The latest podcast episode of Exploring Food Allergy Families was inspired by stories I've read about within food allergy support groups, experiences my clients (and I) have had, and of course, Brene Brown! You truly can't explore the topic of vulnerability without including what Brene's research has unveiled.
Vulnerability felt like an important topic to begin discussing because the truth is, we will all feel feelings of vulnerability throughout our lives. When we fall in love. When we put ourselves out there for others to see. And of course, when we navigate life with food allergies or other allergic conditions.
This 15-minute episode covers the following aspects of vulnerability:
You can find Episode 03 here. Missed the other episodes covering the intro to the podcast (4 mins), and what survey responses from 90 food allergy dads revealed (26 mins)?
Find them here via the podcast website, or find Exploring Food Allergy Families on your favorite podcast app!
Additionally, below is the "Take Home Challenge" handout associated with Episode 03, which can also be found in the "Exploring Food Allergy Families Podcast - Take Home Challenge" section of the Food Allergy Mental Health Resource page.
And while it may be tempting to just read the handout without listening to the episode, the additional context within the episode is extremely helpful as well!
(Note: I'm not an allergist, so this piece should not be taken as medical advice. However, I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor that often works with those managing food allergies, as well as a parent of a child with a food allergy that has taken part in a clinical trial and follow up treatment. I've experienced the feelings that many parents feel while pursuing treatments, but also have the clinical background to know it's important to explore any and all emotions while pursuing food allergy treatments. Please always be sure to communicate all thoughts and feelings with your allergist or treatment team.)
When we think of pursuing food allergy treatments, hope tends to be the leading emotion. Hope for positive outcomes. Hope that pursuing the treatment will result in the ability to tolerate accidental, small or maybe even large amounts of the allergen. Hope that quality of life will improve once in maintenance.
However, the reality is that food allergy treatments don't always go as planned. With oral immunotherapy (OIT) for instance, some can tolerate doses, while others can't. In cases where OIT doesn't go smoothly, working with your allergist on adjustments, such as changes in dosing amounts, dosing foods, or time of doses may help resolve potential roadblocks.
But SOMETIMES, tweaks and changes don't resolve the issues. Whether it's for medical reasons or due to psychological barriers, sometimes food allergy treatments come to a screeching halt. Therefore, it's no surprise that some of the emotions that may follow this scenario are...
It's these less popular emotions I'd like to explore. I'm fully aware that this piece may be encouraging you to visit thoughts and feelings that may feel better staying put, stuffed down deep inside. While exploring these emotions may make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, it's important to process them, as they themselves can create food allergy treatment roadblocks if left unchecked. Read through some of the thoughts and feelings below to help identify if any have been involved in your journey so that you can process them and move forward.
*NOTE: While the content below is helpful in exploring thoughts and feelings, please be sure to always discuss any treatment-related thoughts, feelings, decisions, or potential roadblocks you're experiencing with your allergist or treatment team.*
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