For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the second most allergic person in Leeds (see my first blog for more info). I was unsure of what to write about next so Safer Eating suggested I write about how I cope with allergies. Karen assured me this is what people want to know, so allow me to do my best. If I can help even just one person, it will be worth it.
How I deal with allergies is very closely linked to my core philosophies as a human being. I suppose I feel uncomfortable giving any advice like this because, like every human on this planet, I’m not perfect. Far from it, in fact. For anyone who may doubt this, all you have to do is buy my wife a gin and tonic and she will happily spend an hour regaling my many character flaws… then again, you probably don’t even need to buy her a drink, she’ll do that for free.
For me, it’s all about mind over matter. I have allergies, eczema, asthma and dyslexia… that’s the hand life dealt me. From there I had two options:
1. Sit in a dark room eating boiled potatoes, watching Jeremy Kyle and feeling sorry for myself
2. Get off my arse and live life to the full.
To people who say, ‘Aww, poor you’, I reply, ‘It could be worse, I could have no legs.’ Really, although I can’t eat some stuff, I am blessed. I know there are always people around me who are less fortunate than I am. In reality, this really is a first world problem. In the third world, it would be more than likely that someone with my allergies would be dead by now, so I can certainly count my blessings in that regard. Focusing too much on the negative only leads to a downward spiral so I’m always trying to have an optimistic outlook (apart from Brexit… we’re all doomed there I’m afraid).
My best advice is to try finding positives from the situation, even if you feel stupid. It’s amazing how you can break a negative cycle simply by making yourself (and others) laugh. My favourite example of things I say are, “yes I’m allergic to eggs… but that enables me to do a brilliant Joseph Merrick impression.” Or even, “At least I’m never stuck for that interesting fact about yourself at dinner parties”
It sounds so easy to do and fortunately it is. Allergies may be the hardest thing you will have to cope with in life, but stay positive. Because really when it comes down to it, it’s so easy to let feelings of positivity stray into the negative, especially when you have an allergic reaction. Life is much more fun and interesting when we think positively, no matter what the circumstance.
I also feel it is important to mention that the more people like Karen at Safer Eating and those at Anaphylaxis Campaign and Allergy UK work on behalf of allergy sufferers everywhere, the easier it gets. In the 90s, I can tell you they didn’t even list allergens on the back of packets and you didn’t have to disclose ingredients in food/drink if they weren’t above 5%. So life then was regularly interrupted by a series of trips to the toilet for no known reason. But now they put allergy information in bold and waiting staff rarely roll their eyes at you. God bless these people who are trying to help allergy sufferers everywhere.
Remember if you’re struggling with it, there are always people out there you can talk to. Feel free to reach out and have a chat with me. Like most things, a good old natter and a cup of tea (without milk, of course) goes down a treat.
My final piece of advice is don’t let others bring you down. Over the years, many times people have come to me and said. “Oh you can’t have chocolate? I couldn’t live.” (RANT WARNING) Now, what they expect to achieve from this remark is beyond me. Of course you could live without chocolate… and maybe you should, luv! Cut out the chocolate and get on the treadmill. Wooooaaahhhh, I’ve just released some repressed anger I have apparently had bottled up for a while. Sorry, maybe I’m not as zen and calm about the whole situation as I thought.
And now I want to ask you, how do you cope with your allergies? Seriously, we really want to know. My blog may mean nothing to some people but with literally thousands of tricky eaters subscribed to Safer Eating, your comment may change someone’s life for the better. So please comment below, or on Facebook and Twitter. We really do want to hear from you.
By Rory Mason – finally rid of some repressed anger and living life to the full (despite multiple allergies)