Chrissy Metz Revealed How Therapy Helped Her Understand Her Relationship with Food
Once again, Chrissy Metz is sharing her experiences with mental health issues, helping to break down the stigma that often surrounds them. In a candid new interview with Verywell Mind, Metz opened up about experiencing a panic attack on her 30th birthday — something that prompted her to seek therapy to address unresolved mental health issues she'd been facing since childhood.
Metz, now 41, has had anxiety throughout her life, but it wasn't until her panic attack that she made the connection between what was going on in her mind and body, she told the outlet. At the time, the This Is Us star was working long hours as a talent agent. "I was doing something I knew ultimately in my heart wasn't meant for me," she shared in the recent interview. "My body was starting to tell my mind, 'You're unhappy, something's wrong.' And then my mind started telling my body, 'Yeah, something is wrong.'" (ICYDK: Pink also recently opened up about having panic attacks)
As Metz began therapy, she became more aware of how her relationship to food was related to childhood trauma, she revealed to Verywell Mind. "I wasn't doing what I knew I needed to do to get to that other place in my life," she said. "I needed to understand why I've been hurting my body with food, and all the things that come with that, which means all the past trauma, all my parents' unresolved issues, all of that came bubbling to the surface at 30 years old."
The actress has been open about the physical and emotional abuse she faced in the past. Through therapy, she realized her issues resulted from the underlying trauma she hadn't yet faced head-on. "It's not about the food. Ever. The food is the symptom," she said in the new interview. "[If] you take the food away, all the feelings you've suppressed come up, and then you have to contend with them, because you've never dealt with them."
Metz is certainly far from alone in her struggles with food. Factors such as comments from family, education, and social media trends influence everyone's outlook on eating, Shana Minei Spence, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist who counsels with a HAES and intuitive-eating approach, previously told Shape. They often cause people to form a negative relationship with food, which can mean labeling certain foods as "good" or "bad," or ignoring their bodies' natural hunger cues, she added. It's a topic explored in the series This Is Us, which Metz said portrays multiple perspectives of different ways people struggle with food, according to Verywell Mind. (Read more: How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food That Lasts)
"For me, once you educate somebody, even if it's in a roundabout way on a TV show or a conversation…the fear goes away, and the shame or the guilt goes away, and that is so important in the journey of contending with your own mental health," she said, referring to all of the mental health issues addressed in the show she's starred in for the past six years.
Metz now has an arsenal of tools she's developed over the years to cope with her mental health issues, including expert-backed practices, such as journaling, meditation, and practicing gratitude. She also still has "a lot of conversations" with her therapist. "I'm so grateful that I have access to healthcare," Metz told Verywell Mind. (Related: The Best Therapy and Mental Health Apps)