Skip to main content

Tigers In Our Midst: Groupthink, Anxiety and Allergy Communities

When my son was around four, he started developing "mystery" reactions to foods he had eaten all his life. My husband and I were absolutely panicked; in addition to the stress of the reactions, many of the suspect foods were staples in his somewhat-limited diet.

We pursued allergy testing, but the doctors' conclusion was something called "idiopathic anaphylaxis", meaning reactions with no known cause. They told us it might be food, but it also might be exercise...or something environmental...or a combination of things. So, basically, go forth and live your life with the snarling tiger of an out-of-the-blue reaction always focused on your shoulder blades. Pounce!

Understandably, it was at this point I sought out an on-line help community, thinking that someone else must have gone through this. Luckily, some of you had. While no one had been through our particular flavor of crazy, you gave me enough tips and experiences that we finally did identify what was going on: an allergy to a seed-pod protein found in almost the entire legume family. Problem solved! Reactions averted!

However, there was a price.

I stuck around the community, on and off, for years. Eventually, I ended up running it for three years. What that meant from a practical perspective is that I was there every day, reading as many posts as possible to identify potential problems/trolls.

Little by little, as I spend more and more time there, I felt the eyes of a different tiger drilling into my shoulder blades: groupthink anxiety. Some of you may know what I'm talking about:
  • What do you mean you give Benedryl at the beginning of a reaction? Epi-Pen, right away, no matter what!
  • Your child is having so many reactions! Maybe you're taking too many chances.
And, always underneath every surface-helpful but ultimately-judgmental post:
  • What if you wait too long/take a chance/do something wrong and your child dies?
I've read the list of everyone who ever died from a food allergy. I've emailed with the parent visitors whose children passed away. I'm not saying this is a zero-risk situation.

However, it got to the point where I was questioning whether I was a bad parent to allow my child to attend a sleepover. Questioning whether I should be forcing the school (ha!) to institute a peanut ban, even though my son had never had a contact reaction. Whether touching the outside wrapper of a peanut-containing candy bar was really a risk. And, through every discussion, ran the tiger of what if you do something wrong and your child dies? The groupthink always gravitated toward the most extreme comfort zone and constant immersion made it very hard to keep my own boundaries.

Our on-line communities serve an information and support purpose that's very difficult to find in the physical world. However, for me, it also reinforced anxiety in a way that was not healthy.

It all came to a head when we started re-introducing some of those foods to my son to which he had showed an allergy at age four. The inevitable consequence of food challenges and re-introductions is symptoms. Itchy mouth. Funny feeling in the throat. "Push through it," said our doctor. My God, what are you doing, give a fricking Epi-Pen and stop this high-risk behavior before your kid is another statistic was the voice I heard in my head.

I quit the community over a year ago in the hopes of taming the anxiety tiger. However, I still hear its voice every time I hand my kid a food containing baked milk (which we were cleared for last summer). It's what makes me hesitate to keep the dosage consistent. It's what makes me obsessively worry every time he coughs or clears his throat after he eats it.

So...I'm back to where we were in preschool, feeling the eyes from the tiger of random reactions (this time from problem foods I'm choosing to give him) drilling into the back of my shoulder blades. Facing off with Random-Reaction Tiger is Constant-Anxiety Tiger, who I've knowingly fed for over 10 years in exchange for invaluable information.

And right in the middle is my son, who watches my face each time I give him his milk-containing food. And each time he considers going out with friends...or asking a girl to a dance...or trying to figure out how college is going to work for him. He sees the tigers. He's anxious and afraid and really, really angry, and I don't blame him one bit.

Tigers suck.

Popular posts from this blog

Puas Rental dan Sewa Mobil Di Area Cirebon

Puas Rental Mobil Cirebon . Puas Rent car ialah perusahaan transportasi penyedia layanan rental mobil di Cirebon. Puas Rent Car ialah bagian dari perusahaan Puaspark – taman rekreasi keluarga sangat terjangkau di Cirebon Timur. Kami pun melayani lokasi Bekasi sampai Seluruh Cirebon. Armada kami ialah mobil-mobil dalam situasi terawat dan pun mobil-mobil keluaran baru. Dengan opsi mobil yang kami sediakan paling variatif dan harga yang paling kompetitif di Cirebon.
Contact Puas Rental Mobil



Bagi Kami Kepuasan Konsumen nomer Satu..
Untuk Pemesanan klik Rental Mobil Avanza Di Area Cirebon
Karena Disitu Adalah Website Resmi Dari Puas Rental Mobil Cirebon

Puas Rent Car Cirebon menawarkan guna Anda seperti: Avanza. Kami melayani penyewaan mobil guna harian maupun bulanan. Kami meluangkan supir. kita juga dapat menyewa mobil-mobil kami tanpa supir.

Menjadi perusahaan transportasi penyedia jasa penyewaan mobil yang handal. Menjadi parner transportasi terbaik Anda. Terdepan melayani sewa / ren…

The Food Allergy Herbal Formula-2 (FAHF-2) Laundry List

So in all the time I've been writing about our experience with FAHF-2, I have never done a comprehensive post with all the links/info I've found over the years. Consider the situation rectified! I'll add to this as I find new sources. If you have good ones, please feel free to add them to the comments as well.

My FAHF-2 Posts
FAHF-2 Trials In Chicago!

We're In

BTDT, Got the FAHF-2 Food Allergy Clinical Trial T-Shirt

Brief FAHF-2 Update

Halfway There...But the Second Half Is All Uphill

FAHF-2: The Holy Grail?

Waiting in the Wings for the Show to Begin

FAHF-2 Clinical Trial Summary

Other People's FAHF-2 Experiences (from around the web)Chinese pharmacy vs. through Dr. Li

For severe eczema/MRSA

New York Times article

For asthma (Vitality magazine)

An asthma patient's personal experience

Description of Dr. Li's treatment plan

What Is FAHF-2?Patent application (contains all ingredients)

Phase 1 Clinical Trial Report (has very specific info about formula ingredients)

Yellow Empero…