Tuesday, February 23

Dia's Reality Chapter One--Essay 2

…reality sets in

So, my friend and newest member of the college celiac community, how are you? I’m so sorry that I can answer that question for you: “Not well.”

You’re angry, and depressed. You’re tired—no, exhausted, confused at all the new information and worried about the future. You’re irritated, edgy, an emotional wreck—irate, mad, furious and sometimes simply livid (did I mention angry?) at any mention of “your disease”. You are lonely and afraid, and sick—sick of food you can’t eat, sick of people’s “sympathy,” sick of reading label after label, after label after label.

After week one, that’s how I was anyway.

This letter is meant to impart what little advice I have in hopes of mitigating some of the grief. Yes, this is loss; this is deprivation; this is GRIEF in capital letters.

In my Psyche 101 class, (gotta love those electives) I’m studying the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

It’s a measurable, quantifiable, and predictable formula: {(hurt + insult + injury) / series of stages} + (time x support) = renewed outlook on life. It looks like math, which makes it doubly difficult for me.

As the textbook explains, the griever moves from one stage to the next like a ballerina on her next chasse.

In the first few days of being labeled with the hateful words, “Celiac Disease,” my movement from stage to stage was more akin to a drunken circus acrobat than to the graceful ballerina. I stumbled from denial to acceptance to bargaining and then back to anger.

I leapt from bargaining to pleading to depression to anger to denial. I whirled from denial to bargaining to anger and then back to depression and onto acceptance, then back to depression and without fail, I crashed back into anger.

Yeah, anger, lots of anger. Not that I asked, “Why me?” or “How could this happen?:-- No, my thoughts focused on more pressing matters, like “SO NOW IT’S FUNNY TO LEAVE THE BREAD IN PLAIN VIEW, RIGHT THERE ON THE COUNTERTOP?!” and “IF I SEE ANOTHER FLOUR TORTILLA. SOMEONE’S GONNA BE SEEING FLOUR TORTILLAS INTO NEXT WEEK.”

Whew! You’re thinking, “Tell me how you really feel!“

I know, I know. l still get pretty angry just thinking about it. I’ll write again next week, when my keyboard has cooled down and is able to type again rationally.

Your celiac buddy, Dia

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