The fear of eating out, going away for a break/holiday/somewhere new or the unknown. These can fill you with dread, worry, anxiety. The thought of stepping out of your comfort zone and facing the unknown can be a daunting experience. I have been through this many times and faced this yet again last weekend, going away with a friend on a spa break for an overnight stay.
I was already apprehensive booking an overnight stay but without too much thought at the time, I agreed and it was booked. A week before going away it suddenly dawned on me…the thoughts in my head started to get me anxious, and a feeling of regret came into mind. What if I couldn’t find anything to eat? What if I felt obliged to eat when I didn’t want to? So much speculation in my mind, thinking of scenarios that may well surface in reality and thinking of the embarrassment I would face when challenged at meal times. All week leading up to my overnight spa break got me feeling uneasy and unwell.
On the other hand, the rational side of me was trying to convince the irrational side of me that I am being so negative, to think positive and just focus on having a good time and enjoy a well earned rest which I never get. I kept trying to bring this rational side of my thinking to a forefront and try and let myself relax and just enjoy my time away. So overall, mixed feelings, the dread and anxiety and yet the excitement that I convinced myself to feel.
I ensured I packed food and snacks with me just in case I couldn’t eat whilst away. But still determined to try my best with what was offered to me. Maybe to truly face my fear and set myself the ultimate challenge would have been not to take any food/snacks with me, but I thought I did quite well to actually go away, which in itself I felt somewhat proud that I did face a fear to go away!
Overall I had a wonderful time, and I am glad I did go, I do not want my fear stopping me from doing so many wonderful things, and it has, I have neglected many social events, many opportunities. It has been a constant conflict with my own mind – one side creating that barrier and another trying to fight it’s way back and take over any irrational thoughts which overwhelm my overall thinking. I wanted to share my experience of going away and my thought process when it came to meal times and how it can make you feel when you have a disordered way of thinking about food, how the illness can affect someone without others realising the extent that one’s mind can go through.
Sometimes we have to face our fear, it may be a long slow process before overcoming any fear, or we may not overcome our fear, but with this particular experience, I tried to manage that fear, finding ways around it, taking that step. Taking that step for me transpired to be a positive experience. My experience may not have gone as well as it did, but I guess we will never know until we try. I would have missed out on the enjoyable break with my friend if I didn’t go, but it has now left me excited for my next adventure, hoping I can go on holiday soon. I know I will have the same thoughts again if I do go away, every experience will be different, some may not go so well, but if I did not take the risk, I would have missed out on the lovely weekend that I had.
As well as trying to overcome the fear, we have to work on our mindset and why we have that fear. I am slowly trying to change my mindset, it is not easy but I am hoping one day I can go away, not think about any fear and just enjoy without the anxiety creeping in. Food is meant to be an enjoyable, socially pleasurable experience and to fuel our bodies. I am looking forward to getting to a place where I am care free and to enjoy myself without the tribulations…I am working towards this, and I know I will get there one day.