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.