When life is challenging – financial woes, illness such as celiac disease, unemployment, divorce, or whatever – it seems hard to live in the present moment.
If you had the ideal marriage partner, how would they support you emotionally? What would it feel like to be married to them?
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!
When gut systems are compromised, the body’s happiness system is damaged, too.
THE SITUATION: My celiac child isn’t invited to a party because the party-throwers aren’t willing to make it safe for my child.
MY BELIEF: They should invite my child to the party.
Celiac disease makes us feel like crap in many ways, and when we feel like crap, it’s easy to behave badly.
As celiacs, many of our social and emotional issues arise from wanting to say YES, but needing to say NO. We need to learn how to feel comfortable saying NO. Psychologists call this “Drawing Boundaries.” There are lots of long and complicated books about it.
Trauma comes in many forms: it can be ongoing abuse that we experienced as a child, it can be a single horrible incident like an accident or a disaster, it can be a surgery, and so on. There’s even a thing called trans-generational trauma, in which we kind of ‘inherit’ the unresolved issues of our ancestors.
As a celiac, I find it frightening to go on trips. Will I be able to find safe food? Will I have to go hungry? Will I get ‘glutened’ and have to deal with the illness away from the comfort and privacy of home?
Years ago, when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and was making a lot of mistakes with the gluten-free diet, I used to hide my digestive distress from everyone at work. The work scene, I thought, required me to be perfect. Being sick wasn’t perfect!
One thing that comes up for me over and over as a celiac is the feeling that I shouldn’t have to spend so much time and energy finding something safe to eat. Everyone else just reaches out, grabs something to eat, and carries on with their fast-paced lifestyle. Why can’t I do the same? It’s not fair. I have to search and search while everyone else gets ahead of me and I’m left behind, hungry and cranky and feeling like the victim of an injustice.
As parents, we don’t want our children to have a disease … we feel our children’s pain, we want everything to be perfect for them, we fear for their wellbeing. Our celiac kids can sense when their parents are upset about their disease, and they feel bad about it.
It’s easy to see what not to like about being a celiac – I don’t like packing all my own food in case the available food is cross-contaminated, I don’t like eating a can of cold soup while everyone else is lining up for a buffet that I paid for too, I don’t like going hungry while everyone else is eating pizza, I don’t like saying no to food that people offer me, I don’t like worrying that something delicious I’m eating at a restaurant is possibly poisoning me with each bite, I don’t like facing weeks of debilitating digestive issues after a mistake, and so on.
- Imagine yourself as a wheel, rolling along through life. Now that you’re in Celiac Territory, you will encounter all kinds of hazards that can give you a flat!
- It’s natural to experience anger, resentment, sadness, desperation, frustration, fear and exasperation as we adjust to to the gluten-free diet.
- Betty always spends two weeks at the home of her aging parents in the summer. Now that Betty has celiac disease, she suffers anxiety, hunger, sadness, and resentment on these holidays because her parents can’t/won’t make their home safe for her.
- When your parents or in-laws are gluten-clueless and unwilling/unable to learn, staying with them may no longer be an option. How can you deal with this limitation that celiac disease has introduced into your life?
- Celiacs often face upsetting social situations around food. We fear that being assertive about our needs will seem rude, and we don’t want to offend anyone or wreck anyone’s fun.
- Celiac disease can help us become less prejudiced against people and situations in the world around us.
- Want to get off the cycle of pain? The physical pain of celiac disease makes us angry, desperate, frustrated, and afraid. This emotional pain makes the physical pain worse. We’re already dealing with cramps or mouth sores or whatever it is, and then we add the extra suffering of anger or sadness or fear on top of it — putting us in a cycle of increasing pain. Here’s how to get off that cycle of increasing pain.
- 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!
- COMMENT: I’ve always been a very anxious person, and now that I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, I’m wondering if the celiac disease has something to do with it.
- ISSUE: My travel companions pressure me to make quick decisions and take risks when I need a snack from a convenience store. I feel hurt and disrespected.
- To the celiac who sometimes can’t stand herself because she gets so irritable when her pain and other symptoms worsen and she finds that she is not the positive person she used to be
- My 9 yr old was diagnosed end of June, and all our meals became gluten free, and snacks etc. separate toasters, butter and the like. I felt bad when the few times we ate out, my boy had few choices from the menu, so I decided to join him so he wasn’t alone, and have been completely gluten free since Sept. 1st. I wouldn’t dare think of eating wheat period. I made a commitment to support him, and I will never look back. He keeps things inside but has transitioned well, checking labels and avoiding things with gluten, and avoiding foods even when he wasn’t sure. But I know he wishes he wasn’t celiac … Marianne
- My daughter’s biopsy results come back in a couple of weeks to confirm Celiac, but I’m already stressed as to how to feed her, especially the worry of cross contamination. I’m also worried about how she will handle it. I’m hoping going gluten free will help, and not overwhelm her more than she already is.
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