The Importance of Emotional Wellbeing in Celiac Disease

Today, I am sharing a near and dear topic to me, the importance of balancing our emotional well being along with our physical health.  I’ve turned to Sherry Scheideman, a Registered Clinical Counsellor, to highlight the emotional toll that celiac disease can have on an individual so that we can become empowered to make change!  Read below for Sherry’s introductory post.  We look forward to highlighting more work from her.


I’m a celiac and I’m a counsellor. I’m grateful to Selena for noting in her blog that mental health care is an essential part of looking after ourselves as celiacs.

As Selena notes, the mind and the body are intimately connected. If the body hurts, the mind is likely to hurt too. If the mind hurts, it will affect the body. Our most effective healing will happen when we address both the mind and the body at the same time.

I became a counsellor because I have personally experienced anxiety, depression, exhaustion, anger, grief, and other emotional and social challenges due to having undiagnosed celiac disease, and then being diagnosed and going on a gluten-free diet. I was really helped by counselling, and in the process I was motivated to learn how to help others.

The Connection Between Celiac Disease and Emotional Well-Being

The emotional issues that we face as celiacs spring from many sources. For example, as an undiagnosed celiac, I experienced a lot of anxiety because my gut was sending out distress signals, and my body wasn’t absorbing nutrition properly. I didn’t know or understand what was going on – I just felt anxious.

Another source of our emotional issues is wishing we didn’t have the disease, or feeling like it’s not fair or like it’s wrecking our lives. This resistance leads to anger, resentment, frustration, desperation, blame, shame, and so on.

Yet another source of emotional trauma for us is our real grief at losing our favourite foods and drinks, and having our social life (which is usually very food-centered) forever changed. C

How Counselling Can Help You Manage a Celiac Diagnosis

Counselling can help you deal with any or all of the above issues. It can help you process difficult emotions so they no longer dominate your life, and it can help you accept and enjoy your life as it is, celiac disease and all. Counselling can also help you gain the knowledge, skills, and support you need to set and maintain the unique social boundaries that the gluten-free diet requires. We need these skills and this support as we learn to say no to friendly offers of food, to ask questions to determine if food is safe, and so on. Having celiac disease can be very stressful. Counselling can help you reduce this stress.

Celiac disease can present us with many challenges but we have many opportunities to embrace our lives as a celiac and to improve our well-being.  I can say without a doubt that both nutritional counselling and mental counselling are imperative for a happy life as a individual living with celiac disease.

Learn More About Sherry and Her Services: 

http://sherryscheideman.com/

Comments

  1. Selena and Sherry,
    Thank you for sharing this! I have a Masters Degree in Counseling, but wasn’t diagnosed until after I finished my degree. I found I had celiac over 6 years ago and am extremely grateful for the diagnosis that has changed everything for me. It particularly has impacted my mental health for the good! I feel like I have been given a new lease on life. I’m so happy to find your blog and look forward to connecting and helping those with celiac!

    Best,
    Carrie

    • Hi Carrie! I am so glad you have found the ‘good’ in your diagnosis. So, happy to connect with other celiacs 🙂

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