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By stellarfluff On 08/28/02  

i kind of developed this weird anxiety problem when i was in crete this summer. i had a great time there, but sometimes i really felt so isolated and far from everything that was familiar and i wanted to be home. anyway, i always ate my meals with my coworkers on the terrace where all the guests ate. sometimes i would get really paranoid and i would start focusing on chewing and swallowing, to the point, where i was so aware of it that i couldn't swallow. and then i wouldn't know what to do and i would take deep breaths to relax (with food in my mouth, mind you) so that i could get on with it.

since i have been back, i haven't had this problem too much... except for when i am at my freelance job eating in the lunchroom, which is only like 8 people on this floor. i just totally freak out and can't eat right. it doesnt' happen all the time, just when a lot of people are making a ruckus or talking to me about stupid stuff!

for this particular situation, i can just eat by myself, but i kind of want to get to the bottom of what is freaking me out. i know i have had an anxiety problem in the past, but it usually just goes away, but i can place it back almost 7 years, just different events and times in my life where things just weren't right. and then things just work out. usually, there is something going on in my life that is getting to me... like i was talking about being homesick in crete.

i guess i just want to know if anyone relates to this particular weird can't eat right anxiety...

By ladyjane On 08/28/02  

I often worry that people are monitoring what I'm eating. (As in, they're looking and saying, "OMG, what a cow ladyjane is, she ate all that???")

For me, personally, it was growing up around people (ahem, *Mom!*) who actually were very over-aware of weight, size, body image, and what anyone and everyone was eating. My food was very monitored for quite awhile when I was a kid.

What's helped me is that I'm slowly realizing that not everyone is like that. For example, my one (guy) co-worker would ask me "What are you eating?" and I'd get all wierded out and super-parinoid. Turns out his family was in the restaurant business for generations...he's just honestly curious and excited about food.

I dunno if this relates to how you're experiencing this, I just thought I'd throw it out there.

ladyjane, who sometimes loves eating at her desk...

By elemental On 08/28/02  

when I was around 15 I somehow developed a "weirdness" around stairs. I would just get hyper-aware and feel like I was in slow-mo and just generally freakout. It went away after a few months. know, I've never told anyone that before...heh.

By ladyjane On 08/28/02  

elemental -- I was that way about escalators for *years*. Hated to go down escalators.

By puffgirl On 08/28/02  

i had that too. in grade school and then in high school i had to concentrate to walk up and down the stairs. almost as if i had to reteach myself how its done.
i also forget to breath sometimes. my breaths become to shallow and i take a few deep breaths to feel right again.
roz it sounds liek high anxiety. take a few deep breaths and eat slowly. maybe reading while you are having lunch will help. this way you are not concentrating on others around you. or listen to calming music on headphones.

By stellarfluff On 08/28/02  

hey ladies, thanks....
i am fine almost all of the time, this is just something i have started noticing this summer. it's a weird sensation. who'd a thought swallowing would be scary?

i think i was also annoyed that people would be screaming at one another about sports and junk during lunch. i mean, eating should be a pleasant activity. i definitely associate food with comfort and i hate eating just to eat. i have this weird relationship with food now, particularly since going to cooking school. i really do want it to be an aesthetically pleasing joyful experience!!!!


By Lacey On 08/28/02  

that's weird. that just started happening to my dad recently I think he went to the doctor about it. I'll ask him. Sometimes when we are eating and he starts to think about something important it's like his throat dries out and he can't swallow at all.

Meanwhile, since I've graduated college I have had some strange eating problems too. But only in the middle of the day. At dinner I like to be in a nice restaurant or in my comfy chair at home and I really enjoy my food a lot!
But at lunch I eat really fast when I am with other people and sometimes I jsut don't eat. It depends on who is around me though. I really like to talk and laugh at lunch and then I'm OK.
The worst is that I eat my food in front of my computer most of the time. If I don't read glitter while I am eating I do work which really makes me choke!! Not the same as your problem...but it's still a pain in the ass.

By Orange-peel On 08/28/02  

I can't eat food from other people's houses. I get paranoid about whether their hands were clean when they made it, if they used meat or genetically engineered products or other nasty stuff, and whether I'll offend them if I don't like it.

By cleanout On 08/28/02  

ugh, do i have food issues. i can't eat in front of strangers or any large group of people. i generally don't eat edges or any part of the food my hand has touched. like back when i used to eat french fries with my hand, i just wouldn't eat the part i held. i don't like things that are messy either.

and it sounds like anxiety. i have one friend who, whenever we go over her house for dinner, she's so anxious about everything that i have to be starving in order to overcome my anxiety (from her being so stressed) to eat. it's an awful feeling when you can't swallow. no suggestions, other than maybe taking a few minutes to relax before you go in the lunchroom?

By stella On 08/28/02  

i have a psychotic loathing of the noises other people make when they eat, so i usually eat by myself. i get really weird, twitchy, nauseated, and feel like i'm going to die if i get stuck next to someone eating crunchy food. this is one reason i hardly ever go to the movies. listening to people "munch" makes me want to poke my eardrums out. with a sharp stick.

maybe you can do some quiet meditation before you eat, or change your eating situation a little bit. i used to sit on the lawn outside of my work to eat by myself. not that it would be a good idea to habitually isolate yourself, but maybe you could start to associate eating with something that ISN'T stressful, and then work your way back in to a stressful situation.


By pumpkingirl On 08/28/02  

i can't say i have had this particular issue, but i think it's safe to say you aren't alone in it. Sometimes just talking about it can help, as cheesy as that sounds. Also, i have been reading/browsing a book called "One Bowl" that's intended to create a more sacred and balanced ritual out of eating, although I'm not sure if you would find any comfort in it? There are a few sections I pick and choose from, so if you get a chance that could help. (Sorry, not sure offhand who the author is.) Hope you find the root.

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