Hi to anyone who reads this, I think it's the first blog I've ever written so firstly apologies if I ramble on To start with I'm 26 years old and had anxiety for just around 5 years now. My anxiety revolves around eating in front of people.
The first time I realised I had a problem was in 2007 but at the time I really had no idea what was going on, I was out in a restaurant with people I was working with over the summer and it just seemed to take me ages to finish a pizza, it got to the point where everybody around me had finished and I felt like I was being stared at. I brushed that off as a random occurrence. Later on that summer, my friends and I went to the Norfolk broads and hired a barge out for a week, that's when I truly realized I had a major problem. The first night we ate on the boat, this was fine, I polished my food off. The next night we went to a restaurant, as soon as I ordered my food I got this sickly feeling in my stomach, even then I had no idea what was going on, so I left my mates some money and went back to the boat. Once I got in there I was hungry so made a sandwich, none of this made any sense to me. This continued for the next couple of nights, I would go out with the intention of eating with everyone then I would get this feeling and not want to eat anything. After about 3/4 days I started to feel ok and could eat with everyone, I think my friends assumed I was just randomly ill over that week but I knew it was something worse.
I should say as well that growing up I was always a slow eater and as a family we wernt very sociable so very rarely would we go out for meals etc, something which I feel has contributed to how I am today.
My lowest moment was in 2009, after avoiding going out for meals with people I decided I would just go for it, the whole morning at work I felt defiant about it, but yet again the second I got in the place it started. I decided I would order a soup as it should be easier to eat especially if I was feeling anxious. First mouthful was ok, then second I felt it just hit my stomach then feeling sick. I was sick in the pub in front of 6 of my work colleagues. It was so embarrassing! When I got back to work I told my boss I was unwell and went home, since then I haven't been out for a meal at all. That really knocked me back and since then I have avoided every single possible meal out I would have to attend.I even faked illness so I could miss my cousins wedding
That brings me to today, I just feel that my anxiety is stronger than ever, I had counselling in 2009 for 6 week, but didn't feel it helped me, all I took from that was a bunch of paperwork and leaflets. At the time I knew my anxiety wasnt normal but now that I have had it so long, it feels normal for me to be like this and that's my real worry, how can you get rid of something that your brain considers normal. I'm so worried about my future, there are things coming up like weddings/stag do's that I just cant miss, but I know with my anxiety I wont be able to enjoy myself properly. My current job isn't very sociable so I never really need to eat out with colleagues. I don't like working there but if I move to a more sociable job where they all go out every week for food I wont be able to handle that. I used to be ok just eating a sandwich I made the night before and eating that at my desk, but recently with certain things changing at work even this has become a problem, even today my anxiety just went mental and I was physically sick, then didn't eat until I got home pretending to people I wasn't feeling well.
My real worry is I will never overcome this, its getting worse, I've had some really dark thoughts recently, with so much going on and my anxiety going into overdrive I just don't see the point in anything. I can't deal with letting more and more people down because of this problem, I hate talking about it with people as I find it embarrassing. I know anxiety is fairly common but nobody I know has it which makes me feel really alone. In an ideal world I would get a new job, get a girlfriend and live a 'normal' life that involved going for meals with friends, family and colleagues
Sorry this is so long winded and thanks to anyone who reads it