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Anxiety Support
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i cant eat in public places

so as you can tell not being able to eat in public places is really annoying so much that i have been avoiding going out with my friends.

i have had many hours with psychologists and it has helped me in different areas of my life but i still freak out when in comes to eating my food any ideas?

9 Replies

Hi. stewart. When I came out of the army, many years ago, some friends and I went to a restaurant for a meal. When it was served I could not eat it even though I was hungry. It stuck in my throat and I felt sick. To add to the problem the restaurant was crowed and I was sure every one was looking at me. Of course, I now realise they weren't. I do not know how you feel about this but the only way to get over this problem is to do it. But try and stay calm and accept how you feel. If you say you can only have a small amount when you order, and then only fairly easily digestible food (no meat etc) then you may find you can still swallow. That first swallow will get you past the first hurdle then you will probably carry on OK. No one is looking at you; in fact they probaly don't give a toss if you can eat or not! This can be socially embarrassing I know. But give it a try. Best wishes. jonathan.


thanks jonathan yeah its like a trigger that kicks in when people are around me i have tried to eat food when walking around places and i just about get away with it without the feeling of choking on my food.


Is it just the feeling of being seen by others, or something else? Do you have the same fear if you sit with family at home to eat?

I guess that knowing for sure what thoughts prompt the anxiety is the first step.

Maybe start small, by firstly going with one person for a drink and no food at a not-too-busy place, then when you are used to that, maybe you can gradually build up to eating a snack, a meal, and add to how many people you are with and how busy the place is. I think psychologists call it "habituation" - ie, "getting used to it", which is by no means easy, but more approachable by building up gradually.


its is partly down to being seen by other people but the real issue lies in chocking on my food this has happened to me many times when out eating with mates and sometimes at home


I see. I really sympathise as i also have choking fits fairly often (about twice a month)

In my case, a bad cough I had years ago lengthened my uvula (the thing that hangs down in the back of your throat). It is now unusually long, rests on the back of my tongue, and prompts my gag reflex, which for me is a nightmare as I am emetophobic. Thankfully I never vomit, but I do choke horribly. It often happens when I am home alone, which although it's frightening, is not embarrassing cos nobody can see me. It hasn't happened when i am out, but I sometimes fear it may do.

I've been tolf there are drugs or surgery to shorten it, but being emetophobic I am too scared to take those options!

Do you know the reasons for choking? Have you had your uvula/swallow reflex checked?



I used to have this problem, for a long time I wouldn't drink or eat anything in front of people. Then I started to use a straw with drinks as that made it easier to drink, and I used to only eat small things that were easier to eat and I chew things a lot to make sure I can swallow them. It does get better though, I can now eat what I wan't in front of people most of the time without worrying about it :). Hope you manage to overcome this problem like I have. xx Amber xx


Everyone I go in a eating place I try to eat something and no matter how soft it is it gets lodged and I end up going the toilet to bring it up as it hurts until I do


I also suffer the same issues. Just the idea of food makes me sick but I can eat normally when I'm home.


i feel so similar i’m so thankful i found this thread😩😩 i haven’t had this feeling for a particularly long time but it happened the first time a few weeks ago when i went to eat with my friends in a restaurant and i felt super nauseous after eating my meal and i was sooo scared i was gonna vomit in public that i acted like everything was okay and i took sips of water which calmed me down but the feeling came back after the sips so i went to the toilet and forced myself to throw up to avoid that fate later on in case i had the feeling again. when i got home i brushed it away cos it had never happened to me before so i thought it was a once in a blue moon experience. but then yesterday i went out with my friends and we went to a buffet and i grabbed a plate and put some food on my plate, not too much just normal amount that i’d have at home but quarter way through my meal i had the thought ‘imagine throwing up here in front of my friends and the public’ and instantly i felt sooo sick and i couldn’t eat anymore and so i drank a lot of lemonade which kind of settled my stomach but it made me sick to see everyone eating and then i went to the toilet and forced myself to throw up but then i felt

sick again when i went back to the table, when we got out of the place i felt sooo much better and the crazy thing is i can eat normally at home with my family. i’m not sure what this is but i hate it and i’m scared i can never eat out with my friends normally again. i just neee help to get over this.


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