Last night, I had my fifth anaphylactic reaction and my third ER trip since January of this year (note: don't be like me, go to the ER every time you use epinephrine). The truth is, anaphylaxis sucks for everyone involved. It sucks for me because it makes me feel like complete crap. It sucks for my friends/family because it makes them worry and scares them. And, it sucks for the health care staff involved because it gives them more work. Long story short, anaphylaxis isn't fun for anyone.
Every time I have an anaphylactic reaction, I end up feeling sick for days; I get hives that come and go, my asthma flares, I loose my appetite and I feel like I want to crawl into my bed and never come out. My reactions mess with my school work and my social life and honestly I am tired of being allergic to things. But most of all, I am tired of anaphylactic reactions.
According to my Mom's yoga teacher, we all do this thing called spiritual bypass. We tell ourselves things like "it could be worse" or "it makes me stronger" as a way to cope. We bypass "it sucks" or "this could kill me" as an attempt to save our own emotions. When don't admit how much things suck, we end up stuffing our emotions because saying "this makes me stronger" doesn't get rid of the negative emotions surrounding weakness and vulnerability that we also feel. Stuffing emotions is unhealthy and eventually can lead to manifestations in our emotional and physical well being. Personally, I am spiritual bypasser.
After anaphylactic reactions, or days when food allergies seem interfere with my life, I usually try and mentally list the benefits of food allergies in an attempt to force myself to forget how much food allergies suck. Today though is different. I am tired of stuffing my emotions and I am tired of pretending that having food allergies is a walk in the park. Today I am admitting, publicly that food allergies SUCK. I would not wish them on my worst enemy. In writing this, I am NOT asking for sympathy and I am NOT writing this because I am an entitled brat who's life isn't going her way. I am writing this because it is time I am honest with myself and you all as my readers. Today, there will be no sugar coating. Here is why, food allergies SUCK:
- They make my grocery bill 5x more expensive than it needs to be.
- They take away my freedom to eat out at restaurants and other people's houses.
- They took away my chance to have a normal freshman year in a college dorm.
- They make dating and kissing tricky and potentially dangerous.
- They make handshakes super awkward and potentially dangerous.
- They make going on family vacations hard and super stressful on my parents.
- They make holding down a typical starter job like a waitress or food store clerk near impossible.
- I can't just go to a party and drink from the vat of mystery punch. In fact, they make it so I can't drink at all.
- They turn me from provider to patient--which I hate.
- I have to carry around my epipens where ever I go--even if they don't conveniently fit anywhere.
- Any place more than 25 minutes away from the hospital is off limits for travel.
- I have to get allergy shots...weekly.
- I feel like they make me a burden on my friends.
- They make it so I have to go to three different grocery stores just so I can get all the food I need.
- The medications they give me to combat anaphylaxis make me feel almost as crappy as the anaphylaxis itself...namely IV benadryl and epinephrine.
- They make it so any bite could be my last.
- They make me worry that one day my family will get the call that something happened to me.
- Because of my multiple life threatening food allergies, multiple people have told me that when I am ready to go, all I should do is go out to eat and order whatever I want and not give myself my epipens once I start reacting. (Let it be known that food allergies are NOT going to be what puts me 6 feet under)
- Because of them, I am currently in mile high debt to everyone who has ever helped/saved me during an anaphylactic reactions.
- The have caused my parents, friends and teachers to have to stab me.
It is important to unstuff our emotional baggage from time to time. Honestly, that felt amazing and I hope that you will take a chance to unstuff your emotional baggage as well. Why do you or your child/friend/relative's food allergies suck? Come on, I know you want to get it off your chest!