Living with celiac disease is a challenge. It helps to take the time to identify our most painful difficulties and to come up with ways of dealing with them. Now is the perfect time to go through this process, and make Celiac New Year’s Resolutions!
- Celiac Counsellor’s Corner* is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.
STEP ONE: Identify a painful celiac difficulty you faced in 2017
When I look back at 2017, I notice that I experienced painful feelings at food-sharing occasions when I couldn’t eat what everyone else was having.
It wasn’t just the food that I wanted; it was the feeling of togetherness, the caring and the sharing and the trust, the mutual joy in the deliciousness and satisfaction of it all — being nourished with and by others, in body and in relationship.
Saying no to the sharing of food, and being on guard about contamination, I felt isolated, alone, disconnected, frustrated, and hard-done-by.
How about you? What difficult celiac situation did you face in 2017?
STEP TWO: Come up with ways of meeting that difficulty when it arises in 2018
With my example about the food-sharing occasions, there are several things I can do to deal with my difficulties, such as asking in advance for gluten-free food to be provided for me, eating in advance so I’m not hungry, carrying snacks with me, learning how to say no, learning how to respect my own needs and limitations, learning how to let others deal with their own feelings, giving myself permission to leave the event if I need to tend to my feelings or get myself some safe food, and giving myself permission to skip the event if it is too food-based for my liking.
Doing all this really helps, but it’s hard work. Sometimes I get tired and just wish it could be easy, and I feel sorry for myself. The smell of all that delicious, forbidden food pierces my heart. Watching all those carefree people eating it hurts so much, I could cry.
There are several mindfulness practices I can do to deal with this kind of pain as it arises.
- Check in with myself. Turn my attention inward.
- Identify myself as the observer, not as the pain. (Say, “I notice that sadness is here,” rather than “I am sad.”)
- Acknowledge the painful feelings that are alive within me. Allow the feelings to be there. Observe them with compassionate acceptance.
- Remind myself that this pain is temporary.
- Breathe into the painful feelings. Notice the cool air going into my nose and flowing into the painful sensation. Notice the warm air coming out through my nose.
These mindfulness techniques work surprisingly well. When I practice them, I realize that I can stand the pain, that it is temporary, and that the pain is not who I am. Then I’m not as afraid (or as likely!) to experience that pain again. It’s very freeing.
What about you? What ways of meeting your difficult celiac challenge can you come up with?
STEP THREE: Make your Celiac New Year’s Resolution
With my example about food-sharing occasions, I hereby make the following resolution:
In 2018, I will reduce the pain of food-sharing occasions through advance preparation; and when I do feel the food-sharing pain, I will practice my mindfulness techniques to deal with it.
* * *
BONUS RESOLUTION: You can find another resolution by looking again at your 2017 celiac difficulty! What did you WISH were happening? Make a resolution to fulfill that wish in other ways.
For example, in my case, when I couldn’t eat what everyone else was having, I WISHED I could have the feeling of togetherness, the caring and the sharing and the trust, the mutual joy of being nourished with and by others, in body and in relationship.
So, I resolve that in 2018, I will purposefully light up my heart by engaging in activities which give me the feeling of togetherness, caring, sharing, trust, and joy with others:
- I will sing and dance and make music with people.
- I will work together with like-minded people on projects that matter to me, such as ecological restoration.
- I will hike, ride bikes, take long walks, and swim in lakes, rivers, and the ocean with others who enjoy doing these things.
By frequently fulfilling my wish for this kind of connection, I will not be starved for it, and food-sharing scenarios won’t be as triggering for me.
What about you? What are your Celiac New Year’s Resolutions for 2018? Please share in the comments section below!
Happy New Year!
- Contact Sherry
- View previous Celiac Counsellor Corners enter ‘Sherry‘ into the search field at the top right of this page
“Life happens! Why not love it?”
“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”
- About Sherry Scheideman
- What happens in a session?
- Not in Victoria? No Problem. Sherry does Skype
- Be inspired – Sherry’s Blog
- Sherry Scheideman on Facebook
- Contact Sherry
- *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.