of whack for what vomiting is – just a yukky, unpleasant thing that nobody likes. There are many of these things in the world: diarrhea, Pap tests, proctology exams, colonoscopies, doing your income tax, picking up dog poop, flossing your teeth. None of these is dangerous or harmful, but if the universe could eliminate any one of them we’d all be happy about it.

Anxiety/fear/terror should be reserved for dangerous things like alligators, grizzly bears, home invasions and nests of gigantic furry venomous spiders. It doesn’t have any place in the normal yet yukky things of life. Your emetophobic brain has somehow mixed up vomiting with all the other deadly things you need to be terrified of. So you avoid it at all costs and then come up with these safety behaviours to keep you “safe.” The thing is, you ARE safe, whether you vomit or not! But I know it doesn’t feel that way.

The road to recovery is long and hard with emetophobia. One important part of the journey, however, is slowly giving up your safety behaviours so your brain comes to realize that you’re just as safe without them as with them. You also need to slowly stop avoiding the things you’ve been avoiding. Either with a therapist or on your own, you also need to slowly change your thoughts from the catastrophic “OMG vomiting is horrible/terrible/awful/the worst thing ever” to something more normal such as what your non-emetophobic friends think about it (ask them, write down what they say, memorize it, replace your catastrophic thoughts with these thoughts every time you think them.) It will take time, but eventually it will work.

Once you come to realize that anxiety is your real problem, you can focus your energy on working on that, instead of on preventing vomiting. This will make your phobia better, which is really what you want.

There is a ton of information on this website that will help both you and your therapist get your anxiety under control!

Avoiding norovirus: tips, Facts and myths

Trigger Warning: This blog may be very triggering to people with emetophobia, as vomiting is discussed in plain-speak. My hope is that it will reassure some emetophobic people so they can live a more normal life.

Norovirus is the scientific term for what has commonly been called “stomach flu,” “stomach bug,” “winter vomiting virus” and a few other terms. It’s short for “Norwalk-like viruses,” but it is neither a flu nor a bug. Norovirus causes several hours of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. One may also have body aches, fatigue and a fever for up to 24 hours. All in all, it’s not very nice to have and nobody likes it. However in the grand scheme of things it’s harmless and over with quickly. The only thing you have to watch out for is that a child doesn’t get dehydrated, which can happen quickly and can be fatal if not attended to. Kids need to just have a few ice chips or a teaspoon of water and wait to see if they can keep it down. If not, keep trying and watch for signs of dehydration – they may need to go to a hospital for IV fluids. Adults can also get dehydrated. Sip water very very slowly and hold off on any water until you haven’t had vomiting for a couple of hours.

How contagious is Norovirus? Well, compared to Covid-19 which is airborne and you can catch by just breathing near a contagious person, it doesn’t seem so bad. Norovirus particles (virions) must be ingested (swallowed) in order to get you sick. This means that normally they enter through the mouth but sometimes the nose, and are sniffed back and swallowed. It is unlikely to ever get Norovirus through your eyes although it is theoretically possible (but your finger would have to be filthy). Sometimes Norovirus swirls through the air either when someone vomits in a room, or you flush a toilet without the lid being down. (I know, gross, eh?) You can pick up Norovirus particles on your hands when they settle on counters or doorknobs or a person with literally poop or vomit on their hand touches a knob or counter and then you touch it later and put your hand in your mouth. The particles stay active for about 9 days on surfaces that have not been cleaned, but just to be safe it’s good to think of surfaces as possibly contaminated for 14 days. Norovirus is present in saliva, but scientists don’t think it’s enough to make someone else sick through kissing or sharing utensils/cups – unless the sick person has just vomited and not washed out their mouth. You cannot catch Norovirus by having sex, or through the bloodstream, or on a toilet seat, or by sitting on an airplane and definitely not by breathing the air near a sick person. Unfortunately one of the ways people catch Norovirus is through food that has been handled by a sick worker (who hasn’t washed their hands) and the food is not cooked fully.

Norovirus is killed at 65C or 150F. This is a little hotter than food is normally kept in a restaurant (60C is all that’s required) and for water, too hot to put your hand in. However it is nowhere near boiling (100C or 212F). Check the manual of your washing machine and dryer to see how hot they get on their hot cycles. If it isn’t high enough, you’ll have to add bleach to the wash to kill off the Norovirus on your laundry. Diluted bleach is cheap and easy to find, and perfect for cleaning up if someone in your house is sick. Google how much bleach you need for porous surfaces, non-porous, laundry, etc. There’s lots of great info out there but don’t go crazy by using straight bleach or way too much bleach. You can literally make people sick doing that. Carpets must be cleaned with a steam-cleaner as you can’t bleach them. Keep contaminated sheets, clothing and underwear of sick people separate from other laundry for 2 weeks.

Washing hands with plain soap and water is the best way to get rid of Norovirus on your hands. You don’t need to scrub or go crazy – just 20 seconds washing all the areas of hands and wrists, then rinse off. Hand sanitizers are not as effective as plain soap and water. Some hand sanitizers don’t kill Norovirus (eg. alcohol-based). If you find one that has benzalkonium chloride, that will work but you have to leave it on for a minute or two. Again, Google will tell you if your hand sanitizer works for Norovirus.

One of the more common ways to catch Norovirus is through food, unfortunately. In fact, 70% of “food poisoning” is actually Norovirus and there was nothing wrong with the food. If you’re worried about your restaurant food, order takeout and microwave it to above 65C (use a food thermometer so you don’t go crazy and burn the food). Skip the salads.

Wearing a mask is a great way to prevent not only Covid-19 but Norovirus as well. They work because they keep your hands away from your mouth and nose. You can’t breathe Norovirus in, remember, but that mask will remind you not to touch your mouth or nose unless you’ve washed your hands. This method works great for kids as well.

The incubation period for Norovirus is 24-48 hours. Depending on how much viral load you’ve ingested, you will get sick either sooner or later. Some folks have even become ill before 24 hours. Norovirus has a “sudden onset” of symptoms. This means that you could feel increasing nausea for about an hour, maybe two, during which time you may have diarrhea that is like water (simply having soft stool is not indicative of Norovirus). Sudden onset does not mean that you’re fine one minute and vomiting the next. You’ll have plenty time to figure it out, get home from work, etc.

People are contagious from the time they begin to get sick until about 2 weeks after. They’re only contagious after because the Norovirus is shed in their stool. So if you trust someone to wash their hands after using the bathroom, then they’re not contagious at all. You can visit someone’s house if they’ve just gotten over Norovirus. Just don’t put your hands in your mouth or nose until you get home and wash them. Kids aren’t great at wiping bums or washing hands, so kids do carry a lot of Norovirus around and it spreads in schools. Many people in nursing homes are in diapers, and staff don’t use full PPE when changing diapers so they can easily spread the virus to others in the nursing home. Perhaps now that PPE is required for Covid, we will see less spread of Norovirus in nursing homes. That would be great.

It’s also great that people are wearing masks AND washing hands a lot more, and a lot more thoroughly. Scientists are also working on a Norovirus vaccine, which has proven tricky because the virus mutates during the year and so far would require 1 or 2 boosters every season. I know people with emetophobia would jump at that, but most people wouldn’t and vaccines like everything else have to be economical and practical.

You cannot catch Norovirus from your cat, nor can you give it to your cat. Dogs can carry it only if they’ve come into contact with the vomit or feces of an infected person. Oysters may contain Norovirus and if you eat them raw, you’re rolling the dice. You cannot get Norovirus from tap water.

For more tips, myths, information and cleaning solutions, check the websites below.


  1. References
  2. Burrell, Christopher J et al. Caliciviruses, in Fenner and White’s Medical Virology (Fifth Edition), 2017
  3. Cates, J.E., Vinjé, J., Parashar, U., Hall, A.J., 2020. Recent advances in human norovirus
  4. research and implications for candidate vaccines. Expert Rev. Vaccines 0, 1–10.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

de Graaf, M., van Beek, J., Koopmans, M.P.G., 2016. Human norovirus transmission and
evolution in a changing world. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 14, 421–433.

Estes, M.K., Ettayebi, K., Tenge, V.R., Murakami, K., Karandikar, U., Lin, S.-C., Ayyar,
B.V., Cortes-Penfield, N.W., Haga, K., Neill, F.H., Opekun, A.R., Broughman, J.R.,
Zeng, X.-L., Blutt, S.E., Crawford, S.E., Ramani, S., Graham, D.Y., Atmar, R.L., 2019.
Human Norovirus cultivation in nontransformed stem cell-derived human intestinal
enteroid cultures: success and challenges. Viruses 11, 638.

Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group. 2015. WHO estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases. World Health Organization – World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2019

  1. Garza, Jose M., Cohen, Mitchell, B. Infectious Diarrhea, in Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease (Fourth Edition), 2011

Green, K. Y., Noroviruses and Sapovirus, in Encyclopedia of Virology (Third Edition), 2008

Yates, Marylynn, Norovirus, in Microbiology of Waterborne Diseases (Second Edition), 2014

What is CBT? Does it help Emetophobia?

“CBT” stands for “Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.” This therapy is quite well-known because it’s known as “evidence-based” meaning there is good evidence that it works. It is well-researched as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, including anxiety disorders, phobias and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”).

Evidence of the effectiveness of CBT is discovered by way of a proper research study. Typically, researchers find a group of people with the same disorder – let’s say spider phobia. They test the whole group to get a numerical score as to how severe their phobia is. They then divide the group randomly into two and treat half the group with CBT while the other half sits on a waitlist. After the first group has been treated, both groups will be tested again. Study after study has found that the CBT group gets significantly better, while the waitlist group generally does not. The researchers will then treat the waitlist group out of courtesy to them for being involved in the study. To date over 1,000 research studies have been done on CBT.

CBT is made up of two originally separate theories and types of therapy. You guessed it – cognitive, and behavioural. Cognitive therapy was first theorized by Dr. Aaron Beck who at this writing is still alive at the age of 99 years. He was lecturing until about five years ago. Dr. Beck is also known as the father of CBT.

Dr. Aaron Beck

The basis of cognitive theory is that a person’s thoughts about a situation or topic relate more to their anxious or depressed reaction than the situation or topic itself. In other words, you are afraid of something because of your thoughts about it, not because it is inherently dangerous. Most emetophobic people I work with believe, for example, that vomiting is a huge, horrible, catastrophic event akin to a bloody murder scene. In reality (the reality of everyone who does not have emetophobia), vomiting is a normal, natural event that happens rarely which nobody likes but everyone feels better afterward.

Simply pointing out reality to a phobic person does not help them, as each of you reading this knows all too well. The logical, rational part of our brains knows the truth, but the part of our brains that is responsible for our survival does not know. For some reason, and the reasons are varied, vomiting or the thought of it triggers this survival instinct and we feel like we are dying even though we know full-well we are not.

Enter Behavioural therapy. Behaviour is often a word associated with children, but in this context,  it sort of means actions  or what you do. Early behaviourists include Ivan Pavlov (remember his dogs?) and Dr. B.F. Skinner. Behaviourism says that you will keep doing things that reward you or make you feel good, and you will not do things that punish you or make you feel bad/uncomfortable. With emetophobia you may avoid yogurt past its expiry date because if you eat it you will feel anxious. When you’re nauseous, one behaviour might be to suck on mints because they make you feel better and therefore less anxious. Avoiding what’s bad and doing what feels good may be fine for a neurotypical person, but for a phobic whose brain wiring is a bit criss-crossed it has the opposite effect. Every time you avoid the yogurt you feel better, so it reinforces that you should always do that. When you suck mints and then don’t vomit, you feel better, more relieved and calmer. This reinforces that you should do this every time you feel sick. Unfortunately, these avoidance and safety behaviours make your phobia get reinforced and it continues to get much much worse.

From Getselfhelp.co.uk

CBT for emetophobia means that your therapist will help you to slowly turn your behaviours around to the other direction. They will begin with something easy, such as looking at the word “vomit” on a page, then just allowing your anxiety to raise slightly and then lower to the baseline level, training your brain that this non-avoidance can also make you feel good, relieved and calm. Then you’ll slowly go up the ladder to look at things and do things you wouldn’t normally do. The whole time, your therapist will be with you and watching you to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed. They will also be helping you examine your thoughts along the way to ensure that you will, by the end of treatment, be able to say with confidence “Vomiting isn’t dangerous or harmful. It’s ok if it happens because I can cope with it.”

Lori Riddle-Walker, a colleague of mine who sadly died of cancer after completing her research study, was the first person[1] to study the efficacy of CBT on emetophobic patients. The preliminary findings were that it did indeed help people with a fear of vomiting get significantly better.


[1] The study was done in conjunction with Dr. David Veale who is the world’s leading researcher on emetophobia in the English-speaking world.

Emetophobia and Control

One of the things that I absolutely hated being called, ever, was a “control freak.” For one thing, if I were such a thing (and I don’t think I am) why does it have to have the word “freak” in the expression? Who likes to be called a freak? If someone is insistent on being in control, that does not necessarily make them a freak, a weirdo, an oddball or, as my mother used to say in 1950 “a queer duck.” People who are very disciplined, or very careful, or very responsible, or even very manipulative, authoritarian, or natural leaders are not all known as freaks. So ya. I hate that expression.

I think it is because I hate the expression “control freak” that I have done a lot of thinking over the years about emetophobia and control. The infamous Dr. Phil believes that all phobias, and most other anxiety disorders are about control. Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like Dr. Phil. He sure sees things clearly, which can be helpful, even though I don’t think anyone would want him for their therapist and he pretty much agrees with that. I don’t, however, think he’s right about everything and I definitely don’t think he’s right about this.

Many of my emetophobic clients talk to me about control. They don’t like the fact that vomiting seems to be out of their control. And furthermore, it’s a bodily function that’s out of their control. I point out to them that most bodily functions are out of their control: breathing, heart beating, blood circulation and oxygenation, digestion, urination and defecation. Sure you can hold your urine, your feces or your breath for a time but not forever. At some point, your body would take over and you would not be able to control it.

You can also control vomiting to a certain extent as well. I remember reading an article many years ago by Dr. David Veale, the world’s leading researcher on emetophobia (or as he likes to refer to it, “SPOV” or Specific Phobia of Vomiting.) He believed at the time that there was absolutely nothing that you could do to stop you from vomiting, so there was no point in any safety behaviours such as hand sanitizers, avoiding sick people, taking mints, ginger or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. After doing part of a research study some years later he discovered that people with emetophobia do indeed vomit less than the general population. So we do have some control over it, although if you get sick enough or poisoned enough you will vomit, no matter what you try to do to prevent it.

People who are often labelled as control freaks, in my opinion, are just people who want things under control. They don’t want the whole situation to be chaotic, out-of-control, crazy. Sometimes situations do get that way, and so people who have natural leadership qualities tend to take charge to get things under control. Many people labelled control freaks are quite happy to sit back if someone else who is a responsible leader is the one getting things under control. If they jump in and take charge regardless, I believe that they’re just scared. If you’re all on a raft heading down the river to Niagara Falls and the leader is not coaching everyone to row to shore, then you’re going to freak out and take over the lead.

The thing is, sometimes you just think you’re headed for Niagara Falls and you’re terrified so you take over when you don’t need to. We phobics can be like that sometimes. But don’t let anyone tell you that you’re a freak.