Anxiety rules my life

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


11 Replies

  • HI Jonny

    you have a very common anxiety symptom that is one of many that I am also going through at the moment nausea comes and goes as do loads of others I have suffered with GAD for many years and have been on medication had CBT and seen numerous other counsellors and am still no better just try and do as I do accept it and try distraction or try and face the fear you have your whole life ahead of you try and keep your chin up and ask your GP for any advice all the best


  • Thanks Bazil0. Did you find the medication helped at all? I have considered trying things but I'm not sure if they will really help. I think trying to distract yourself from the thoughts is key so thank you for that. I wish you all the best

  • jonnyT I would seriously go to see what your GP says and try what ever medication they give you . for me it is a very long story and it does help if you persevere and don't forget that you are only a guinea pig to them and just give it a go

  • Johnny T I do sympathise as I know exactly what you're going through, I also have this problem with eating, even sometimes on my own I suddenly feel a bit panicky when I'm confronted with food. I love food and have no hang ups about diet, its something to do with sitting there. Being in compnay is so difficult, I find it is helpful if you tell the others how you feel, thats if they are sympathetic, understanding folk, sometimes they can help you through and help with your confidence.Panic happens when we are 'trapped ' iand feel there's no escape without making a fuss. Its so hard and unfair, but I certainly have imoroved with social outings recently and some of that is to do with sharing with my friends, it gives them chance to 'let go' too because they may have problems themselves, who knows what goes on in other peoples minds. I also have what feels like missed or extra pronunced heart beats and that can cause me to feel panicky, but it no uncommon but worrying. Try to distract yourself from concentrating on the waiting time for the mea, even walk around the place, have a drink look at the decorations anything instead of building up the tension. I do feel for you and hope the support of friends, especially here, will help you win through. Hold on tight It will improve meanwhile I will remember you in my thoughts and prayers. Big hug from cotonroad

  • Thanks cotonroad, we do sound the same. I enjoy food as well, I eat loads without the anxiety feeling. I was told by my counsellor a while ago to just go for it, anxiety should go as you face your fears. Its just having the will power to do it, it may take a few attempts but this illness just seems like something you have to confront head on.

    I hope you manage to resolve your anxiety, this seems like a great place to air your thoughts with people who are going through the same things

  • hi, i've had panic/anxiety brought on by eating before too. it's normally only when i've already been feeling anxious (that slow burn up to a panic attack) and eating would maybe heighten it or bring it to the fore more. i'm not sure it's hard to explain, but yeah it's something i've had. very strange, but try and remember it's just a reaction in your body, you are in no danger, tell yourself inside it's just thoughts. the panic will come and is terrifying but it always passes. i'm always trying to face my fears as much as possible, it's only small steps sometimes but also the only way to overcome it too.

  • I have something similar but its not sickness with me. It's the fear of choking.

    I feel like a have a lump in the throat and food is getting stuck by it. I really have to chew everything small but it makes no difference.

    It can take me ages to eat which in turn makes me feel anxious as everyone else has finished.

    I know...i'm no help :-)

  • Hi Jonny, I dont have thus but have known people that dont like to eat in front of others. have you a close friend or family member you could confide in. As with anything anxiety related, the usual advice is 'small steps'. perhaps try and visit a quiet cafe with that friend, have a coffee with a biscuit, see how that feels. And try and build from there. It wont be easy but you can conquer this. Would it be worth visiting the gp again and telling them how this is affecting you; they may be able to help with some advice or appropriate counselling.

  • Hi there.

    I have really bad anxiety issues, and going to eat out is my worst nightmare.

    I love my food and have a great appetite.

    However just pulling up at a restaurant scares me, sounds ridiculous to people who dont have this, if its busy in there i feel sick lose my appetite very quickly. i just feel hot panicky and like I'm being watched. and i feel people know im feeling this way and that makes me worse. feel like i want to escape.

    I probably haven't helped you, but to know its not just you who has this sometimes helps.

    On occasions i do look around me and people are just eating and not even looking, so that does help slightly.

    wishing you well.

  • Thank you all for your comments, I think I should go speak with my GP and just explain to them what I'm going through and see what they suggest.

    Sometimes its sort of good to know your not the only one going through this so again, thanks for your comments

  • Hi JonnyT

    First of all i would like to welcome you to the site and here you will find people that can understand how you are feeling and give advice.

    First of all you have made a good decision to go along and talk with your Doctor maybe he could suggest some counselling to help get to the bottom of your fear and phobia regarding eating out.

    You will find many people have this problem inclusing myself i find i am unable to relax sit still and enjoy a meal. I am constantly uneasy moving about and eager to finish up and go.

    I think this is anxiety of which you need to face head on and try and think what is making you sick. The thought of going out to eat? eating in front of others?

    I hope you can understand that you are not alone and we are all here to support you.

    Keep blogging and i wish you all the best


    Love Seyi xxx.

    P,s Try and go local with one or two friends to have a meal out someone you are comfortable with. If need be express your concern no one will judge you. :)

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