In this week's podcast we're responding to a question from our inbox about anxiety at meal times...
Hi I'm a 26 year old male currently travelling south east Asia with my girlfriend. I have suffered from anxiety for years and currently I've had a really bad relapse. I've never dealt with my problem and tend to sweep everything under the carpet, hoping my problems will just go away. While travelling I've had a bad stomach bug and lost my appetite. I'm new to the podcasts so you may of answered a similar problem already but I just want advise on what to do. Basically my problem begins and ends around meal times. I struggle to eat the smallest amounts of food, my mouth drys up my hands sweat. I can sometimes get through a meal but recently have not managed it at all and the feeling of (I don't really know)(that's my problem) comes over me and takes over my mind. The problem can occur at anytime of the day without warning and the worst feeling takes over my body. My girlfriend of over 5 years has helped me through every meal but this is a massive set back and she can't understand why I'm doing this to myself. But I can't either. I don't feel like it is me. I use hard mints to help me from vomiting but don't want to use them as it's become like a drug and I can't go anywhere with out them creating a problem before I've had any negative thoughts. I've had a few therapy sessions about 3/4 years ago but stopped going after I thought I'd got over it. Thanks for any advice you can provide.
Points covered in the podcast:
Firstly we do not "do this to ourselves"
This is a situation that requires kindness and understanding or it will grow into more of a problem.
- this is a high anxiety state, it's a response to extreme stress we literally constrict with anxiety and cannot eat
- although challenging anxiety around meal times can be helped
Practical tips to help anxiety at meal times
- Move your seats: sit next to each other instead of opposite
- Get specific: Ask yourself specifically what bothers you. Would you be better eating alone for a while? Do you feel social pressure?
Anticipatory Anxiety around eating & The Sandwich story
We begin to dread eating and everyone else gets fixated on it. Has he/she eaten? How much have you eaten? Why can't you just eat? It quickly becomes a big thing.
Use EFT Tapping to turn down the fear and also to change you relationship with food.
Your description of using mints is also part of the challenge here. The mints are insignificant, if it's not mints it will be something else. Practice EFT Tapping and breathing exercises to get the anxiety down and don't put yourself under any pressure.
Sometimes we get over things and they come back and we have to get over them again. It's OK you are doing the best you can. There is pressure in expecting ourselves to be cured and fine. Take the pressure off, we all have challenges. Right now this is yours, step by step you will overcome it. I did and you can too.
Listen to the full podcast: Anxiety at Meal Times here