I can say with absolute certainty that I was an awkward teenager.
I tried to portray myself as cool and collected, but inside I was tangled mess of nerves and insecurity.
I’m assuming many teenagers feel the same way.
Now on top of that…add celiac to the mix and you’ve got the following scenario from today’s guest blogger Mychaela.
First I would like to say thank you very much for letting me share my story.
I’m always hearing about other people’s struggles with celiac disease but they’re always older. And me being only fifteen, it’s hard to compare my story with anyone else’s.
We all have the same symptoms because we all have the same disease, but what I don’t have compared to all of the other older people are the same circumstances.
I have to go to school and I carry around a constant worry of someone touching my food at lunch and kids don’t understand any of this. To them, touching my food or throwing cookies at me while I eat are all part of a game: “lets see how upset we can make Mychaela”.
There aren’t many foods for me to chose from where I live which is a small town in Illinois. Walmart has a pathetic excuse for a gluten free section that is about five shelves long and seems to only contain five different types of pasta. As a joke, some people like to put a package of Oreos or some other non gluten-free item in that section.
The people here don’t understand celiac disease and probably never will…but the worst part of it are the kids.
Starting out in high school, I was looking forward to the last four years of school going smoothly and enjoying every Friday night at Pizza Hut or Wendy’s with my friends.
Of course that all changed when I found out I had Celiacs disease. I expected it too but of course “kids being kids” or however you want to put it, they would say “Oh it’s ok you can’t eat there; just drink soda while we eat and you can sit and talk to us.”
They didn’t understand that even sitting in the restaurant made me so sick I’d miss at least a week of school.
You can try to explain this disease to someone and maybe on the off chance they might understand that any sort of wheat can make me sick. But trying to explain to people the disease in it’s entirety would be like a person with Celiac disease trying to eat an entire loaf of bread without dying.
They just can’t fathom the mere thought of this being more than just an allergy. They don’t understand the exhaustion, the anxiety, the depression, the body pain, or in my case the constant fear of some stupid kid at lunch putting something in my food while I’m not looking and laughing as they watch me get sick.
The allergy part of this disease is not the disease itself but merely a symptom.
Thank you again for letting me share my story. I really appreciate it.