For many of us, having dinner out with friends or family is an enjoyable treat. For those suffering from deipnophobia, though, this treat transforms into an anxiety-riddled torment. In a Women’s Health article, Krissy Brady shares how deipnophobia, a fear of dining and dinner conversations, affected her life. It started out easier to hide. As time passed, though, it got to the point where she felt unable to eat with anyone else and began to withdraw.

“As with most phobias, avoidance is not the best solution,” says clinical psychologist Anna Kress, Psy.D. “In fact, avoidance typically reinforces the fear associated with a phobia.” This proved true for Brady, and her symptoms did not improve even when she avoided eating with others. Her realization point came when she was watching a movie on TV where two characters were eating in a restaurant, and she had a panic attack just seeing a fictional depiction of a meal out. She knew she had to deal with this.

She started being more open about her struggles while getting help, and even discovered that her mother suffers from the same thing. Brady is not at the end of the road yet, but she’s proud of the progress she is making. Learn more about what deipnophobia and what Brady experiences in her own words, 'I Have A Severe Phobia—Here's What It's Like'.