Ask Jigsaw: Anxiety has been affecting my eating habits

Ask Jigsaw: Anxiety has been affecting my eating habits

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Do you have advice for a young adult struggling with anxiety? I’ve recently been falling into fits of anxiety several times a day that have had a huge impact on my health. It had started out small with being anxious about being in a new town/home. The anxiety only grew with each passing day; they went from quick spells to hours of feeling tense and scared.

Now every noise or small bump sends my heart racing when im feeling anxious. Its gotten to the point where I pace around the house making sure that the noise I heard was nothing dangerous. I also feel as tho the anxiety has been severely damaging my eating habits and health. When I’m anxious I cant bring myself to eat because my stomach becomes severely upset. When its bad I cant even keep water or crackers in my stomach. Iv tried every remedy for an upset stomach; tums, crackers, club soda, ginger but nothing seems to work when my anxiety spikes. I’ve been coping with this for months, being sick and throwing up at least once a week.

I’ve been to a doctor about it fearing it to be something more, however ive been told by multiple doctors that the effects I’m experiencing are caused by stress (nothing they can do for that). Im not sure how much longer I can handle everything my anxiety and stress is doing to me. If there is any advice you can spare, I need to hear it. Thanks


Hi C,

It sounds like your anxiety and stress are causing significant difficulties for you. There are many physical impacts of anxiety, and some people do experience stomach pain and upset.  The physical signs of anxiety are usually really uncomfortable and upsetting, and it can be easy to focus on managing these and trying to reduce the discomfort. While this can provide some relief in the short term, it doesn’t address the underlying things that are contributing to the anxiety and stress.

Jigsaw Clinician
There are many physical impacts of anxiety, and some people do experience stomach pain and upset

Impact of anxiety

It sounds like you can attribute the start of your anxiety to moving home, but it has escalated since then. Anxiety can have an impact on the way that we think about and view situations. We may start to imagine the worst, predicting things will turn out badly. As it develops we can start to filter out some of the positives in our lives, focusing more on the challenges. We can tell ourselves that we aren’t able to cope and the future can start to feel hopeless.

It is important to know that with the right support, anxiety and stress are manageable. We can change the way that we think about situations, so that they become less anxiety-provoking. We can learn ways to try to manage the physical feelings. Gradually we can find ways to cope with the anxiety so that it doesn’t stop us from doing the things that we want to do.

You can find out a bit more about anxiety here. There are also some helpful explanations and tools to manage anxiety on the MindShift app, which can be downloaded for free on iphone or android.

Christine, 23
Jigsaw Volunteer
This app is super informative for people looking for content on anxiety. I still have the app on my phone, but only use it to read about types of anxiety. I would definitely recommend this app to a friend.

It sounds like you didn’t find your doctor particularly helpful, however, it is not correct that there is nothing that can be done for stress. You can read more about dealing with stress. Perhaps you might like to consider accessing some support to help you deal with your stress and anxiety. You can find further information about support options here. If you continue to get sick because of your anxiety it would be worth talking to your doctor about this to see about additional support.

Take care,

Sinéad, Jigsaw Clinician

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