Explaining anxiety is so hard. Unless you have experienced it, it is hard to understand. Anxiety can affect anyone for a number of reasons or for seemingly no reason at all. My anxiety is caused by my IBS, which I have because of fibromyalgia. I’m terrified it will flare up when I am out and that I’ll not be able to make it to the bathroom in time. Despite having my IBS under control and even though I rarely experience flare ups – as long as I avoid foods which I know aggravate it; my head still tells me to be scared and avoid certain situations. The result of this is that if I go out – I will basically starve myself because I am terrified of eating. This is something I need to work on. I am only comfortable eating at home and even going out to eat with my partner is a challenge.
Fibromyalgia is not just about pain, there are so many other symtoms we experience. We can suffer from IBS, sleep problems, irritated skin, anxiety, depression, fatigue…the list goes on.
That being said – I am so much better than I used to be. I have learned how to recognise the causes of my IBS and know to avoid these foods (fats, artificial foods, garlic, chilli, spices, marinades and sauces). I used to be convinced it was just gluten but I was still experiencing symptoms whilst being gluten free so I began to realize it was more tban just gluten. For three years I became obsessed with not eating gluten, my anxiety would sky rocket whenever I would buy food or go out to eat. So six months ago I decided to introduce gluten back into my diet. I was fine and to be honest it made me feel better. It was a relief to be able to eat normal bread again! I am now getting fibre back into my diet, which was lacking. Most gluten free products I found were packed full of sugar and I am saving so much money, as gluten free products are far more expensive. It was amazing to be able to eat gluten again and getting to eat all the foods I had missed.
With regards to my food anxieties – I have a lot of work to do. I think some exposure therapy is needed and I need to tell myself to simply not give a F*** if I get an IBS flare up as that is what toilets are for! I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about a thing. I shouldn’t care what people think. My CBT (conganative behavioural therapy) therapist told me that everyone goes to the toilet and people don’t actually care if you do. It is a normal human bodily function afterall 🙂
To anyone who suffers from food anxiety – I feel for you. I believe if I didn’t have IBS, I would not be an anxious person, but who knows why we get anxiety. So my goal is exposure therapy – I’m going to be eating out. I did a lot of this during my CBT therapy a few years back and it helped. If you have had CBT and feel yourself slipping back you need to remember what they told you and practice. I have let a few flare ups throw me back into major food anxiety and so I need to practice all of the techniques she taught me and obviously try not to pick food which I know will upset my stomach.
Obviously this is all easier said than done and my anxiety is so high at the moment, but i will try my hardest and take it one step at a time. I hope you’re with me 🙂
Follow my journey on my instagram @girlwithfibro