Dude note: To help celebrate and promote Celiac Awareness Month, I will be writing 30 blog posts over 30 consecutive days (weekends excluded) with the theme “30 Days of Helping 30 Celiacs”. Each post will be aimed toward helping one specific person or group of people. If you or someone you know needs help, guidance, advice or a shoulder to cry on, please contact me and I will do what I can to help. On the 31st day, you’re on your own. Totally kidding.
Today’s 30 for 30 blog post is for: Aanya, who is getting zero support from friends and family and is told to go ahead and eat gluten and just deal with the consequences. And she does.
Two quick things before I start.
1) The response to yesterday’s post just blew me away. Reading all of the stories from women who have lost their children during their pregnancies, it may have been the saddest day I’ve had on this blog. Do you understand why I rail against the gluten-free trend and jokes now? As Irish Heart said yesterday to me, “celiac is a motherfu***er with so many ramifications people do not understand.” And the more people joke about it, the more people will suffer. Nuff said about that.
2) I think I got hit. Pretty much crawling out of my skin. Yesterday was a tough day for me and this morning I’m a complete jerk. For example, I just yelled at my dogs. Why? Because they wanted to go out. If you need me…I’ll be in my closet so I can’t inflict any damage on the people around me.
So we’ve seen post after post from my fellow celiacs who are on an island of their own; who get no support and whose own family and friends have serious doubts about their disease. Pathetic but that’s the reality of a disease that is centered around food.
But I rarely hear from someone who is told to go ahead and eat gluten and just deal with it. Sigh.
It’s all yours Aanya…
It’s been like 6 months since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease…and I’m finding it so difficult to adhere to the new diet. To be honest, I’m fine if I’m alone. I’m really good. But at the weekends or when the family get together, it seems as if no one understands and I often find people saying ‘just eat it’ or ‘are you STILL on THAT diet.’
I get very upset when people say this and I either get emotional or just give in and eat whatever there is (even if it means eating foods that I shouldn’t be eating.)
The other day at a gathering, someone said to me…’Just eat it. Just suffer the consequences tomorrow/for the next week. It’s fine.’ I get so annoyed and it upsets me.
[Dude note: Really…who says this? Who would want somebody to be sick? People are just strange.]
Yesterday I had a really bad anxiety attack. I’ve sort of realized that I have these bad anxiety attacks when I eat foods I shouldn’t. But it’s so hard making my family understand it’s not just all in my head like they think it is. They’ve even said that I’ve just learned this fear of certain foods. I really want to scream and shout. AS IF I’d teach myself to stop eating foods like pizza and cakes. I LOVE PIZZA! I loved pizza more than the average 22 year old. They really don’t know me do they.
My weight has been fluctuating too and I know it’s because of this condition, disease, whatever it’s referred to as. Just feel like I’m being fussy but I know it’s out of my control. I just don’t know how I can make my family be supportive. I’ve stopped going out with friends to eat. If my family can’t understand, there’s no way I’m going to attempt to make my friends understand! I know I should use this as an opportunity to educate people and raise awareness. But it’s all so new to me and I’m rather sensitive.
I’m fine when it comes to eating alone or preparing food for myself as I don’t feel like I’m causing a great big fuss. But I know I’m going to have to deal with it sooner rather than later – I can’t just hide away forever.
Oh. I don’t know if this makes a huge difference but personally I think it does. I’m Indian. Which means…’let’s not talk about it. It’s just a phase that will pass!’ Urghhhhhhh!
My immediate reaction is simple: these aren’t your friends. Anybody that 1) doubts that celiac disease is real and 2) tells you to eat something that you say will make you sick, is not a friend. Period.
But perhaps I am simplifying things too much. Maybe there is something in the culture that I am not aware of. Feel free to chime in.
But I will tell you this: STOP LISTENING TO THEM. You have a disease. Yes…call it a disease, not a condition. Anybody with internet access can look up celiac and find out what it is. While it is not your job to educate them, a little truthful communication may go a long way.
Regardless, don’t be weak. Stop eating gluten because of what other people say. This is your life. This is your health. This is your future. Take ownership of it.
Best of luck and best of health.