Thoughts from a Germophobe

To the lady at Kroger,

I see you. I’m in line next to check out and I spot you rubbing your eyes. I start to notice something is off about you. It’s 68 degrees outside and you are wearing a sweater and a jacket. You are sweating. You aren’t smiling and won’t look at anyone. I ask you how you are today and you do not respond. That’s when I notice.

You’re sick.

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m mad at you. I am genuinely mad at you. You wanna know why? Because I think you are selfish. You woke up this morning feeling under the weather and decided that it was okay for you to come to work and touch other people’s food. You may have thought about calling out and decided not to for a variety of reasons. One of which may be job security or the fact that you make minimum wage and cannot afford it. Whatever the reason was I think it was selfish. You put your own selfish reasons over the health and safety of others.

Now, before you go and judge me for judging another, I want you to know that these thoughts are not my own. I struggle with a mental illness called Mysophobia and more specifically Emetophobia. This means that I have an irrational fear of germs with a more intense fear factor surrounding throwing up. Theses thoughts I have surrounding germs and sickness cannot be controlled, especially when I am triggered by something such as encountering a sick person who is also touching all of my food. All I can think about is what you have. Is it a cold? Allergies? THE FLUUUU?! The possibilities are running through my mind and I cannot help but be mad. I think this is my minds way of coping or trying to blame someone else. I really don’t know.

All I know is that I am sorry. I’m sorry that I hated you for a short period of time. I’m sorry that you are sick. I’m sorry that I avoided you like the plague. I’m sorry that I didn’t care for you.

I’m working on this within myself. I become better and better every day (with setbacks, of course) and I know one day I’ll be able to hug you when you have the flu or feed you soup when you have walking phenomena.

Ultimately, I realize that I am the selfish one.

Please forgive me.


a recovering germaphobe