What It's Like To Have Cibophobia

What It's Like To Have Cibophobia

Cibophobia is almost losing your life when you had no idea it was happening.
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Cibophobia, the fear of food, is a complicated phobia that can rapidly turn into an obsession if ignored.

I have had anxiety as long as I can remember. My anxiety mainly consists of my fears, which have ranged from certain medication to illnesses, germs, and more over the course of my life. However, the worst one to date has been my case of Cibophobia.

Cibophobia is going out with your family and not being able to eat a single bite of your food because you weren't able to watch the chef make it.

Cibophobia is calling your mom three times just to make sure the bowl of spaghetti left over from the night before is safe to eat.

Cibophobia is checking every single expiration date numerous times, and even though it's only half a day past the date, not being able to consume it.

Cibophobia is looking at the number on the scale drop lower and lower and not understanding why, because what you're doing doesn't feel wrong. It feels safe.

Cibophobia is going to your best friend's house and smelling the delicious casserole but not eating it because it was made by someone who wasn't you.

Cibophobia is using a fork to eat little foods like french fries because you believe what you've touched is tainted.

Cibophobia is having your mom butter your rolls at Thanksgiving because you trust her more than you trust yourself.

Cibophobia is going to a friend's Halloween get-together and feeling too fearful to take any candy or eat any pizza because you're afraid they've done something to it. Not because of who the individual is, but because of who you are.

Cibophobia is crying a thousand tears when your doctor tells you that you are unhealthy, because you truly believe you've tried everything you could to BE healthy.

Cibophobia is terrifying - one day you're a healthy 130 lbs and the next, you're a weight you haven't seen on the scale in five years.

Cibophobia is loving the way your body looks, so much in fact, that you don't want to ever hurt it by eating something toxic.

Cibophobia is almost losing your life when you had no idea it was happening.

Cibophobia was ME.

Before diagnosis, my meals for the day consisted of whatever I deemed safe enough. Some days all I was able to eat was half a jelly sandwich and part of the meal my mom put together while I sat and watched. Not because I didn't trust my mom, but because I couldn't control myself.

I hurt my family members with this disorder. Seeing their faces sink when I cried over a meal I couldn't bring myself to even try to eat was devastating. Watching their shoulders drop when the panic attacks began was heartbreaking. But feeling their hugs, holding their hands, and hearing their soft voices guiding me saved my life.

I entered therapy in January of 2016 and began medication that I am still on today. With the support and love of many friends and family, I was able to slowly regain my strength and gain back a few pounds.

Gaining back all of the weight I had lost took a few months, which then interfered with my school work and the sports I played the following Spring. Looking back, I'd do all that work over again if I was able to get this same result.

Today, I am a healthy individual weighing around 140 lbs.

Today, I have Cibophobia, but Cibophobia doesn't have me.

To all who are struggling with Cibophobia,

Sometimes people will question you, and you won't have the answer, and that's okay. It's okay to not understand why you are doing what you feel is necessary. I still can't say truthfully that I understand why I thought every food was toxic to me - it's just how my life was supposed to go.

I understand what you're going through, even if no one else does. There will be the people who criticize you, who judge you, who make you feel crazy for believing what you do, but they aren't in your shoes and they'll never know what it's like, so ignore them. Let them think what they want, because we know the truth; Cibophobia is real. There IS light at the end of this dark and scary tunnel...and I am living proof.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Brockman

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An Open Letter To The Girl Trying To Get Healthy Again

"I see you eating whatever you want and not exercising" - Pants
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Dear girl trying to get back in shape,

I know it's hard. I know the hardest thing you may do all day is walk into the gym. I know how easy it is to want to give up and go eat Chicken McNuggets, but don't do it. I know it feels like you work so hard and get no where. I know how frustrating it is to see that person across the table from you eat a Big Mac every day while you eat your carrots and still be half of your size. I know that awful feeling where you don't want to go to the gym because you know how out of shape you are. Trust me, I know.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College

The important thing is you are doing something about it. I'm sure you get mad at yourself for letting your body get this out of shape, but life happens. You have made a huge accomplishment by not having a soda in over a month, and those small changes are huge. I understand how hard it is, I understand how frustrating it is to not see results and I understand why you want to give up. Being healthy and fit takes so much time. As much as I wish you could wake up the day after a good workout with the sixpack of your dreams, that just isn't the reality. If being healthy was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't feel so good when you got there.

Remember how last January your resolution was to get back in the gym and get healthy again? Think about how incredible you would look right now if you would have stuck with it. The great thing is that you can start any time, and you can prove yourself wrong.

Tired of starting over? Then don't give up.

You are only as strong as your mind. You will get there one day. Just be patient and keep working.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want abs more than anything, and one day you woke up with them, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as watching your body get stronger.

Mental toughness is half the battle. If you think you are strong, and believe you are strong, you will be strong. Soon, when you look back on the struggle and these hard days, you will be so thankful you didn't give up.

Don't forget that weight is just a number. What is really important is how you feel, and that you like how you look. But girl, shout out to you for working on loving your body, because that shit is hard.

To the girl trying to get healthy again, I am so proud of you. It won't be easy, it will take time. But keep working out, eating right, and just be patient. You will be amazed with what your body is capable of doing.

Cover Image Credit: Stock Snap

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Living With Anxiety In A World That Romanticizes Mental Illness

Being stuck inside your own head is actually a disease and not something to romanticize.

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The older I get, the more anxiety takes a huge toll on my life. I worry about time, I worry about money, I worry about becoming sick; there is not a moment where I am not worried about something. Lately, it seems as though everyone in college has "anxiety." But, in reality, this is not the case.

Yes, you can be anxious about something. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but becoming anxious over a test or a first date is not the same thing as being chronically anxious. Twitter nowadays is filled with people saying something is "giving them anxiety." I can't speak for everyone, but I am tired of hearing people complain about anxiety when the actual illness is debilitating and horrifying to live with.

I have a hard time explaining what anxiety actually feels like to people that don't experience it. It's hard to describe. Just imagine going anywhere and having terrible thoughts consuming your mind to the point where you start shaking, your heart rate is through the roof, and you just want to go cry.

There are certain things that I get more anxious about than others. For example, I am an extreme hypochondriac, so I get overly anxious about sicknesses, heart problems, and everything under the sun related to health. It becomes a very hard obstacle to overcome during a time in my life where stress is already built up from school-related things, work, and relationships.

I think people have a misunderstanding about what anxiety actually is. It's not just a mental health issue, it's a physical one, too. Anxiety can start in the mind, but then create symptoms in your respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and every other system you have in your body. It's not something that people should take lightly; it actually affects a person's well-being to the extreme.

I hate speaking on a topic that is so misunderstood, but as I have gotten older, this has gotten much worse. I can't go a single day without feeling uncomfortable and never content with my life, and more people need to learn about what anxiety actually is. It should not be joked about, should not be romanticized, and should not be shamed. I don't wish this mental illness upon anyone, and anyone that is going through this themselves, please seek help. I know from personal experience it is not easy.

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