This is a very common question in regards to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Most people cannot possible understand that on a bad day it takes every ounce of energy and strength you have for you to get up get dressed, showered, make-up, put yourself together and get out the door. You look fine to the rest of the world, they can’t see a difference. They have no clue how bad you may be suffering and for the most part, you get tired of talking about it. So you suffer in silence. You do the best that you can and some days that is way more than other days but no one can usually tell the difference.
The challenge happens when you just can’t do any more. You miss a few birthdays, special occasions, and your friends and sometimes family just don’t understand why you are suddenly MIA (missing in action). And the truth is there may be a host of reasons why you missed a fun night out: it could be the restaurant that they chose is not gluten friendly, it could be you’ve have a rough few days and you are running on empty, it could be that you were just glutened and the last thing you want to do is have another episode, it could be that you’ve completely forgotten a la gluten fog, it could be that you don’t have enough time to be prepared when it’s at someone’s home, it could be that you had every intention of going and you have a panic attack and just can’t go, and the list goes on and on.
After a while friends and family sometimes then exclude you because well, your not around as much as you use to be, your not as reliable as you use to be and they sometimes begin to take things personally. You went to an event for so and so but couldn’t come to mine for example. No matter how badly you wanted to or what you did to try and go to their special event, they will never see. You disappointed them, you disappointed others and you even disappoint yourself. As time goes by and this continues to happen your relationship with them will change. And neither of you did anything wrong.
Having celiac disease requires you to shift your priorities, it forces your health into the forefront of your every day. And your life has to slow down. You have to find a balance, a schedule and a rhythm that your life now runs by. You have to figure out the art of flexibility because things will not always go according to plan and that has to be okay. Your body is changing, your body is trying to get well and you cannot rush it no matter how badly you want to. You have to learn how to take best care of you, now. Mind, body, and spirit!
It’s when you don’t shift your priorities and focus that unfortunately you will do much more harm later. It’s when you keep pushing your body beyond it’s limits that it will eventually give out.
So you have some choices to make. Do you keep pushing your body or do you learn to help your body heal? Yes, you may lose some friends and you may cause a bigger rift in your family if they chose not to support you in your healing, but that’s on them. If they cannot see that you are struggling, if they don’t make an effort to learn about your disease, if they chose to not understand that they need to be a little more flexible with you, if they continue to chose places that you cannot go and be safe … well then at the end of the day you didn’t really have a friendship worth fighting for. If they are family, most likely you will never be close if their behavior continues.
I completely understand that’s a hard pill to swallow and it’s really hard to accept that your forever friend, childhood friend, co-worker friend, workout buddy friend, your dancing buddy friend, etc really doesn’t love you and care about you the same way you do about them. That is never an easy realization and always a crappy place to be. The blessing comes though when someone new comes in and lightens your spirit and sometimes your load.
I have always been a firm believer that the best is yet to come and I refuse to stay stuck and feel bad for someone else’s decision to give up on me. I may be down, you may be down but at the end of the day it is your spirit, it is your determination to get better and be healthier, it is your fight and your courage that will pull you through. And, who knows you may even become an inspiration to the person who let you down, who left you out and just maybe you will be able to rebuild a new and stronger friendship based on new priories and values. Give them time, people surprise me all the time.
Celiac disease is a silent disease, because so many of us suffer in silence. The most important thing that you can ever do for yourself is to be happy with who you are and the choices that you make. When you make choices from a place of love and a place of healing, what doesn’t matter will simply fade away in time and what matters most will come to the forefront.
Stay true to you and think healing and healthy first. Hope this helps answer your question, dear reader. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on this below. And if you have a question of your own, click the ask a question button and I’ll do my best to answer soon.