CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT 2019 IS ALMOST OVER?! As this year comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year and give thanks to the food allergy community.
Food Allergy Mental Health Thoughts for 2019....
In starting this website over a year and a half ago, my goal was to emphasize the importance of exploring the psychosocial impacts of managing food allergies and allergic conditions. Additionally, I wanted to develop and share psychosocial resources to help those managing food allergies.
In that time, it's become even more clear to me that the food allergy community yearns for more focus and guidance on navigating the ups and downs of life with food allergies. I've also seen the allergists and allied healthcare professionals working within the field of allergy and immunology more frequently discussing the psychosocial aspects of food allergy life.
So what does all of that mean? Just as we're watching food allergy treatment trends grow and expand, we can hopefully expect to see a shift in food allergy mental health as well.
Trends I hope to see continuing to develop within this space:
Giving Thanks to the community....
I'm a big believer in paying it forward, whether through actions or words, and truly believe that we don't do enough of this. Additionally, none of us live in a vacuum alone. We're all part of various systems: the family system, the community system, and in this instance, the food allergy system.
Therefore, I'd like to give thanks to the food allergy community as I write my final post for 2019.
To The Food Allergy Community:
Thank you for....
I look forward to continuing to develop food allergy mental health and counseling resources, and positively impacting the food allergy community in 2020 and beyond!
Tamara Hubbard, MA, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Founder/Creator of the Food Allergy Counselor website
(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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