The Words That Help Me Overcome Grocery Store Anxiety

Standing in the soup aisle at the local grocery store pacing back and forth and biting my nails is what happens when I try to pick out a dinner for myself. As someone who struggles with an eating disorder and a severe anxiety disorder especially relating to food, breaking any of my eating disorder’s “rules” is scary for me. Thirty minutes later and after reading all the nutrition labels on all the different soups, I walk out of the store with no dinner.

After my therapist listened to me explain just how much hate I have for myself because of this and all the horrible things I was telling myself, she decided my eating disorder behaviors were never going to change unless my thoughts and feelings about myself changed. My therapist told me to pick two positive statements I could tell myself when I’m in triggering or anxiety-provoking situations. I did not have to believe them at first, but she said after a while I would learn to believe them.

The next time I was at the grocery store, instead of telling myself I did not deserve to eat or was “too fat” to have dinner, I told myself I am strong and I can do this. It takes me repeating this again and again to actually calm myself down, but I found it really helps. I use this in several other situations as well, like when panic attacks make it hard to get through the day at work or even when getting out of bed in the morning is difficult.

So to anyone out there who is struggling: you are strong and you can do this.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Eating Disorders

group of young adults sitting outside

An Ode to the Friend Who Has Loved Every Version of Me

Sometimes a person comes into your life at a time when you – cliché alert – least expect it. Life is cruising along just fine. You may be embarking upon a new chapter, there are minimal bumps and the future is bright and orange. September, three years ago, this was me. Nineteen years of age. [...]
woman with her hands on a mirror, looking at her reflection

'Does My Stomach Look Flat?'

“Does my stomach look flat?” That is what she asked. Back in the dark and twisty days this would have “triggered” me into an episode of anxiety, self-harm, self-depreciation, binging, restricting, despair… wondering is my stomach flat? Do people care whether my stomach is flat? How do I make my stomach flat? People’s comments still [...]
danielle lowe in music video for the song she wrote called reflections

How a Song Helped Me Find My Voice Again in Eating Disorder Recovery

I love writing music, but my eating disorder convinced me I should never sing, write or perform. Sharing my feelings was a no-no. I lost all strength in my voice, literally and figuratively. Singing was hard from purging, and I felt the only way I could really communicate my feelings was through my unhealthy behaviors and [...]
A plate of Thanksgiving foot on a table

6 Tips for Conquering Your First Thanksgiving Meal in Eating Disorder Recovery

Two years ago, I remember struggling hard core at Thanksgiving. Last year, I walked into Thanksgiving’s arms timidly but with wonder. This year, I am ready to embrace this holiday wholeheartedly and joyfully. Here’s a list of tips for those looking to conquer the day healthily for potentially the first time in quite a while. [...]