Ah overwhelming fear of developing a food allergy can really ruin day-to-day life. I know first-hand. Certain foods are avoided as well as activities or even travel. This one affects me more when I am travelling or in places that are far from help.
Food allergy OCD has me fearing an impending allergic reaction after consuming certain foods. This fear can increase in an environment further from treatment, such as on a hike or on a flight.
It is important for me to say that I am not a specialist. I simply have OCD of this nature. I am sharing my experiences however cannot provide professional help, that includes allergy advice.
My obsession with allergies started on a plane
The seatbelt light turns on. The in-flight screens show the ‘in case of emergency‘ stuff as we taxi along the runway. My anxiety combined with ADHD has me tapping my feet ferociously.
In front of me, the packet of peanuts I bought just before boarding. These budget airlines never provide proper meals so snacks are a must.
But this time I just stare at the packet. The longer I stare, the more I imagine my throat closing up.
I begin to worry about an allergic reaction on the flight, seemingly out of nowhere.
Do planes have the necessary treatments for allergies?
How long would it take to divert me to the nearest airport? Would they even do that?
I desperately try to use the last of my phone signal before we take off… although googling never ends well.
It’s frightening how OCD can take something like eating peanuts from intrusive thought-to-imminent threat in moments.
I’ve suffered this with Health OCD for years. I can watch a documentary on an illness I didn’t know about, and end up convinced I have it.
It’s the same reason I can’t eat seafood at a remote beach resort.
The same reason I stopped exercising in fear of a heart attack.
OCD unlocks the door to a new fear, throws you in and slams the door behind you.
Any tiny sensation can trigger a panic attack
Sometimes OCD gives me a break. I have on occasions been able to break free from its grasp and order the dish I want.
Saying that, some foods I will only eat in a city location. The closer to a hospital the better.
But, it only takes one thought to start a downward spiral of panic.
It doesn’t help that I become hyper focused on every bite I take.
Why am I becoming sweaty?
Why is my skin becoming itchy?
Is my face going numb?
Why is it getting harder to breathe?
I examine every bodily process that takes place the moment food enters my mouth.
Have you ever thought about how you have to manually breathe the moment you think about breathing? How you start to feel breathless? It’s a bit like that.
I need to remember… worrying about allergic reactions and having allergic reactions are different things. The panic just fools me.
If you have a food allergy obsession
Remember that you aren’t alone.
Food allergy OCD is just one of many themes of OCD I suffer with. I cannot diagnose anyone else with OCD, that would have to be through a specialist.
But those fears you have, the worries and the sacrifices you make to keep those worries at bay. You certainly aren’t the only one going through that.
You may be a reader that has an existing allergy, and this is fueling obsessive and intrusive thoughts.
The best thing to do is speak to a specialist. One that specialises in these behaviours. One that knows your dietary needs. The more ground we cover, the quicker the recovery.
But I can’t emphasise this enough. Talking to someone that is qualified and willing to listen has helped me so much.
For those of us without an allergy, letting these fears manifest could be more harmful than the food we eat.