Your mind and body can do some strange ol' things when feeling overly anxious. One particular quirk of mine is the rejection of food, some people comfort eat but I seem to do the opposite.
From a primitive perspective it does make sense: my mind is telling me there's a hungry cheetah hiding in the grass and the last thing I need is that scrumptious bowl of pasta. The below video sums it up pretty well...
Believe it or not, I've actually yet to have a meal where there was a cheetah lurking in the shadows, so my body's rejection of food rarely helps. In fact, it can make things rather awkward.
This particular meal took place when I was about 15 years old and I was out with a new girlfriend. Despite being a skinny teenager, I ate for England so had never been in a situation where I literally couldn't stomach anything.
We went out to an Italian place and I ordered a calzone (a new revelation in my life – a folded pizza? Genius!). Looking back I had the telltale signs of high anxiety lingering. My legs did not want to sit still, my heart was pumping a little too loudly and I was sure some sod was sucking the oxygen out of the room.
I tried my hardest to ignore everything that was going on, desperately attempting to focus on whatever conversation we were having; probably something around the latest 90210 drama. Soon enough the food arrived and my galpal tucked into her meal. I picked up my knife and fork, thankful for something to put my focus on.
JUST STAY COOL...
Despite my stomach roaring with hunger (another super cool thing to happen during a date), every time I put some of that delicious calzone in my mouth, I seriously struggled to swallow it. Not only did it feel like my throat had shrunk, any food I did get down, tried its very hardest to pay me a second visit.
By this point I was freaking out. Panic had taken its full grip on me and even putting the calzone in my mouth made me feel nauseous. I could no longer hide the fact that there was little chance of me eating anymore of my meal and confessed this to my girlfriend.
I think she was pretty confused and kind of alarmed by this information. I really had no idea what was happening and was in the midst of an anxiety attack so I can't imagine my explanation was very coherent. We made it through the meal though and the waiter took away my very full plate.
Needless to say I opted out of dessert.
WHAT I LEARNT FROM THIS PARTICULAR EXPERIENCE:
It’s actually pretty normal to lose your appetite when going through high levels of anxiety and as scary as it is, it will pass.
Other people’s reactions to your anxiety might not always be what you expect but if you try your best to clearly explain what’s going on, they’ll understand with time.
Blink 182 were so right with First Date... "I'm just scared of what you'll think, you make me nervous so I really can't eat".
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