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Topic: I’m terrified of going on school camp

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Forrest_123
    Forrest_123 avatar
    5 posts
    13 January 2020

    Even though my school camp is months away I am so worried about it and keep bursting into tears and not being able to breath properly however it is compulsory and 10 days long in tents. I think I am scared mostly because people always vomit on camp and I HATE vomit. (Last camp someone vomited and I was up until 2am crying in the nurses room and then I said I felt sick even though I didn’t end up being sick) I am also scared of being away from my family and not being able to get out of it if something bad happens and keep having dreams of me running away into the Forrest to escape.

    On camp I am scared of getting food poising so I generally don’t eat much at meal times and stick with the packaged things at recess and afternoon tea. I don’t know what to do to feel better when I go on camp and not get so worried. I think I might have a phobia of vomit but I really don’t want to go see anyone about it or talk to anyone in person.

    Someone please tell me what I can do, should I talk to my year coordinator about my fear of going on camp or do you think I do need to see a phycoligist or is there another way around it

    note: (we aren’t allowed phones or food on camp)

  2. Aaronsis
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    84 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Hi Forrest_123

    Welcome and I am so happy you have found your way here to share how you are feeling about camp. It is a really daunting time, when you are away from home, non familiar living arrangements, not sure of the food, then managing other people and their issues from being away from home and yes, vomit.

    This is causing you so much anxiety and I am not sure what year level the camp is but I am wondering why, if it is causing you so much pain, is this compulsory. I understand it is wonderful for self development, for making new friends and for having new experiences, however, if it is putting you into emotional and mental turmoil then it is more damaging than good.

    I would absolutely speak to your year coordinator as this is much more than "I don't wanna go"..this is causing you anxiety and panic and this is not good.

    If there is a part of you that actually does want to go, perhaps there are some strategies that we can work on to help overcome the vomit fear and how it makes you feel, perhaps that is something you might like to talk to a counsellor or professional about anyway to help over come this fear.

    I am so very sorry that something fun is actually making you feel so bad, I can hear how terrified you are.

    We are here for you to chat and to share as much or as little as you like Forrest_123.

    Huge hugs to you

    Sarah xx

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Forrest_123
    Forrest_123 avatar
    5 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Aaronsis
    Yes it is a compulsory camp, my parents could just keep me at home and not let the school take me but they want me to go so there is no getting out of it. I am too scared to talk to any doctors or anyone about it and so I’m not sure what to do.
  4. Aaronsis
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    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Hey Forrest_123

    I am sorry that you are being forced to go, however if there is no way around it then we can think of some coping mechanisms to get you through this time. I still think it would be great to chat to the year coordinator so as that they are aware of how you are feeling and that they can just be mindful of you and keep an eye out for your wellbeing.

    It is good that you can identify why it is that you don't want to go to camp and being away from your family is pretty common. There are some ways to help with that and you might think this silly but I will suggest it anyway, you could ask your family to make a little book for you, and each day you can read a page that they have written to you and maybe put a photo in there to look at, something from home to look forward to each day to read and to make you feel safe. A small book could be put into your bag so as not to draw attention to you feeling homesick.

    The food is usually pretty standard stuff like spaghetti bolognaise and lasagne, perhaps they might do a BBQ, I think as long as it is hot then you are going to be pretty safe with the food. They do cater for large amounts of people at camp and usually get it right as they really cannot afford to have a camp full of sick people so hygiene is pretty paramount.

    The vomit part seems to be very traumatic for you and I know you only have past experience to go on, but can I suggest that while yes, people do vomit at camp, it is usually only one person or maybe two, does this make it easier no it doesn't, but I think trying to let yourself know that it is probably not going to be a daily thing, and it perhaps may not happen at all. It is very traumatic for you so in the instance that it does happen I think removing yourself from the situation and perhaps finding a friend or someone who you can be comforted by would be good. As much as you are thinking about it happening, perhaps trying to think it also may not happen too and give yourself some peace from that panic, as it really may not happen and you have been through all that anxiety for nothing.

    I think thinking also of the good things that will happen, the fun activities, the times with your friends, you might have a movie night, there will be lots of fun things so try to make a list even of some of the good things that you know you will enjoy.

    I am not sure if I am helping here, but talking might just help too.

    Huge hugs to you

    Sarah

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  5. Forrest_123
    Forrest_123 avatar
    5 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Aaronsis
    Yes it is helping a bit but the food is cooked by students on camp drives so they don’t always have the best hygiene, and there aren’t many fun activities all we do is hike, camp, kayak and repeat. ☹️
  6. Aaronsis
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    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Hey Forrest_123

    Great that talking is helping, I understand what you mean by the kids cooking the food is somewhat scary in that you don't know if they have washed their hands or how they have handled the food. What about as an option could you ask to be included in the cooking team so that you can help and make sure that people are doing the right thing and then you can see for yourself that it is ok and that they have done the right things and it is all ok? I am not sure how you feel about suggesting that as perhaps a way to manage this and mentioning it to the year coordinator so as you can have some peace on that one???

    Yes i too am not one for hiking and kayaking, however while you are walking you could use the time to chat to a friend or make a new friend or try to think of some things that are positive about it, give yourself some goal like, on this hike I am going to talk to a person I don't know and make a new friend. Then I guess it becomes more about the chat than the hike?

    I really feel for you, it is hard especially when you HAVE TO go. I have found in the past though that after a few days you do settle down a bit and you actually enjoy it...you don't have to answer this but is it the Year 10 Central Australia camp? I have my son doing that this year and just felt like it might be the same one for you?

    Hope to chat some more and help you through this time Forrest_123

    Hugs

    Sarah

  7. uncut_gems
    uncut_gems avatar
    4 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Forrest_123,

    Newbie and first time poster here, so apologies if I'm not doing this quite right. Your post really resonated with me because I also have a fear of vomit and dreaded going to camp for exactly this reason. Everything you said felt familiar– the trip to the nurse, the worrying, and the fear of being away from family, all of it. The other posters have offered some wonderful advice, to which I would only add that one thing I find helps me calm down when I get anxious about someone getting sick is taking a walk and listening to a podcast or an audiobook through my headphones– I find that focusing on the narrative or the cool facts they are telling you about is really helpful.

    I'm a bit older now and out of school but I still remember that fear of camp you're describing so well. Please let me know if you want to chat more, or would like some recommendations for things to listen to or read ツ

    Please just know that no matter what, you are not the only person who has experienced this and that at least one other person knows just what you're going through.

    Hugs,

    Gems

  8. Forrest_123
    Forrest_123 avatar
    5 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Aaronsis

    It is actually a year 9 camp somewhere in the bush (don’t know exactly where)

    I also have another question which is not related to camp at all but is it normal to have your brain keep telling you to do things and if you don’t do it something bad might happen. for example keep checking that the doors are locked, check my wardrobe and curtains multiple times before going to bed to make sure no one is hiding there and having numbers that you can only do things in. My numbers are 3,5,10,20. So if I am reading YouTube comments I can only read that many and if I accidentally go over the line of one I have to read to the next number. I have to step on my pool steps as I get out exactly 10 times. I hope that makes sense

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
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    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Hey Forrest_123

    That sure does make sense what you have described and once again, you are most surely not alone, I am no professional here but what you are describing sounds somewhat like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which also encompasses some fears about contamination and some of the things you have mentioned about school camp. You will be happy to know that you can live a really happy life and there is nothing "wrong" with you and you are not "abnormal", that will some help and support from a GP you can manage this. How would you feel about asking your mum or dad to take you to the doctor to get some help with this one? It might sound all too much and you don't want to talk to them, however you can show them this post here, or even write it down and show them, as you have expressed yourself very well here.

    There are so many Mental Health issues that are around today and that people can live with and manage very happily, there is nothing that is wrong with you or that you have done. This can happen to anyone, and it does happen to many people.

    Hugs

    Sarah

    1 person found this helpful
  10. uncut_gems
    uncut_gems avatar
    4 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Hi Forrest,

    Gems here again– hope you don't mind if I cut in again, only because once again your post really really resonated with me. I am not a mental health professional so I obviously can't make any kind of diagnosis, but I have struggled with exactly the kind of thoughts you just described for most of my life, and I can share what I know to be true about them.

    What you're describing, the sense that doing (or not doing) certain things will prevent bad things from happening in the real world, is extremely common. It has lots of names, though one I kind of like is "magical thinking." Not only are you not alone, but most people at some point will struggle with these thoughts in one way or another. For example, your preference for the number 10 is something I have experienced, as well as things to do with reading, grouping things together, checking doors, and in my case making sure "I love you" is the last thing I say to my mom so nothing bad happens to her.

    There are lots of ways to go about tackling these tough thoughts which I am happy to talk to you about, but for now just know that what you're describing is a very, very well known phenomenon that I and many others have struggled with.

    One thing I found especially useful was to think about it this way: I don't do the behavior (check the door, group by 10s or 5s) because I like doing those things, or really think they will affect my life. I do it because there is a bad feeling that I get when I don't do it, and doing it simply helps me avoid that feeling. It's very simple and maybe even obvious, but I find that thinking about it like that puts me at ease a little bit when I realize what function it's actually serving for me. You're not crazy or anything like that, just trying to avoid the same yucky feeling that anyone else would try to avoid.

    Best,

    Gems

  11. Forrest_123
    Forrest_123 avatar
    5 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to uncut_gems

    Hey gems,

    could you explain what you did on camps to get through it if you weren’t allowed devices?

  12. uncut_gems
    uncut_gems avatar
    4 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    One of my favorite things to do at camp was to get a book of sudoku or crosswords to keep my mind busy– I would do them whenever I got scared like if there was a big thunder storm or I thought someone in my bunk was going to be sick. A good book is also a great escape if you need to get away for a little bit.

    Depending on how strict the rules are, you might be able to get an exception and take something with you that wouldn't normally be allowed, like a music player or something. I remember one time a camp counsellor let me listen to his ipod (I'm dating myself here lol) and I just closed my eyes and got lost in the music.

    I also have a tiny little travel chess set (you can get this for other games as well!) that I would take out and play. A deck of cards is always a good idea as well!

  13. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    905 posts
    14 January 2020 in reply to Forrest_123

    Hello Forrest, can I thank you for your comment and it something that does happen on many an occasion, and I was in the same position as you, petrified of going on a 2week camp when I was at school, something I couldn't avoid, it was compulsory.

    I thought that if I write to the nightly newspaper, which was printed many years ago, that someone, anyone who read my comment would have an answer, at that stage there was no medication available to help me through these couple of weeks, but was told to take it day by day and try to associate yourself with another person who you may feel as though they could be in the same situation.

    There is available help for you to overcome this fear of being away and the feeling of wanting to vomit, so please find the courage and not be afraid to ask for this, that's something I wasn't able to do many years ago.

    If you want you can ask any question you would like to know.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful