How Anxiety Affects Appetite

In a normal day, I feel hungry, I think about food, and thus I activately think about eating “I want tacos!”, etc. When anxiety affects my appetite, it’s not that I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t feel like eating.” it’s that the thoughts of food don’t come to me. It’s not that I’m not hungry, it’s that I’m so preoccupied with other thoughts, that I don’t think to eat.

Here’s an example. My mom is having surgery tomorrow (I wrote this a few days back). This morning we said our “I love you’s” just in case. So while working, I am also thinking about my mother. My alarm notifies me that it’s lunch time and I go get my lunch, because it’s routine. I bring it back to my office with me and while I did take a bite, as my mind wandered off, I was no longer compelled to eat. I would go back to my work, instead of focusing on my lunch like I would normally do.

After a moment of pause waiting for a reply from someone on something, I could feel the hungry in my belly, but my mind wasn’t thinking about food. I realize that I eat when I think about food, regardless of my hungry status. At some point, when my hunger builds up, when it’s louder than my thoughts, I usually get around to eating. However, as soon as that hungry in my belly dims, the eating tappers off as my mind goes back to those thoughts of whatever is heavy on my mind.

It’s not that I am purposefully starving myself, it’s just what happens with some types of anxiety. Being of low blood sugar, this is a dangerous side effect of anxiety. Not every loss of appetite is an intentional self harm. When I get like this, I have to pull on my inner strength and make it a point to eat. Sometimes, I have to rely on my loved ones and trust them. When my husband says “Eat something.” I have to consciously remind myself not to ignore him and do it. When I taper off and his reminds me again “Honey, you should eat more of your food.”, I have to consciously remind myself notto get frustrated or defensive, and just do it.

For me, when I get like this, having someone interrupt my thought process or nag me consistently, gets me frustrated and defensive. It’s hard not to be rude in responce, and if my blood sugar is low… well let’s me honest… I’m bitchy. I have to try harder to listen, try harder not to be a bitch about it, and I always remember to tell my husband (and friends) thank you for understanding and being there for me when I need you.

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