Chronic Illness: Celiac Disease

I am thrilled to announce that I am joining TheCeliacScene as the counsellor in their Counsellor’s Corner! Following is my first article for the site:
I was diagnosed with celiac disease about fifteen years ago. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?
Fellow celiac — this disease is part of our lives. There we have it. What would it be like for us to accept it? What is it trying to teach us?
Over the coming months at The CeliacScene Counsellor’s Corner, I will write about different issues that we as celiacs face, such as blaming ourselves or feeling guilty for having the disease; feeling frustrated and sad about all the food we can’t have anymore; facing social, familial, and workplace difficulties because we can’t eat what everyone else is having; being afraid we might not be able to get anything safe to eat when we’re out; having to ask endless questions and endlessly refuse offerings of food in order to stay safe; occasionally getting “glutened” and then enduring not only the illness but possibly also the blame from ourselves and others; being subjected to gluten-free shaming; and so on.
In my articles, I will first examine how we feel like victims as we face the issues that celiac disease presents — and then I will explore how these issues give us the opportunity to become our best selves as we rise to meet their challenges.
We may find that we can even be grateful to celiac disease for giving us the challenges we need. As we know, this disease can bring out a lot of anger, disappointment, and fear in us. It can push us to our limit! As Pema Chodron notes, “When we reach our limit, a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises – the energy of anger, the energy of disappointment, the energy of fear. That very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity.”
So, thank you, Celiac Disease.
Does this gratitude seem like a stretch to you? Let’s work on it.
Life happens! Why not love it?

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Visit Sherry at the CeliacScene Counsellor’s Corner.

      by Sherry Scheideman, MA, Registered Clinical Counsellor, Victoria BC

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