Hi, I have no formal diagnosis but I feel I have elements of social anxiety. Eating in public is my biggest issue. I find it extremely difficult to successfully finish a full meal in front of people I know or don’t know, completely depending on who the company may be. I am fine eating with family and close friends either at home or in a restaurant. However I find my anxiety is at its height the closer it gets to meal times, especially at work (I am a teacher). I worry 15 minutes or so before lunch starts. I fear I will choke, make a mess with my food, vomit, people staring and judging me etc and I have to get to the staff room first because I know fewer people will be in there early. I rush my lunch to the point of indigestion if there is nobody in there but the busier it gets the worse I feel. It doesn’t help that the staff room is very small so I feel I am sat on top of everyone. I feel like I will be sick and my throat closes up. I make excuses of ‘I had a big breakfast’ or ‘this tastes bad’ to cover up the fact I can’t eat. I sometimes take my lunch and eat alone but I don’t want to isolate myself. I end up wasting my food when nobody is looking by binning it. I am ravenous when I get home and I tend to eat a lot of junk when I get in from work to fill me quickly. I have no urges to bring the food back up suggesting I have an eating disorder.
Eating out is even worse - at social events I tend to drink more before a meal so it distracts me from the eating. I mess with the food on my plate and come up with even more excuses. It upsets me that I see everyone else eating normally and clearing their plates. What strikes me the most is that I never stop myself from going anywhere, rather I deal with the situation very badly when I am in it. Does anyone know any tips on how to overcome this fear? Thank you 😊