Depression and celiac disease

Do depression and celiac disease go hand in hand? I would like to tell you a story that may illustrate the feelings of a typical celiac sufferer...

Imagine seeing a field in front of you which you happen to know is scattered with landmines.

You don't know where they are or how many there are.

In the course of your day you need to get to the other side of the field in order to survive, but the thought of it petrifies you. If you happen to step on a live mine it will explode causing you stress, discomfort, sickness and perhaps embarrassment. Enough to cause anxiety, wouldn't you agree?

Now, add to that picture 99 other people, who are gaily dancing across the field with not a care in the world to the mines underneath it, almost as if they are magically protected from the effects of any explosion.

How would you feel about those other people knowing that they were safe while you were in danger? Angry, envious, bitter, depressed? Or perhaps you would even be in denial and tell yourself nothing will happen to you if you step on a mine.

Let me explain. Those landmines represent foods containing gluten, perfectly safe for those 99 people, but not for you, if you have celiac disease.

You cannot avoid them by staying on your side of the field and not eating throughout the day, but you don't know beforehand whether there will be any safe foods available to you. Stressful? You bet!

Depression and celiac disease are certainly both against you here.

Why should you have to take so much care over what you eat when "everyone else" can eat whatever they like?  You want to be like them.

Knowing that the consequences of eating the wrong food will make you ill and possibly lead to future complications, can be depressing. You may miss the freedom and control you had over your life before you were diagnosed with celiac. You might grieve for the foods you used to eat and enjoy before you knew they caused you harm.

Depression and celiac disease - should you worry?

These feelings are natural when you are first told you have celiac disease. In fact, if I am truthful, they can even persist, on occasion, for many years! It isn't a type of depression that tablets can cure. Its more a form of self pity and longing for what should have been, if your body had not let you down.

Eventually feelings of relief may surface. Knowing, at last, what is wrong can help you to look forward to a healthier future. Even better is the realization that the treatment doesn't include needles or surgery, just a change of diet.

In time you may even come to feel acceptance of what life has dealt you. Especially when the gluten free diet has had time to work and you are feeling a hundred times better than you have ever felt before!

Gradually you may even think of the condition as an adventure.

It can be a challenge to come up with exciting, tasty food that is safe to eat. You can chalk up imaginary points when you serve a totally gluten free meal to unsuspecting guests and they enjoy it and ask for the recipe.

You can extend the range of food you eat to include mysterious and exotic ingredients that you may never have considered BC (before celiac).

Of course you will inevitably feel sad, and perhaps deprived, on occasion. But you will learn to cope and understand that depression and celiac disease do not need to go together.

- - Depression and CD


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