Celiac Counsellor’s Corner – Sherry Scheideman, RCC

  • Celiac Pain: Celiac disease presents each of us with our own unique set of pains to deal with – pain such as sores in the mouth, abdominal cramps, bloating, headaches, nausea, and so on. Normally, we wish this pain would go away. We tense up against it, wishing it weren’t there. We get frustrated, angry, and resentful that the pain is in our life. We feel like a victim, like it’s not fair, like our life is being ruined. We fear that the pain is a sign that something even worse is happening with our health. We hate the pain!

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  • 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.

All this anger, resentment, and fear is another kind of pain – emotional pain. So, now we’ve got two kinds of pain: the original physical pain of, say, abdominal cramps; AND the emotional pain of wishing the cramps weren’t happening.”

“The emotional pain makes the physical pain worse. When your gut is cramping with diarrhea or gas, and you tense up against it because you wish it weren’t happening, your gut has to cramp harder to work past that tension. This creates a stronger physical pain, which creates stronger emotions of resentment and fear, and so on.

On the other hand, if you relax and accept the cramping, the pain reduces.

Instead of judging the cramping as bad and resisting it, simply notice it and let it happen – after all, it’s happening anyway! Rather than tensing up, let your gut relax so it doesn’t have to fight as hard. This hurts a lot less, both physically and mentally. It also finishes faster, because it’s easier for the body to do; and it leaves you less tired and worn out, because you didn’t fight it.

Either way, if you’ve been glutened, you’re going to have the cramps (or mouth sores, or itchy rash, or whatever it might be for you). You can keep the pain to a minimum by accepting it, or you can compound the pain by resisting it.

Next week, I’ll share some techniques you can use to accept pain as it happens.


“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?”

Sherry writes about the issues that we as celiacs face in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner. The following topics – and more – will be addressed:

sherry.scheideman MC, RCC

  • blaming ourselves or feeling guilty for having the disease
  • feeling frustrated and sad about all the food we can’t have anymore
  • facing social, familial, and workplace difficulties because we can’t eat what everyone else is having
  • being afraid we might not be able to get anything safe to eat when we’re out
  • having to ask endless questions about food to make sure we can eat it
  • having to endlessly refuse offerings of food in order to stay safe
  • occasionally getting “glutened” and then enduring not only the illness but possibly also the blame from ourselves
  • how to handle gluten-free shaming

In her articles, Sherry will examine how we can feel like victims as we face the issues that celiac disease presents — and then will explore how these issues give us the opportunity to become our best selves as we rise to meet their challenges. We may find that we can even be grateful to celiac disease for giving us the challenges we need.

  • As Pema Chodron notes, “When we reach our limit, a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises – the energy of anger, the energy of disappointment, the energy of fear. That very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity.”

  • *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.