Since we typically tend to avoid even thinking about the possibility of a reaction and the reaction “What ifs?!”, it usually feels even harder to process a reaction if it DOES happen.
The truth is, after a reaction, especially if it was anaphylactic, we may feel as if we’ve been thrown way off course - maybe even sent right back to how we felt upon diagnosis. We may experience a loss of trust in others, labels, and even our own allergy skills....or ourselves.
And even though we can visualize where we want to get back to - a place of confidently navigating allergies again - we may struggle to find our way back there.
Know that this is a normal response to an allergic reaction! But even knowing this still may not make us feel better about the post-reaction fear and uncertainty we experience, and the time it is taking to work through it. We dislike discomfort, and therefore, we want to get back to our comfort zone ASAP!
Enter the T.R.AC.E. tool!
I created T.R.A.C.E. in 2019 to serve as a "compass back to confidence" after someone has a food allergy reaction or allergic condition flare up, and debuted it at the 2nd Annual Food Allergy Conference for Education and Science - FACES (and FYI - the 2022 FACES Conference is in June!)
The T.R.A.C.E. tool offers reminders to keep us grounded during the post-reaction rebuilding phase. The truth is that it takes time - sometimes more time than we want - to process the reaction and make sense of how we move forward. And we need to give ourselves that space and time to process things, but sometimes feel lost during that timeframe.
Therefore, using the T.R.A.C.E tool gives you tangible actions to take during these processing and rebuilding phases. And while we may think this information seems like common sense, sometimes common sense escapes us when we’re anxious, stressed or traumatized! Therefore, it's good to have this available, just in case.
If you want to keep the T.R.A.C.E. tool handy, or want to share with your patients, you can find a free PDF download of this tool on the “Worksheets” page, or use this direct URL: www.FoodAllergyAnxiety.com
Looking for more on the topic of working through emotions and thoughts after anaphylaxis? Check these resources out, too:
Remember, support is out there if you need it! Don't forget to check out the Food Allergy Counselor Directory, the Exploring Food Allergy Families podcast, the Food Allergy Behavioral Health Resource section, and the allergy-specific therapeutic worksheets. And if you're an allergy-informed therapy provider, then visit the Provider page!
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