Category Archives: Personal

Thoughts from a Therapist

My most recent Huffington Post piece is not on cooking, or coping with food restrictions, but rather on my thoughts as a therapist at the end of the day.  I’d like to share it with you here:

“What Does Your Therapist Think at the End of the Day?”

My goal with this piece was to work to reduce the stigma of going to counseling, with the realization that your therapist is a person too.  With that in mind… If you find that you are feeling stuck or having a difficult time emotionally, especially with managing restricted diets and coping with health issues, you may want to take care of your emotional health and see a counselor!

 

I hope you all are enjoying this fall weather as you start to think about Thanksgiving recipes.  I know I’ve been taste-testing various apples in preparation for the perfect blend for apple pie…

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Support, meet challenge

I tell my clients that you can only challenge someone as much as you support him or her.  It’s a key part of my approach to counseling as I strive to keep challenge and support in balance in my work with clients.

I find more and more that this is something I should be keeping in mind for myself, too.

I can only challenge myself as much as I support myself.

We get supports and challenges from other people too, but it’s important to keep these things in balance for ourselves as well.  With food allergies, I’m realizing lately how much I have retreated from the world to protect myself.  I have not (knock on wood) had a bad reaction in months, but I also have not been challenging myself.  Perhaps I have given myself too much support in some areas, and not enough challenge.  I’ve retreated from trying new restaurants, travel, new social interactions, even happy hours after work.

Sometimes this is a good thing, and I feel justified in saying that going to a happy hour after a long work day when I know I can’t eat anything and would be having a drink on an empty stomach would not be fun or happy.  That being said, turning into a hermit is also not a good balance.

It’s time for me to put myself back out there in the world a little bit more.  No, I’m not hopping on a transatlantic flight to backpack around Europe, but I can go out to eat at a new restaurant this weekend.  In fact, that is exactly what I’m going to do.  I’m going to call ahead, like a good food-allergic individual, make a reservation for 5pm (not the busy hour), and invite a friend to join me.  And teach her how to use my Epipen, just in case.

Support, meet challenge.  Challenge, meet support.

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Giving Thanks

I have anxiety at the table at holiday meals.  I have anxiety before even getting to the table for holiday meals.  When the focus is on consuming a variety of dishes of food, it brings a certain pressure that feels to me like a heavy load of lead sinking into my stomach.  Eating a variety of foods for me increases the risk of having a reaction, and I worry about ruining the holiday meal with an allergic reaction and possible trip to the hospital.  For me, holiday meals have become as much about making it through without causing a fuss as they are about enjoying a culinary tradition around a table with people I love.

That being said, I still get to sit around a table with people I love.

As a mental health counselor by trade and an optimist by heart, I believe that there is something for which each of us can be grateful, no matter the circumstances.  I may have heightened anxiety at the dinner table, and I may not be able to eat some of the old favorites, but I still have a lot of things for which I am thankful.  I’m thankful for my family, I’m thankful for my growing ability to cook, and I’m thankful to you for reading this.  Thank you for reading, for participating in this conversation, and for sharing your own food, love, and understanding with those around your table this Thursday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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