Anorexia Bulimia Care
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Has anyone else experienced an intense fear of sitting down?

I have been suffering from an ED for several years, and despite finding that I can manage meals better than in the past, I have a phobia of sitting and of being unable to exercise. If I have to sit down for more than 20mins 'in one sitting' or for more than a certain total time each day, I become uncontrollably nervous, anxious, upset and I have to do all sorts of crazy rituals to combat the extra sitting I believe I have done. It's the same with exercise. This obsession impinges on my life hugely and restricts what I can do, and Im incredibly unhappy because of it. Does anyone have any suggestions or has had a similar experience? Is this ridiculous? Are my fears founded? I feel like I need reassurance that sitting is ok, but I really don't believe that it is. Thank you

3 Replies

Yes, I think I know what you mean. I get incredibly restless if I have to sit for longer than 30mins or so. I can go along with trying to compensate if a long time is required like on a car journey. And yet lots of people who are fit and healthy sit for long periods (where long means an hour) and so logically it doesn't make sense to be over anxious about it.

One thing I find useful is doing a craft or reading something that is totally engaging. When the task/fun is finished I then try to ignore what is in the past and live in the present. It is hard though.


Yes I do know how you feel - relaxing - especially before/after meals - can be really hard - keeping on the go is for me a way of dealing with the feelings around having eaten or preparing to eat - and since eating is at least 3 times daily - more with snacks - its not really suprising if you've a difficulty around food that his is happening.

My husband finds it only too easy to relax - can spend hours at the computer or watching TV - and I guess I've had to come to learn to relax more if the relationship is to be a truly shared one. I find occupying myself while relaxing - doing cross stitch, crosswords etc - helps occupy my mind - and over time I'm now able to watch a whole TV programme without doing anything but watching - its amazing how much more you see!!

Exercise is still an issue for me - if I don't get my 30-40 minutes walk in a day I'm in a bit of a state - still, compared with the 60 minutes+ , or a 3 - 5 mile run - things have improved significantly - it takes time and patience with yourself - I tried to cut down firstly from running to fast walking, then just a normal speed walk - I then gradually reduced the time. I still also find it hard to relax for lunch without walking - but have had to deal with this as we go out together on a weekend afternoon - and I now cope without walking before and after - but again its taken time to persuade myself that its OK.

Don't beat yourself up - just try to chip away at the behaviour slowly is my suggestion.


Hello. Yes, I can relate to what you experience. I also become distressed if I have to sit down for a certain period of time. When I visit my parents, I find I start pacing the room after a while in order to still move about. And I am constantly on the look-out for jobs to do when I at home. I will clean and sort out things which really don't need to be done, simply so I can keep moving. Even when I am ill, I still force myself to keep moving.

I believe it is part of the eating disorder, and I also think it is a way we are very hard on ourselves. We can push and push ourselves relentlessly. I can also relate to your need for reassurance that sitting it okay. I often need reassurance and permission that it is okay for me to eat and rest. If I so much as get a bus rather than walk, I tend to feel very guilty.

I would like to share something with you though. I had a hip replacement last year, and for several days I could not get out of bed. When I did start to move about, I had to take it easy for several months. I had to spend a lot of time sitting and resting, which was very difficult for me to do. But I found that it was something of a relief. I realised how exhausting it can be, both physically and mentally, when we keep pushing ourselves to do more. I welcomed the rest. I also spent those periods of sitting doing things like reading, listening to music, writing...things which I don't usually allow myself to do, as I feel I ought to be doing something more physically demanding. So there were benefits to sitting for longer periods of time, and nothing terrible happened. So I would say that yes, it really is okay to sit and rest. Our bodies and minds need a certain amount of rest each day.

I know it is difficult though. I am sorry to hear that this is affecting your life so much and restricting what you are able to do. Trust me though, you are not alone. I know it is hard, but keep being strong. I hope something here helps.


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