Having a grief reaction to needing a diet is an important issue. I remember when I worked with ADHD patients I attended a seminar for disabled children and thought I was in the wrong place as my patients where not disabled in the same way. But one mother talked about the grief of the loss of the normal child they had expected. This was quite a powerful idea. If we apply this to patients who need an elimination diet they have a grief reaction to the loss of themselves without symptoms, and the loss of the life they had with no diet restrictions. You are wise when you realize that it is a balancing act between relaxing your diet and putting up with symptoms to some degree of severity.
Then there is the loss of being able to eat whatever you like, even if you may have been sure that some foods may have been making symptoms worse. It is good to allow yourself some time each week where you feel sad about all you have to deal with. Then you can collect your energy to do what you need to, so you have your life as close as possible to the life you had before your food sensitivity symptoms began. Go back to my books to reassure yourself being food sensitive is real and you do not need to push yourself to pretend you do not have much to put up with. Contact relations and friends who support your need for diet and understand how much effort it is for you.
When the effort gets to much make sure you have all the help modern medicine can give you. Discuss what medicines may help even if you plan to use them only when the going gets tough, or when you have a bad reaction when challenging with some new food, or when you need to attend meals away from a place you can control the food. Ask what doses of antihistamines you can have, and about using antispasmotics for gut pain. Check on new thinking in migraine management. You could consider only half of the contents of Gastrostop or half a Lomotil (my preference as it is not coloured tablet) where looseness is a bothersome symptom. Look in my new book (written with my very bright colleague Ashleigh Jones) for more information on personalising your diet and especially the chapter on doing food challenges to suit you in your lifestyle. I call this “cribbing on the diet”. See https://foodintolerancepro.com/tolerating-troublesome-foods/ I know of dietitians and doctors who do recommend hypnosis. It can help but does not have the advantage of diet investigation where you learn what is causing you symptoms. However it may help where you want that option to control the amount of distress you are putting up with. Just because we food-sensitive people are glad that we can see how much difference diet makes does not mean the whole process does not get us down at times. Feel it is OK to reduce what you expect of yourself in managing your life while you reduce your diet strictness when you need to.
Fiona Gringel says
Very timely comment thank you Joan as with the added stress of the times we are living in, it does sometimes all seem to be “too much” to deal with. It can be very easy to start feeling VERY sorry for yourself (yes I admit i have gone there!) Thank you and I am keen to purchase this new book too!
Thanks for your support for all of us coping with diet for real symptoms. Coping with the stress of diet on top of the Covid 19 virus restrictions can be too much so don’t be too hard on yourself. Do feel sorry for yourself for at least 10 minutes at a time! However often you need to. Then you think about how restricted your life would be if you had not found diet and had some of a lot of decrease in symptoms. Remember you can be biochemically depressed so discuss with your doctor if you answer “Yes” to the question. “Do you think you have depression?” Life has ups and downs. Fortunately the downs are followed by ups. Our bodies are amazing when we think about it!
Our new book Your Diet for Your IBS does have lots of new hints. Enjoy it! Joan